Tuesday 11 August 2020
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huffingtonpost - 1 month ago

Grittier Plots And A True Reflection Of East London: EastEnders Fans Reveal Their Hopes For Season 2

Peggy Mitchell s demand for locals to get out of my pub! has finally come true: The Queen Vic has closed and Albert Square is shuttered, after lockdown caused EastEnders to fall off air for the first time ever last month.But now that the long-running soap has managed to resume filming with social distancing in place, fans have been thinking about the changes they d like to see when it returns.If EastEnders so-called season one lasted 35 years, will season two be the opportunity for a complete overhaul of the show, or will things pick up exactly where they left off?HuffPost UK spoke to five die-hard fans to hear their hopes for when it s back on our screens later this year...Lesley, 22, Essex: I m just not seeing any west or south African representation I m an actor, and I d literally love to be on EastEnders, but not because I m a super fan because I am yet to see an African household on my TV screen. I appreciate Keegan and Denise, and the actors who play them are amazing, but I am from London, and I m just not seeing any west or south African representation. Where s the auntie in the kente coming back from Sunday praise? Where s the young girl who s having to sneak her white boyfriend round to the house in the fear that her dad may disapprove? I also feel like their mental health storylines are rushed Honey s eating disorder storyline was amazing but it was way too quick. As someone who dips in and out of the disorder, it s a lifelong thing, just like alcoholism. I like how they revisit it with Phil all the time... but there needs to be more. I would really love to see more from the sibling dynamic with Bernie, Chantelle, Keegan and Bailey. I feel like something is missing, it feels fake almost. Eddy, 22, Bromsgrove: So many people think EastEnders is for old farts As a TV production student, I personally think EastEnders is clinging to it s past too much. There s all this drama with who s owning the Vic, Ian playing a part in the death of a child, whether Sharon was gonna keep her baby or not. All of these revolve around the same characters and I d just love to see something new. Phil, Sharon and Ian hold such strong ties to the show s legacy but I think they should work on drawing in new younger characters and younger viewers. So many people just think that EastEnders is for old farts and it s a real shame because I think it has the potential to be really exciting again. After such a long break, they re really gonna need to do something big and exciting to get people in again. If they just carry on exactly where they left off, I think it will be anti-climactic. The break should be seen as an opportunity. Of course they have to tackle lockdown but after all, we ve been living it for three months. Viewing figures show that people aren t watching coronavirus-related shows anymore and entertainment audiences are rocketing in comparison. So for EastEnders to come back with a bang and do something proper soap opera-like, like a classic murder mystery or a groundbreaking issue storyline, would be peak entertainment. Fadzai, 23, Stirling: I would like to see EastEnders representing London in a more realistic way I would love to see more character-driven drama. With the boat crash, the attempt to kill Keanu and the siege all happening within a year, EastEnders has been more about big events that are quite unrealistic. I loved those plots, but I think what people love about the show most is realism, which I want back a bit more in EastEnders, with more focus on relationships as well as character development. I m excited to see how Ruby and Stacey s relationship will change once she returns and finds out about Ruby and Martin, for example. It would also be great to see some more fleshed-out storylines for characters that get less screen time. For example, I would love for Bernie to get a love interest and for Denise to get a new storyline. I m also keen to see characters like Habiba and Kheerat developed more as we don t know too much about them. Most of all, I would like to see EastEnders pushing towards representing London in a more realistic way. Being Zimbabwean myself, I would particularly love to see more African representation, as there are a lot of us in east London! It s a whole different culture, unique to the Caribbean experience, which I m yet to see the show truly explore. Maybe a storyline featuring someone who s just migrated even? Kayleigh, 21, Leeds: The teenage population of Walford is practically non-existent, leaving a huge age bracket of people unrepresented I would love to see the show be more brave and daring when it comes back... It s those storylines (like Kat and Ronnie s baby swap, Lucy Beale s murder, Kathy returning from the dead) that get people talking, yet it feels as if EastEnders hasn t been at that level of relevance for a while now. Although the show does have some big storylines going on right now, they re not hitting in the way they should be, usually because they go round and round in circles, repeating the same plot points again and again. For example, Ben and Callum s relationship was one of the biggest developments in the show last year, however only a year in and it already feels as if we ve seen them have the same arguments and the same issues a million times over. Chantelle and Gray s abuse storyline is well-acted, harrowing and an important issue to showcase, but it feels as if it s been forgotten about in the background of other plots, when it could easily be at the forefront of the show. Therefore, I d like to see some escalation of the already-established storylines and see them moving forwards and developing as opposed to how stagnant and repetitive they feel now. It would also be interesting to see EastEnders tackle something they haven t such as male suicide, child illness etc. In terms of new storylines, I d love to see some fresh material for under-utilised characters, such as Tina, Ruby, Lola, Bernie, Jay, Denise etc. There are countless characters that feel as if they haven t had their own big storylines in years, regardless of the potential they have, and instead get forgotten about. Ruby, for example, is the daughter of one of EastEnders most notable villains, Johnny Allen, and yet it doesn t feel as if she s living up to his legacy because she s incredibly underused, despite the countless possibilities for her character. I also think more focus on the younger generation of characters could be beneficial for the show. Historically, EastEnders has had some brilliant child actors and has shown child-led storylines, such as Stella s abuse of Ben and Bobby killing Lucy. However, nowadays most of the children are barely seen, let alone given their own decent material, and the teenage population of Walford is practically non-existent, leaving a huge age bracket of people unrepresented. Finally, I d like to see the families on the show built back up. Eastenders has always been known for it s extensive, dysfunctional families and there was a time where you had the Beales, the Mitchells, the Butchers, the Jacksons and the Brannings all at the centre, yet now, most of those families don t even have two members left on the show. For the last year EastEnders have promoted the tagline family means everything , but that falls flat when most of the families are now disjointed, don t interact or consist of two people. Bringing family back to the heart of the show is one of the best things EastEnders could do. Amy, 22, Cardiff: There s so much more that could really make headlines if they were brave enough EastEnders is famed for their gritty, hard-hitting storylines, exploring issues like knife crime and child abuse, but there s so much more that could really make headlines if they were brave enough. Things like missing people/children, mental health even a classic murder mystery would be enough to really put the show back on people s radars after a break. What I don t want to see is the same rehash of their current/recent storylines. Characters like Whitney being put through an endless cycle of relationships like Ben and Callum going in circles with the same formulaic issue based storylines like Chantelle and Gray s abusive relationship should finally be brought to a head. Some of these have been going on for a very long time and after a break it s the perfect time to really reinvent what the show tackles. Although I can t help thinking it will just carry on as it has been! Sharon and Phil feuding, Ian s secret being exposed stuff that will be good as it s been building up for a while now, but it s just not new and exciting. It would be great to have a classic soap affair to get us hooked again. Interviews have been edited for clarity and length. READ MORE: EastEnders Unveils Stunning On-Set Mural Of Black Woman As Filming On Soap Resumes EastEnders Revealed The Queen Vic s New Owner In Its Series 1 Finale And It Was All Sorts Of Iconic 29 Reasons EastEnders Sharon Mitchell Is The True Queen Of Albert Square


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