Tag Archives: Eastenders


I haven’t finished writing about Eastenders yet, but before I start on that I must just “thank you” to Vodafone. Specifically, Jessy and Charlotte. This is how the story runs:

I tend to keep my mobiles on vibrate in the office. (Note to self, put the ringer on and then you won’t get so many complaints that you don’t answer your ‘phone.) I digress.

I have been receiving a number of missed calls, but if people don’t leave a message, I tend not to ring back, unless I recognise the number, and sometimes not even then. Monday, just after noon, the ‘phone went and this time I answered it.

“Hello, this is Dave from Vodafone. How are you today?”

“Not great, actually,” said I, “How can I help you?”

Dave put the ‘phone down on me. Hmm, I thought, that’s unusual for Vodafone. I rang back. There was a recorded message but it wasn’t very clear, something about partners and press 1 if you don’t want to receive anymore calls. I pressed 1. Then I went online to Vodafoneand asked for a “chat.”

Enter Jessy stage left. I explained what had happened, Jessy asked for the number, and checked told me that it wasn’t on their list of partner numbers, and that they had had a spate of people doing something fraudulent. After my recent experiences, I was extremely pleased that I had spoken to Jessy, and I am extremely pleased that I can warn anybody who reads this to be very, very careful. There are a lot of scammers out there. Anyway, as I was online, I asked Jessy if I could speak to someone about an early upgrade, so she put through to Charlotte.

Ladies and gentlemen, if I were in a senior position in Vodafone, Charlotte would be given a massive, massive pay rise! She very nearly sold ice to the Eskimos! Not that I’m an Eskimo, of course, but you take my point. There was no hard sell, she was lovely. We had a little chat (yes, Eastenders did feature!) while she was finding out what I wanted and how she could best suit my needs. There is a psychology behind this, and I know that, but it didn’t feel as though that was happening, so Charlotte was either very skilled or maybe she is just naturally good at selling. (Please get in contact Charlotte; I may have a little sales proposition for you, as a side line.)

I ended up with a ‘phone that I wanted that I didn’t think I could afford and it turns out I can. If I hadn’t had my sensible head on, Charlotte would have sold me more. I so wanted more, but I have to be sensible. Well done Charlotte and well done Vodafone. And I hope that she does get a pay rise as a result.

Now, back to Eastenders. Am I the only one who feels cheated that the murderer was Ben Mitchell? I take nothing away from the acting, particularly as it was live, but seriously? I was always taught, when writing fiction, that you should give the reader a few hints, and if the hints point to Colonel Mustard in the library with the lead pipe, the reader will feel cheated if it turns out to be the butler in the bedroom with the revolver. And that’s how I felt. At no time did I get a sense that Ben had  any feelings of animosity towards Lucy. In fact, the child doesn’t say very much at all.

Of course, we all knew that DC Summerhayes had met someone in the park, near the café, and said,

“But it’s still murder,”

so we knew it wasn’t someone that she was afraid of.  I imagine that was supposed to be Jane she was speaking to.

Then the writers threw us off the scent completely when she was killed. Ok, I know it wasn’t Nick Cotton’s fault that she died, she didn’t appear to be his target, although you’d never know with Nasty Nick, and he would have seen it as a result that he’d “offed a copper.”

And then there’s the return of Kathy Beale! What the…..? Talk about Bobby Ewing and his resurrection in Dallas!  That was daft enough.  I still have to watch the last couple of episodes of Eastenders on catch up (who am I trying to kid, I record it) so I don’t know how the plot has played out since Monday, but I shall watch with interest, I really will.  What on earth possesses a woman to not only walk away from her children (I can understand that, in some circumstances) but to allow them to think that she is dead for what?  Twenty years?  Who’s trying to fool whom?

I said in my last post that I do not think screen writing is easy and I still stick with that.  And I’m absolutely certain that to keep writing plots for the same programme week after week after week, keeping them fresh and keeping viewers interested is not easy either.  But come on now.  Let’s keep it real.  If writing were easy the whole world would be doing and there’d nothing in it for those of whom [some] editors think are good enough to write for their publications.

Will my displeasure at the recent storylines stop me watching Eastenders?  Probably not, they haven’t quite upset me enough for that yet, although I wouldn’t rule altogether.  There are a number of programmes I’ve loved and watched and then canned because I got bored.  Think Lost after the first series (I understand that ended being extremely unrealistic too), think Grays Anatomy, to name but two.  I’ve lived in the East end for a number of years now, although I am not, myself, an Eastender, and I think I know it pretty well now, so if the writers fancy a little break, I’m very happy to cover for them for a few weeks whilst they get their mojo back.

© Susan Shirley 2015E


19 February 1985. What a day. The first ever episode of Eastenders was televised. Is it a coincidence that this year 19 February will be a Thursday, and that’s when they intend to answer the question, “Who killed Lucy Beale?” Ah, so maybe it wasn’t Abi Branning then?

Which of the ladies out there doesn’t love a soap opera? Come on, you can tell the truth, we’re all friends here. Ok, I’ll go first.

“My name is Susan and I am an Eastenders addict. I cannot miss an episode of Eastenders.”

I gave up on Corrie years ago, partly because I didn’t have time to keep watching it, and I stopped with Emmerdale when it Joe and Jack Sugden changing their boots for slippers when they’d come in from a hard days graft out there with the sheep. I always had a secret crush on Joe Sugden anyway, and it wasn’t the same after he left. I never did get into Brookside or Hollyoaks, although the occasional episode of Home and Away didn’t do me any harm. I seemed to miss Neighbours completely, although even I know about Scott and Charlene… Jason and Kylie.

This building was previously Bethnal Green Police Station
This building was previously Bethnal Green Police Station

Why do I like Eastenders so much then? Well, I think probably because, if ever I’m having a bad day, it makes me realise that my life just isn’t that bad. Ok, I’ve made some bad choices over the years, particularly where the male of the species is concerned, but I’ve never had a husband who murdered my ex, nor one who locked me in a basement and told my family that I’d committed suicide. Of course, I’m talking about Denise and Lucas. What a waste of a good looking man. You see, you’re beginning to feel better already aren’t you?

And I’ve never had a husband who’s shagged my son’s wife (actually, as I don’t have a son, that would be impossible, but it’s the thought that counts). That, of course, is Max and Stacey.

Then what about old James Willmott-Brown? Who remembers him? One time area manager for Luxford and Copley (the brewery that owns the Vic), he bought the Dagmar in Turpin Road and converted it into a wine bar. All was going well until Dirty Den got his villainous associates to interfere so the Dag started to fail as a business. Meanwhile back on the ranch, Willmott-Brown rapes Kathy Beale (there’s an awful lot of that rape business going on in Albert Square, I’d move if I lived there). As if that wasn’t enough, he came back three years later and tried to rekindle his “relationship” with Kathy. Now if that’s not enough to push you over the edge, so far that you end up marrying a Mitchell brother, what is? Again, I tell you, I am grateful for my life.

Houses in East London
Houses in East London

What about Sharongate? Come on, you must remember this one… Sharon and Grant were married but then she did the dirty deed with his brother Phil, to whom she is now married. Talk about keeping it in the family. Thinking about it, there aren’t too many of them who wear specs down in the square, so perhaps they all have eyesight problems and that’s why they end up with so many mismatched relationships?

Of course, I do watch other television programmes as well. I’m a big fan of NCIS with Mark Harmon (another mammoth crush) and little Hot Chocolate got me into NCIS LA. Rizzoli and Isles, Castle, The Closer, Midsomer Murders, the Inspector Alleyn Mysteries… Mm, my choices seem a trifle directional… I also love the comedies like Blackadder, Miranda and Outnumbered. In fact, I think Outnumbered was incredibly clever. If you haven’t seen it, I commend you to try to find it somewhere online or catch up. The kids actually ad libbed some of their lines when they were young, because, I suppose, children are immensely funny without meaning to be and it came across as more natural.

I love a good bit of telly and I admire screen writers. I’ve tried doing it and I find it one of the most boring processes that I have ever come across in my life. Or maybe I’m just not very good at it so I perceive it that way. It’s common sense, I suppose, but in screen writing, nothing is left to the imagination, as opposed to in a novel, when a lot isintentionally left to the imagination.

Maybe I just live an extraordinarily boring life, but I don’t have the kinds of dramas that happen in these TV shows. I have the odd bit of mugging, identity theft, a few problems with my teeth and cats and a bit of flooding under the house, but nothing really, so I like to take myself out of my own reality and put myself in someone else’s. Just for a little while, to make me realise that my problems are not that bad. Got to go now, Eastenders is just about to start.


© Susan Shirley 2015