I feel a fraud writing about Emmerdale. I’ve not watched it in years. The last time I watched it, Amos and Mr Wilkes were pulling pints in the Woolpack and Andy Sugden was an obnoxious ten-year-old. Now Andy has left with many wives and kids in tow but I think the Dingles are still knocking about.
Anyway, it turns out that a Dingle in Emmerdale has been diagnosed with cancer. Faith Dingle was diagnosed a while back. There has been praise in the media on how the soap has treated this. Much lessons have obviously been learnt since Pat Butcher.
At last it seemed that a soap would now involve a character that was living with cancer. However, the writers baulked at this. She’s now been “cured” apparently. Or more accurately “in remission.” Being in remission is not the same as being cured. I used to think it was. Remission basically means a break. A break from cancer. This break can be long or short. For me, my first remission was for two months, if that. My second remission was a bit longer at a year. I’ve meet people who have been in remission for twenty or even thirty years. They all know that the cancer will probably come back at some point in their lives.
Many advancements are being made to either make remissions longer or to stall the cancer when it reoccurs. New treatments are being developed all the time. I know many people who switch and change treatment quite often and can just get on with it really. They are the lucky ones. What is scary about cancer, is when it takes hold, the downfall is quick. Although Pat Butcher’s demise was a bit too quick that it almost was laughable, you can’t underestimate how powerful cancer can be.
Yet it’s not all depressing. More and more of us are now in the grey area. We are not in the brilliant white of remission and we are not in the deepest blackness of death. We are in a pale grey. We have cancer, but are having treatment to keep it at bay. Every year there are more and more people in our ranks. It’s something that TV is slowly recognising. In Sons of Anarchy, the sheriff, who is trying to turn a blind eye to the biker gang’s illegal exploits, is suffering from cancer. This is touched upon, but it’s a side issue and doesn’t dominate his sheriffing activities. Emmerdale were very nearly there but faulted at the last. Why? Maybe it wasn’t dramatic enough for a soap to deal with. That’s the problem with illnesses. It all starts with the high drama of the initial diagnosis and treatment. Then the boredom kicks in and it all gets a bit tedious. However, this tedium is a God send. This gives you time to savour and value life. You work out what is good for you and what isn’t. Tedium is something that would kill a soap dead. What would Emmerdale be like if everyone was happily married and nothing was going wrong? No one would be watching that’s for sure. And maybe that would be a good thing?