Set in the East End of London, the show focuses on the tensions between love and family with stories ranging from hard-hitting social issues, to personal, human tragedies. And there’s plenty of funny moments too. Classic characters old and new across thousands of episodes have shared a drink in The Queen Vic, shed tears of despair or joy, sat on Arthur’s bench in the Square – and at some point or other they probably crossed paths with Ian Beale.
User Reviews: I’m an American who has watched "EastEnders" on and off on my local PBS station over the last 15 years. I find the show fascinating and it’s not because the plots are particularly original or the acting is so amazing. It’s not the "exotic" location either, I’ve been to London a couple of times. No, the reason I can’t stop watching "EastEnders" is because it’s the complete polar opposite of an American soap opera!
On an American soap opera, everyone is attractive or at least above-average looking. On EastEnders, (although they will occasionally throw in an attractive person to confuse you, I mean is Rosie’s older daughter a super-model for that neighborhood or what?) everyone is pretty much average to below-average looking. There’s one character who always looks like he’s in desperate need of a blood transfusion and another who is quite simply the ugliest human being I’ve ever seen on scripted television.
On an AS, everyone is always fashionably dressed and impeccably groomed. I don’t think you ever even see anyone in the same outfit twice. While watching EE, I sometimes wonder if the actors didn’t do their own hair and makeup and bring clothes from home. On second thought, most of the actors would probably dress better than their characters.
On an AS, everyone has a glamorous and/or high-profile and/or high-paying and/or highly- respected career, e.g. doctor, model, cosmetics tycoon, writer, chief of police (even if they only appear to be about 20 years-old!), etc. On EE, the characters work in stalls at the street market, in pubs, cafés, garages, and laundromats. The most successful guy in the neighborhood is the guy who owns the café.
You really can’t help but feel pretty good about yourself and your life after watching EE.
There are some other characters on EE that you typically wouldn’t see on an AS, like a 14 year- old (who looks like a 12 year-old) girl with a baby and a man who seems to be in at least his mid-forties who can’t read or write. One nice thing is that the writers don’t seem to consider people over the age of 40 too old for romance. People in their 40s, 50s, 60s and older are depicted dating and even getting married. I’ve laughed out loud at a few hilarious moments involving horny seniors Pat, Patrick and Big Mo.
My favorite character is Dot Cotton/Brown, the church-lady type who gets some good lines. The actress who plays her is 88 years-old and it’s pretty impressive that she’s still working a grueling soap schedule and memorizing tons of dialogue.
Is EE a great show? No. Is it even a very good show? No. Will I keep watching? Well, yeah. We only get 2 episodes a week in the States (we’re 10 years behind the UK, episode-wise), that’s not enough to kill the novelty factor. I wouldn’t watch "Days of Our Lives" but I’ll watch "EastEnders" and feel like a successful super-model when the end-credits roll!