Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Just How Powerful is TV?

I have just watched a very powerfull episode of my favourite Soap - Emmerdale.  This story-line has been building for quite a while and tonight's shocker was at least half-expected.

One of the characters a gay tetraplegic has been asking his mother and his boy-friend to help him to die.

This after long arguments outbursts of hysteria, rage, sorrow and denial, they finally were persuaded to to.

Tonight he decided, having said his goodbyes the previous day (though only the two closest to him knew), that this was the right time for him to go.

It was brilliantly acted by all three characters and the final scene was almost unbearably moving, I don't cry over screen - large or small - dramas, but this was an exception.

The arguments against his decision had all failed and the mother and the boy-friend even up to the last second were hoping against hope that he would change his mind but finally, loved him enough to be able to carry out his last wish.

The whole story has been very sensatively handled from the beginning and the final decision in the context of the plot was for me, anyway, completely acceptable.

The issue of assisted suicide is a huge one and virtually everyone has an opinion on it.  I have, and the story has not changed in any way how I feel on the subject but it will be interesting to see if the media stifle it or allow it to open up wider discussion.


  1. It can be very powerful indeed, ray. Do you remember the furore that followed the screening of "Cathy come home" back in the mid 1960s? The charity Shelter came out of it eventually, which is some result.

    I didn't see the episode you describe, but it will almost certainly cause discussion in the days to come.

  2. Yes Perpetua I do indeed remember Cathy come home and the enormous reaction to it.
    Well worth the hostility it created in some quarters if Shelter was the end result.
    Maybe this story won't have such a reaction as the world has moved on a little since the 60's, but it is still a very contentious issue and far from having any recognised resolution.
    I'd like to see it provoke further debate.

  3. Thought provoking. I've missed the episode but am assuming he went through with it. I think you are right. The whole subject needs to rethought!

  4. Yes Jean, he did indeed go on with it and tonight's episode had the expected results with the mother being charged with murder. It will be interesting to see how far they take this.

  5. TV is a very powerful persuader in many lives, especially naive young people.

  6. RonJoe
    Yes I agree TV has the potential to influence the very young or the naive, but at the same time it can educate, inform and give new perspectives to those whose thought processes are a little more mature.
    It can at best, open up formerly closed minds to new ideas and help to widen intellectual horizons.