Eastenders Tackles Another Tricky Subject

28 Nov

Max and Tanya Cancer from Eastenders

Far be it from me to criticise the ever cyclical nature of the Great British soap, but when it comes to undertaking the same old themes in a slightly different way, Eastenders is king.

This month, and possibly for the next few months to come, the Walford-based soap showcases the Branning family, with a particular focus on Tanya’s battle with cervical cancer. For weeks now we’ve witnessed poor Tanya attempt to deal with her useless and tiresome family whilst concealing her fatal secret. How she managed to keep this for so long when, quite frankly, she looked like death warmed up, we will never know. Still, we willingly suspend our disbelief in the hope that very soon the news of her ill-heath will be revealed in the only way Eastenders knows how. That is: loud, publically and rather inappropriately.

And when Tanya’s eldest daughter Lauren finally lets rip, she doesn’t disappoint. Much in the same fashion of Zoe Slater’s “You’re not my mother” and Cat ’s reply of “Yes I am”, Lauren’s cry of “She’s got cancer!” is just as loud, shrill and ill-fitting. At this stage we imagine not only do the Branning family know of the bad news, but so do every other family on their street. No wonder Tanya retreats to the refuge of her bathroom in tears.

However, things don’t really get kicked off till Tanya’s on/off husband and unlikely love rat, Max returns to the square. Rather than coaxing Tanya out of the bathroom as only he could, Max opts for literally kicking the door down. That’s right, kicking down a door to talk to his potentially dying wife. Whilst we look on in shock at Tanya cowering in the corner, we can’t help but wonder not why this was the chosen mode of Max and Tanya’s reunion, but just how the googly-eyed and ginger faced Max is so inconceivably attractive. For our own piece of mind we settle on the fact that he’s just a very very good actor.

Amongst all the melodrama comes the most poignant scenes as Tanya finally reveals to her mother Cora just what it was like looking after a dying man. As she recounts the events surrounding her father’s death, we get a rarely seen microscopic view into Tanya’s past life which culminates in the shocking revelation that she assisted her father’s suicide.

Ultimately, Eastenders did well to deal with cervical cancer and the issues which surround refusing treatment. Taking all the tears and tantrums into account, it is not Tanya’s illness, but her illusive family history that really becomes fascinating.

Let’s just hope that with her sister Rainey over hearing this, Tanya’s confession doesn’t lead to some kind of farcical arrest for the manslaughter of her father. Although this seems rather unlikely, you just never know….especially since we are definitely due another court case.

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One Response to “Eastenders Tackles Another Tricky Subject”

  1. Zaneta December 11, 2011 at 10:44 pm #

    Some lovely concise writing Jenny!!! Keep it coming.

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