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EastEnders: Old enough to be your mother

“Don’t ask me to work in your restaurant,” Kathy told Ian towards the end of last night’s episode. “I worked in the caff and a bus crashed into it. I worked in the chippy and a car crashed into it…”

It did, as well. Kathy had the grazes on her face to prove it, but luckily the deep fat fryer stayed intact otherwise it could have been a lot worse.

Kush sustained a dislocated shoulder, and when Denise finally decided to kiss him, she inevitably chose the dislocated side to go in from, although she’d been at the other side of the bed for the rest of the evening. This made him wince. But not as much as Carmel is going to make them both wince when she finds out her best mate and her number one son are an item.  Continue reading

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UK Soaps: A year where being a beautiful young woman meant death

EmmerdaleAnyone who is anyone in the UK British soap magazine world knows that today, the results of the Inside Soap Awards 2014 are revealed, about half a year since they were launched. I call them the Inside Soap Awards 2014, but I prefer to know them as ‘The ‘Which Soap has the most dedicated multi-voting fans awards 2014.’

Either way, it’s got me thinking (dangerous stuff, I know) about the last year in the world of soap. Here, I reflect on a year of underwater escapades, murders of beautiful young women, collapsing attic floors, rooftop death dramas, dramatic house fires and Steve McDonald.

I know, given the fact that I write here about all soaps, that I should display some degree of impartiality, but I’ll openly declare that I have mostly voted Emmerdale this year. So, that’s as good a place to start as any. It’s been a blockbuster year in Britain’s most eventful village and not a leek show in sight. Instead of village fetes and sheep shearing, we’ve seen armed sieges, rooftop plunges and Charity Macey getting slapped about the chops with her husband’s meat tenderiser.   Continue reading

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EastEnders: Unmissable

ian peter eastendersIt’s the morning after the EastEnders the night before, and my jaw is still on the floor next to the pile of soggy tissues. It was, quite simply, the best half hour of drama I’ve ever seen in a TV soap.

Producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins said, “We’re doing it forensically. The minutiae. We’re doing grief first; it’s not a silly death. It’s about death in a family,” and he wasn’t kidding. The episode focused on the immediate aftermath of Lucy Beale’s death: the police telling her father, Ian, and Ian telling the rest of the family. I’d expected to feel sad and tearful. What I hadn’t expected to feel was such a sense of dread at various points – when Ian had to face going to the peter ian eastendersmortuary to see Lucy’s body, when he had to tell his other children. Even when his phone rang and he wasn’t ready to talk to anyone. It was grief shown like it really is. Almost the most poignant scene was when Ian was sitting in the waiting area at the mortuary with the police officer, and they made small talk about where she grew up and the places they both knew. He even smiled at the memories, but you could see behind the smile was the realisation that nothing in his life would ever be the same again. It was utterly real, and the performance from Adam Woodyatt as Ian was incredible and intense in every facial expression and every gesture. All the peripheral details added to the brilliant work from the lead actors – little things like the policeman washing up the tea mugs, or the look on Lauren’s face when she saw Ian coming into the pub to look for his son, Peter (lovely work from Ben Hardy).   Continue reading

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EastEnders: The war of the Beales

*Contains spoilers* He’s a little weasel, that Ian Beale, isn’t he? “Snivelling” is practically his middle name. Whether he’s sneaking off for sordid little assignations with Ronnie and Roxie’s mother or parading a prostitute around to try and pretend he’s got himself a high-quality girlfriend, he really is a pathetic specimen.

And yet… I can’t dislike him. Maybe it’s because sometimes you get a glimpse that he really does have a good heart – he genuinely loves Jane, and he thought he was doing the right thing and supporting Lucy over her abortion, and he did his best to protect Ben from the thuggery of Phil Mitchell. Sometimes he’s really sweet. And sometimes he’s cynical and snappy and conniving, and I quite like that, as well (in a fictional character, you understand). Even his attempt to divide the house down the middle was a bit limp, featuring as it did just a strip of masking tape down the middle of the dining table. Has he not seen Steptoe and Son?

I like Jane, too. What’s not to like about Jane? She’s genuine, kind, loving, a loyal friend. In a neighbourhood packed full of murderers, thugs, philanderers, the deluded and Janine, Jane is about the nearest thing Walford has to a normal person.

The Beales have been a family at war ever since I resumed watching the show at the start of 2010. They have more ups and downs than the lift at Walford East tube station (or is it an escalator? Have we ever seen it?). Currently it’s all looking a bit terminal, what with Jane picking men up in the pub, Ian picking women up from an agency (how sad, when Heather is available, too).

This week, in an attempt to escape the depressing reality of her disintegrating marriage, Jane tells Masood that they should run away together. Of course this isn’t possible, as no-one would get their post if Masood wasn’t there, and anyway, he loves Zainab, for reasons best known to himself. Despite being all shouty and intolerant and that, Zainab is a bit of a man-magnet, and as well as Masood she also has Slimy Dr Yusuf after her (he is after her, isn’t he? Or is he just after splitting the Masoods up because he’s slimy?). When Yusuf spots Jane and Masood having a cosy, yet regretful, cuddle, it’s just ammunition for more marriage meddling.

Posted by PLA          (more EastEnders here)

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Eastenders: You’ve been framed!

Doesn’t Lucas watch Coronation Street? If he did, he’d see that it’s never a good idea to order somebody flowers and pretend it’s from their dead relative (whom they think is still alive). They’ll find out eventually, and then you’ll have some explaining to do. Lucas has been caught out on a florist’s CCTV ordering flowers to be sent from someone he murdered earlier.

As a recent convert to Eastenders, my knowledge of who Lucas killed and why is somewhat sketchy (mainly gleaned from phone calls to my parents, in between news about the dog’s health and petty crime in the area). What I do know is that Sugar the dog got a bit too close to digging up Something Nasty in the Square, and Lucas had to make Sugar disappear as well.

The fun thing about Lucas (as a character) is that he’s the local Man of God, being a Pentecostal preacher and all. But his soul currently very much belongs to the man downstairs.

Elsewhere on the Square, Ian Beale had a cunning psychological tactic to persuade schoolgirl daughter Lucy that carrying on with her pregnancy and giving the baby to him and his wife Jane to bring up wasn’t the greatest plan. Promising a cosy family night around the telly, he popped out for fish and chips and a DVD, the DVD being of his employee Marie giving birth. It’s safe to assume that Lucy’s brother Peter has been scarred for life (and probably put off chips forever) by the experience, but it had a different effect on everyone else. Ian and Jane became all tearful about the miracle of birth, and Lucy, after pausing to throw up, calmly commented that she’d seen worse birth videos at school. The lesson she took from this one was to demand all the drugs the hospital offered.

Young people, eh? While Lucy was getting to grips with major life decisions, outside in the Square those Balham types who hang around with Billy Jackson were busy spraying graffiti on the Arthur Fowler Memorial Bench. This is absolute sacrilege, and the sooner they get back to Sarf London the better.

In the flat above the Queen Vic, two old queens were glumly contemplating the fact that they’re redundant from the pub they love. Roxy understandably can’t quite cope with the bust of Queen Victoria being in the pub any longer, what with it being the object that killed her father and everything. And Peggy Mitchell can’t cope with being in a pub full of loud, young people who laugh at her cowboy outfit. But in the midst of strife, a hero will appear, and Danny, Archie’s son, has promised to help the two old dears regain their rightful place.

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