Former "EastEnders" star Richard Blackwood has scoffed at claims that soap operas encourage people to drink more alcohol.
The 46-year-old actor - who played Vincent Hubbard on the BBC One show until earlier this year - was invited on ITV's "Good Morning Britain" on Tuesday (30.10.18) to discuss the study published by Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies last week which argued that soaps should be shown post-watershed as there are are so many scenes set in pubs with "alcoholic imagery" which can encourage people, particularly youngsters, to drink.
Richard dismissed the suggestion, insisting the Queen Vic in "EastEnders" and the other soap pubs feature prominently because they are "local forums".
He said: "You think that we have been socially conditioned by TV to go to pubs, is that not English culture from the get go? I was born in "72 and as far back as I can remember, my grandparents - who aren't even English, they're Jamaican - used to go to the local pub. That's not because they were watching "Emmerdale", it's because we know that's where the local forum is."
Richard also argued that if it was true that soap viewers were heavily influenced by what they see on screen then there would be lots more murders, incidents of kidnapping and men committing bigamy, which are some of the more outlandish storylines that feature in the plots.
He added: "Is there a spike in bigamy and things like that, which are depicted more in soaps? If there was a real-life Albert Square or Rovers Return then people couldn't live there because the stuff that happens on these shows is dark - is there a spike in that too?
"If the direct correlation is that the only thing kids are taking on is getting a pint of beer rather than cheating on their spouses or murdering and kidnapping then we are not doing too badly.
"Those are the things that are pushed more in those programmes - when I used to work in "EastEnders" we didn't even order the drinks because it wasn't prevalent to the story."