A study into the effects of watching BBC soap opera Eastenders has revealed that it is the number one cause of clinical depression in the UK. The hugely popular drama 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.
Concerned welfare groups are calling for the BBC to encourage the show’s writers to consider varying things a bit more by including the occasional happy scene.
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 years. They even aired an entire episode once of popular character Pat Butcher slowly dying of cancer. 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 I for one think that’s a price worth paying.”
So what can fans of the show expect in the future? We asked Kevin if he could tell us about any upcoming Eastenders storylines. Unfortunately he wasn’t eager to reveal too much.
“Sorry but I’m sworn to secrecy and I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. Rest assured we’ll continue to keep it real. I’ll just leave you with these two words. Suicide Bombers. It’s gonna be epic.”