Getting drawn back into Eastenders

Last week I stopped watching EastEnders (this is a BBC soap opera set in a fictional mostly white east end of London, without any Bengalis or Somalis) because I finally became exasperated with how the unengaging, dislikeable characters kept making fools of themselves. I can’t remember which bit put me off, but it was something to do with somebody making a really ridiculous decision that would ruin his or her life. Was it Minty accepting a proposal from Sam Mitchell? Can’t remember.

Way back, my Mum said that it was harder to get through a book if you don’t care what happens to the characters; as I recall, she was talking about the Jeanette Winterson book, Sexing the Cherry. Eastenders today is like that, and I remember that the last time I gave up on watching it, that was the reason as well. A large proportion of the characters, and certainly those who seemed to be dominating the stories last week, are either unpleasant or stupid, or both. This is particularly true of the younger characters. The story about how Phil Mitchell became a crackhead, after going to pieces when his daughter disappeared with her mother after he hit the bottle, has been widely denounced as preposterous and the Lucas/Denise story is right out of the Brookside book of ridiculous, sensational storylines.

What’s worse is the theme of pretty much every outsider turning out to be nasty or scheming — look at Adam Best, who seemed nice enough for most of the time he was in it, but then started offering Lucy Beale exam papers in return for sex (and thus cheating on his girlfriend Libby). Then there was Glenda and her son, whose scam on the Mitchells seemed to run for weeks and then peter out. Stacey’s friend Becca, from the psychiatric hospital, seemed vulnerable at first, but is now busy trying to turn Stacey Slater against her mother. (And the Slaters are the most miserable family ever invented.) The only really likeable character is Libby, but she’s a minor character and is getting written out of it later this year.

Well, next week they are running it five days a week (as opposed to four, most weeks) and the climax is set to be a big fire at the Vic, a climax of the current Phil-the-crackhead storyline. Meanwhile, Becca is set to “reveal her true colours in a shocking showdown with Stacey” and Ricky Butcher has to reveal that he may be the father of Sam’s baby. So, I’ll be watching bits of it up until that point (whether it’s on at 7:30pm or 8pm, that clashes with getting my food ready for the end of the fast) but I shouldn’t think I’ll bother with it after that.

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  • Irony of Life

    Ahh…Eastenders…the one thing that unites Brits where ever in the world they may be…and what ever they think of it. I stopped actively watching it ages ago but now I occasionaly watch it passively (a bit like passive smoking) as my wife is hooked on it. 5 days a week…thats really not fair though. Having said that tounge-in-cheek, Eastenders is like the Weather and Work that we complain about in Britain - maybe it should have been called Westenders to make 3 W’s that we all complain about. As for the story line…some of the nursery rhymes I read as a kid had a better story line. The timing though (7.30, 8pm)is a bit out of tune during Ramadan…the only way would be to watch it on iplayer….as my wife does.

  • I watched Eastenders as a kid but haven’t for probably 8 or 9 years. I don’t like it!

  • M Risbrook

    Do many Muslims watch ‘popular’ television programmes on terrestrial channels? I think it’s safe to say that over the past 15 or so years Muslims have gravitated towards Islamic and cultural satellite channels for their news and entertainment but did they ever really watch the big British channels in the days before satellite?

  • Irony of Life

    Just to make you realize how bigotted you sound M Risbrook, here is a tiny dose of NLP:

    “Do many Racist bigots post on Muslim websites on their PC’s? I think it’s safe to say that over the past 10 or so years Racist Bigots have gravitated towards The Daily Telerag, whilst also posting on Muslim websites and attending BNP and EDL ‘cultural’ events for their news and entertainment but the big question of the day is, did they ever really post on popular British Muslim websites in the days before closet Islamophobia?”

    If that doesn’t work, then come back and answer some of the other posts you have run away from, after you ran out of fuel of bigotry for your logic.

    British Muslims like other Brits don’t watch eastenders for news so what is the link between eastenders and news?

    Also, a large number of Brits whether Muslim or not are fed up of certified zionist Murdoch’s SKY and rags empire and the bigoted beeb con (BBC) has just deteriorated to the level of channel 5, so perhaps the question you ought to be asking yourself is: is it really worth Brits paying their TV licence fee and keepinig their PV (propaganda) sets?