Tag Archives: BBC 1

Eastenders: Pat’s All Folks!

WARNING: this article contains SPOILERS

Sad news for Eastenders fans with the announcement that Pam St Clement is quitting her role as Fat Pat Butcher/Evans/whatever else, leaving a void huge in more ways than one.

While many regularly slapped cheeks on the Square may relax with the departure of part two of the ‘you bitch, you caaaahh!’ double act, it’s undoubtedly a big blow for a show which is going through an arguably rocky period.

Pat is a constant in Eastenders; one of those characters which it’s difficult to imagine the show without. They say that no character is bigger than the show, but Pat comes pretty damn close (and that is not a fat joke I’ll have you know!)

The character that takes in every waif and stray, dishes out advice to those in need and harsh words to those in the wrong. Think of a storyline or a family and Pat will have played a part somewhere.

And she’s had her own set of adventures along the way. Knocking down and killing innocent pedestrians ( a Butcher family trait which Frank and Janine kept strong. Ricky’s turn for a roadkill next!), having torrid affairs with her on/off husband, driving around in an ice cream van partially intoxicated, witnessing her husband drop dead of a heart attack and (worst of all) cornering Patrick Trueman in the car lot wearing nothing more than a fur coat are just a  few of her adventures. Pat will be missed, there is no doubt about it.

Certainly, the show will survive without her but I feel that her departure will signal a big transition period for the show where it’s firmly placed roots will begin to disappear. I am sure that it won’t be long until June Brown leaves as Dot either.

For me, Pat was Eastenders;  moreso than other so-called legends such as the preachy and irritating Dot, the pantomime Peggy and the permanently miserable Pauline. I just hope that she gets a truly fitting exit. Walking away after the pub blowing up or dropping dead suddenly in the snow just simply won’t be enough for our Pat.

For a special character deserves a special send off.

Posted By Our Man In The North

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The Apprentice 708: Unchained Melody

Melody, you're fired

I never feel entirely comfortable with The Apprentice until we reach this point in a series, when there are only eight contenders left and they all get a seat in the boardroom. It makes me edgy that until then, some of them have to stand. I don’t know why it makes me edgy, I’m not a psychologist or anything. Oh god so I am. Okay well I still don’t know, I just like it better now they can all sit equally, okay? Although of course there’s nothing equal in The Apprentice, not when you’ve got hilarious self-parodies like Melody Hossaini, whose claims to have worked for the UN and with Al Gore, the Dalai Lama and Mother Theresa hold water right up until the point when you think, hang on, you’ve swapped that for a chance to appear on a tawdry – if compelling – telly show?  Hmm. Something doesn’t quite add up here.

Anyway clearly Al, Mother Theresa and Jesus all breathed quiet little sighs of relief when Melody skipped on to her next global achievement, for she is the walking talking embodiment of the phrase ‘would try the patience of a saint.’ Her insanely high levels of self-confidence mean she has no room left for any of the more likeable human traits: a sense of irony, a sense of fair play, humility, and a theory of mind (the understanding that not everyone thinks exactly like oneself. Told you I was a psychologist). She is so pushy she makes the showbiz mother in Gypsy look reticent; so big-headed, Jeffrey Archer is a relative model of modesty. In short, she is Top Telly.

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The Apprentice 701: Return of the twonks

Ah! There’s just nothing else like it. It’s just utterly glorious Top Telly. An intensely wound-up woman, neck muscles about to pop, tells you she has no life outside work; but before you can tell her how sorry you are to hear it, you realise she thinks this is a good and clever thing. Then an earnest chap takes off his specs and says, ‘Underneath  these glasses is a core of steel’ and you immediately say, ‘No there isn’t sonny, there’s a pair of slightly mad eyes and a shiny nose, get back to make-up for another go with the powder puff.’ And then you relax into the sofa, safe in the knowledge that you have weeks – weeks! – of sheer joyous twonkery ahead of you.

The first week of the Apprentice is always a blur of twonkishness, with sixteen similarly-suited people vying to be edited in the least favourable light. This makes it hard to work out who’s who, but here are my fleeting impressions, divided, as is the Apprentice way, along gender lines.

The women:

  • Melody is the one who did everything and wants us to know that. She is reminiscent of Cleopatra, though with far higher levels of insane self-confidence than the comparatively self-effacing Queen of the Nile.
  • Edna has an expressive face which she mainly uses to express the belief that her team-mates are twonks. Which, fair play to her, they are.
  • Susie is being played by Tina from Glee and is enjoyably un-sycophantic to the Monstrous Melody Ego.
  • Helen resembles Mrs Tweedy from Chicken Run – not an original observation alas – and is as tightly strung as a free-range fowl suspended from a butcher’s hook. She’s the one who says she has no social life, though we had already kind of guessed that from the visuals.
  • There is a very young-looking blonde woman whose only contribution so far has been to suck up to Melody.
  • There’s a woman who ‘isn’t from round here’ [eg she is Northern], and alternates between looking terrified and terrifying. Could be a contender.
  • Two dark-haired women of whom I have no other memory whatsoever also appeared.

As a seasoned campaigner of five of the previous six series I must point out that the ultimate winner is always somewhat invisible in the first episode. So one of the ones I can’t remember properly will win if the winner’s to be a woman, which it won’t be because Shugs will be appointing a male business partner. You heard it here first.

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Doctor Who (6.1): A dash of Aslan, a touch of Munch and bucketloads of brilliance

That Steven Moffat does love a good mystery doesn’t he? We’re back with a bang (or three) and already we have a gazillion questions. Why did the future Doctor invite Amy, Rory, River and his younger self to Utah to watch him die at the hands of the mysterious astronaut? Who is inside the spacesuit? Why was the younger Doctor late for this appointment? Is the Stormcage actually a prison or is it more like witness protection (guard on the phone: “You better get down here sir. She’s doing it again. Dr Song, sir. She’s packing…”) she certainly seems to be able to leave whenever she choses?

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Zen: Bittersweet like dark chocolate

Oh parting is indeed such sorrow… I can only hope that we’re saying au revoir rather than farewell to Zen.

This third episode, Ratking, was a tapestry of different emotions – suspense, creepiness, regret, melancholy, lust, cheekiness and that special blend of suavity and nonchalence that Rufus Sewell does so well.

Ratking employs the now familiar formula – bad thing happens, man from the Ministry puts Zen on the case, lots of different people hope for different outcomes, Zen and Tania tease us with a little bare flesh, Zen cracks the case and uses his success as a lever to make his world a slightly happier place.

This week’s second bad thing is the shooting of a lawyer (insert your own cheap joke here) – who was on his way to drop off a five million Euro ransom for his kidnapped employer (an industrialist whose money greases party wheels – and first bad thing obviously). Apparently it’s illegal to pay ransoms in Italy – who knew? – but getting murdered for your trouble does seem a little harsh.

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Raven: Ruffled Feathers

raven_water_800I’ve had ravens on the brain of late. I’m pleased that my son has returned to watching Raven on CBBC, because there aren’t many children’s programmes where mothers can legitimately enjoy a man striding about dramatically in black leather spouting nonsense about ‘The Way of the Warrior’. Yes of course it’s overacting to an absurd degree, but somehow James Mackenzie manages to do it without looking like an arse. 

merlinThe second raven has come about via the welcome return of a new series of Merlin on BBC1 Saturday evenings. Both Harry Potter and Agatha Christie films feature a roll call of Great British Actors that frankly become intrusive and irritating. You can’t escape into a film where you’re star-spotting. But Merlin seems to feature some really good actors (Anthony Head as Uther Pendragon, Richard Wilson as Gaius and the voice of John Hurt as the Great Dragon) without making a fuss about it.

Mackenzie Crook was in episode one, playing a petty thief whose body gets taken over by the spirit of Cornelius Sigan. He is an evil sorcerer whose symbol is a raven. What it is about these birds?

I kept expecting Crook to take his eye out a la Pirates of the Caribbean, but other than that, he plays Evil incarnate blindingly well and facial hair rather suits him. I also like the fact that the main actors in Merlin (Colin Morgan as Merlin, Bradley James as Arthur, Angel Coulby as Guinevere) are young, unknown and rather cute.  But best of all, I like a Saturday evening programme that we all watch as a family, clutching cushions en masse to our faces during the scary bits.

Posted by Inkface

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