It must say something about the state of our nation that this programme is one of the most popular currently screened.
The 'square' is peopled by such a miserable, untrustworthy, amoral, spiteful, unrelentingly dour group of characters as can be imagined. Everyone is stabbing someone in the back, everyone is attempting to commit adultery, everyone is trying to cheat someone. That, or they are being stabbed, cuckolded or swindled. Nobody is cheerful. Nobody laughs. Nobody has a blinding stroke of luck or a really nice day. It's hell, with cockney accents.
I suspect this programme must be sponsored by The Samaritans. It's perfect viewing for the depressed. It doesn't cheer them up; what it does do is present a whole community of such terminally despondent sad-arses that viewers are moved to believe their lot really could be worse - they might be living in 'Albert Square'.
Apart from the above; as a representation of London's east end, it is pure hokum. The programme-makers have evidently never been across town. The first thing you encounter on the Mile End Road is a colossal mosque. And this pretty-well defines the racial majority of the population. White British Londoners are a dispersed and rapidly diminishing minority. A large advertisement hoarding presently near the Bow Road flyover, and sponsored by Tower Hamlets Health Care boasts that 'Eight out of ten members of the community can now see their doctor more quickly'. Ten healthy, smiling faces beam down at the observer in confirmation. Eight of them are dark-skinned...
What's more, I used to work with a bunch of Anglo-Saxon - dare I say 'pukka' - cockneys a few years ago. And I can tell you that a more obnoxiously racist experience I've never had. Each day was like an Oswald Moseley rally. They couldn't pass 5 minutes without denigrating some other race or nationality than their own, and in terms that were repulsive and obscene. 'Fackin' Pakis' and 'fackin' Maceroons' were the small change of conversation. In fact their entire (and extremely limited) stock of adjectives fixated upon sex-organs and their application. Alf Garnett was a paragon of liberal virtue in comparison.
Any programme that purported to represent London's native east-end Caucasians in their true nature would be completely unfit for broadcast - even after the 9 o-clock watershed. Imagine a Ku Klux Klan script written by Quentin Tarantino and you'd be somewhere near the mark. But when they weren't being inveterate bigots they were at least extremely cheerful.
I don't know how such a soap-opera came to be. This imaginary castaway island of white misery has absolutely no bearing upon real culture whatsoever. And if you're of a comparatively sanguine disposition, it will quickly reduce you to tears of grief. Comparatively ordinary actors pretending to be comparatively ordinary chronic-depressives with cockney accents - what's the point of that?
Dull, dreary, unrelentingly disillusional, and ethnically preposterous. The most popular programme of an apparently diseased and dying nation.
Avoid it like the plague.