Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Bryan Kirkwood Ruining Eastenders

I am a life long fan of Eastenders. However I have recently stopped watching due to the recasts. The recasts of Lauren, Ben and Lucy are completely unnecessary. Even as a life long fan of Eastenders the recast of Lauren has taken me right out of the programme. And isn’t that the opposite effect an ongoing drama is supposed to have? I know recasts have happened before and I think recasts should be left in the past as an embarrassing part of soap history. Lauren was already being played by an actress. There was no need to recast her. Recasts are insulting to the performer, insulting to the programme and insulting to the viewer. What is the point in an ongoing drama if actors who portray characters are suddenly going to be changed? If actors want to leave or have been fired then the programme should build that in to the story. When Madeline Duggen left the programme it could have been worked in to Eastenders by showing Max and Tanya struggling with the absence of their daughter.

To me, when an actor has left, their character has went with them. And their replacement is an embarrassing impostor , ruining the credibility of the show. When a recast happens it doesn’t just effect that particular character, it effects every character they interact with. For example, when Lauren talks to Max I think “Max, what are you doing, that’s not your daughter”. As such Jake Wood’s acting talent is going to waste. Again, when “Lauren is interacting with Stacey I think Stacey “what are you doing, that’s not Lauren”. Watching Eastenders should be like dropping in on a community. But it can’t possibly be like that if characters are going to be replaced with “new heads.” The look of the show is what draws you in as a viewer. How something looks is the first thing people take in. And as such make their mind up if they are going to be open to the storylines. How realistic something looks dictates ones openness to accept it. Why should viewers have to make their selves struggle to accept a “recast”. What is the point in an ongoing drama if the makers are going to say “you know that character you’ve been watching for the past four years? Well she’s now a different person”. When a recast character is onscreen I can’t help but be reminded of how patronising it is to the viewer and how much little respect producers must have for the viewer and the integrity and credibility of the programme. Madeline Duggan was Lauren. Melissa Suffield was Lucy. It's as simple as that.

Recasts are possibly the ultimate insult to the viewer. I can’t imagine anything more patronising and condescending. It go’s to show in the world of soap nothing is credible and nothing is safe. What is the point in being a loyal viewer if a character you're invested in, is suddenly and pointlessly replaced. As if they never existed. It means a character someone is invested in could suddenly change. So what’s the point in investing any time on the show at all? I watched Eastenders when I was a wee boy and throughout my teens. But Eastenders has now lost me as a viewer. The introduction of the "new Lauren" was the last episode for me.

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