Everyone loves a soap wedding. It’s the chance for all the cast members who aren’t on holiday and assorted non-speaking extras to don their finery and fascinators. It’s a time of romance, happiness, firearms and that moving moment when the vicar/registrar asks if anyone knows any lawful impediment and the embittered ex/drunk relative/etc gets shakily to their feet to deliver the killer blow (sometimes literally) – that is, if both the bride and groom have actually turned up in the first place.
The wedding of Sharon and Phil on EastEnders (or “Mr and Mrs Phil Mitchell,” as they are styling themselves, which sounds strangely old-fashioned to me) was never going to be uneventful. Even if they’d been on their own on a desert island those two could concoct some drama between them. Their speeches were all about trust and fresh starts, and we in the audience were quietly reminded that this might be a tricky proposition by Shirley (whom Phil “slept with” very recently) glaring at the newlyweds across the wedding breakfast of poshed-up cockles & whelks and pie & mash.
Even though there was a gun conspicuously hanging around (this gun has been hanging around for months – Sharon feels the need to look at it every five minutes to remind us it’s still there. It’s currently safely housed in the kitchen cupboard upstairs at the Vic), it was Shirley who was the unexploded bomb in this episode. Mick and Deano attempted to defuse her, but she was like a robot assassin – pre-programmed and not to be deflected from her path of righteous vengeance.
Nancy, who so often says what we’re all thinking, wondered exactly what it was about Phil Mitchell that had all these women apparently desperate for him. Was he really good in bed or something? It’s a valid question, but not something I’d like to dwell on for long or I might hurl.
The wedding was beautifully organised by Linda. The food had all been translated into French, she’d hired a lot of new chairs for the Vic and she decked her staff/family out in bright pink shirts (this made it easy for Tina to spot Tosh all the way across the Square when she had to go out and ask her what she was thinking when she acquired some of Tina’s cousin Deano’s sperm and got busy with the turkey baster). The bride had bizarrely chosen to wear a dress that looked like it was from a charity shop in one of the less swanky parts of town and had set her eye-rolling to maximum, while Phil’s face got progressively redder as the day wore on. He had at least two best men, but the finest speech was via text from Peggy Mitchell.
Phil’s always banging on about “faaamily,” but not many members of his family bothered to turn up. Peggy was making her feelings about “that tart” Sharon known by staying away, but she sent Aunt Sal as a proxy. She also sent Ronnie, who didn’t bother with the wedding because she had some business at the gym and had also casually to let Charlie Cotton know that he’s going to be a dad. Roxy would have gone to the wedding, but she’s been whisked off somewhere by Aleks, mainly to avoid bumping into Mrs Aleks. Let’s just hope that wherever they’ve gone there’s a branch of TK Maxx. Aleks is so badly in need of a suit that isn’t the colour of baby poo.
So back to the wedding. Shirley left it right till the dum-dum-dums to publicly impart the news that she’s recently been in receipt of some hot Mitchell action [shudders]. That’s not a nice thing to announce when people are full of champagne, whelks and flaky pastry.