Danielle Jones (East Enders) - Reception

Reception

Miles Hosken, a former mayor of Telford, welcomed the choice to give Danielle a Telford background due to the national exposure it gave the area. Sarah Raper, chief executive of economic development company Transforming Telford, commented: "We hope the new character will portray Telford in a positive light and increase national awareness of the town", and Councillor Eric Carter, Telford & Wrekin Council cabinet member for regeneration, adding: "There are a lot of people working to put Telford on the map and this will help".

The Daily Mirror sympathised with Danielle over the storyline which saw her manipulated by Archie, deeming it one of the more interesting EastEnders plot strands. Gareth McLean of The Guardian's described Danielle as a "wet weekend incarnate", criticising the drawn out nature of the secret Mitchell storyline. Fellow Guardian critic Grace Dent was similarly critical of the storyline, particularly the scripting. The Daily Mirror's Tony Stewart wrote that "when a downcast Danielle walks into a room, it's like all the lights have been switched off", and his colleague Jane Simon christened the character "Drippy Danielle", writing that "If she's half Mitchell, her father must have been a marshmallow."

Discussing the character's death, Digital Spy's Kris Green praised Crace's acting. He compared Danielle's revelation that Ronnie was her mother to the EastEnders storyline several years previously, when Kat Slater (Jessie Wallace) revealed she was actually the mother of her supposed sister Zoe (Michelle Ryan). Green opined: "Although it didn't quite capture the magic of it definitely comes an extremely close second." He concluded: "I'd probably go as far as to say that it's one of the best episodes EastEnders has produced in a long time". The episode was selected as recommended viewing by The Guardian's Sarah Dempster. Simon called it "the EastEnders episode of the year", though was again critical of Danielle, writing: "As a nation we've been driven mad by Danielle screwing up her forehead, shrugging her shoulders and walking around like a wide eyed simpleton. She isn't the first person in the world to track down their biological mother and while it's seldom easy, I can't imagine it's ever been quite so hard as Danielle has made it." Writing for The Times, Tim Teeman was critical of the length of time it took for the storyline to conclude, calling it "the most drawn-out 'reveal' in soapland". He deemed Ashdown's scripting of Danielle's exit to be "mad crescendo after mad crescendo", and the storyline as a whole "implausible", concluding that by the time Danielle died in Ronnie's arms: "EastEnders had hit the misery mother lode."

Crace was pleased with public reaction to the mother-daughter storyline, commenting prior to the reveal: "Everyone seems desperate to know why Danielle hasn't told Ronnie yet, so I'm taking that as a sign they're enjoying the story. Viewers are always telling me that they love it when Danielle and Ronnie have a scene together – I think they're on the edge of their seats, waiting to see when Danielle is finally going to admit the truth about her identity." Danielle's death received a mixed reaction from viewers, with 90% of viewers polled by The Sun opining that killing Danielle off was a mistake. The decision was defended by Santer, who stated: "We acknowledge that we didn't deliver the happy ending that many of the audience may have been hoping for, and that for some people this was upsetting. We hope viewers understand that our aim is to deliver the best drama. That doesn't always lead to a happy ending. EastEnders – like all good drama – contains a balance of storylines, both happy and sad. We’re proud of the episode, the storyline which built up to it and the way the audience have engaged with it." Following Danielle's final episode, regulator Ofcom confirmed they had received a number of complaints from the public about the "violent nature of the show and the horrific death at the end", and the fact it was broadcast before the 9 p.m. watershed.

Danielle's final episode was watched by an average of 11.46 million viewers, peaking at 11.5 million during its broadcast, and attaining a 48.3% audience share. A further 1.2 million viewers watched the episode's repeat on BBC Three later that evening. The high ratings caused a power surge more than double the national average, seeing a grid surge of 1270MW compared to the 550MW usually experienced during EastEnders episodes. A National Grid spokeswoman commented that the surge was "equivalent to around half a million kettles being switched on at once."

Read more about this topic:  Danielle Jones (East Enders)

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