Monday, September 15, 2008

EastEnders behind the scenes

In The Guardian, Aida Edemariam speaks to the creative team behind EastEnders about the development of a controversial new storyline to coincide with the return of actress Patsy Palmer, who plays Bianca.
Four times a year, [executive producer, Diederick] Santer, John Yorke - controller of BBC drama production - and some senior writers spend a few days just talking through every character on the show. They plan story arcs for the next year, discuss what isn't working, dream up spectaculars. (None of this can they tell anyone else; not friends, not even partners. "It's a badge of honour, really," Yorke says. "No one actually signs anything. It's like the Hippocratic oath.")...

As usual, they split into small working groups. [Series consultant, Simon] Ashdown was sent off with some scriptwriters to think about Bianca. He had just watched a documentary about homeless people and had been especially struck by a woman and child at a bus stop with nowhere to go. What might happen to them? They would be easy prey... What if a paedophile noticed the child, who might be, say, 12, and pretended to be the woman's saviour? She would be too grateful to notice that this was unusual behaviour, that he seemed to have few friends or family... They suggested the idea to the whole group. "It drew a sharp intake of breath," Yorke says.
Update (17.09.08): BBC News reports that there have been more than 150 complaints about the storyline.

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