You can get messages across with soaps in a way that you can't through any other medium. The storyline of Mark contracting HIV. We did that 10 years ago when there was an awful amount of prejudice. Normally, if you were doing a 60-minute drama about HIV you'd have to introduce the character, get people to care about them, see them contract the virus, go through the illness and end with their death, all within an hour. But the beauty of EastEnders is that you can actually see somebody in reality over a period of eight or nine years and see the disease as it really is.
I base nearly all my storylines on my family. I have a wife and six kids and we all shout at each other all the time. Most of the domestic arguments I've written have been exact replicas of the arguments I've had with my wife. She'll be watching television and say, `Oy, I said that!' I love soaps because if you've done a really good episode people will be talking about it the next day. You're in the queue at Tesco's and everyone's discussing your work."
Tony Jordan is the main writer on `EastEnders' and the creator of police drama series `City Central'Reuse content