EastEnders Video Blogger Gets Production Job on Show


BOREHAMWOOD, ENGLAND – It’s always nice to see Big Media noticing fan appreciation or user-generated content. We’ve been following on YouTube (beware spoilers on link) the past few years the EastEnders commentaries of the cheeky bloke known as “Rory John” (real name Rory Nugent), who was hired by the show earlier this year as a storyliner. See his impressive credit above.

A storyliner creates story ideas and story lines. The BBC looks for extensive drama script editing, story editing, storylining or writing experience, with a thorough and demonstrable understanding of character, story and structure. “We like to see lots of enthusiasm, a demonstrable interest and understanding of the genre, especially EastEnders, and a proven ability to persuade and influence whilst being able to take on several different opinions in a story meeting,” stated a recent job BBC advert.

Mum’s Still the Word Re: US Distribution Deal


By Larry Jaffee

NEW YORK – The Oxford English Dictionary defines temporarily as “lasting for only a limited period” and finalize as “complete (a transaction) after discussion of the terms.”

Well, six months later there is still no news regarding the “new distribution model being finalized by the BBC and DISH Network,” in the wake of the 1 July on-air announcement that the pay-per-view subscription on the satellite service was “temporarily unavailable.”

BBC Worldwide spokeswoman Christine Black responded to my emailed enquiry, “Hi Larry – No update as of yet. Thanks for checking. C.”

That’s the same thing she told me in September.

It is difficult to speculate what is causing the hold-up or whether a deal will ever be completed.
What we do know is that EastEnders fans willing to pay good money deserve better and many are just tired of waiting.

Alternative ways to view our favourite show and circumvent the “official” reminds me of how the record industry waited too long to come up with a “model” to counter Napster and MP3 file-sharing.

Frankly I’d be surprised if the “new distribution model” ever emerges.

We’ve heard it all before, dating back to a video-on-demand service announced by BBC America in November 2001 with EastEnders being the first programme available in the first quarter of 2002 specifically. But it never launched for reasons never fully explained.

Mark Young, then president and CEO of BBC Worldwide Americas, told me in October 2003 that it became “technically expensive to make the full service available.”

Well, why then would they have not figured that out before publicly stating its imminent launch? It’s because they don’t know what the hell they’re doing. Successive management teams continue to make the same mistakes at BBC America and BBC Worldwide. Its programming for the most part is a blip in the ratings.

I had a boss who once gave me very good advice when I edited a media website that you should never over-promise to the public something that is uncertain. It’s always better to be certain of what can happen, and then over-deliver. The BBC would be wise to follow such wisdom.

Inside the Mind of Stacey Slater


By Yasmin Headley

Editor’s note: The author is an accredited Integrative Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) psychotherapist in private practice in London, UK. Yasmin is also studying for a PhD in Mind-Body Medicine and Integrated Mental Health. She has followed EastEnders on and off over the years. You can reach her at yheadley@gmail.com and read more about her background at www.yourhappiness.com and www.thecompletelife.com.

We are all a subject of our history. Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you something or is invested in you continuing to live as you are.

For some this is a good thing, for many this is not the way to go. Many would love the magic elixir that would get rid of every negative break with the past but it is not possible to find it in a bottle, a happy thought or magic.

In looking at a psyche of a person we would look at their history, their present life and their thoughts and behaviour. We would look at the support system and resources they have in their lives and we would look at what they do when they are stressed.

In some therapies, such as the psychodynamic and the psychoanalytic, a great deal of time is spent on the patient’s past and in the unfurling of their history. In the version of Integrative Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which is the approach I take, I spend some time there, but I also look at their feelings, thoughts and behaviours. These are key to helping an individual change. Modern-day research shows how we are not just a subject of history and genetics but are also affected by epi-genetics. Epi-genetics is our environment, those whom we have around us, the food we eat and the activities we do.

Patient File: Stacey Slater

She’s beautiful, strong and tells it like it is. You will always know what she is thinking, and she does not suffer fools gladly. Stacey seems to move quickly through life, ever so active; moving from one job to the next, one house to another, and from one man to another. She gets bored quickly and has a short attention span for work, men, people and places. She has had a difficult life as a teenager, with an abortion, drug abuse and a very troubled relationship with her mother. She has married and cheated and then divorced and then cheated again. She moves in and out of Walford, too. Nothing seems settled and nothing can be taken for granted with Stacey. We never know for how long she will stay or when she will go. She seems to have this energy that makes her up and leave suddenly. What is apparent is her heart of gold and her good intentions. She is really a very kindly soul who seems to care and fight for the people she is close to.

What is it though that makes it difficult for her to settle into work with any career progression, have stable relationships or stay and live in one place? Stacey has bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder is a “manic-depressive illness, a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks” (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder/index.shtml). I know many people who have bipolar disorder, and they are brilliant, clever, creative and fun. They can also be exasperating, frustrating and have moments of such sadness.

It is not incurable. Many with bipolar disorder do not know that they have it. It can sometimes hide within the symptoms of addiction – alcohol, drugs, eating disorders, work and/or sex. Treatment can be a lifesaver for the person with bipolar disorder.

Stacey does not choose to live within such a nightmare of indecisions and pain. In order to salve the pain Stacey tries to self-medicate. Self-medication comes through unhealthy addictions. It is such a hard world to live in. We have often seen Stacey drink herself to oblivion and then regret her actions the next day.

Nowadays there is medication available. It is possible to balance her ups and downs and states of mind with medicines; usually a mood stabilizer with antidepressants and or anti-anxiety medication. It does take some fine-tuning but it is possible.

A good psychiatrist with time and effort would be able to work out the appropriate medications. Each medication interacts differently. Some do try to do it without medication but the highs and lows of moods without medication can be too difficult to balance out at times. What is important is that there is routine, and this is kept up regularly.

Stacey would need to keep up with being self-disciplined and being organized. This is easy to say but is hard for someone with bipolar disorder, it is difficult…but not an impossible task.

There is a higher risk of suicide for those with bipolar disorder. Unsafe sex, binge drinking and eating, these are all risky behaviours. In order to get better, Stacey would need to eat healthily, and avoid drugs and alcohol.

Integrative psychotherapy and CBT often helps those with such a disorder in maintaining healthy eating and exercise patterns, to keep organized, note behaviours and patterns and learn to make inroads into new ways of being. It would also be good for her to learn different meditation approaches; guided imagery, hypnotism, mindfulness and autogenics: approaches that help a person to relax and bring on the relaxation response. Those with bipolar disorder live in a state of stress and do need to learn to relax more than most. But, and this is a big but, where would the risk-taking behaviours be if Stacey did go on medication and did keep to routine?

Where would EastEnders be without the Stacey we know?

N.B. Please note that these are imaginary musings and do not represent an actual clinical case study.

EastEnders Fans Ready to Break Dishes

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Cover of issue No. 91 of the Walford Gazette delivered to printer

By Larry Jaffee

Well, just as the last issue (No. 90) was delivered to the printer in late June, a rumour started circulating that the satellite TV service DISH Network was killing the monthly $9.95 subscription that offered on Sunday nights four back-to-back episodes a few weeks behind what is broadcast in the UK.
The rumour turned out to be true.

By early July DISH subscribers to the package were greeted by a screen that stated BBC Worldwide was working with DISH Network on a “new distribution model” for EastEnders. More than two months later, mum’s the word from both DISH and the BBC.

The Gazette is getting reports of DISH customers cancelling their service.

DISH Network’s withdrawal of the PPV package comes on the heels of the BBC pulling the plug on the global iPlayer, which was never launched in the US even though it was announced as coming in 2011.
We still have no idea why the iPlayer never launched in the US. Nor do we know why DISH and the BBC reexamined the PPV offering.

If it was a lack of subscribers, they certainly did nothing to promote its availability. When you called the toll-free number, the representatives had no idea what you were talking about, and EastEnders wasn’t even mentioned on the website.

Here’s a brief chronology of EastEnders’ uneasy history in the States:

• Late 1987/early 1988 – about 50 US public TV stations launch EastEnders, which debuted in the UK in February 1985. National PBS is comprised of 300-plus stations. EastEnders does not become the coveted Masterpiece Theatre must-run powerhouse that will happen nearly three decades later with Downton Abbey.

• Late 1992 – the Walford Gazette launches, and there are about 25 public TV stations left carrying EastEnders. Every year since, additional stations have dropped the show, typically citing the expense and disappointing viewer support.

• Late 2001, the BBC announced a video-on-demand offering for EastEnders; it never launched.

• September 2003 – BBC America kills EastEnders.

• June 2004 – DISH Network offers a monthly subscription for EastEnders with episodes that run roughly concurrent with BBC-1.

• September 2015 – about 10 public TV stations still air EastEnders, but it’s a constant battle, and the episodes are now at least a decade older than what BBC-1 shows because of the series first going three times and then four times a week. The public TV stations only broadcast two half-hour episodes a week.

Over the years, fans have privately raised money to keep EastEnders on public TV stations in New York; Washington, D.C.; and North Carolina, reversing cancellation decisions.

Stay tuned for the latest developments at ‘Walford State of Mind’ on Facebook. It’ll be interesting to see if that “new distribution model being finalized by DISH and BBC Worldwide” ever emerges, considering the historic indifference both parties have shown towards EastEnders. Let’s hope for the best!