EastEnders: Not Exactly Black Magic
EastEnders aired its much-publicised “all-black” episode last night, i.e. all the characters in the episode were black. Apparently, this is newsworthy. Personally, I think 30 minutes of watching Patrick talking about the origins of Notting Hill Carnival was more cringe-worthy than newsworthy.
If the BBC hadn’t publicised the episode before broadcast, I would’ve probably watched the entire thing and not batted an eyelid. But having heard about it beforehand, I found myself watching it and actually experiencing unintentional laugh-out-loud moments. Oh look, Chelsea is in the salon with a shop assistant…who just happens to be black! Then the same woman is drinking in the pub about 15 minutes later. Then there was the whole “It’s always the right time to do the right thing”. Quoting Martin Luther King in an all-black episode! Genius! Comedic genius, that is.
Aside from the cringe-inducing moments, generally as a rule of thumb EastEnders only bases whole episodes on one family if there’s a killer storyline driving it. This usually involves some memorable acting and stand-out moments. Neither of these happened in last night’s episode. The result? I was BORED.
My problem with this whole ‘all-black’ concept is simply that I don’t see a reason for it. Of course, multicultural Britain should be represented within the programme’s cast, but must we have race shoved down our throats by means of Patrick’s lengthy monologues about the Carnival, his arrival from Trinidad and 1950s race riots? A history lesson seems almost patronising. And now that they’ve alerted us to the fact that EastEnders has black characters, are we going to be subjected to half an hour with the Masood family too? Maybe this will involve them giving us a history lesson about Pakistan and launching into emotional rants about the Hindu/Muslim riots! Take note BBC, can you see how ridiculous your idea seems now?