The complaints over this episode range right across the spectrum. Some believe that the BBC should have made more of the fact it was the first soap episode in TV history to not feature a white person. Others think that drawing attention to it at all was simply making it an issue, when all that matters is the acting.
Then there are those that thinking bringing up the Notting Hill Riots was an unnecessary part of the storyline – it didn’t fit in with the week’s events, and was simply there to cause a stir.
The BBC have now addressed most of these complaints in a simple statement:
It is not unusual for EastEnders to devote a whole episode to a single storyline or set of characters, and this episode was one of these occasions.
This was an opportunity to explore in some depth the background and experiences of Patrick Trueman, one of EastEnders’ longest-standing and most popular characters.
There have been many ‘all-white’ episodes in the show’s 24 year history, and we do not believe there is any reason why an ‘all-black’ episode should not be included within the series.
Some viewers felt it was unnecessary to raise the subject of the Notting Hill race riots. These form part of the character’s experience, as well as British history, and we feel it was absolutely legitimate for these characters to discuss them.
I thought the episode was good, although it felt like it took a long time to get going. Once the reminiscing started, though, it was fascinating to watch. However, it did feel like it was shoe-horned into the middle of the week’s episodes. There was very little build up in previous events, and to suddenly spend an entire half hour with one family felt like we were missing out on other characters. Nevertheless, I don’t see why any of it is an issue. Eastenders is there to tell stories, and that’s exactly what it did.