Arts and Entertainment EastEnders needs to review its take on Cockney life

The soap EastEnders must recalibrate its outdated depiction of Cockney life to take account of the young hipsters and tech entrepreneurs who have made East London a fashionable place to live, the BBC has admitted.

Media / Talk of the trade: EastEnders foil James Bond

THE BBC is pleased with the overnight ratings for the first Monday edition of EastEnders this week: 11m, against 8.7m for the first hour of the James Bond film on ITV. On its other two days the BBC soap usually wins about 12m viewers, but against weaker opposition.

ITV pledge

Andrew Quinn, ITV's chief executive, pledged the network's commitment to World in Action despite dropping the programme for the next two weeks as part of a ratings battle prompted by the BBC's decision to screen an extra episode of EastEnders on Monday evenings.

Libel battle ends

The actress Gillian Taylforth, who appears in EastEnders, will not be appealing against the verdict in her failed libel action against the Sun. Her lawyer said Ms Taylforth, who is thought to have incurred legal costs of up to pounds 1/2 m, did not have the necessary funds and was 'calling it a day'.

Dear George Carman: A rap on the knuckles for the Sun's silk, who finds oral sex disgusting, from a firm admirer of the defeated EastEnder, Gillian Taylforth

Last week was a lip-smackin' good time for you in the courtroom, wasn't it, as you did your very macho best to intimidate, humiliate and disgrace Gillian Taylforth? Out came a private party video that showed Ms Taylforth playing around with wine bottles and sausages. I call it 'bawdy' - how many people have done something similar back in the booze-soaked mists of time (and are just lucky that it wasn't captured on camcorder)? Not you, George; apparently you believe we all think such frolics are 'disgusting'.

Soap opera actress in courtroom scenes to rival TV drama

Top libel QC counts another victory as 'EastEnders' star collapses after losing case against 'Sun' newspaper with £500,000 bill for costs

Soap opera actress in courtroom scenes to rival TV drama: Top libel QC counts another victory as 'EastEnders' star collapses after losing case against 'Sun' newspaper with pounds 500,000 bill for costs

THE scriptwriters of EastEnders would have been hard-pushed to produce an episode as dramatic as the end of Gillian Taylforth's libel action against the Sun newspaper yesterday.

Captain Moonlight: In brief, not quite a gentleman

THE THING about George Carman, QC, is that he has what used to be called 'The Common Touch'. Carman, as has been seen throughout the case of the EastEnders star, the Sun, the lay-by, the pancreatitis, the video and the sausage, talks to the jury, not in their own language, but in the words and the manner which television has led them to expect. The Gillian Taylforth case has provided another splendid example of this, during his summing-up: 'It may be, members of the jury, that the unfortunate words of Gillian Taylforth, uttered, no doubt in jest, on a film which she never thought would see the light of day - 'I give good head' - may summarise what happened that night. It may be her epitaph.' There you also see his willingness to refer directly to what other members of the Bar would more likely paraphrase their way around. And that is the thing about George Carman, what makes him good: despite the grave manner and dapper dress, he is not quite a gentleman. From Blackpool, parents in trade. Doesn't live in Barnes. Likes publicity. In short, George goes for it. His fellows are not entirely sure about him. As a more traditionally minded member of the libel Bar once put it to the Captain: 'I would be delighted to have him on my side. But I'm not sure I would be happy if he started paying attentions to my widowed mother-in-law.'

The Location Hunters: Tracking stars to the east: In the first of a series, Jim White, location scout, goes behind the plywood and breeze-block set of television's EastEnders to reveal the fabric of the real East End of London

Saturday lunchtime at the Cat and Mutton pub in Broadway Market is dominated by the television. The set sits in the corner, above a disco table decorated, bizarrely, with a Confederate flag and a caricature of Ronald Reagan.


EastEnders stars were in the news: Sean Maguire, who plays Aidan, first for being punched by a stranger who hated his screen character and, more happily, for being voted third 'sexiest dude alive' in a teen magazine; also occupying tabloid space was Mike Reid, who plays Frank Butcher, for having a comedy show in Norfolk cancelled when only 29 tickets were sold.

Media: Talk of the Trade: Theme thoughts

THE BBC is sending out 2 million questionnaires to ascertain the thoughts of viewers and listeners. One question not yet on its computers is whether viewers approve of messing around with theme tunes. The familiar melody at the end of EastEnders has been replaced by atonal modernism. Why can't they leave well alone?
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