Soaps Urged to show Consequences of bad habits

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Soaps Urged to show Consequences of bad habits

Post by Lou on Mon Dec 29, 2008 12:45 pm

Soap characters with unhealthy lifestyles should be shown reaping the consequences, say doctors.

Private healthcare firm Bupa has released its "top ten" unhealthiest characters, arguing they could be used to hammer home health messages.

It said heavy smoker Dot Cotton, from Eastenders, should appear breathless, with heavy drinkers in soaps having broken veins.

A BBC spokesman said it always tried to depict illnesses accurately.


UNHEALTHY SOAP CHARACTERS
Dot Cotton, Eastenders: Smoker
Shadrach Dingle, Emmerdale: Alcohol dependent
Tyrone Dobbs, Coronation Street: Unhealthy diet
Heather Trott, Eastenders: Unhealthy diet
Louise Summers, Hollyoaks: Alcohol dependent
Shirley Carter, Eastenders: Drinks too much alcohol
Charlie Slater, Eastenders: Unhealthy diet
Lloyd Mullaney, Coronation Street: Unhealthy diet
Fiz Brown, Coronation Street: Unhealthy diet
Leo Valentine, Hollyoaks: Drinks too much alcohol

The survey comes as research at Derby University suggested an average of 17 units of alcohol were downed on every episode of "Emmerdale", with a third of its residents potentially classed as "depressed drinkers", according to Department of Health guidelines.

Many of the characters who are smoking, eating unhealthily or drinking too much, are shown as being in perfect health, said Dr Peter Mace, Bupa's assistant medical director.

"Characters who have been smoking for many years have implausibly good health.

"Though Dot Cotton has a smoker's voice - deeper than you might expect, she does not seem to be short of breath or wheezy, while Shadrach Dingle, from Emmerdale, should, by rights, have a red face with some broken veins that you may see with his alcohol consumption.

"Tyrone Dobbs, from Coronation Street, consumes far too much saturated fat and does little or no exercise, which would realistically lead to high cholesterol levels which, in turn, may lead to heart disease."

He said that viewers would be influenced by the "everyday lives" they see acted out on the television.

"We ask that soap opera scriptwriters portray the effects of an unhealthy lifestyle more realistically, such as in the way they've handled other medical issues such as cancer or Aids.

"The soaps are an important way of getting a message across."

Soap characters are not always immune to their poor lifestyles - with, for example, heart attacks for Coronation Street's Jack Duckworth and Fred Elliot.

A spokesman for the BBC said: "'EastEnders' has always highlighted health issues such as HIV and mental illness in storylines which have really engaged viewers.

"Medical dramas such as Holby and Casualty often show the more subtle nuances of medical health matters."

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Re: Soaps Urged to show Consequences of bad habits

Post by HiJo on Tue Dec 30, 2008 7:44 am

I think some of the soaps are a bit behind the times with their breakfast fry-ups. I don't know anyone who tucks into that every day now, yet we still see the Corrie men shovelling it in or the EE characters eating Ian's cheap and nasty sausages. Roxy should have liver disease by now and should also be fat cos alcohol has loads of calories. We sometimes see Ronnie jogging, but Roxy doesn't exercise.

It might be more realistic to touch on these things from time to time but nobody wants to be preached at when they're watching the soaps for entertainment.
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Re: Soaps Urged to show Consequences of bad habits

Post by Lou on Tue Dec 30, 2008 11:42 am

I agree, there has to be a certain amount of realism. But I know I watch TV to be entertained and escape reality, if I want preaching to I'll watch a documentary on that particular subject.

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