Coronation Street: Where are you sticking that banana?

medium_i8mWYB5FgnmANF-9Im0Mqn_WHv1-PpR2yrr5tconb8MLast night’s Corrie double had it all didn’t it? Ongoing feuds exploding across the Street, veiled threats of prison violence, dodgy ex husbands threatening suicide whilst preparing a reunion dinner, exhaust pipes being stuffed with fruit, dog-napping by a child assisted by lesbian teens, pill popping mothers lying to GPs and, of course Gerogia May Foote dressed to the nines in a lovely blue number for the standard Weatherfield Monday night out.

The main story of the night was Todd inserting his banana into an exhaust pipe (please, do grow up) in order to cause a distraction that would allow him to sneak into the garage and steal an apple. No, you haven’t wandered into an alternate dimension; this was genuinely the basis of the main storyline from last night’s Corrie. And still, it outrated every other TV show yesterday by over a million viewers.

Let’s delve a little deeper (into the storyline, forget Todd’s banana). Todd is feeling a little put out as he is taking the flack for something which is almost entirely his fault. Wanting to lash out at Tyrone and Foghorn Fiz, he decided to leave a chilling message by nabbing the remainder of Luke’s lunch from under their noses.   Continue reading

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Emmerdale: Interview with Duncan Preston

medium_Yq4gQlagfP7T8cTg4wGj7qwBrpvR9Va-rQShARQUnYQThe older generation are the glue of any soap opera. They have the connections with the characters and enough life experience of love, loss, murders and, in some cases, crabs, to be able to watch over the younger folk. Emmerdale hasn’t been lacking drama lately but if it is short of one thing, it’s the quantity of older characters.

When she is around, Betty is as much of a joy as ever, and she is never short of a bit of gossip at the moment. Diane, meanwhile, is juggling a pub and the antics of her dizzy daughter Bernice, while Edna continues to create a fascinating character whom we all learn from. Just last week, we had the revelation that her marriage had been a sham.

Based on my affection for the old guard of the Dales, it’s been a welcome sight to see Diane’s old flame and Laurel’s dad, Doug, back in the village. Actor Duncan Preston, who reprises the role after a lengthy absence, discusses the circumstances surrounding his alter ego’s reappearance.

Doug’s back where he belongs, where his roots are. He’s finding it as exciting as I am to be back,” enthuses the acclaimed actor. Duncan (and, may I add, in an utterly unbiased fashion, what a strong, pure forename that is?) reveals that Doug is back primarily to see Laurel and, while his predominant focus is his niggling doubts about her pairing with Marlon, there is also unfinished business with Diane.   “He would love to reunite with Diane, but she’s being careful. But she blew him out, remember, or it was at least a mutual thing,” Duncan recalls. “He has loads of regrets about leaving her behind to try again with Hilary. When he walks into the pub for the first time, there’s a spark there but he tries to hide it. He’s surprised by his feelings. They both are.”   Continue reading

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Chasing Shadows: A shadow of a drama

Having enjoyed the recent ITV drama, The Widower, starring Reece Shearsmith, I had high hopes for the new four part crimeChasing-Shadows thriller Chasing Shadows, in which a difficult to work with detective (aren’t they all!?) with autistic tendencies takes on some missing persons cases.

The show promised it would be more than a standard crime drama and would take a unique slant on what is very much a well worn format, but unfortunately, two episodes in and one very uninspiring case solved, and I am still not convinced of this one bit.

Reece Shearsmith gives an undeniably decent performance of a man suffering from Aspergers Syndrome, adopting some physical and voice attributes that aren’t subtle but aren’t overdone either (just).

However, if it was the show’s intention for us to warm to DS Sean Stone, I am afraid that we are a long way off the mark. The writing lacks any warmth or depth to a character that could potentially be extremely complex, and there is little to no chemistry between Stone and his partner, Ruth Hattersley, played adequately by Alex Kingston.   Continue reading

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Doctor Who (8.4): We’re going on a Snark hunt…

dw listen[Straight in with the spoilers again...]

It was all going so well. And then the last five minutes came along and let me down. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind sending Hat Jr to bed reasonably certain she won’t have nightmares, but I’m so done with Clara-based paradoxes saving the day. (And, I could even suggest an alternative, benign, creature-based ending…)

Let’s start with the good, of which there is plenty. Having made us afraid of the dark (with the Vashta Nerada), statues (the Weeping Angels), small boys asking if we’re their mummy (the gas-mask zombies) and cracks in the wall, Steven Moffat has (inevitably) turned to monsters under the bed.

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Wentworth Prison: Heating up and dying down

wentworth_s2_ep2_1605444549Season 2 Episode 2

There was a lot going on in Wentworth Correctional Facility this week. Bizarrely, the main focus was on a new foreign inmate’s constipation, which landed Franky in the shit – but not in the way she had wanted.

After breaking down the language barriers, it emerged that the newcomer had a stash of drugs lodged in her digestive system, but they were in no hurry to escape. Franky, having upset a lot of her customers through lack of supplies, was eager for her to go to the toilet, which left Boomer on faecal watch duties.

Well-meaning Liz was on hand to try and keep the situation under control but tragedy struck as the drugs got into her system after a struggle and left her convulsing to death. This gave the underrated Celia Ireland, who plays Liz, a chance to shine as her alter ego broke down in guilt as she wept her apologies to the dying person who had been left in her care. The scene was daunting, dramatic and heavily emotional, sapped somewhat by Channel 5’s warning before it aired that gave away exactly what was going to happen.   Continue reading

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EastEnders: Farewell John Bardon

john bardonVery rarely in soap do you get what would be classed as a ‘golden couple’, that being a pair of characters that are so meant to be and have such on screen rapport and chemistry that they are clearly soulmates. With most pairings of soaps succumbing to affairs or killing each other within the year, it is a treat for viewers and fans to have that solid couple who, no matter what the writers would throw at them, their love would still remain.

Coronation Street’s Hayley and Roy Cropper and Vera and Jack Duckworth were prime examples of this. And so were the irreplaceable Jim Branning and his beloved Dorothy. As news reaches us that the fantastic actor behind the kindly and bumbling Queen Vic potman, John Bardon, has sadly passed away, I reflect on one of EastEnders’ most loved characters.

Jim ‘The Basher’ Branning entered the soap as a brash, cruel and violent character, portrayed convincingly by John, but it wasn’t long before the actor’s natural warmth meant that Jim could not always be written this way. John was an actor who conveyed the decency and humour that Jim became loved for, and it was only natural that the character’s progression would follow this.    Continue reading

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The Joy of Sets: Twin Peaks

twin peaksI haven’t seen Twin Peaks since it originally aired in 1990-91, but I’ve always wanted to see it again. Now, thanks to the channel that currently calls itself Syfy, I can. I settled down to watch the pilot episode feeling a tiny bit apprehensive in case I was disappointed – maybe it wouldn’t have stood the test of time and be as freaky/wonderful as I fondly remembered.

The weirdest thing to begin with was how pin-sharp and beautiful it looked. I remembered it as a bit grainy-looking. This is possibly because I had a rubbish TV back in 1990 and everything looked grainy. And small. Now, on my shiny newish flat-screen model, Twin Peaks looks crystal clear.

It’s the only crystal clear thing about it, of course. Twin Peaks was the first programme I remember watching that made me realise you don’t have to follow and understand every tiny thing that happens. Some things, you just have to go with the flow and trust that some sort of sense will happen eventually. It swings between hilarious and harrowing and you just have to go along for the ride.   Continue reading

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