Typically in the UK most people get home around a quarter to six if they are lucky. This is enough time to catch the last 5 mins of middle class people on Pointless try to guess how many countries the Queen used to own or how many surnames Cheryl from X Factor has now. This is then followed by the News on BBC or ITV. If you make it to the channel 4 news jingle what are you doing with your life?
You have now have entered the waste land that is early evening television and if you aren’t careful you are about to encounter Eastenders. If you want to know what one of the biggest problems is in the UK look no further than this.
In one 30 minute slot at half seven on most evenings during the week, Eastenders manages to cancel out all the good influences of sunshine and prozac. I stopped watching it years ago because it was making me miserable. When I look at Ian Beale’s face an overwhelming rush of sadness comes over me as if I have just listened to Radiohead, Johnny Cash and REM all at once.
Their lives are so insular. All couped up in that one street. None of the characters have any ambition to leave Albert Square and if they do only doom awaits. It’s like the opposite of the Lion King. Everything that’s not Albert Square is an Elephant graveyard.
Behind the scenes the writers clearly have a rule where for every one good thing that happens to a character ten bad things will then happen to them. Did you meet your target in sales at the fruit and veg stall? Well you are about to get glassed in the Queen Vic by Danny Dyer. Got promoted to assistant manager at the cafe? Well Phil Mitchell thinks you are getting too big for your boots and he needs to set your house on fire.
Have you met the love of your life? Well Alfie Moon has just got her pregnant.
Just won fifty quid on a scratch card? Well now Dot Cotton needs a foot rub…
This show is a public health hazard. That millions of people watch it every night can only send out negative vibes to the rest of the population. Instead we should have a Happy Eastenders. Imagine there was one episode set in an alternative dimension where people are nice to each other. Where good things happen to the characters and a more positive vibe was created for the rest of the UK. I at least want a show where all the rooms have good lighting. No one seems to pay their electric bill in Eastenders. I would also put Kris Akabusi in charge of the Queen Vic. I would have the Big Show from WWE as a bouncer to keep the Mitchells in check.
I would give Ian Beale a wife that wasn’t annoying and I would give him a free personal trainer. These minor adjustments would make for a way more watchable happy show.
Of course this show wouldn’t get high enough ratings. British people like the misery sometimes and an episode of Eastenders fuels that endless cycle of depression that leads to nowhere. We are our own worst enemy. So if anyone in the BBC cares about the mental health if the nation is reading this and wants to add a bit of sunshine to Albert Square you know where to find me.