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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

the unending TV Serials ~ Soap Operas - who killed Lucy Beale ?

Nathaswaram,  Deivamagal,  Vani Rani,  Thendral,    En Kanavan En Thozhan, Saravanan Meenakshi, Illavarasi, Sindhu Bhairavi, Ullam kollai poguthe  ~ simple – some of the TV serials that are holding lakhs of people hooked.  There are so many jokes – ‘I love commercial breaks’ because in many houses, dinner is served only during such breaks.  In many houses, people do not even care for the visitors when a serial is on.  Women generally speaking are crying getting involved with the characters ……. A  soap opera, soapie, or soap is a serial drama and suspense on television or radio which features related story lines about the lives of multiple characters. The stories typically focus on emotional relationships to the point of melodrama. The term "soap opera" originated from their having been typically sponsored by soap manufacturers in former years. It is not uncommon in these Serials that persons playing the character may get changed – by a mere announcement !

Cinema though depends on the same target group makes a parody of the craze for TV serials. In one, Vivek would enter the house and loot the property with people busy watching TV.  In the film Chanakya,  a group of ladies would be shown too agitated and would engage the autorickshaw of Vadivelu.  Their discussion would be about the life of a young girl, a pregnant lady who would be battling her life !! – when asked one would say that she was pushed out by her own husband who was cruel.  With Vadivelu imagining a lady at death-bed in a hospital, the ladies would get down in mid-noon and run to reach their homes ------ to be in time to see the episode the serial !

"Who Killed Lucy Beale?" is a storyline from the BBC soap opera’ EastEnders’. It was announced  in Feb  2014 and began on 18th Apr 2014, when Lucy Beale (Hetti Bywater) was discovered dead on Walford Common from a deliberately inflicted head injury. The storyline culminated during EastEnders Live Week on 19th Feb 2015, the show's 30th anniversary episode ~ a peak audience of reportedly  12 million viewers watched that hyped episode in which the soap's biggest-ever whodunit finally came to a conclusion.

EastEnders is a British soap opera; the first episode was broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC One  in Feb 1985. EastEnders storylines  is about the  domestic and professional lives of the people who live and work in the fictional London Borough of Walford in the East End of London. The series primarily centred on the residents of Albert Square, a Victorian square of terraced houses, and its neighbouring streets, namely Bridge Street, Turpin Road and George Street. The area encompasses a pub, street market, night club, community centre, funeral parlour, café, wine bar, various other small businesses, a park and allotments. The series was originally screened as two half-hour episodes per week.  It is one of the UK's highest-rated programmes, often appearing near or at the top of the week's BARB ratings. Within eight months of its launch, it reached the number-one spot in the ratings, and has consistently remained among the top-rated TV programmes in Britain.

Lucy Katherine Beale is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera EastEnders, [played by Eva Brittin-Snell from 1993 to 1996, Casey Anne Rothery from 1996 until 2004, Melissa Suffield from 2004 to 2010 and Hetti Bywater from 2012 until the character's demise in 2014 and again in 2015 for a flashback episode]. Lucy was introduced in December 1993 as the baby of Ian (Adam Woodyatt) and Cindy Beale (Michelle Collins). She is the twin sister of Peter (Thomas Law, Ben Hardy), and has three half siblings, older brother Steven (Edward Savage,Aaron Sidwell), younger sister Cindy (Eva Sayer, Mimi Keene) and younger brother Bobby (Alex Francis, Rory Stroud, Elliot Carrington).  Since 2004, when the role was recast to an older actress, storylines featuring Lucy have focused upon her teenage rebellion. In 2010, Suffield left EastEnders, after she was allegedly axed due to "unruly behaviour”.

On 21 February 2014, it was announced that Lucy would be murdered, starting a dark chapter for the Beale family, and that a ‘whodunnit’ storyline would run to the show's 30th anniversary in February 2015 when the identity of the murderer would be revealed.  The murderer mystery has finally been solved though it the most unlikely killer.   With the  11-year-old Bobby unmasked as his half-sister's unlikely killer, the soap's legions of loyal fans were left feeling a little flat. Viewers took to social media in their thousands to express disappointment at the plot's outcome, with some critics labelling the mystery 'the worst twist ever'.

The first cliffhanger episode saw Lucy's father Ian dramatically pointing the finger at his new wife Jane in an hour-long, semi-live special. But Jane arrived home to discover youngster Bobby standing over the troubled blonde's body holding a music box in his hand - the sound of which was revealed to be the last thing Lucy heard before her death.'Whatever she says, she started it. She made everyone unhappy', a vicious-looking Bobby declared, presumably because he was tired of her drug problems tearing his family apart.  The build-up to the killer's unmasking threw viewers many red herrings, with a slew of Albert Square residents apparently having reason to want to kill the pretty blonde in the hours leading up to her death. Millions of viewers held their breath as the EastEnders murder mystery reached its conclusion, but one screamed so loudly during the tense episode that neighbours called the police. One fan tweeted: 'Every person in the country with a younger brother is sleeping with one eye open tonight.'

Fans were kept guessing to the very end until it was clear that Bobby beat his sibling over the head with a music box in a fit of rage on Good Friday last year.  In dramatic scenes during a second flashback episode of Thursday's live double bill, Lucy's body was found by step-mother Jane, who then turned round to find Bobby behind her clutching the murder weapon. The 11-year-old then said: 'Whatever she says, she started it. She made everyone unhappy.'  In the first episode of Thursday's double bill, Lucy's father Ian came to the wrong conclusion about the killer, believing it to be his new bride Jane. He was to later find out that it was in fact young Bobby – which sent fans into a frenzy on Twitter with more 30,000 tweets alone sent in the single minute after the killer was revealed. Figures showed that more than one million tweets were sent in total during the two EastEnders' episodes which aired last night, making them the most tweeted-about episodes of a soap ever. The second episode eclipsed the 508,678 messages sent during the first special by more than 10,000, with 519,359 tweets posted as the killer came closer to being unmasked, data from social analytics firm Kantar Social TV UK showed.

Not only was Lucy's killer revealed, a host of major characters were involved in a series of equally shocking storylines. Lucy's grandmother Kathy Beale, played by Gillian Taylforth, returned to confront Phil Mitchell. She was previously thought to have been killed in a car crash in South Africa. The BBC said her return was 'shrouded in secrecy'. To keep it under wraps, the scenes were shot live on location to prevent her being seen prior to her episode transmitting.

Whatever be the storyline and whoever was the killer – the producers and marketers milked the audience for long.  People now would switch to yet another Serial and keep talking about it !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

25th Feb 2015.

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