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Thursday, January 06, 2011

Whose soap is it anyway?

I don't watch EastEnders but I sympathise with the actress Samantha Womack, who was so upset by having to play a character who lost a baby to cot death that she's leaving the show. The producers explain it all away by saying they're trying to produce dramatic television and point to the fact that they give an action line number at the end of the show for the benefit of anyone affected by the issues.

Samantha Womack obviously feels a bit closer to her work than the people who write the scripts and says: "What Ronnie has been through is such a crushingly awful thing to even pretend might happen to you. I actually felt ill having to portray it."

Funny that this should happen the same week that the producers of The Archers, which I do follow, decided to throw Nigel Pargeter, arguably the show's most loved character, off a roof. He didn't want to leave but when the fickle finger of ratings was looking for a victim he was the one it was pointing at.

There's a lot of detached talk about story arcs and how difficult this kind of thing is to play but out here in the audience we don't want to know. You've taken away our friend and cast a pall over what is already the most depressing week of the year. We know it's not real. It's a lot more important than that.