Don't take soaps too seriously

Health warnings issued against favourite stars EastEnders may have led the way in the traditional Christmas Day ratings battle, leaving Coronation Street trailing with around five million fewer viewers, but it also blazes a trail for unhealthy living, too.

As we look a little more carefully at our health in the aftermath of the festive food frenzy, Bupa has issued a warning that soap characters could be posing a health hazard to viewers with unhealthy habits that seem to inflict little cost on their lifestyles.

EastEnders has four of the biggest offenders within its characters, with Dot Cotton taking poll position with her heavy smoking, Heather Trott at number four and Charlie Slater at number seven for their unhealthy diets, and Shirley Carter at number six with her excessive drinking.

Emmerdale takes only one position, number two, with Shadrach Dingle's alcohol dependency. Coronation Street sees Tyrone Dobbs at number three with his liking for greasy takeaways and fry-ups, joined in the top ten at number seven by mini-cab driver Lloyd Mullaney who has a similarly unhealthy attitude to food.

And the gorgeous cast of Hollyoaks poll two characters for excessive alcohol use, with Louise Summers at number five and Leo Valentine at number ten.

Dr Peter Mace, assistant medical director of Bupa Wellness comments: “Characters who have been smoking for many years have implausibly good health.

"Though Dot has a smoker’s voice – deeper than you might expect, she does not seem to be short of breath or wheezy, while Shadrach should, by rights, have a red face with some broken veins that you may see with high alcohol consumption.

"If we tested his blood, there might be evidence of damage to his liver, though this can occur later.

"Tyrone consumes far too much saturated fat and does little or no exercise, which would realistically lead to high cholesterol levels which, in turn, may lead to heart disease. This might make him short of breath, and perhaps give him chest pain on exertion.”

So while you wait to see if Tyrone makes it down the aisle with Molly, or whether Dot and Jim can survive Nasty Nick's return, it might be worth considering how much worse they'd be coping with the stress in real life as a result of those unhealthy habits.

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