EastEnders boss John Yorke has announced that he is going to work on the show for at least a year after initially stepping up to do a three month interim stint. John took over on the soap from previous producer Sean O’Connor but it was understood at the time that a more permanent successor would be recruited.
Since taking over, John has made some significant changes such as hiring Patrick Bergin as Aidan Maguire, bringing back Masood Ahmed with a wider family and signing up S Club 7 star Hannah Spearritt. He is also writing out Lauren and Abi Branning as well as Ben Mitchell, with Johnny Carter also set to depart.
On top of that, he is bringing back a host of popular characters including Mel Owen (complete with teenage son!), Tiffany Butcher, Kat Moon, Mo Harris and Jean Slater. He also has plotted a dramatic and memorable Christmas for the Brannings and has teased a number of major storylines ahead including a death, a birth, a heist and a shooting.
At a recent press event, he announced his decision to stay with the soap he loves for longer, saying: ‘I came for three months which quickly extended to six – I have now agreed to stay for a full year. That’s because arguably it’s central to public service – EastEnders is one of if not the most important programmes on the BBC. But personally its really important to me. I’d forgotten this is the best soap on television and I want to be here to make sure that happens and if I can help in any way reaching that very high bar I’m delighted to do so.’
Fans will certainly agree that he is already helping to do that with recent episodes and storylines winning widespread acclaim.
Discussing his thoughts on how to write good EastEnders, he continued: ‘It has to be grounded in reality, there has to be a truth to it, but in the end its roots are in it being hugely entertaining. That greek tragedy thing has been there since the beginning – the big operatic stuff. The more you can relate to the characters and see them like you, the better it works. It’s getting that combination right.
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‘Antebellum’ has a ‘Get Out’ vibe, but doesn’t live up to its twist
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definite..
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definitely shouldn’t be spoiled even a little. Once that revelation is absorbed, however, the movie becomes less distinctive and inspired, reflecting an attempt to tap into the zeitgeist that made “Get Out” a breakthrough, without the same ability to pay off the premise.
Originally destined for a theatrical run, the movie hits digital platforms trumpeting a “Get Out” pedigree in its marketing campaign, since there’s an overlap among the producing teams.
More directly, the film marks the directing debut of Gerard Bush + Christopher Renz, who have championed social-justice issues through their advertising work. The opening script features a quote from author William Faulkner, whose intent will eventually become clearer: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
If that sounds like a timely means of drawing a line from the horrors of slavery to the racism of today, you’ve come to the right place.
The story begins on a plantation, where the brutal overseers carry out grisly punishments against those tilling the fields. A few have just tried to escape, led by Veronica (Janelle Monae), and they pay a heavy price for their resistance, which does nothing to curb her defiance.
Also written by Bush + Renz, the script take too long before revealing what makes “Antebellum” different, but the middle portion — a “The Twilight Zone”-like phase when it’s hard to be sure exactly what’s going on — is actually the film’s strongest. (Even the trailer arguably gives away too much, so the less one knows, the better.)
The final stretch, by contrast, veers into more familiar thriller territory, and feels especially rushed toward the end, leaving behind a host of nagging, unanswered questions. That provides food for thought, but it’s also what separates the movie from something like “Get Out,” which deftly fleshed out its horror underpinnings.
Although the filmmakers (in a taped message) expressed disappointment that the movie wasn’t making its debut in theaters, in a strange way, the on-demand format somewhat works in its favor. In the press notes, Bush says the goal was “to force the audience to look at the real-life horror of racism through the lens of film horror. We’re landing in the middle of the very conversations that we hoped ‘Antebellum’ would spur.”