When Michael Jackson died, it got mentioned by one of the characters in EastEnders on the same night. I’m pretty sure they hastily recorded a few scenes to cover Diana’s death too, although I was probably too distraught to notice.
I don’t watch EastEnders anymore because, well, it’s crap, but this week I had the misfortune to have the TV on just before the drums kicked in. The continuity announcer mentioned it was recorded before the Coronavirus, so I tuned in to see if there was something particularly relevant that would suddenly seem out of place. But it was just the usual argy-bargy, murder attempts and unplanned pregnancies as far as I could make out.
So why bother apologising for something so wildly fictitious?
Did anyone really expect everyone to be socially distancing? For the Queen Vic to be closed, the Square deserted and the caff empty? At least Dr Legg would have something to do.
At the other end of the spectrum, fans of The Archers are wondering when the Coronavirus is going to reach Ambridge, I hear.
It’s funny how we expect authenticity from soaps, even though we know they’re not real.
(Apart from Pat Butchers’ earrings, which were real – fans used to send them in and she’d wear them on the show. Love that.)
It proves that people crave authenticity. It’s meaningful and engaging. But now, in the current climate, it really effing matters awright, because FRAUD SCAMMER CYBER ATTACK people are preying on old lonely folk already anxious about Coronavirus and who are spending even more time online. Toe rags.
One of the tips for staying safe online is to urge people to look out for messages that sound too official or impersonal: “Dear Sir/Madam, I hereby inform you of the under-noted request that you….”
So it’s vital that you’re awfentic innit. Even Boris did it in his Coronavirus letter: “It’s important for me to level with you” sounds like something he’d say.
Personalised touches, conversational language, human anecdotes all matter. For so many reasons.