'Don't need it!’ EastEnders star slams 'sensational' soap storylines

Derek, 88, played cabbie Charlie Slater in EastEnders from 2000 – 2016. Despite being part of some intense storylines on the BBC soap, he appeared on Good Morning Britain on Thursday to argue soaps should stop presenting such dark plot lines and instead focus on real-life matters as well as injecting some humour into episodes. He slammed the “sensationalist” events portrayed in soaps and claimed it “isn’t needed”.

“What’s your problem, how was it better in the past?” Good Morning Britain host Kate Garraway asked.

Derek explained: “What I’m saying to you is what Mr and Mrs Joe Public talk to me about in the street.

“They come up and they say ‘Oh Charlie, what’s going on with EastEnders? It’s so miserable, everybody’s killing each other and having affairs.’

“It’s Joe Public who says it and who wants something different.”

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“Do people often think back with rose-tinted glasses?” Ben Shephard pointed out.

He added: “Because some of the storylines that your character Charlie Slater was involved in – they were pretty dark.”

“No, I agree with you, but there was more humour,” the actor argued.

“You had Old Mo, my mother-in-law, up to her shenanigans, and it caused a lot of laughs.

“Sensationalism – you don’t need all that, but it’s done because they want the viewers and the ‘must-watch’ factor.”

Arguing against this, former Coronation Street star Nicola Thorp, who played Nicola Rubinstein in the ITV soap, said soaps get the balance right.

“The scriptwriters know how to mix the light and shade,” she remarked. “The public like to moan and complain.”

She added soaps cover important issues which need to be raised.

“There’s something for everybody,” she stated. “There’s three hours of programming every week, there’s no other TV shows apart from soaps who do that.

“So there’s got to be a gritty storyline going on and then characters who provide that comic relief.”

Using Coronation Street favourite Mary Taylor (played by Patti Clare) as an example, she pointed out that a mix of personalities within the characters bring about balance.

Good Morning Britain airs weekdays at 6am on ITV.

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