While I have been nursing my throbbing, swollen, pus filled tonsils back to health during my annual Winter blogging hiatus, I have characteristically managed to keep up with what I normally would have written about, had the lovely germs from Jack Frost allowed me to do so.
Rather than spam the site with a ridiculous amount of articles at once, therefore, I am taking the concise and genius steps of merging my thoughts together in one post so that it’s easier for those of you who tend to skip my articles (I know who you are!).
From glittery costumes and a very pregnant and non drugged up Kylie on The Chase to Homer Simpson beating up Peter Griffin, my viewing pains and pleasures have been as varied as the voices Emmerdale’s Belle Dingle is currently hearing. So let’s press on folks…the quicker I start, the quicker this will be over for all of us.
The Lost Honour Of Christopher Jefferies
This was a triumph in film making; a docu-drama that focused on the travesty of injustice against perceived weirdo Christopher Jefferies, the landlord of murdered Joanna Yeates. Jefferies was subjected to allegations, arrest and vilification in the press based almost entirely on the highly judgemental claims of him being different to the norm. This was an honest and sympathetic piece, looking objectively at the actions of the police and the media in what was a very dark time for British justice and Jason Watkins’ portrayal as the anguish ridden but dignified Christopher was nothing short of exemplary. Anybody who watched this who had any shadow of a doubt about Chris Jefferies after reading the vile slurs in the media can not have failed to have had their minds changed. The rest of us were just moved beyond measure at what the man faced and what many other are still facing to this very day. It was also a loving tribute to the tragic Joanna and had the full backing of her parents and Mr Jefferies himself. Anyone who missed this, I would urge you to catch it on ITV Player; it is undoubtedly one of the year’s highlights in television. More like this please, ITV and I’m looking forward to seeing Jason Watkins find even more success in the near future after such a spot on and loving portrayal.
MORE: A piece I wrote for Huffington Post on the message this drama gives out and the importance of knowing that not everyone who is arrested is necessarily guilty; no matter how strange they look: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/duncan-lindsay/christopher-jefferies_b_6326090.html
The Chase Christmas Special
They’ve been reindeer, toilet roll holders, grinches, Captain Hook and drag queens but this year the Chasers toned it down. Well, a little. Shaun Wallace was dressed, as he described it, as ‘The Purple One’ from Quality Street, Anne Hegerty was sparklier than Julian Clary’s arts and crafts cupboard, Paul Sinha sported a hideously sequiny cravat and The Beast was as camp as The Boxing Day sale at Go Outdoors. Paula Lane must have thought she were still in character as drugged up Kylie in Corrie when she saw them coming across that bridge. It was all for charity though as the four quiz titans took on a selection of celebrities in the year’s most festive quizzy event and, as always, it was a joy. The beauty of The Chase is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously and yet, even with hideous costumes, tongue in cheek jokes and the gloriously panto Bradley Walsh, it still managed to educate and create tension in equal measure. Paul Sinha was nearly the man who stole Christmas as he only just was toppled in the Final Chase; the celebs netting a tidy Christmas sum for some very worthwhile charities. Better luck next year, Sinnerman! Although…not TOO much.
It’s all been kicking off in the Dales. Whatever happened to the slightly bratty but generally well behaved Belle Dingle, born in a pig sty and singing Christmas Carols (badly) as Tom King was thrown from a window at Home Farm? This year, she’s dealing with the spectre of her murdered pal Gemma who, as a voice in Belle’s head, has far more screen presence than she ever did when she was alive. Belle’s battle with her own mental health has led her to whack Lachlan with a tin of custard, destroy her own artwork, jump from cricket pavilions and, worst of all, advance on Edna with a corkscrew. Eden Taylor Draper has really been showing what she is made of in this latest storyline and things are only set to get worse for troubled Belle.
Elsewhere, Aaron has been getting hot and sweaty with the odious Robert while the other gay in the village was presented with a kiss from best pal Victoria. Meanwhile, Nicola is pregnant and that is bringing all of the joys one would expect from a Jimmy/Bernice/Nicola storyline. This is a genius trio and Bernice, in particular, has never been funnier than when she was pretending to Andy that she was pregnant with twins. Something tells me it’s not going to be funny for long as it seems Bernice genuinely isn’t over Andy. Bit of a bad thing, considering his upcoming Christmas wedding to doomed Katie…
Christmas is usually a time of joy and harmony in Walford but the sight of Nasty Nick pawing all over Mrs Doyle is enough to put anyone off their turkey for years to come. The leather jacket sporting killer/cafe destroyer/mum poisoner was getting a bit bored being holed up in his Maw’s gaffe so, despite supposedly being dead, he went out for a daylight stroll. In a place like Walford, this inevitably did not go undiscovered as Ian Beale spotted his old nemesis (one of many) and soon Phil Mitchell was, for some reason, on the case.
Ian had problems elsewhere as his son Peter had been revealed as Lucy’s drug dealer and, even worse, went on to break a window which means Ian’s heating bills can only sky rocket. Lauren was none too impressed either and, despite her own understandings of addiction, promptly dumped muscle man Pete.
The Carters were also at the forefront of drama for a change as Tosh lost her temper with Tina once more and gave her a hell of a beating. It was a well played storyline by the actresses involved and, as an added bonus, led to Tosh departing the Square for good. Elsewhere in the family, Linda is still suffering in silence while Shirley has met her Alzheimers suffering mum. Mick thinks he has too, little knowing his real mum has been under his nose all of this time.
There are a lot of Carter secrets rumbling along; I wonder on which day towards the end of this year that they might come tumbling out…
Kim Tate rocked up in Weatherfield to take on Gail yesterday and, while I was hoping she was about to do to Gail what she did to late hubby Frank, it emerged that Claire King is playing a whole new character. Fun loving Erica is a mischievous pal of Liz McDonald’s and has already set her sights on everyone’s favourite Bistro owner Nick. She’s brought some brilliant and positive energy and fun to the cobbles and anyone that promises a feud with Gail has got to be worth it. The fact she is played by one of my favourite actresses is just a bonus; hang onto her for dear life Corrie. I don’t care if you don’t crash trams or minibuses for a decade, your budget needs to invest on some excellent characters…
After all, we are dealing with more dreary material from the hypocritical Nazir family, who have decided that Alya’s new love Gary is the new incarnation of Satan himself, for no legitimate reason. With the exception of Alya, I cannot warm to this clan. Kal is dull for 95% of the time and the other 5% I wish he were duller as the only glimpses of a personality are bad traits. Yasmeen is exaggerated and left wallowing in painful community stories and I am just largely indifferent to Zeedan who is just…there.
Elsewhere, Daniel Brocklebank and Sean Ward are making their mark on the Cobbles as Sean Tully falls for a man of the cloth and Callum sets the wheels in motion for a dramatic exit for Kylie. Julie is head over heels in love with the wonderful Devendra, Ken isn’t feeling too well, Tracy and Carla are kind of awkward BFFs and Roy is about to take Gary on in a game of cricket that he will never forget.
The Simpsons Guy
Okay, I am a bit late to the party with this one but I managed to catch The Simpsons and Family Guy crossover this week too; and, before giving judgement, find it important to remember that this is predominantly an episode of Family Guy with guest appearances from The Simpsons. Therefore, the reviews of horror at controversial jokes and violence should really be taken with a pinch of salt; this was not so much a crossover as ‘what would The Simpsons be like if they were in Family Guy.’
It was very generous to fans of both shows, taking digs in equal measure at each other and providing some nice storyline segments including Stewie idolising then pushing away Bart and the lovely Lisa telling Meg that she really does matter. As well as this Brian become unamused by the lack of personality exuded by Santa’s Little Helper and Peter and Homer came to blows over beer, which was inevitable really. Oh, and Stewie told Moe jokingly that his sister was being raped. Which, while not cool, was very Family Guy and rather than being an offensive mishap was actually a pretty blatant look at how the two shows really are different, particularly in the tone. The fact that Bart Simpson was on the screen is what makes this controversial as such material would never appear in The Simpsons. Take anyone out with bright yellow skin and the joke would just have been one in a long line of Family Guy’s close to the knuckle gags, which not everyone is a fan of.
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Written By Our Man In The North