A confused Millennial tries to… binge-watch EastEnders from the start

By Josh Gardner, proprietor of a library of more than 140,000 memes

HEARD of EastEnders? It’s a television programme from the days before streaming, when TVs were huge because they contained analogue puppets acting out the show. 

Unlike TikToks, they go on for bloody ages and there’s no live comment from other users. Or dancing. And you have to watch it in real time. Call me perverse, but I find that intriguing.

As a cultural voyager, I’m not afraid of old stuff. I’ve got a budding CD collection, I’ve watched not only the US but the original 1960s British version of The Office, and I’ve got a pair of vintage trainers from 2019. I go retro. So I thought I’d check it out.

But unbelievably, and frankly creating a hostile entertainment environment for the young, it’s impossible to watch from the beginning. My mum says it’s because you’re not meant to, but she vividly remembers Sophie Ellis-Bextor the first time round so probably has dementia.

Yes, there are 6,821 episodes to get through as of today, but don’t underestimate my binge-watching powers. Phone on the bus, laptop in bed at night, x1.5, I’d be finished before the final season of Stranger Things.

Abandoning iPlayer, I search around but there are no DVD box-sets promising the whole story, there are no streamers carrying the whole run and there aren’t even Funko Pops of popular characters like Dot Cotton or Albert Square.

So, like any of my generation faced with a challenge, I go online to steal it. Breaking laws to enjoy art for free is edgy and cool and the creators are likely long dead anyway so it’s a victimless crime.

I head for DailyMotion, or as I call it ‘the dark web’, conscious that one wrong click could order me every credit card number in Wales. And I begin my odyssey with episode one, titled Murder In Albert Square, ready to journey through 39 years.

Unfortunately, the episode wasn’t in HD and I got bored instantly. To make things worse the characters were indecipherable like a Shakespeare play and not once did they try to shoehorn in a sponsorship code for NordVPN. In short: it was shit.

Mum says I should watch tonight’s episode because the Eddie Knight trial is really hotting up and it’s so straightforward even a dog could understand it. ‘I’m out,’ I tell her, and settle down to a good solid three-hour stream of a video game. Now that’s entertainment.

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