Conducting a survey for London’s Evening Standard magazine in December 1999, Matthew Baylis, ex-storyliner on Eastenders,1 learned a thing or two apropos of the flagship show’s “authenticity.” Walford, E20, home to the soap East Londoners, is, of course, fictional, so Baylis headed for Walthamstow and Stratford, to experience the real thing. At Walthamstow Market, Linda Arnold, the market inspector, was dismissive of her Eastenders counterpart, Lisa Shaw. Lisa’s leather trousers and immaculately coiffed hair were impossibly fancy for her job, she said witheringly. Others felt that the soap showcased abjection, drudgery, and stagnation, and that they therefore could not identify with the lifestyle depicted in it. As June, a keen but critical observer, pointed out scathingly about the TV characters: “They go to Southend for their holidays, live in grotty houses, and have the same old wallpaper for 12 years. People here aren’t like that. I’ve got koi carp and a Japanese garden.” When Baylis put his findings to a former director of the show, the latter defended the show’s commitment to depicting quotidian realities: “People are sensitive when they see themselves on TV. To be fair, that’s not always because the portrayal is inaccurate. Good TV is a mirror. We don’t always like what we see in the mirror.” Then, contradicting his previous statement, he argued that drama should not be enslaved to facts.