What’s the best part about Halloween? Is it terrifying the elderly into handing over their possessions in exchange for you to leave them alone? Is it sticking on a pair of horns and going scantily clad to a drunken party which mildly passes itself off with a Halloween theme? Maybe it’s just a milestone which means it’s officially time to start panicking about Christmas. (Yeah, 7 weeks in case you’re wondering)
To us in Pauseliveaction, Halloween means one thing and one thing only. The chance to reflect on those spooktacular TV moments that made us hide behind a cushion in sheer terror, spilling our Fizzy Haribo ghost and ghouls shapes all over the blood red carpet. So without further a-boo, here is my rundown of some of the most ghoulish TV moments of all time…
It’s been an eventful few weeks in soapland of late; with the return of gobby Cilla to Coronation Street, the return of slimeball Robert Sugden to Emmerdale, the return of sinister panto-villain Nick Cotton to Walford and the return of the grumpy Dylan to Casualty but nobody can say that the soaps rely on old faces to bring in the viewers. Oh, no, there has been much, much more going on besides. Unfortunately not all of it has been good. Here’s my every-so-often roundup of what’s hot and what’s not in the world of soaps…
What I’ve LOVED…
More screentime for Gaynor Faye AKA Megan Macey (Emmerdale)
If there ever was a soap actress who was criminally underrated then it is the Dales’ Gaynor. She has proven over the last few weeks that, when given the material, she can consistently deliver some of soap’s strongest performances. Megan’s anguish in the wake of Robbie’s demise, her bitterness against Leyla upon discovering her business partner’s trysts with Jai and her viper-sharp cattiness towards Charity have all been sublime to watch. Megan is a character whose layers are only truly starting to be noticed and, the more I discover about her, the more I enjoy watching her. The tough exterior has long hidden a likeable vulnerability and I hope Gaynor and Megan both stick around for a long time to come. She’s the only one who can keep the Macey name alive!
Steve McDonald’s depression story (Coronation Street)
Could there have been a better candidate for such an important story than Steve McDonald, played by the fantastically versatile Simon Gregson? Taking a character who is often perceived as a joke and who has a tendency to mess around and be light hearted and show that they, as much as anyone else, can be susceptible to the demons of depression has been a worthwhile writing decision. The story is honest and non-sensational; it shows a man reaching his midlife crisis in a very difficult way; finally succumbing to the stress he is constantly under. It accurately captures the mistakes and misconceptions those around someone with depression can make and Simon himself is making a heartbreakingly perfect job of portraying a man at the end of his tether. While it’s sad to see Steve in this way, it’s providing incredible drama and it is important for viewers to go along on this journey with such an established character as, at some time in our lives, almost all of us will have brushes with depression in some way. Well played on this one, Corrie.
What has been the most awkward party that you have ever been to? In my yoof (not very many years ago, I may add) I went to a house party, given that I was such a cool kid. Apparently my friend’s parents had not been informed of this impromptu shindig and, when we started pouring ourselves refreshments (lemonade, of course) they came downstairs to investigate in full bondage gear.
Oh how we all laughed. A few years on, I’m not laughing anymore as I have learned just how uncomfortable those leather straps and shackles can be so I have nothing but sympathy for Mr and Mrs (CENSORED) but my point is, no matter how awkward a party you think you have attended, nothing could quite top the sheer cringe factor of the Carter get together in last night’s EastEnders.
Well meaning but sadly clueless Mick decided that the stunning Stacey needed some help in securing a bloke as it’s not like she has other things on her mind at the moment. Thinking that she and Dean are destined to be (again), Mick planned a drinks party upstairs and brought them together, a situation which poor Linda was shoehorned into. I could barely watch as the weasel like Dean plonked himself comfortably beside Linda on the sofa, causing her to understandably recoil in horror.
Stealing looks at her and warning Linda that they have to be careful, Dean really does seem to have deluded himself that Linda was a willing participant in their recent vile encounter. Things couldn’t be further from the truth, and the fact of the matter was that Linda faced the agony of being left alone in a room with her rapist for a prolonged period of time.
I bet I wasn’t the only person who spent last night’s EastEnders episode willing any member of the Carter family to just look at Linda. Properly look at her. She was practically catatonic – no makeup, still in her slippers, no trace of her usual sparkle and peppiness. “Mum’s hungover,” said the kids. “I need you with me today, L,” said Mick. To be fair to Mick, he was a tad distracted by the disappearance of his “sister” Shirley, who’d done a runner after shooting Phil Mitchell. “It’s not like she’s my mother,” he said to Dean. Oh, the dramatic irony. But Mick, who loves Linda to bits, still wasn’t looking at her. Not properly. Because if he was, he’d have seen that she was suffering and she needed him and she wanted him to just stop for a moment so she could tell him why. Continue reading
It had the cosy, rural setting, the received pronunciation English accents, the urgent violin soundtrack, the ridiculously high-waisted costumes and just the right amount of sexual scandal and intrigue. Yes, Grantchester was pretty much Downton Abbey, just a bit racier.
It was a comfortable drama, a none too strenuous watch and held my attention (which is no easy feat; ask my long suffering wife) for the full hour. It focused on the vicar of a small village, who found himself embroiled in a murder investigation after looking too deeply into an apparent suicide. The vicar, with the almost porn-star name of Sidney Chambers, held a funeral for the ‘suicide’ victim where all others would not, which won him the respect and attention of the victim’s secret lover, who suggested that all was not as it seems.
Unable to resist the conspiracy, Sidney sought the advice of a policeman called Geordie, played by Geordie Robson Green of Waterloo Road and Extreme Fishing fame. Geordie was a no nonsense, chain smoking, backgammon winning, Simon Cowell trouser wearing arm of the law who took some heavy persuading to buy into Sidney’s murder theory. But Mr Chambers kept up his Sherlock Holmes act and before long, the pair set out to crack the case.
While we were dragging ourselves from the comfort of our beds and into the grips of a wet, wintry Monday morning, the residents of Walford were still stuck on the same day that started over two weeks since.
It seems like an age ago that we were writing about the horrendous prospect of Phil Mitchell stripping at Sharon’s hen do and yet here we are, just a day on, as the most eventful day in EastEnders history continued to throw powerful drama our way. If a wedding, the reveal of an affair, a shooting, the death of a dog, a blossoming new romance, a couple splitting up, a text from Peggy Mitchell and a fugitive on the run wasn’t enough to cram into one day, Walford writers hit us with the most emotive punch yet, as Dean’s breakdown led to a harrowing attack on landlady Linda Carter. Continue reading
I’ve not seen a single positive comment about Sharon’s wedding dress. It turns out it’s just as well she didn’t waste her money on something stunning from the Vivienne Westwood Bridal Collection, because she’s only gone and ruined it by getting it covered in blood. It’s not even her blood, either. “Phil’s been shot,” someone said. “Not again,” said Ian Beale, who’s been there and done that himself so it doesn’t impress him much.
Ronnie, knowing that faaamily comes before first aid, legged it with the gun. It was her gun anyway and she didn’t need the extra aggro, what with being pregnant and that. She only got it as far as the safe haven of the Arches, where it was last seen in the capable hands of Ben and Jay. “Capable” as in “of anything.” Continue reading