Why does PBS air Eastenders?

it’s just a trashy soap. I expect higher quality programming from public TV. Educational shows or at least classy dramas

If this was on American TV the PBS viewer would say “I don’t watch that drivel, I watch classy programming…”
I guess if people have British accents that automatically makes things high class

They probably think it is a documentary because it is all so realistic.

I imagine it’s there because it fills empty space.

Yeah that’s the other alternative.

And I guess it’s the more likely.

It’s the best one to air out of the four main UK soaps - Hollyoaks is just bad with horrendous acting, Emmerdale is about a farming community of about 8 houses (not sure anyone in the US can relate to that), Coronation Street has characters whose accent might be too strong for non-UK folks to understand) so that leaves Eastenders :smiley:

I think a certain sort of American, the sort who watches a lot of PBS, thinks that all British entertainment is high culture. The trashy, stilted and unfunny British sitcom Are You Being Served is a long-time PBS favorite too.

Isn’t that the official motto of PBS? They have scrapped the bottom of the British sitcom barrel for decades to bring culture and class to unwashed America. Eastenders is high quality television when compared to some of the other trash they show.

Out of curiosity, I’ve just taken a peak at the PBS website and noted that there was no less than FIVE pictures of Downton Abbey on the homepage, which I think tells you everything you need to know about their interpretation of high quality drama.

PBS will air anything that brings in the pledge money. Our local PBS ran episodes of Doctor Who for over seven years because of that. It also ran things like Are You Being Served and The Red Green Show. Those are hardly classy dramas, but people watched them.

You’re starting from false premises. PBS is not specifically committed to “quality” programing or “educational” programming. It’s public supported TV. While not driven by advertisements or the same concerns as a commercial network, it still has to show what its audience wants to see – and is willing to pay to get.

I just went to the PBS website too, and Eastenders doesn’t appear in the program listing. :confused:

I prefer Heartbeat, shown on TVO (TV Ontario).

You take that back, Sir! AYBS is classic 70s docudrama :wink:

Maybe someone with a better understanding of how PBS affiliates operate can say more, but a lot of the programming decisions appear to be made at the local level. They aren’t given enough of the educational or highbrow content to fill their entire schedule. During fundraising campaigns they’ll say that if you enjoy watching the old British sitcoms they run then you should donate, because the local affiliate has to pay to license these shows. These are shows like Keeping Up Appearances and the aforementioned Are You Being Served? I assume that older British shows are relatively cheap to license, and since PBS airs shows without commercials then anything produced for the BBC will fit neatly into their time slots.

I’ve never seen Eastenders on PBS here, but a British soap doesn’t seem like a surprising choice of filler to me.

Hell Tacoma’s PBS affiliate still airs Doctor Who episodes, even the B&W ones. They may be the only station that still does that.

And the two shows, Eastenders and Are You Being Served? even share an actor.

You all leave EastEnders be! I’ve watched this on PBS for over 20 years and still catch 2 episodes every Sunday (though we’re 5 years behind). As with all soap operas, high class or not, you get attached to the characters and can pick up the storyline without a lot of difficulty if you stop watching.

I personally enjoy ‘trashy soaps’ and think EastEnders is rather charming. I’m sure American exports like The Kartrashians are eagerly watched by the British and the Australians as an example of American high living, though I would hope they don’t take it seriously.