Shock News: TV drama isn’t ‘real life’

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This is a shocker. Apparently there is a need to post a story on the BBC News website to tell people that ‘Eastenders’ is not an accurate depiction of real life in the east-end.

Now at first I thought it was funny, then very sad that such a story is needed. I know that some people (a few – not many) can’t separate a TV character from the real-life actor, but come on, isn’t this a bit silly? Do we have to have an official statement to say that Eastenders provides viewers with stereotypes of ‘eastenders’ – that real ‘eastenders’ tend not to have slanging matches in pubs every night, steal babies etc. etc.

Surely people KNOW that casualty and Holby City are not real – that patients don’t recover so quickly from surgery – that operating theatres are very light places with lots of people not dark with an intense light on the patient and just a few people in attendance.

Surely people KNOW that the police don’t solve murders within 90 minutes; that most of police work is taking and sifting through statements and data; that forensic teams and detectives need to be covered head to toe (not very good on camera). So, rules about crime scene contamination are broken using ‘artistic licence’. They must realise that a DNA test can’t be done in a matter of a couple of hours – it will take some days. I’ve even seen a programme where, in order to get a DNA sample, a person’s hair was CUT and put into a bag – – sloppy science, science there is no DNA in the shaft of the hair – you need roots!

Perhaps I’m turning (OK I’ve turned) into a grumpy old man, but it seems to me that the line between reality and fiction is more and more blurred. Could it be because the filmmakers are getting better at making the fiction more realistic? the writers are giving us characters that are also ‘real’.

'ello, 'ello, 'elloDixon of Dock Green never really existed I suppose and we saw such fictional police as a happy stereotype of what we wanted.

So too, the cheeky cockney (AKA Tommy Steele) who was a stereotype that perhaps we wanted to believe in but knew that it didn’t exist.

Yet when I look at a number of characters on TV – I don’t see people often that I ‘like’. I see well drawn characters that are designed to evoke strong emotions of love, hate, revulsion, pity etc. In real life people can evoke all those feelings I guess, but ultimately life is quite ‘boring’ and were we to film actual ‘real life’ the ratings would be zero. This must be the case, as, when ‘real life’ 24/7 was transmitted (Big Brother) the inhabitants almost had to be extreme in order to make the mundane palatable (no, you guessed it, I wasn’t  a fan and in general reality TV does not do much for me).

Must go, Holby City is about to start and, just in case I go into hospital for an op I need to know how ‘real’ hospitals work!!


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