Home > News (TV), TV > TV: Eastenders: The Daddy Reveal

TV: Eastenders: The Daddy Reveal

Wikipedia fact: "EastEnders is a long-running, popular and award-winning television soap opera, first broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC One on 19 February 1985. It currently ranks as one of the most watched shows in the United Kingdom."

Wikipedia fact: "Fans have tried to establish the actual location of Walford within London. Walford East is a fictional tube station for Walford, and with the aid of a map that was first seen on air in 1996, it has been established that Walford East is located between Bow Road and West Ham, which realistically would replace Bromley-by-Bow."

Morbid curiosity got the better of me this week and I ended up watching the episode of Eastenders where they reveal who fathered a child with Heather.  I knew in advance that it was going to be bad, thanks to the interview mentioned in my previous Eastenders post, but the soap actually went one step further and made it all the more ludicrous and annoying.  To recap (Spoilers follow, including the father’s identity):

Heather has been keeping the father’s identity secret, but when the baby is born she decides to give him a call and let him know.  In the interview, actress Cheryl Ferguson said that Heather contacts the father, and at that time each of the four suspects – Phil, Minty, Darren and Billy – receives a phone call and then “you see each of them flying to the hospital…”.

I assumed that last part was a mistake and that you merely saw each of them dashing out somewhere, with only one actually going to the hospital, but it turns out I was the one who was mistaken.  Phil went there to give Shirley some money, Minty went there to see the son of a friend, Billy went there to speak to Heather about moving in, and it was Darren who turned out to be the father, revealed in the final seconds of the episode.  All at the same time.

So, at the exact moment that Heather summoned the father to the hospital, every other suspect also received a phone call that required them to urgently dash to the hospital, and all were walking around there at the same time, looking at signs for the maternity ward.  It was all just so horribly contrived, most of it being unnecessary teasing to try and repeatedly shock the viewer (“OMG it’s Phil!  OMG it’s Minty!”) when Eastenders only ever reveals this kind of thing in the final seconds anyway.

It all came across as wholly artificial because it just wouldn’t happen in real life (even in the already artificial microcosm of real life that soaps are forced to represent this still stands out as ludicrous) and makes it seem like the writing staff – and it is the writing at fault rather than the actors – think their viewers are idiots, which is actually the response I’ve heard, with people contemplating giving up on a soap that so frequently insults their intelligence.  They are the kind of people who grumble about its poor quality several times a year though, questioning how it could ever win awards in that state but then still watching every episode anyway, so the soap must be doing something right.

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