Debuting Beehive City’s occasional TV review column…
How do you celebrate 25 years of a well-loved soap? Get a bunch of teenagers to make a crap version of Hollyoaks – then put it on the internet.
Eastenders E20 is a ruefully misjudged attempt at embracing the Youtube generation that follows the fortunes of four youngsters making their way in the ever-fantastical London Borough of Walford – the only part of east London where racism does not exist, market traders’ wittily reference Karl Marx and Kray-like gangland shenanigans continue to form the backbone of the local economy.
The internet only show is written by 13 aspiring London writers aged 17-22 (Father forgive them, for they know what they do) and displays many of the classic hallmarks of a televisual nightmare.
13 episodes, each by a different writer vary wildly in length (three to 16 minutes) and ooze stereotypical ‘yoof TV’ in their incessant use of incidental music – pumping dance, garage rock and RnB – thrown together with headpoundingly frequent jump cuts, crash zooms and hand held wobbles, none of which can disguise the soul-destroying attempts at acting and wincingly hackneyed storylines.
Whether kids (or anyone) has actually watched the show remains a matter of debate. The BBC claims 1.7 million views of “episodes and supporting content”, which presumably includes everyone who looks at the Eastenders website by accident whilst trawling for porn and those that watch 30 seconds of the first episode before smashing their computer screen.
Before the i-show first aired, Exec Producer Diederick Santer said; “I have no idea what to expect with this, and that excites me hugely.” Are you still excited Diederick?
It is this ‘eyes-wide-closed’ attitude to spending the licence fee that has allowed the grown-ups version of the franchise descend from a depressing yet bearable portrayal of working-class Londoners to a parody of Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels without the charm.
Check out all 13 episodes of Eastenders E20 for yourself – you paid for them: