NEWS: 'EastEnders' Christmas Preview, Connie Britton, Bill And Susan Hayes, Cicely Tyson, 'Love, Sex, and Choices'

EastEnders teases its explosive Christmas storylines
In Albert Square, it will never be a quiet Christmas. But even EastEnders fans will be shocked by the chilling turn of events that are set to transpire over the festive period as teaser shots from the forthcoming episodes drop some huge hints this week.

[SPOILERS] In a spectacular crescendo in the BBC soap, the Christmas Day episode is expected to see the Hubbards and Mitchells come to blows, the birth of Stacey's baby and the Beales and Mitchells sit down for an explosive festive feast.

Connie Britton on Nashville, Friday Night Lights, Ageism in Hollywood, and Her Glorious Hair
"I find a lot of people talking now about this golden age of television for women, which really has happened in the span of my career. And yet, I think back — my inspirations were Mary Tyler Moore and Lucille Ball and Marlo Thomas, all amazing women who were doing it back in the day, and that was amazing television, too. I’ve had a great opportunity to depict women who are striving to empower themselves, but in ways where they still maintain their femininity, their grace, and their vulnerability. I never get preachy about it, never get on a soapbox about it. But I do feel fortunate that I can create characters that maybe sometimes will impact somebody in a profound way."

Bill And Susan Hayes Talk About Their On- And Off-Screen Romance
The Hayes met on the NBC soap opera Days of our Lives back in 1970. Known for their roles as Doug and Julie Williams, they originally had entirely different plots before the show's head writer William Bell saw a connection between the two.

"He wrote a romance for us before we knew we were having a romance," says Susan Hayes. "So NBC said 'let's marry them.'"

A Northeastern Professor Made a Soap Opera About HIV Prevention
Rachel Jones, an associate nursing professor at Northeastern, has focused her research on curtailing HIV and AIDS transmission among urban women, particularly African American women. To move her mission forward, the National Institute of Nursing Research, part of the National Institutes of Health, awarded Jones a $2 million grant to put toward intervention efforts targeted at urban African American women between the ages of 18 and 29.

But for Jones, a classic PSA wasn't enough. Instead, she used the money to create Love, Sex, and Choices (LSC), a 12-part soap opera laced with references to responsible behaviors like safe sex and HIV testing. LSC follows the lives of four women—who, though fictional, are based on real stories—and tackles issues ranging from concerns about cheating to having sex with at-risk partners. Each episode concludes with advice from a “guide,” who points out risky behavior such as having sex with a partner who may not be monogamous.

Vatican City Drama About Female Papal Spokesperson From The Good Wife Creators & Scott Free Set At Amazon
Vatican City tells the story of an American, female, on-screen reporter working at a financial news network in Rome. There she comes to the attention of the liberal pope, Clement, who, knowing he can’t buck tradition and make women priests, decides to shake up the curia by making her the papal spokesperson. Once there, she’s forced to navigate 2000 years of sexism and a boss who 1.2 billion people consider infallible.

Cicely Tyson: A pioneer stretches her acting muscles in a new career chapter
Throughout the 1960s, she continued to appear on television (on the soap opera The Guiding Light, as well as the prime-time dramas I Spy and Gunsmoke) and movies (The Comedians, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter). While she was doing press for “Sounder,” Tyson encountered white journalists who evinced surprise that black families were just as loving and tightly knit as their own. What those reporters were saying, she realized, was that “we’re not human beings. It was those kinds of experiences that made me sit down and think, ‘You can’t just go out there and be an actress.’ I knew then that there were several issues I wanted to address, and I used my career as a platform.”

George Lucas on his decision to "break up" with Star Wars
"The issue was ultimately, they looked at the stories and they said, 'We want to make something for the fans,'" Lucas said. "People don't actually realize it's actually a soap opera and it's all about family problems - it's not about spaceships. So they decided they didn't want to use those stories, they decided they were going to do their own thing so I decided, 'fine.... I'll go my way and I let them go their way.'"

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