In yet another concession towards Scottish nationalists, Westminster has announced that from Summer 2015 Holyrood will be able to take control of plot and character development in the version of EastEnders broadcast in Scotland.
Although filming will remain at Elstree in London, editorial control for the two parallel versions of EastEnders will be split between White City and the BBC studios in Glasgow. Critics have claimed this will cause a huge amount of disruption to the show with parallel, yet overlapping plot lines meaning more work for actors, crew and writers, within an already tightly-constrained production schedule. There are also fears that none of the issues raised between the much-loved characters will ever now be satisfactorily resolved.
Scottish activists are nonetheless thrilled with the devolution of EastEnders. “We’re delighted that we can finally get some true Scottish influence into the show. Far too often, English-produced media relies on ridiculous stereotypes to portray Scottish characters, and this legislation means we have an end to it,” said spokesperson Hamish MacDonald whilst not munching on a deep-fried mars bar or twirling his kilt. He did concede, however, that plots based on the Gay Gordons might appeal if only the writers could be persuaded to open a new nightclub round the back and out of sight, behind the launderette, in Walford.
It is yet to be seen how the divergent plot lines will affect the show, although the rumoured return of Trevor Morgan in the Scottish EastEnders may ruffle some feathers. Other sources are reporting that Billy Connolly has been offered, and has accepted, the role as the new landlady of the Queen Vic.
In order to speed up production many of the changes to the Scottish edition are likely to be added digitally in post-production. BBC Scotland have already proposed that even in sections of footage shared between the two editions there may be some subtle changes needed to suit Scottish culture, for example, digitally removing fruit and veg from the market stall and replacing it with bootleg DVDs, or Dot Cotton going on a day trip up West to 10 Downing Street and burning it down with a carelessly discarded fag.