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<p><span style="font-size:19.5pt;"><font face="Verdana">Toast to the TV diva as EastEnders' Peggy calls last orders</font></span>

<span style="font-size:7.5pt;"><b><font face="Tahoma">By Tim Teeman</font></b></span>

<span style="font-size:9pt;"><font face="Verdana">Oh dear, does this mean we will never hear “Get ahhht o’ my pub” ever again? This devastating dismissal, which Peggy Mitchell delivers with her face contorted like a cane toad’s, is reserved for the most heinous of villains, and it is a punishment worse than jail. However, it is a little rich to say, as John Yorke, the BBC controller of drama production did, that Barbara Windsor is EastEnders.

For sure, Peggy Mitchell is a stalwart character and with a spectacular storyline checklist — breast cancer, trouble-magnet sons, cheating husbands, villainous suitors — that befits any soap diva. That and the stratospheric hair. She is the pint-sized powerhouse landlady of the Queen Vic, cornerstone of Albert Square, where all the best fights, murders and revelations of adulterous affairs happen.

Her finest moments are too many to mention, but shoving Chrissie Watts into her husband Den’s grave was a personal favourite. But every soap queen — Elsie Tanner and Bet Lynch included — has her day. And despite fears that the world will stop spinning on its axis when the next episode rolls around, a new tragic diva chugging from the gin bottle and tangled up with a ne’er do well takes seed and the wheel of adultery and double-dealing continues.

Viewers have affection for their soap queens, but the capricious scriptwriters love to muddy that affection. Peggy has been vile as well as loveable in her 15-year stint. This fan would miss Pat Evans and her gravity-defying ear-rings more than Peggy and Windsor’s departure means no more confrontations between the two.

Peggy’s exit will also coincide with the soap’s 25th anniversary for which a live episode is planned. With four episodes a week, EastEnders, like Coronation Street, is now more and more an ensemble show, with regular characters hogging weeks of screen time, then disappearing or receding when their storylines are inactive. With such a ruthless turnover of stories and characters, British soaps have never been faster (or better).

Diederick Santer, EastEnders’s executive producer, has increasingly opted for ratings- friendly melodrama over misery; current storylines include the return of the villainous Archie Mitchell to plot the downfall of Peggy, a renaissance of the show’s chief bitch, Janine Butcher, an illicit gay inter-racial love affair and the deliciously over-the-top transformation from good to bad of a pastor who watched his drug addict ex-partner die impaled on a garden fork. Will Peggy leave in a black cab or hearse? And will her final line be . . . ? Well, I don’t need to say it.</font></span>

<span style="font-size:7.5pt;"><b><font face="Tahoma">http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/tv_and_radio/article6894526.ece</font></b></span></p>

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I didn't really get this:

Peggy’s exit will also coincide with the soap’s 25th anniversary for which a live episode is planned. With four episodes a week, EastEnders, like Coronation Street, is now more and more an ensemble show, with regular characters hogging weeks of screen time, then disappearing or receding when their storylines are inactive. With such a ruthless turnover of stories and characters, British soaps have never been faster (or better).

OK... A completely banal statement. What was the writer's intention? What did he want to prove?

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OK... A completely banal statement. What was the writer's intention? What did he want to prove?

In short answer: I really have no idea. That entire paragraph doesn't leave much room for movement.

Personally, I'd only say that if I was paying out the show, or both shows, seeing as he compares EE to Corrie. It's probably the one major negative, seeing as characters randomly appear and disappear for weeks/months on end. They also recently revealed their new (read: been active for the entire year) budget saving, episode quotas, where they have roughly 16 characters appear per episode, which is why the storyline structure has sucked this year (characters randomly disappearing).

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But there's viewer criticism, and critic criticism, and the two, it would appear, are quite different.

I think EE has had better viewer support, than Corrie (bar the whole embarrassing Danielle fiasco). Corrie can be as bad as Y&R and B&B combined, and still the ratings will stay steady, but EE can have a bad week, and the ratings will reflect that. Granted, they haven't been perfect, but EE have told a broader range of storylines, featuring practically every character (segregated or not). Corrie can't really say that.

And I'm not really sure what my point is. :rolleyes::lol:

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Corrie in particular has been heavily criticized in the past few years.

I don't see how moving characters into heavy story, then having them disappear, is an ensemble. It's a way to save money, as others have said.

EE at its best was a character-driven show. Now, like most soaps, it's generally plot, and shock value, with some character moments. Some works, obviously enough to get ratings up.

Syed/Christian is the tamest "illicit" love affair I've ever seen. They barely show each other any affection at all. Syed spends most of his time pouting and looking like he's about to cry. Beyond the press hype (gay Muslim! controversy!) there's nothing there. Syed doesn't fit into most of the show at all, even his family -- I won't be surprised if he's gone when this story is done.

Ben, the article you posted about EE's downfall was a a great read. Berridge doesn't sound that bad.

I do think killing Kathy off was a major mistake, and since Santer has gone on about never bringing back someone who is dead, I doubt he will bring her back. It's too bad that are so rigid after bringing Den back. The problem with Den's return was writing issues and Grantham's personal baggage, moreso than Den himself. In better worlds, Den's return could have finally freed the show once and for all from the Mitchell chokehold.

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But there's viewer criticism, and critic criticism, and the two, it would appear, are quite different.

I think EE has had better viewer support, than Corrie (bar the whole embarrassing Danielle fiasco). Corrie can be as bad as Y&R and B&B combined, and still the ratings will stay steady, but EE can have a bad week, and the ratings will reflect that. Granted, they haven't been perfect, but EE have told a broader range of storylines, featuring practically every character (segregated or not). Corrie can't really say that.

And I'm not really sure what my point is. :rolleyes::lol:

:lol::lol:

I've seen both fans and critics criticise, so this is all new to me that the soaps have been better!

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EE at its best was a character-driven show. Now, like most soaps, it's generally plot, and shock value, with some character moments. Some works, obviously enough to get ratings up.

That's the way the wheel turns, and the reason why Darren had to be the daddy of Heather's baby. It's a repetitive pattern, which enables one to predict mystery outcomes, like, who's the daddy, and who's the blackmailer, b/c you know it's gonna be the most shocking person, where the story fits or not. For the latter, Lucy works perfectly as Syed's blackmailer, but Heather's baby father was a major missed opportunity, in terms of story. Minty would've provided more conflict and story possibilities, with the number of players involved - Heather/Minty/Manda/Shirly/Adam. Darren doesn't provide that group conflict.

Syed/Christian is the tamest "illicit" love affair I've ever seen. They barely show each other any affection at all. Syed spends most of his time pouting and looking like he's about to cry. Beyond the press hype (gay Muslim! controversy!) there's nothing there. Syed doesn't fit into most of the show at all, even his family -- I won't be surprised if he's gone when this story is done.

Too true. "Chryed" have no layers, or any kind of substance under the whole secret gay Muslim aspect. But fans love them. I can't see them getting rid of Marc Elliot, not with his level of popularity, and not when they've spent all this time building up the Masood's as a solid family unit.

Ben, the article you posted about EE's downfall was a a great read. Berridge doesn't sound that bad.

LB just inherited the flack and bad press. She wasn't without problems, but after Kathleen Hutchinson, who wouldn't be.

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:lol::lol:

I've seen both fans and critics criticise, so this is all new to me that the soaps have been better!

You're just learning that it doesn't really take much for soaps to have 'never been better.'

And, have you see fans and critics criticise at the same time? I bet you'll say, yes. I've read several that continued to praise Corrie, this year, even though the fans were crucifying it.

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The thing with a gay relationship is as long as you give a little something, and the actors have chemistry, then they will get a lot of fans, at least at first. So the show may not care. If they were interested in keeping gay fans then they wouldn't have episodes where three straight couples kiss and pull clothing off, and the gay couple don't. I can't see Syed/Christian as a couple, there really aren't any stories for them beyond disapproval from Zainab and Tamwar, so either they will break up and spend all their time moping and being supporting characters, Syed will be bi (which is probably what he should have been all along), or Syed will be written out. I don't know if the show worries too much about fanbases; they've kept Stacey/Bradley apart, mostly, for about two years now. Poor Charlie Clements, I think he's a better actor than they give him credit for.

I think lack of strong couples hurts the show -- a strong couple is what got EE put on the map in the first place (Angie/Den). I think that's why viewers respond to Zainab and Masood.

Right now I'm interested in the dueling psycho story with Owen and Lucas. I hope they will keep Owen around long term, and not make him too psycho.

I also wish Chelsea would stop yelling her lines.

Edited by CarlD2

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The interview with John Partridge, on digital spy explains why their has been a lack of intimacy in the gay storyline

Were you initially cautious about the storyline?

"Originally, if I'm honest, no I wasn't. I wasn't bothered in the slightest because it's a television programme, not real life, we're actors and I look at things from that perspective. We did have a meeting - myself and the Masoods - with Diederick [santer] and we spoke about this storyline at length. Marc [Elliott] was pretty much of the same philosophy as me: we thought it was a brilliant story and great for us to play and we were really looking forward to it. It was only when they started talking that Marc started thinking maybe there's going to be something from this.

"When the story broke, I was on holiday in Cyprus and initially Marc and I didn't want them to announce it before it first unfolded on screen. When Christian had a gay kiss about nine months before, we received [lots of] complaints. Because of that, they thought this would be an extremely contentious issue and wanted to release the story before it happened.

"There were all these headlines about 'the most controversial and shocking story ever' and I think because of that, people were expecting this over-the-top, gratuitous, sensationalist thing. However, it's been so cleverly conceived, written and directed, everybody involved has really taken the time to see where we are in this story and see how it's grown. It's about what you haven't seen rather than what you have seen, it's drawn people in with its tenderness.

"There's no 'shocking' element to put people off. In a way, it's something you wouldn't necessarily expect from EastEnders - you would expect to have seen a bit more!

"It is a gay storyline and that's not going to be everybody's cup of tea. Not everyone's going to want to see that in their living room at 7.30pm but we didn't want that to stop us doing the story. That's why it's been done the way it has and it's gained way more popularity because people have been able to see something tender and beautiful between two men that they haven't found offensive and that hasn't put them off. I'm so proud of everybody here for being clever enough to do that and it's been a great thing for the show."

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You're just learning that it doesn't really take much for soaps to have 'never been better.'

That's old. Everyone knows about that "rule".

And, have you see fans and critics criticise at the same time? I bet you'll say, yes. I've read several that continued to praise Corrie, this year, even though the fans were crucifying it.

So what? :)

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I don't know if the show worries too much about fanbases; they've kept Stacey/Bradley apart, mostly, for about two years now. Poor Charlie Clements, I think he's a better actor than they give him credit for.

Right now I'm interested in the dueling psycho story with Owen and Lucas. I hope they will keep Owen around long term, and not make him too psycho.

Owen's awesome - he has a lot of potential. I think it helps that he's played by a good actor, too. He'll probably need a love interest at some point, and hopefully it won't be Denise, b/c that would wrong, and hopefully Ronnie doesn't bring him down. Lucas Vs. Owen and the aspect of Denise jumping from the frying pan and into the fire, make them one of the more interesting dynamics in the show.

That's old. Everyone knows about that "rule".

So what? :)

Of course it's old, but I've still come across people who don't realize it.

It would go against my point, that's what. Which is, that fans and critics are too different kinds of critic; at times, what is critically acclaimed, isn't necessarily fan acclaimed.

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Bryan Kirkwood to take helm as EastEnders Executive Producer when Diederick Santer steps down next year

Bryan Kirkwood will succeed Diederick Santer as EastEnders Executive Producer following his decision to step down from the role in February 2010, it was announced today.

He will take over from Santer next year after EastEnders celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Kirkwood comes to EastEnders having spent three years producing Hollyoaks, during which time the show enjoyed awards success and soaring popularity.

Since moving on at the end of 2008 Kirkwood has been producing its sister show Hollyoaks Later.

Prior to his time at Lime Television, Kirkwood spent 10 years working on Coronation Street as a storyliner, where he developed a love and talent for storytelling and characterisation.

Bryan says of his appointment: "I'm a huge soap fan so for me to be the new Executive Producer of EastEnders is a dream come true.

"Diederick Santer has done an amazing job and I'll be taking over a show at the top of its game – quite a daunting task but one I can't wait to get started on."

Diederick Santer has been EastEnders Executive Producer since October 2006 and he also sits on the board of BBC Drama Production.

During his time Santer been credited with taking EastEnders to the peak of its powers, producing a show with brave and compelling storylines.

Under his guidance EastEnders has swept the board at awards ceremonies, continuously leading the way as Best Soap and Continuing Drama in the National Television, RTS, British Soap, Inside Soap and many other awards.

He also recently announced the launch of an online spin off, E20, to further heighten the show's reach and appeal.

Santer has been responsible for the creation of the Mitchell Sisters and the Masood family, plus the long-awaited return of Ricky and Bianca.

Stories about paedophilia and bipolar have drawn wide praise for their power, responsibility and accuracy, and Santer's apocalyptic 2007 Christmas Day episode featuring the reveal of Max and Stacey's affair was the most-watched TV programme that year with 14.38 million viewers.

Santer will continue working for BBC Drama Production as an Executive Producer with a special responsibility for developing new shows that can be internationally co-produced.

The aim will be for him to identify and develop dramas that can be made through BBC Drama Production in conjunction with BBC WorldWide Los Angeles.

Diederick Santer says of his departure: "I've had the most fantastic time at EastEnders. It's without doubt the best job in telly, and I've loved every minute of it.

"It's a busy and challenging job so I'm now looking forward to becoming reacquainted with my family and friends.

"I'm grateful to all the people I've collaborated with over the last three years who work so hard and so creatively. It's been a real pleasure to work with them and to get to know them, and I'm going to miss them all enormously.

"I'm delighted that I'm passing the show on to Bryan Kirkwood. He's a vastly talented and original producer with a brilliant storylining mind.

"I'm confident that, under him, EastEnders will continue to thrive and to grow and to keep delivering the very best drama to its massive audience."

John Yorke, BBC Controller Drama Production & New Talent, adds: "Diederick has presided over an incredibly strong period in the show's history and demonstrated an instinctive mastery of what makes the programme such a success.

"Able to switch from brave and radical public service storytelling to big sweeping set pieces, he has been concerned only to get the best out of those around him and to match the highest standards of the programme's founders.

"Leaving EastEnders fighting fit and at the top of its game as it reaches its quarter century, he'll be missed hugely by cast and crew. He's going to be a very hard to act to follow but I'm confident Bryan is the right man for the job."

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danni, I'd heard about the reason for the lack of intimacy, but I think it hurts the story, especially because they didn't show us Syed and Christian falling in love. If they had paced it more slowly then I wouldn't mind the lack of intimacy.

Kirkwood? Really? He loves gay characters but he may not get to do that on EE. He also loves darkness, and loud women, so that will be a good fit for EE. He was a mixed bad at Hollyoaks, but his first two years were solid.

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