As the show is aimed mainly at women, they have a strong presence. This is shown through characters such as Pat, Peggy & Mo Slater, who are dominant females. Other characters such as Javine use their sexuality for power and to get what they want. The show also offers a few stereotypical characters, for example Phil Mitchell, a hard man who gets what he wants, when he wants. There is also Little Mo, who is a stereotypical house wife she is happy to sit at home and cook, while Billy goes off to work.
The audience can easily relate to the characters as they tackle real-life issues such as rape, alcoholism, drugs, marriage, divorce and pregnancy. Eastenders tackles both social and emotional issues effectively, offering viewers with similar problems a solution. This is shown particularly when Little Mo was in a violent relationship, she managed to be strong and walk away, inspiring other women to do the same. Many people have grown up with Eastenders and have watched the characters grow, this makes the audience feel part of them and if they know them.
Viewers are loyal to the show because of this; to some viewers its almost as if they are watching their family on screen. This can help to increase the dramatic effect of a story line, for example if a characters dies, the audience feels as though they have lost a part of themselves. Eastenders is always introducing new characters or families, which helps to increase viewers, as they will watch to see what the new family are like, and to see if they will cause any friction between other families/characters.
Eastenders receives a lot of press attention, and all of the big storylines are written about in national papers, this helps to increase the shows ratings. Eastenders has a multi-strand narrative, with lots of stories going on at once. This helps to increase viewers as they may enjoy watching one story line but not another, so watch the whole show to see what interests them. Having a multi-strand narrative offers variety and something for everyone to enjoy or relate to, again increasing the amount of viewers. Eastenders has a pub The Queen Vic which is a general meeting spot for many favourite characters.
The show is set-based and includes houses, the cafi?? , the market and the pub. Characters are often shown in their houses, this helps to create verisimilitude and helps the viewer to relate to the character and see how they live. Eastenders has a token black family and a token Asian family, to show that they can be diverse and show a range of races in their characters, this however does help to create verisimilitude as realistically there would be more black/Asian families living in the East end of London.
Eastenders is aired for just 30 minutes, but as it is a long-running soap it does not always have to find closure within this time, as it can be continued in the next episode. This is a good way to keep viewers interested, for example in the Who shot Phil Mitchell? story. I think Eastenders will continue to be a very successful soap, as long it keeps re-creating itself with fresh storylines and new characters.