What a gloriously tacky but enjoyable two hour marathon of television I enjoyed last night. Starting with a special hour long episode of Emmerdale and culminating with the mid way finale of Waterloo Road, drama was in it’s abundance for me…and it was all about the veterans!
Emmerdale first, and you may remember me popping my PLA posting cherry earlier this year with a post on Natasha Wylde propelling some steaming hot lead into her husband’s back. Well yes, that storyline is still going on…but it reached the beginning of the end in tremendous style last night. Emmerdale is a very strong show right now with brilliant actors, production and writing so it can survive without Amanda Donohoe…but heck I’m still going to miss her from my screen so much so that I’m considering starting a feature called lady Lustbox so I can fully explain my love for her. Even more obsessively I could do a weekly Donohoe-Watch to see where she pops up next. But I digress.
It was Natasha’s final episode last night and for those who avoided spoilers, which I mostly did, it was a surprising turn of events. She had coldly watched young Ryan get sent down for the murder she committed and thought she was home free. Until it transpired that her vile son Nathan was in the clutches of the marginally less but still vile Cain Dingle. Cain was all Lock, Stock and planning to torture Nathan in numerous ways to get a confession out of his smarmy gob. He contemplated wire cutters, pliers and a big spanner but ultimately decided that the worst form of punishment was getting Nathan’s screechy sis Maisie into the picture. As she weilded an oversized plank of wood, Maisie finally heard the secret in it’s full glory…Natasha is the real culprit. Add in Natasha and young Will (who also played a blinder) to the barn of shockers and the showdown was unmissable.
Amanda Donohoe stole the show, with some remarkable final scenes as the scorned woman. There was a point when it looked like she was going to set Nathan up for the crime and do a runner (and what a perfect ending that would have been!) but Maisie ended up reporting her to the police and Natasha was taken away. I’d have loved for her to stay in Emmerdale longer but Amanda Donohoe doesn’t tend to stick around anywhere for long. So with one exit down, there are three Wyldes still to go. And if this departure is anything to go by, I can’t wait to see what Emmerdale conjures up for the rest.
Over to Waterloo Road and my Amanda Donohoe love was shifted to Amanda Burton (first names inclusive, don’t you think they’re remarkably similar actresses?) who, as always, pretty much managed to carry the episode. But this is slightly unfair as the real (and unsung) hero of the episode had to be Phillip Martin Brown, aka Grantly Budgen. His love for wife Fleur and dedication to his marriage has been heartwarming and heartbreaking throughout this series and his dreadful situation was the main focus of the episode as he not only realised that he couldn’t afford to pay for her care home but also that his job was at risk as he had been teaching his students the wrong syllabus.
It all went spectacularly wrong for poor Grantly and Phillip Martin Brown put in a really sterling and genuine performance of a man trying his best to do right, but ultimately getting it so wrong. By the end of the episode, thanks to the glorious Steph Haydock, the school had clubbed together and we saw the first genuine smile (I think ever) from Grantly. And as if that wasn’t emotional enough, the episode closed with Karen coming face to face with her lost daughter, Sarah Platt from Corrie. Powerful stuff throughout.
These two hours of quality acting from Amanda Donohoe, Amanda Burton, Phillip Martin Brown and Denise Welch prove that the true acting skills lie with the professional, genuine veterans of the acting business. You can give out awards and TV magazine covers to the young, model-like celebs who are in it for the fame, not the acting game as much as you like but time and time again they will be blown out of the water by skilled actors who don’t need a polished trophy to prove their acting worth.
Watching their memorable performances is just simply enough.
Posted By Our Man In the North, who must insist that he isn’t stealing PLA’s Waterloo Road post as he thinks the episode was good enough to warrant two blog posts