Murderous EastEnders plots based on life in Honduras and Cabot Cove
“In a paper printed in the British Medical Journal, Tim Crayford, Richard Hooper and Sarah Evans reported that the mortality rate for characters in the television soap operas Coronation Street and EastEnders exceeded those of bomb disposal experts and racing drivers. Deaths were generally violent, and recently introduced characters had a five-year survival rate.”
Good. EastEnders characters are miserable and useless. Killing them off in violent ways is the one bit of joy in the soap writer’s working day.
In 1987, Tim Crayford, Richard Hooper and Sarah Evans researched “Death rates of characters in soap operas on British television: is a government health warning required?”
Deaths in soap operas were almost three times more likely to be from violent causes than would be expected from a character’s age and sex. A character in EastEnders was twice as likely as a similar character in Coronation Street to die during an episode.
1. Characters in soap operas lead very dangerous lives
2. Their lives are more dangerous even than those of Formula One racing drivers or bomb disposal experts
3. People suffering from many forms of cancer and other serious diseases have better five year survival rates than do these characters
4. Could the exaggerated portrayal of these violent and dangerous lives be contributing to our distorted national perceptions about violent crime and death?
Are the shows big in Honduras?
The fictional county of Midsomer, was compared to Oxfordshire, where some of the series is filmed.
There are, on average, 2.6 murders per episode and eight episodes a year – so 21 people are murdered there each year.
If Midsomer had the same population as Oxfordshire it would be annual murder rate of 32 per million people.
Oxfordshire’s actual murder rate is 10 per million. London has a murder rate half that of Midsomer.
Chile and Latvia are about on a par, while Honduras has a rate of 910 murders per million people, almost 30 times the amount.
But the most murderous place in television crime drama is Cabot Cove, the fictional hometown of Jessica Fletcher from Murder, She Wrote.
Fletcher was solving five cases a year in Cabot Cove, which CBS, who broadcast the programme, said had a population of 3,500.
That equals a death rate of 1,490 per million.
But no-one has ever managed to murder the copper nor the writer. But they will. One day…
Note: the greatest ever soap murder: in Brookside, Mandy Jordache stabs her abusive husband, Trevor. With her two daughters, Beth and Rachel, Mandy gets a window cleaner nicknamed Sinbad to help bury Trevor beneath the patio. It was utterly gripping TV. For any non-British readers, this was broadcast on Saturday evening at 5pm. Murder and child rape were tea-time telly. It was cracking family viewing. “Go on,” my family cheered. cheered. “Knife the sod.”