So, hands up who watches Eastenders? Who wishes they could watch Eastenders? Who hates Eastenders?
As I have mentioned more than once, I love Eastenders. Dot Cotton is even one of my fashion icons. I’ve been watching it since I can remember, thanks to my mum who has now lived abroad for five years and only just stopped asking me for updates on what’s going on in Albert Square. Whilst I have stopped watching most other soaps over the years (sorry, Hollyoaks and Home and Away), I have a feeling that my Eastenders addiction is something I will live with forever.
I have learned some important life lessons in the last couple of decades of Eastenders-fandom, a few of which are below. Feel free to add your own!
1/ You can come back from the dead (Dirty Den).
It’s a soap cliche that I wouldn’t have expected of Eastenders, which tends to take itself rather seriously. But, yes, Dirty Den did come back from the dead. The trick is to be vague during the original ‘death’. So, if I ever want to fake my own death, I will set it up next to a body of water to leave things suitably open ended.
See also: Harold Bishop on Neighbours (and we’re still waiting for Toadie’s first wife, Dee, to come back).
2/ You can be really, REALLY nasty and manipulative and be forgiven the next week.
Case in point: Ian Beale. This guy has done some bad, bad things. But then the next week, he’s the clown of the square, and the week after, everyone feels all sorry for him for some reason or another. This leads me to believe that it doesn’t really matter how mean you are to people, they will always forgive you. And quickly. Right?
See also: Billy – when did he make the switch from a baddie to a goodie?
3/ You can go on the run after being suspected of murder, but still come and go from the UK as you please.
So, basically, you do a murder and flee the country, like Sam Mitchell did after being involved in Den’s second demise. You then sneak back in a few years later, duck the police for a bit, and basically get let off the whole thing once they catch up with you. Good to know.
See also: Stacey. She must be due an illegal re-entry to the UK sometime soon.
4/ If you need to run away, Spain is the place to go.
I think about 70% of all characters who have left the square did so to make themselves a new life in Spain. I like to think that they’re all over there together, comparing war stories and wondering who will join them next. Maybe it will be me – I certainly know where I’m going if the drama ever gets too much.
5/ Once you leave for Uni or go travelling, you don’t ever go home to visit your family.
Remember Shabnam? She went off travelling about, what, about five years ago, and hasn’t come back. Not for either brother’s wedding, to meet her new baby brother or to support her parents through a divorce.
Remember Libby? They made an effort to bring her back every now and then when she first packed off for Uni, but she hasn’t been back for months.
So forget everything you thought you knew about coming back to visit because you miss your family. Most certainly forget about moving home after Uni. Once you leave, that’s it kids, you’ll never come back. Be warned.
6/ Get to know your local pub landlord and you’ll get lots of drinks “on the house”.
I think the landlord of my local is getting a bit freaked out by my attempts at becoming friends. There may be an upcoming restraining order.
7/ Don’t live in Albert Square unless you want a lower-than-average life expectancy.
The life expectancy of Eastenders characters is much, much lower than the rest of the UK. So I won’t be moving there any time soon, thank you very much.