What has happened to EastEnders?
Growing up, EastEnders was always the best soap on TV. It had the best characters, the best storylines and best resembled everyday life. Sadly however, in recent times it seems EastEnders has become predictable. It cannot be said that this is due to poor calibre acting or storytelling as the actors and actresses continue to do a good job, in my opinion it is down to lazy writing of plot lines. Social media and spoilers could also be considered factors.
EastEnders returned to their best with the “Who killed Lucy” story. However they have run it past its course and it is actually becoming tedious viewing now. The live episode where the killer was revealed as Bobby was magnificently portrayed and the flashback episode also was very well written, but in recent weeks the writers seem to have just gone round and round in circles with no real development.
Equally boring now is the Ronnie/Roxy thing. Not the characters themselves, Samantha Janus is arguable one of the better actresses and Roxy is still one of the best characters as she offers a bit of light and shade. What is boring however is that every guy Ronnie sleeps with, Roxy does and vice versa. On the subject of Ronnie, the story of Charlie taking the baby was predictable and has been done over and over. How many children is that poor woman going to lose?
Soaps are there to give a representation of real life and sadly EastEnders seem to have forgotten that some people are happy. Some people get married and have kids (the occasional drama) but happy lives. Not all men have affairs. I know they have to be dramatic for viewers but I am sure just once the viewers would like to see someone happy. Example, poor Alfie Moon finally looked to have been lucky and now he is ill.
One thing EastEnders is usually good at is reincarnations of characters. Lauren Branning, Peter Beale and even Ben Mitchell in particular were very well casted but just last week a new Dennie was revealed and he could not have been any different.
What EastEnders do have is an array of quality young talent, most of which sadly seems to be wasted. The characters of Whitney, Lauren, Tamwar, Lee and in particular Jay and Fatboy are brilliant actors. Maybe a push for some of those listed below and not keep bringing others back from the dead would help restore glory.
What separated EastEnders from all their competitors was the sense of humour they brought to our screens as well as the drama. A return to this would certainly help in my opinion. Arthur “Fatboy” (Ricky Norwood) offers the best single solution to this, being arguable the funniest character on the show.
Jay (James Borthwick) and Tamwar (Himesh Patel) are also great with their subtle humour, yet again, Eastenders have failed to utilise. Jay seems to move from the sofa to the kitchen and back again and that is all. We need to see his quest to get back to Lola progress. Tamwar is hysterical in a non-obvious way, so EastEnders make him depressed all the time.
Lauren (Jacqueline Jossa) has been well used and understandably her maternity leave stopped her being used, but again, she only ever seems to be depressed. The actress played the alcoholic scenes wonderfully and her return did at least help the trial story move on. Hopefully more story lines for her in the pipeline.
Whitney (Shona McGarty) is a very talented and much underused actress. The scenes she did when she first joined on the Tony storyline were brilliant but now she seems somewhat of an extra. Hopefully her introduction to the much pushed Carter family will allow her to express herself again.
That development is likely to include a push for boyfriend Lee (Danny-Boy Hatchard) who has a very important storyline and I hope it is giving the right platform to be portrayed.
Not everything has been negative. One of the best moments of the year happened very recently in a scene where EastEnders did return to its comical best. A scene between Masood and Kush in the square fighting had millions of us laughing.
An unintentional comedic moment happened recently also. Following from the outcry of “where’s Dennie”. Sharron’s son, who seems to spend all his days upstairs, was shouted down by his mum and Phil came down.
The #TamwarTweets were magnificent and offered great entertainment during the drama of the live show.
It has been nice to see Phil Mitchell return to his best also, offering an authentic feel to the show.
Finally I believe some of the newer characters offer great potential suck as Kush (Davood Ghadami) and Vincent (Richard Blackwood). Danny Dyer (Mick) was also a brilliant addition as brings further realism to the show. Maddy Hill (Nancy) has been another fantastic addition to the show and any push Tamwar gets will hopefully allow her more time to blossom.
Donna Yates (Lisa Hammond) could well become a pivotal character. I feel she could break all sorts of stigmas attached to disabled people. Another character who offers great humour, I hope her character gets a love interest soon.
For me at the moment Emmerdale is easily the best soap to watch. If you take the hour long episode from Tuesday 29th September it just about summed up everything they are doing right. Many storylines at once, Developing stories in others, the Eric racism amongst the trial as an example (which I felt David (Matt Wolfenden)) acted brilliantly, a push for younger actors (Belle, Lachlan and Kirin all deeply involved). Humour amongst the seriousness was also evident (Aaron (Danny Miller) does this brilliantly and the female inspector was very funny in a sarcastic way).
I hope the writers do reignite the fire and make EastEnders great again.