Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Is it just me or is someone in the Radio Times office smoking crack?

Eastenders and Shakespeare. Eastenders and Shakespeare. Hardly the commonest of bedfellows, yet last week's Radio Times would have us believe that, and I quote verbatim, "If the world's greatest dramatist were alive today, would he be packing out the Barbican or the Royal National Theatre? Much more likely he'd be writing for a TV soap." Well as he's dead, I guess he'll have to make do with spinning in his grave.
But the article doesn't end with that asinine comment, no indeed; for next up in this pointless and implausible study is Michael Boyd, the artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company no less who states, presumably straight-faced, that "The Elizabethan stage fulfilled some of the same functions that soaps do today." What, by giving lazy TV executives the opportunity to chuck out more and more episodes a week at the expense of new programmes?*
Next up is Dr Elizabeth Woledge, a lecturer in Shakespearean studies (or an English lit. lecturer in old money). She blethers on about "complex characters" and how soaps "inspire and provoke audiences." True dat! After watching the truly stomach churning Patrick Trueman/Pat Evans affair, I am sure countless men have been tempted to sleep with big-earringed lesbians.
And then in a shameless attempt to cement these strong links between the Bard (hang on...Peggy Mitchell shouting "YOU'RE BARD"??) and Stenders the author of this waste of paper (actually its sheer stupidity makes it very amusing) states that in the last year we have seen "Leo and Demi's Romeo and Juliet-esque doomed love...Alfie and Kat's volatile relationship, which mirrored Beatrice and Benedick's in Much Ado About Nothing; not to mention Chrissie Watt's majestic transformation into a murderous Lady Macbeth." Ermmm, no that's just plagiarism mate, pure and simple.
The article ends: "But on reflection, if he were alive today, Shakespeare probably wouldn't be writing soap. He'd be far too busy watching it." Yeh probably. Unless of course he got a job writing for Radio Times.

*Don't get me wrong, I love soap operas; but you really have got to be dedicated to watch all episodes of the Holy Triumvirate (Stenders, Corrie and Emmerdale) - indeed as a result I haven't watched Corrie or Emmerdale consistently in months.

Just one question then on this fine, fine article. Why watch it then?
I love Eastenders, I just do not find it particularly Shakespearean.
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