Why EastEnders should win the Bafta Radio Times Audience Award

The BBC1 soap is the only real contender for the prize, argues David Brown

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Who would you like to see win the Radio Times Audience Award at this year’s television Baftas? Each of the RadioTimes.com team has their favourite. Here, David Brown explains why you should get behind EastEnders… 

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It’s a no brainer. EastEnders has to win the Bafta Radio Times Audience Award – for the simple reason that it’s got everything the other nominated shows have. But also much more…

Let’s begin by taking a look at what it’s up against.

Cilla – Well, take a ticket and stand in line, Sheridan Smith. The Queen Vic had Danny Dyer doing karaoke dressed up as Posh Spice. No contest.

Game of Thrones – Do me a favour! Bearded men fighting to the death week after week. Obviously not a patch on Mick Carter and Dean Wicks going toe to toe.

The Great British Bake Off – All very sweet and wholesome, I’m sure. But not exactly much of a rival for Aunt Babe’s chocolate hash brownies and home-made trifle.

The Missing – So, James Nesbitt had to act traumatised for eight weeks. Well, boo hoo! Come back when you’ve cried real tears for 12 months solid. Down Walford way, we call this “doing a Woodyatt”.

Sherlock – Yeah, yeah, so he can survive a fall from a great height. But how would he have fared with the Lucy Beale murder case? He’d have still been scratching his head by the time the 60th anniversary came around. For this whodunnit, we needed the cold, hard intellect of Summerhayes and Lauren. Not Sherlock and John.

Strictly Come Dancing – surely there’s only one show-dance in town? And it wasn’t to be seen on any shiny studio floor. I’m talking about the whole EastEnders cast doing Grease on a cold November evening for Children in Need. Linda Carter sewn into some skin-tight Bad Sandy pants, the return of Sonia’s trumpet and Carol Jackson in a wheelie bin. What more do you need?

So that’s the competition dealt with. But what is that EastEnders offers that the others don’t?

How about the sheer range of emotions on offer? During one week, we’re left in a mess of snot and tears by the sight of Peter Beale’s guttural yell of despair in the wake of his sister’s death. In another, we’re left staring in disbelief at the sight of a buff market-stall holder parading around starkers save for a pumpkin over his todger.

Also, this is a show where Christmas dinner is ruined not by an undercooked turkey or a bitter-tasting sprout – but by a man finding out that his sister is really his mother, his dad is really his granddad, and that the guy he thought was his nephew but who’s really his brother has raped his wife. That, my friend, is one messed-up festive season.

And if you think that EastEnders is too rooted in realism and lacking in a bit of fantastical escapism, then you’ve obviously forgotten about Phil Mitchell, who is now made up of more bionic parts than Colonel Steve Austin in the Six Million Dollar Man after surviving a SECOND shooting.

All this and a live anniversary event that saw the Beales unite around a pint-sized murderer in their midst, #FreeDot becoming a social media phenomenon, Jo Joyner confusing reality with fiction, plus the most talked-about soap comeback this side of Bobby Ewing’s miraculous resurrection.

So all that’s left is to do your duty and vote EastEnders. E20 deserves to take home the Bafta in 2015, people. Let’s seal the deal for Ian Beale!

Vote for EastEnders in the Bafta Radio Times Audience Award here

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And watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of EastEnders below: