A study into the effects of watching BBC soap opera Eastenders has revealed that it is the number one cause of clinical depression in Britain. The most miserable television drama in history is responsible for more diagnosed cases of depression than loneliness, alcoholism, personal trauma and spousal abuse combined – probably because it contains all those things in every episode. It has also been cited as the reason behind many incidents of self-harm. Concerned welfare groups are calling for the BBC to either cancel the show or to write some happy scenes.
Jennifer Wilson of suicide prevention group NSDA said the results of the nationwide study are cause for serious concern. “I don’t watch Eastenders myself because I’m not a huge fan of misery and death but I watched ten minutes of an episode for research purposes last month and ended up in intensive care for two weeks after stabbing myself in the head.”
Eastenders reputation for being the most joyless, depressing thing on television goes back many years. They even aired an entire episode once of popular character Pat Butcher dying of cancer and saying goodbye to everyone. But why do the show’s writers keep producing such gloomy, dreary scripts? We asked executive producer Kevin Russell and he told us that the story lines are what make Eastenders so gritty and real.
“You call it depressing but I call it gutsy. The real world is full of people crying, dying, getting mugged, divorced, attacked, cheated on, raped, beaten up and murdered so that’s what we focus on. Eastenders is all about keeping it real and if a few viewers end up topping themselves well I think that’s a price worth paying.”
So what can fans of the show expect in the future? We asked Kevin if he could give us any clues about upcoming Eastenders story lines. As we expected he wasn’t that eager to reveal too much.
“Sorry but I’m sworn to secrecy and I really don’t want to spoil it for anyone but rest assured we’ll continue to keep it real. I’ll just leave you with these two words for now and give you a little hint of what’s to come. Suicide Bombers. It’s gonna be epic.”