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  • Writer's pictureStephen Surridge

How Powerful Would The TV Soaps Be If They Were Solution - Not Problem - Focused?

Watching EastEnders this week, which had fantastic acting, writing and directing all round, I can't help thinking that the viewers have been massively cheated by having Lauren's 'recovery' taking place off screen.

And this has got me thinking. How powerful would these shows be if when picking up the huge social issues like they like to deal with, that they dramatized the problem and then the solution, potentially educating millions of viewers in how they too could potentially change their lives for the better.

I think this would make the soaps relevant again - viewing figures have been dropping for years now - reactivating the 'public service' ethos that was at the heart of shows such as EastEnders when they were originally launched.

In this modern era we are so bombarded with negativity and bad news horror stories - you only have to look at the magazine covers of all those 'Real Life' and 'Take a Break' magazines which have stories like 'My Son Raped My Daughter' - to see that society is being bombarded with doom and gloom 24/7.

And with all these platforms competing for the worst, most dramatic stories of the week, the soaps are being pipped at the post, many of their stories seeming tame these days in comparison to what can be found elsewhere.

And, I have to say, while EastEnders this week has been great, I agree with the many posters who have said this story has meandered on and on at times, often repeating itself and sometimes being quite dull.

To counter this, if the soaps became solution focused and dramatized the solution as well as the problem, it would give them a new lease of life - making them relevant to the mass audience again - as well as giving them an original perspective on the issues they tackle.

Taking EastEnders as an example, imagine if the following stories were played out on screen:

* Kat Slater seeking counselling/therapy and finally overcoming the trauma of her childhood sexual abuse * Jean Slater being treated for her mental health issues and returning to leading a medication free life * Tanya's cancer storyline showing the treatment and therapies which helped her overcome her illness

I for one think this perspective would make for gripping, powerful, educational television, and most importantly of all would take the characters storylines to their inevitable conclusions, rather than letting them stagnate for years without direction, which is what seems to have happened to Kat and Jean Slater in recent years.

What do you think?

(As published on Digital Spy:

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