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Eastenders- Why is it struggling?


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Old 04-11-2012, 11:46
newcastlefan84
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I have watched the show since I can remember and it is a shame to see it struggling when it once attracted a staggering 30 million in 1986.

There seems to be a lot of problems with the show at the moment.

Firstly, there is a lack of what I call water cooler stories. They existed under Diederick Santer's tenure with the Danielle storyline and Stacey's bipolar. The acting and writing for these stories in particular was very good and earned the show awards as a result in particular for Lacey Turner's portrayal of Stacey.

Many argued that Santer was sensationalist and devised stories that were designed to shock. For me though, the bipolar story helped my friends understand my condition and what I went through and for me it was Eastenders at its best. Dealing with difficult issues head on.

Another issue is the lack of family units on the show. Zainab and Masood have recently broke up over Syed and his decision to squander the 12,000 on a failed business investment. Tanya and Max and Kat and Alfie are the only two couples on the Square at the moment. The rest of the characters are either related through birth or are friends with each other. In the first few years of the programme, we had Ali and his wife, Pauline and Arthur and Kathy and Pete to name but a few. Now, few exist and there is rumours Kat and Alfie are to split which will reduce that number to one.

Finally, there seems to be a lack of effort in the show as there is not the wow factor there once was. I sometimes rewatch old episodes from the 1999-2002 era of John Yorke and regardless of what day it is, something significant seems to be going on. Whether this be Ian's bankrupcy or the Kat and Zoe story. Every week seemed to lead on to another huge reveal or big story.

Now watching Friday nights show the only two stories seem to be Lola fighting for custody of Lexi and Christian and Syed's relationship break up. These stories are poor in comparison to Who Shot Phil which really got people who were perhaps not interested in the show watching with curiosity as to who pulled the trigger.

I feel Lorraine Newman is crucial to securing the shows future. If she does not stamp her mark on the show and introduces characters and stories that interest and enthrall the viewing public, I can see viewing figures decreasing dramatically.

We then could be seeing Kat call last orders at the Vic for the final time.
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Old 04-11-2012, 11:52
DODS11
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I have watched the show since I can remember and it is a shame to see it struggling when it once attracted a staggering 30 million in 1986.
"1986" being the key bit of information there.

1986 being a time where TV had four channels and no SKY+ or iPlayer or pretty much any form of television on demand without having to resort to blank tapes.

A useless comparison when the way we watch television has completely revolutionised since.

The show has had way worse lulls in viewing figures before this and probably will again in the future.
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Old 04-11-2012, 11:55
KatrinaK
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I don't think the ratings from the 80's can be seen as reflection of quality as back then there was only a limited amount of channels. Now, there are repeats, BBC Iplayer, DVR, not to mention a range of extra channels for viewers to choose from.

Having said that, I do agree with the rest of your post.

I find EastEnders in a really bad place right now. The quality of the stories are poor. There is no family centric drama anymore. Everything is plot driven. I miss the days when we had four/five big storylines runnings and they were all individually interesting. Characters were also more rounded and 3D. Now they appear rather one-dimmentional. There is also a lack of community interactions and strong friendships.

I've been watching EastEnders since the early 90's and this is, IMO, the worst it's ever been.
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Old 04-11-2012, 11:57
valtimmy
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I think with all soaps they have their ups and downs.
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Old 04-11-2012, 11:58
Hit Em Up Style
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I might be wrong, so forgive me if I am, but it seems alot of people from Hollyoaks came in with Brian Kirkwood and that is when the real problems started. None of them appeared to know the show. The storylines, continuity, writing, character direction all suffered and Its going to take ages to filter all this out. I hardly watch anymore I must admit. When it is on its just playing in the background.


I do think if they dont act to fix these problems soon its going to end up beyond repair. Its like they have buried their heads in the sand over the problems. EE has been down for so long now. Thats why viewers are slowly slipping away. Another
Spoiler
is not what they should be doing either. Its all becoming so obvious and predictable. I also think that the misery has really stepped up a gear recently. While EE has always been known as depressing it still had a heart in characters such as Arthur, Ethel, Pat, Dot, Nana Moon, Sharon etc. While Sharon is back she isn't what she used to be. Something is missing right now. Its all too nasty if that makes sense.
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:03
KieranDS
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I might be wrong, so forgive me if I am, but it seems alot of people from Hollyoaks came in with Brian Kirkwood and that is when the real problems started. The storylines, continuity, writing, character direction all suffered and Its going to take ages to filter all this out. I hardly watch anymore I must admit. When it is on its just playing in the background.
You're right.

A few of ex-Hollyoaks writers joined the show. I haven't seen their names pop up for months now.

The old EastEnders storyliner who left at the same time as Kirkwood works at Hollyoaks now as well.
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:06
towers
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The show has no heart for the most part, everything is plot driven and contrived and misery after misery after misery - Lola's OTT social worker just to enable Phil Mtchell to get his hands on Lexi, Kat having an affair with a Branning for reasons that aren't clear ( especially if it's with Derek ) and Syed's negative traits being ramped up just to facilitate another break-up before he and Christin leave.
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:18
DODS11
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I just think they need new characters that aren't connected to anyone at all. So bored of people "returning" or long lost relatives turning up at random.

The storylines aren't exactly the most interesting at the moment. And the families are all far too interconnected, it's beginning to get weird. Axe some families and bring in some new ones..

But the ratings reflect little. All they do reflect is that people are probably tuning in at a later date.
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:26
Hit Em Up Style
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But the ratings reflect little. All they do reflect is that people are probably tuning in at a later date.
Sorry but ratings do reflect. I'm sick of EE fans on here shouting from the roof tops when EE gets a massive rating yet when it gets a small rating its brushed off as ''ratings don't matter''. You have to laugh at it.

The Friday repeat is barely hitting 0.5m . Thats terrible. The BBC Three episodes have also started to shed viewers since it was pushed back 30 minutes. Its down across ALL networks. Not just BBC One.
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:30
maggiek
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The show has no heart for the most part, everything is plot driven and contrived and misery after misery after misery - Lola's OTT social worker just to enable Phil Mtchell to get his hands on Lexi, Kat having an affair with a Branning for reasons that aren't clear ( especially if it's with Derek ) and Syed's negative traits being ramped up just to facilitate another break-up before he and Christin leave.
You've summed it up well: no heart. Used to be such a great show. I still watch it but it's missing humor, too.
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:34
KieranDS
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Sorry but ratings do reflect. I'm sick of EE fans on here shouting from the roof tops when EE gets a massive rating yet when it gets a small rating its brushed off as ''ratings don't matter''. You have to laugh at it.

The Friday repeat is barely hitting 0.5m . Thats terrible. The BBC Three episodes have also started to shed viewers since it was pushed back 30 minutes. Its down across ALL networks. Not just BBC One.
Regarding the omnibus -
Is it really ''terrible''? It's on at midnight-2pm.
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:46
omnidirectional
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You're right.

A few of ex-Hollyoaks writers joined the show. I haven't seen their names pop up for months now.

The old EastEnders storyliner who left at the same time as Kirkwood works at Hollyoaks now as well.
The strange thing is since Bryan Kirkwood returned to Hollyoaks along with a few old writers and Kathleen Beedles it has improved immensely in a small space of time, thanks to rewrites/reshoots over the summer which changed the direction of the show and made things much stronger. Meanwhile nothing seems to have changed at EE and Kirkwood is still getting the blame for everything that's on screen.
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:56
los.kav
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Personally, I think the problem is that they don't write stories for their characters any more: they write the characters to suit the story lines. So you have characters that have always been one way acting completely different to suit a dull, tedious story that's already been told a million times with better characters. Take Kat and Alfie's "Who's the Shagger?" story. Kat's cheated before (I'm counting her first stint, not this one) and it was well done; it was well written; it suited her character (getting off with someone to save Alfie); and you could understand her actions and sympathize with her. This time? Nope, not a bit of it. She's acting on her own; camera pointed straight at her face. There's nothing to connect with. Even her motives this time: all we see is Alfie raising her kids and working his ass off to keep a roof over her head and her throwing a strop and going off to have sex with another bloke.

The problem isn't the actors. Ok, so Joey and Tyler aren't the best, but there's been loads of actors that aren't the best. Look at Kirk in Corrie. But he works because the writing in Corrie used to be much better than the standard in EE (although now they're starting to go down the same route EE has gone down, ditto Emmerdale). Throwing returning names and creating 'iconic' members of old families isn't going to work for EE any more: the root problem lies behind the scenes, with the producers and the writers who are churning out this muck. And sadly, there's nothing we can do to stop it.
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:56
Glowormfairy
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There are to many young characters is becoming like hollyoaks. I used to like it with dot ethel pauline etc.

Also all the characters seem to be related and to many brannings. Characters also coming in and out when they feel like it - there is no consistency.

Also characters seem to change personality - ian tanya and a few others.

I used to never miss an episode of eastenders. Now i can take or leave it. Have started watching emerdale now ( i never thought i would be a fan - i used to hate it!)

They definitely need a new family like the millers or the slaters.
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Old 04-11-2012, 13:01
Glowormfairy
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You've summed it up well: no heart. Used to be such a great show. I still watch it but it's missing humor, too.
100% agree. The humor and heart of the show is missing. No caring characters.
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Old 04-11-2012, 13:07
vald
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You've summed it up well: no heart. Used to be such a great show. I still watch it but it's missing humor, too.
Yes, there is a decided lack of warmth in the majority of characters. Any bond formed, whether a relationship or within a family, is doomed to be shattered at the whim of the writers.
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Old 04-11-2012, 13:08
Scrabbler
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It was struggling because Kirkwood is the worst producer the show has ever had. Lorraine is slowly undoing everything he has done, it just takes time. I know we're in for a Branning heavy couple of months but that will chabge after Christmas.
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Old 04-11-2012, 13:09
Ryan_Abbott1
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Lack of good, gripping storylines is one of the main factors.
Also, Eastenders is fighting with other soaps to win viewers and it seems that the other soaps are winning because they have better storylines/characters/actors?
I miss the old days of Eastenders with Trevor & Little Mo, Kat & Zoe's reveal, Stacey's bipolar. It has gone downhill recently. We need better writers and better storylines.
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Old 04-11-2012, 13:13
vald
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It was struggling because Kirkwood is the worst producer the show has ever had. Lorraine is slowly undoing everything he has done, it just takes time. I know we're in for a Branning heavy couple of months but that will change after Christmas.
BIB After Christmas I suspect we won't have one relationship or family left undamaged or broken.
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Old 04-11-2012, 13:24
Sick Bullet
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The problem with soaps is that they're like today's society.

They try to be to current.
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Old 04-11-2012, 13:28
KatrinaK
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Personally, I think the problem is that they don't write stories for their characters any more: they write the characters to suit the story lines. So you have characters that have always been one way acting completely different to suit a dull, tedious story that's already been told a million times with better characters. Take Kat and Alfie's "Who's the Shagger?" story. Kat's cheated before (I'm counting her first stint, not this one) and it was well done; it was well written; it suited her character (getting off with someone to save Alfie); and you could understand her actions and sympathize with her. This time? Nope, not a bit of it. She's acting on her own; camera pointed straight at her face. There's nothing to connect with. Even her motives this time: all we see is Alfie raising her kids and working his ass off to keep a roof over her head and her throwing a strop and going off to have sex with another bloke.
.
Spot on and this is the crux of it really.
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Old 04-11-2012, 13:33
Lousiana
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The strange thing is since Bryan Kirkwood returned to Hollyoaks along with a few old writers and Kathleen Beedles it has improved immensely in a small space of time, thanks to rewrites/reshoots over the summer which changed the direction of the show and made things much stronger. Meanwhile nothing seems to have changed at EE and Kirkwood is still getting the blame for everything that's on screen.
BIB there's your answer.

Lorraine Newman chose to honour Bryan Kirkwood's work on EastEnders which was probably the right decision.

From what I know of Hollyoaks they can easily tear things up at the last minute, or at least that's the way it seems as the same thing was happening in the Paul Marquess era, maybe their younger cast are less discerning about this type of thing. For EE it must be harder and soaps plan ahead on different time scales. I think it's far more important that Lorraine Newman focuses on EE's future rather than sending everyone into a panic with mass rewrites.

New blood is definitely the way forward - it worked for Santer and others. We've lost a number of characters over the past couple of years that were not replaced. It's depressing that whenever a newbie is introduced it's somebody young, Poppy's sister being the latest example although at least she is only in a guest role.

Unlike some I am not going to tell LN how to do her job and nor do I think I could make a better go of it but I wouldn't mind seeing a brand new family in the show.
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Old 04-11-2012, 14:29
scatcatcathy
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I watch sometimes but mainly it ends up as background noise.
Its just boring and as others have said its lost its heart.
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Old 04-11-2012, 14:55
cezzy
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I stopped watching EE when the baby swap story started and only returned this year. I've not tuned in much recently as the Lola storyline is seriously bad. I appreciate that soaps give us a more dramatic portrayal of real life, but come on! It's all a complete fiasco right now.
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Old 04-11-2012, 15:27
be more pacific
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I have watched the show since I can remember and it is a shame to see it struggling when it once attracted a staggering 30 million in 1986.
Once being the operative word in that sentence. The typical figure was around 20 million during that era.

EE's figures are only slightly below Corrie's at the moment. It's not as if it's being trounced by programmes with significantly higher figures.
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