Yes, everybody's talking about EastEnders, but for all the wrong reasons, Lorraine.
Tsk, tsk, someone of your supposed ability should know better - or at least you should be clever enough to pull a subtle rabbit from your hat and turn things around the way your elder and better, John Yorke, did with the "You're-not-mah-muvvah" moment.
Or, rather, maybe you should stop seeking positive feedback from the only areas the show is receiving it at the moment - the functionally illiterate teen brigades who inhabit the nether realms of Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Instead, read the valid criticisms being levelled square-on by the long-term viewers of the programme - people who've sat on their asses and watched this thing for longer than a decade.
Oops, forgot ... you learned your trade at the foot of the woman who brought us Zombie Den, illegally employed an actor without bothering to check his work permit credentials and brought us the Ferreira Kidneygate scandal. You also learned under the Current Head of Continuing Drama at the BBC, who - as EP in 2005 - so angered the iconic writer Tony Jordan when she refused to recognise that the still-extant sexual chemistry between Letitia Dean and Ross Kemp was greater than that of Dean and the fey manchild Nigel Harman, simply because she said that the "fans" (read: the shallow "Dennis-iz-fit-Shannis-4evah" contingent) wouldn't buy Sharon coupling with "ugly" Grant over "pretty" Dennis.
Jordan's departure brought us the rise of Simon Ashdown and the invasion of the Storyline Snatchers, known as ... The Brannings.
Like cockroaches crawling from the woodwork ...
or more recently, like a rampant terminal cancer or the wildfires engulfing Australia at the moment, the Brannings have spread across the Square with a vengeance. At the moment, they've dominated the entire programme exclusively for over a month, but really, there isn't a single episode where at least one of them doesn't appear - usually Lauren, whom TPTB are pushing big time as the next big thing, which is a joke.
I've watched EastEnders from day ONE, and I can never ever remember such an unpleasant, negative, entitled, lazy, directionless and unlikeable ingenue. Even Bianca (also part of the Branning network) at her shrillest was never this bad. However, for some reason, Numptie Newman seems intent on pushing the dubious talents of Jacqueline Jossa, force-feeding the viewing public a diet of Jossa's surgically-enhanced supposed sexiness all for the benefit of sad and desperate adolescent girls and wank-laden fanbois.
Jossa's continued presence and contrived popularity also endows us with the immeasurable talents of Tony Discipline, one of two of the worst actors ever to grace the EastEnders' screen. Discipline's redundant character, Tyler Moon, was last year's model, literally, and exists in overpaid lassitude lounging in the background onscreen as long as his cleverly contrived "romance" continues with Jossa.
Jossa also ensures we see the other worst actor ever in the show's history, and more than enough of him - the thespian known as David Witts, former underwear model and sometime light porn king, whose "theatrical background" of which he boasts consists of this single piece of sordid tripe ...
Still, according to Lorraine, we're supposed to love Joey and Lauren, first cousins bonking, because they're "beautiful to look at." Newman's judgement has to be questioned seriously in promoting a storyline glorifying sex between closely consaguined individuals - light incest - at a time when the BBC is reeling from the Savile revelations.
Viewers are getting Branning overkill. One dies at Christmas, and he isn't even cold when another pops up on the doorstep. They are now international (Jack's European-based children he never sees) and multi-racial (Ava and her spawn Dexter, who's turned out to be the walking equivalent of a teenaged cock).
Perhaps Numptie Newman would like to extricate her head from her backside or stop the worshipping at the altar of Teendom long enough to read an exasperated thread currently rampant on Digital Spy, wondering when viewers will get a break from incessant Branningville.
They dominate at the moment in a storyline which is the precursor to Jo Joyner's leaving line. (Make no mistake: Joyner is leaving. This is no break, no matter how hard desperate public relations' people try to tart it up as one. Joyner isn't renewing her contract, which means she is leaving - not for six months, not for a year, or two or three. She is gone and rightly so, because her character is redundant, repetitive, unbelieveable and spent.) As someone indicates on the thread, a secondary character - and Tanya could never exist in her own right, independent of Max - is getting more attention in departing than a strong, principal lead like Nina Wadia's Zainab. Zainab's departure, much as they hate to admit it will, within a year, kill the lifeblood of the remaining Masoods, but Tanya's leaving not only sprouts a replacement wife for Max, but enables the Brannings to live on.
Derek, probably the most hated character ever created and not even watchable, received more airtime and emphasis for his funeral than the iconic Pat Evans was accorded, and Pat was the acknowledged matriarch of the Square. Instead, her death and funeral was turned into a veritable Branningfest - emphasizing Tanya's cancer cold (with a cheesy hyperventilation scene from Jo Joyner that was supposed to be poignant and turned out to be embarrassing) and an continuation of Derek's vendetta against David Wicks for knocking up Carol behind the bike sheds at secondary school thirty-six years ago.
And speaking of matriarchs, Pat dies so that we have foisted upon us, full-on and fully-developed, the whiskey-sodden, fag-breathed, wheezing, old crone that is Tanya's mother - a parody of someone who's supposed to impart wisdom and non-judgemental compassion. Cora the Bora bullies pregnant women whom she hates for no apparent reason, baits them whilst they are in the throes of labour, befriends and promotes an amoral lag like Derek, even to the point of delivering a rambling drunken eulogy at his overlong funeral.
When asked to babysit her grandson, she reluctantly agrees, then gets drunk as he tumbles down the stairs. She plies her underaged granddaughter with alcohol, then defends her actions to the girl's parents by saying it's part of growing up. She tells the same granddaughter that her priorities aren't studying to get qualifications by which she betters herself, but to devote herself to the emotional support of an inadequate, supercilious teenaged single mother, simply because Cora the Bora likes her. She feeds her other alcoholic granddaughter whiskey in a bonding exercise and defends this by saying she was "listening" to her woes. When the baby of her pet teenaged mother is taken into care, she advises the girl to bang on the doors of Social Services until her baby is returned. Needless to say, this isn't good advice.
Cora the Bora is the last person anyone would want doling out advice to anyone, much less a young and impressionable person.
Dot married Jim and has the dubious distinction of claiming these assholes as stepkin. She deserves better.
Even the original Walford Princess, Sharon, daughter of Den and Ange, is on the verge of being sucked under Branning quicksand. Uncharacteristically, her first night back in Walford, she sleeps with Jack Branning, she prostitutes herself to him for a place to stay and now he's given her the ultimatum of marrying him. Allegedly, Jack - who hasn't seen his surviving son since he was born - wants to be a father to Dennis Rickman's son, considering himself, Sharon, the boy and Amy, his daughter by a Mitchell cousin with whom he never interacts, a "family." Unbeknownst to Sharon, another of Jack's babymammas is her ex-sister-in-law, Sam Mitchell. And since she's returned, TPTB have relegated Sharon to a B-listed Branning satellite, begging for crumbs from the table of Queen Tanya and longing for friendship imparted from above from this celestial being.
Bianca, who has close familial ties to the Butchers and the iconic Beales, is now presented as the embarrassingly kitsch equivalent of Billy Mitchell to her Branning relatives. If there's a village idiot in BranningVille, it's Bianca.
Time was, in Walford, where - in the words of former EP Matt Robinson - the Vic was the star of the show. Most of the action centred there and its landlord or landlady and their families dominated proceedings. Now the Vic is a shell of what it once was. Alfie presides, alongside Roxy Mitchell (mother of a Branning child). In one of the worst mystery plots ever, Alfie's slut of a wife, Kat, bonked Derek Branning, got caught, kicked out and now acts as a grief counsellor to Derek's dimwit daughter Alice as some sort of penance, all the while blaming Derek for the affair in which she willingly participated.
People have been demanding that time be called on this shower for sometime now, despite the over-confident protests to the contrary by a Branning-shipper on the above DS thread who always presents her own opinions as established fact.
The actual truth is that EastEnders is bleeding viewers from a demographic it can't afford to lose, and it's losing quality actors it needs rather than Newman being willing to wield an axe to prune the overgrown plethora of lailandi otherwise known as the Brannings.