The storyline that has caught the attention of thousands has caused uproar, fury and upset. Ronnie Mitchell and Kat Moon having given birth to baby boys within hours of each other. Little James Ronnie’s son dies from cot death and whilst wandering in the Square for help, she hears Tommy crying upstairs in The Queen Vic: she swaps her dead baby for Kat and Alfie Moon’s baby Tommy. Wow. Let me catch my breath. I did just say that two babies were born, one died and then they got switched. Sorry for any bluntness that may have caused offence. Did the scriptwriters think about the repercussions of this storyline?
Life and death are sensitive issues not to be taken lightly, in jest or to be ridiculed. In the case of child deaths our media, over the past few years, has been bombarded with children being abducted, abused or dying. Therefore this storyline caused outrage amongst many who found it offensive, disrespectful and all in all insensitive.
However, soaps are not meant to represent reality. They offer escapism, pleasure and food for thought. Theorists have argued that soaps tackle issues that we like to hide from society that do not fit into the “normal” family structure that people aspire to create in their lives.
The actress Samantha Womack (who plays Ronnie) is reported to be leaving the show and one of the reasons is the horrific storyline. The programme-makers already made last minute edits to the New Year’s Eve episode: a scene showing Ronnie touching the cold hand of her dead baby and Kat (in blood-soaked pyjamas) after Alfie Moon (her husband) finds her haemorrhaging in her bed.
The character Ronnie has suffered immensely throughout her character’s life: abused and raped by her father, having a baby when she was a teenager and her father led her to believe the baby was dead. Evidently many people have felt that this is a step too far for the character and completely over the top. Discussions have been raised about the believability: would you recognise your own baby? In addition most people feel this is the wrong time for such a tragic storyline. Christmas and New Year should be a joyous time and promoting self fulfilment for the year ahead, instead we find soaps competing for the craziest and most eccentric storyline. Is this the sad state of Britain’s soaps? Or is it a harsh portrayal of difficult issues? With the exception that baby swapping (in our culture and society) is very rare.
The last storyline in Eastenders to cause such a stir was only back in April 2009 when Danielle Jones (Ronnie’s daughter) was killed in a car crash. Is this the response of audiences saying enough is enough? How far will television producers and writers go to entertain the public? Is the BBC really conforming to the PSB format? Instead of seizing the opportunity to create happy memories with two strong, independent women in the script entering motherhood after storylines of tragedy and pain, Eastenders took the wrong turn. Through this controversial decision they have probably lost loyal fans as they have simply found the storyline too upsetting and devastating. The insensitive coverage of losing a baby did not consider viewers who have experienced this tragedy and underestimated the emotional trauma it has caused: who in their right mind would even contemplate swapping a dead baby for someone else’s living baby? Eastenders in the past has tackled issues in a thoughtful and responsible manner (story line) considering ethical, emotional and personal problems. Has the focus this time been too much on causing shock and gaining the highest ratings over the Christmas period? What do you think? Dun dun dun dun dunnnnnnn…..
The Christmas weekend is over. Most people have indulged over and over in the past few days and are probably frantically writing New Years resolutions already. Left over scraps, biscuits and nibbles still remain. Family visiting in the next few days. So how do you have a cheap fun-filled night suitable for all with little time left to prepare? Simple, horse racing indoors. Neeehh, I hear you say!
Well in fact, the horse racing night is a DVD, suitable for all ages and can be as competitive as you let it be! The horse racing DVD (race night) is a cost-effective night full of excitement and non-stop entertainment for guests. Each player has a limit of money and can bet a minimum of £25 on each horse. One person is in charge of all of the bets (the book-keeper) and once all bets have been placed guests view the race on the DVD. The footage on the DVD are from real races over the past few years which adds to the realism of the evening. Alongside beverages and food the evening is a guaranteed success.
Amazon also sells other interesting DVD’s for an evenings worth of entertainment. It is an evening for families to socialise and bond whilst also enjoying the thrills of gambling (safely). To make it even more fun, the host of the evening could supply prizes such as money, chocolate or drinks for 1st, 2nd or 3rd place. So take a gamble and it may just pay off!
Designer and environmental campaigner Dame Vivienne Westwood has reminded people to think before they buy clothes. “Do you really need those clothes?” She insists that people should refrain from buying anything for at least six months. She offers tips on how to recycle clothes.
To hear such words of wisdom from a well-known designer emphasises the importance of materials in our lives. In an age where it is rare to find females/males who are able to sew, repair clothing or use a sewing machine this movement is exactly what we need. It would also encourage more interest in fashion and a revival of needlework crafts.
Westwood advises buying ‘classic’ long lasting clothing so that it can be repaired, revamped and recycled continuously. This is invaluable advice which we can all take forth into our lives.
So when buying outfits for Christmas day or New Years, stop and think. That LBD that you wore last year for the staff party, how can you make it look sexy, sleek and ‘new’ this year? Why not sew a red lace trimming around the edge, add vintage buttons or shorten the dress’ length. Accessorise with beads or a scarf that may be lurking at the back of your wardrobe.
Enter 2011 with a new attitude. Hold back the clothing budget until mid June or July and reuse, recycle and rejuvenate your existing wardrobe. Not only will you be helping yourself but you will be helping the environment. Satisfy yourself and let your creative juices flow! Who knows, you could be the next fashion icon.