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'Enders reveals Greek tragedy influence

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Dominic Treadwell-Collins

EastEnders' series story producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins has revealed that the soap's team often draw on Greek tragedy when devising storylines.

Speaking on a special Radio 4 arts programme called OedipusEnders, Treadwell-Collins named Ronnie Mitchell's (Samantha Womack) secret daughter plotline with Danielle Jones (Lauren Crace) as one plot which was heavily influenced by ancient legends.

Treadwell-Collins explained: "Going back to the origins of storytelling - going back to Greek tragedy is a great way to start, and then of course take it in different directions.

"I think the biggest story we've done in my time that reflects that is Ronnie's story with Danielle. We went back and made it Greek."

The producer went on to describe the plot as a "variation" on the tale of the mythical Greek king Oedipus, who was unaware of the identity of his real parents.

"I think if you look at that story, it touches on some of the classic staples of Greek tragedy," he said. "You have the lost child returning, delay of recognition - which in modern terms gives us loads of potential for dramatic irony, which is gorgeous for soap opera. Also of course, you have the buried family secret, which is a real staple of EastEnders."

He also told the programme that EastEnders' storyliners considered turning Tanya Branning (Jo Joyner) into a modern-day version of the vengeful character Medea after her husband Max (Jake Wood) was unfaithful.

Treadwell-Collins confirmed: "When we originally talked about it, one of the things we wanted to do was Medea. We started toying with the idea of how Tanya gets revenge on Max for cheating on her. Does she kill their children to get back at him? But we said, 'No, even on EastEnders we can't bring Tanya back from that'. In the end she just buried him." Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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