G R Matthews
Don't live there!
You know where the most dangerous place to live on the planet is? The murder capital of the world? The location where, if you happen to live there, your life expectancy is lower than anywhere else on the planet?
Albert Square, that’s where.
All right, it is a fictional place, but according to BBC Radio 4 (and the BBC news website from 2013), there are some dangerous fictional places to live.
In 2010-11, the murder rate for the whole of the UK was 11.5 per million. The USA murder rate is 47 per million per year (2012 figures). They both seem quite high. To be fair, I’d put 1 in 1 million people per year as too high – and you’d probably all agree.
Midsomer Murders, made famous by John Nettles and based in a fictional Oxfordshire, has (according to Radio 4) a murder rate of 32 per million per year.
Cabot Cove, the home of Jessica Fletcher (if she turns up at your door, say goodbye to one member of your family), has a murder rate of 1,490 per million. That’s got to be pretty high.
Nothing. Piddly. Hardly worth mentioning in comparison with Albert Square.
With a little looking on Wiki, some approximation based on photographs of the location, some easy maths (which I hope I got right), it is clear that Albert Square (the fictional East London setting for the BBC Soap Eastenders) has them all beat.
So, let me talk you through this:
The soap has been running 30 years. In that time there a have been (recorded on the Wiki page below) 102 deaths.
36 (35%) from natural causes
64 via murder or “accident” (63%)
14 of those were “accidents” and 50 were the intentional actions of others e.g. murder.
Right, time for a quick bit of maths:
50 murders / 30 years = 1.7 murders per year.
See, that was easy. Now to scale it up a bit.
I estimated, based on a photograph of Albert Square where I counted the number of houses, multiplied it by 4 (to get family members) and then doubled the total to take into account errors and the “fiction” of the soap, the population of Albert Square. I added a few more people, just to make the maths easier and came to a round figure of 100 people (bit of a cheat, I know, but we are talking about a fictional setting so some leeway is allowed).
1.7 murders per year per 100 people equals…
17,000 murders per 1 million people per year on average.
In the 2014, there were 3 murders on the “Square”. A murder rate of 30,000 per million!
Remember, the UK average is 11.5 per million per year.
In conclusion, if you are searching for a new home, a new place to live, don’t look in Albert Square – you’ll end up as just another statistic. And, most importantly, if you are looking for realism in TV dramas, you are more likely to find it in Midsomer and Cabot Cove than you are in Eastenders (where the ‘Enders’ bit of the title must surely mean “murderers”).
Judging by the data - it is all of them!