We’ve been catching up with the Christmas UK editions of EastEnders, as usual almost totally disastrous for everyone! But Christmas in Albert Square has always been relentlessly downbeat – peace and goodwill to men? – hooey. We’ve watched this extraordinary show since it’s very first episode, when we were all children, and it has never failed – well, only very rarely – to be entertainment at the highest level of its sort (rather like the twopenny serials of Victorian times); and of course a marvellous training-ground for young actors now there are no repertory companies (recording an episode while rehearsing another and learning a third). Neighbours has produced more really fine actors (Russell Crowe et al), but the standard of acting in Albert Square is remarkable considering the rate at which the episodes are churned out, and there have been several characters really etched into one’s memory. I suppose some people watch other soaps; but there is no doubt always an appetite for the second-rate (ha!).