The nation is currently up in arms in outrage over the current baby swap storyline in Eastenders that has seen Samantha Janus/Womack/the bird from Game On walk out on the show.
Angrily complaining about Eastenders isn’t a once a year thing for me, but a way of life. I live in a house with just one television and a wife who likes watching rubbish. On four nights of the week, I spoil her enjoyment of her favourite programme by loudly shouting about the following things that always annoy me about Eastenders.
5. The laundrette
When Eastenders launched in 1985, the fact that everyone went to the laundrette was probably meant to demonstrate how poor and working class Walford’s residents were, even though if they were really that skint they’d let their skidmarks soak in the bathroom sink.
Some 25 odd years has now passed and still there’s no one living in Walford who owns a washer/dryer, despite the fact that they’re so cheap these days that it costs more to have them plumbed in, than to actually buy the machine.
In 2010, going to a laundrette and paying for someone to wash all your clothes, doesn’t represent economic hardship, but is instead a show of massive financial indulgence. Why not just cast the character of Billy Mitchell’s butler and be done with it?
4. Too many deaths
Over the past few years, gang violence and knife crime in London has never been far from tomorrow’s fish and chip paper. You’d think that knife crime might be a topic that Eastenders would want to cover as a drama set in the capital.
Instead, the recent murders on Albert Square have been committed by a young woman using a porcelain bust of a former monarch as her weapon of choice and a bible-quoting preacher who killed his ex-wife with a rake in a garden shed.
If it seems a bit much that there should be two murderers going about their business in an area that comprises of only about a dozen houses, then consider the coincidental silliness of two cousins dying in separate accidents within a couple of months of one another, with Bradley falling off a roof and Billie drinking himself to death on his birthday.
Yes, E20 is a very dangerous place to live, but even if your character is killed off, there’s always a chance that you could be brought back to life. After work dried up for Leslie Grantham, Dirty Den recovered from his death to return to Albert Square. It’s a shame that they couldn’t do something similar for that German taxi driver he murdered.
3. No one commutes
I live in an area of London similar to Walford (ie. a residential shithole, full of crappy little businesses from which you’d be hard pushed to earn a living). Everyone round here seems to work either in the City or Canary Wharf, because the only work going locally involves delivering pizzas or delivering flyers for pizzas.
After work dried up for Leslie Grantham, Dirty Den recovered from his death to return to Albert Square. It’s a shame that they couldn’t do something similar for that German taxi driver he murdered.
For the residents of Walford though, commuting is an alien concept. Everyone lives within walking distance of their place of work. Whether it’s on the market, in a café, or behind the bar of the pub, nobody is likely to earn much more than £6 per hour and yet they all live in huge Victorian residencies that would fetch between £500,000 to £750,000 on the open market.
No one knows exactly how many bedrooms the Slaters or Fat Pat has at their disposal, but it must be a lot, as they seem to cram more people in there than your average train to Calcutta. Where does the money come from? Surely Pat wasn’t that good when she was on the game?
2. Everyone’s a schizophrenic
It must never get boring playing a character in Eastenders, because you can always rely on the writers to completely change their personality. I’m not sure why Ben Kingsley bothers with a career in which he plays characters so varied as Ghandi and the nutter from Sexy Beast, when he could just turn up at Elstree each day and portray the same range of human emotions over the space of a decade, while supposedly starring in the same role.
Look at Phil Mitchell. He used to be the nice, sensitive brother who Sharon turned to when Grant was banged up. Phil once even got married to a Romanian immigrant facing deportation, just because he felt sorry for her.
Then Ross Kemp left Eastenders and instead of recasting, the writers simply gave his psychotic character to Phil, with an added side portion of alcoholism and one of the funniest crack habits ever committed to camera.
Worse still was Phil’s mate Minty, who went from being a evil slum property magnet, eliciting his rent in kind from the slutty Janine, to a lovelorn mechanic living in a rented flat-share, within the space of about six months. Most Eastenders’ males make the journey from complete tosser to pathetic loser if they stay in the show long enough, apart of course from Ian Beale, who always manages to be both.
1. The writers don’t care about realism
Eastenders will never let continuity or common sense get in the way of the direction in which they want their latest sensationalist storyline to swing. The baby swap story is a case in point.
Bereaved mothers don’t just start to throw their dead infants over their shoulders and look around for a replacement bearing a ballpark resemblance. Also, anyone who is on Facebook will know that the modern newborn baby is photographed roughly 700 times during the first 48 hours of their life and thus there is a strong chance that people would notice if it suddenly became 4 pounds lighter and sprouted ginger hair.
Having said that, in the past the bosses at Eastenders have expected the audience to not be able to tell the difference between the attractive Kim Medcalf and the one-nostril sporting Daniellaå Westbrook, even though the latter’s ears look as if they are made from Parma ham.
They think that you’re all idiots and will accept any old lazy rubbish. If you’re really angry about the current storyline then the best form of complaint isn’t an email to the BBC, but to switch off.
I wish I could.
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