Art of EastEnders has global resonance

5th November 2004 at 00:00
There are certain things that will always be quintessentially British: high tea, the changing of the guard, and cockneys seeking refuge from their dysfunctional lives over a pint in the Queen Vic.

Now a Mexican artist has decided to relocate EastEnders, the BBC soap, to four other cities. The London-based exhibition will imagine the drama set in Shanghai, Warsaw, Jerusalem and Mexico City. Each version will have its own miniature TV set, showing a working-class neighbourhood. This will be accompanied by photographs of characters and a plot outline. The Geographical Association is recommending the project as a way of bringing geography to life.

Pablo Helguera, the artist, said: "Soaps address the different values of each society and the struggle to maintain those in an ever-changing world."

The Israeli EastEnders plots will focus on sex, while the Polish version will concentrate on generational struggles. The Mexicans are preoccupied with class battles, while those in China reflect the country's turbulent history.

David Lambert, the Geographical Association's chief executive, said:

"Geography shouldn't be confined to a textbook narrative. It's about the real world, people's lives, and the challenges they face."

Mr Helguera said pupils will recognise the inspiration for his Royal College of Art project: "Adultery, alcoholism and divorce are relevant anywhere. It's definitely EastEnders: everyone's miserable, no one is successful, and it goes on for ever."

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