Too sensational Ex-EastEnders star Derek Martin fears show losing sense of humour

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Derek Martin, who played Charlie Slater, has spoken out about the BBC soap EastEnders and suggested the show has lost its sense of humour. The 88-year-old left the show five years ago after being a recurring character for 15 years.

The actor argued that the show should stop focusing on younger views and maintain its reach towards its originally intended target audience.

Derek said that the families that the show producers need to focus on in order for it to remain successful include the Slaters, the Fowlers and the iconic Mitchells.

In an interview for The Sun, given yesterday, the actor said humour was important and it was currently missing from the soap.

He said: “You’ve got to have humour, especially in the depths of Covid, because there’s always something to laugh about in life.”

He shared that in real life, people sit around talking about “silly things” and the show needs to do more to mimic real life.

The star said: “You used to have Charlie, Patrick Trueman (Rudolph Walker) and Jim Branning (John Bardon) sitting at the allotments with a few beers, just talking about silly things.

“That’s what happens in real life. You need that on EastEnders.”

Derek’s character used to belong to the Slater family before he was killed off and he has expressed disappointment that the family has nearly been written out of the show.

The Slater family starred popular characters like Little Mo, Big Mo and Zoe.

Only two characters of the Slater family now remain and Derek said the show has therefore lost a key part of its original identity.

He said EastEnders has lost out to Coronation Street, which still has “strong families”.

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He commented: “Coronation Street still has strong families but EastEnders seems to have lost that. I’ve nothing against youngsters. They’re the future.”

The star said that EastEnders was turning into Hollyoaks with “so many youngsters” and everyone’s “having affairs” and beating each other up.

The actor concluded that by focusing on the “mythical’ age range of 16 to 25 year old’s, EastEnders has become “too sensational.”

Derek played Charlie Slater on the show from 2000 to 2011 with a guest appearance in a separate role in 2016.

However, the on-screen star’s breakthrough role was in BBC’s Law and Order 40 years ago.

He published his memoir, An East End Life: My Story in 2010. 

Derek, who adopted sons, David and Jonathan, and currently lives in Hertfordshire.

He told the Express in 2018 about his upbringing, saying: “I was born just before the Second World War, in Bow, east London. It was a tough war for our family – we went through the Blitz; my mum and I were evacuated to Herefordshire at one point, and our house got bombed.

“There was a cinema on every high street back then, and my mum loved films. I grew up going to see them a great deal. I idolised stars like James Cagney.”

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