Well, here we are again, time to cast a beady eye over the lathered remains of the most recent goings on. Out of the debris of crashed minibuses, Ronnie Mitchell’s coma and numerous attempts at coital endeavours from Jimmy and Nicola in Emmerdale, I’ve passed my judgements. Being that my opinions count for everything, here is the official (not really) lowdown of what’s set soapland on fire and what’s left it in the January cold…
What I’ve LOVED
We all love a good spoiler or two and I was sitting at a recent Coronation Street press event rubbing my hands together with glee as the episode previews rolled but as you watch the drama unfold live, you end up feeling pretty empty when everything that has been promised will happen comes to pass. On one hand, you’re pleased that the soap producers haven’t lied to you. That’s always nice. On the other, though, you’re hoping to be caught off guard with a curveball that you weren’t expecting. So thank heavens for recent Emmerdale (and to a large extent, EastEnders too) for throwing in viewer surprises into their episodes and keeping the buzz of live soap viewing alive. Rachel Breckle rocking up to the trial of Charity and getting her sent down was a stroke of genius, especially as Emma Atkins had gone to the effort of concealing her pregnancy so no one knew she’d be going on maternity leave. Now there’s dedication to the secret. Then came the revelation that baby Archie is in fact a fake (he would’ve gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those pesky Spencers) and Megan’s subsequent snatching of the fraud baby. Next week, the surprises keep coming in the form of an exploding caravan, a shock exit and some really delicious stuff that I’m sworn to secrecy over. Keep it up Emmerdale!
Akin to over indulging in turkey, chocolates, Christmas pud and that ninth unnecessary glass of Baileys, Christmas Day is a time of an exhausting deluge of soaps. In exchange for making us sit through three whole hours of it (and if you’re a Downton Abbey fan, you’ll have been nursing square eyes on Boxing Day), we are assured that the episodes will be worth it by delivering epic festive drama, warmth, disaster and surprises by the bucket load.
If we’re going to be giving up our precious Christmas evenings (hey, I’m a busy man, I got a drinking game of Jenga as a gift) then the soaps should be pulling out all of the stops. It is an annual tradition that soaps pull out their big guns on the 25th December after all but this year has given us a bit of a mixed bag with my usual favourite Coronation Street falling disastrously flat while EastEnders lived up to it’s huge trailers and beyond, leaving me tired with so many family twists exploding out of the woodwork. Let’s take a closer (and, bitchier) look at what the three main shows had to offer…
Emmerdale: Bernice sleeps with Santa and Katie’s wedding ring calls her the village bike
In an unusual tradition for Emmerdale, a couple had chosen to get married on Christmas Day (it was a whole year since this had happened), well and truly stealing Jesus’ thunder. It was Andy ‘wife beater’ Sugden and Katie ‘village bike’ Addyman’s second attempt at this whole matrimony thing and, much like last time, Andy’s spiteful brother Robert was an unwelcome spectre over proceedings albeit with a different face.
The siblings had been scrapping on their parent’s graves with one of them dressed as Geri Halliwell the previous night (keep it classy lads) so it was fair to say that relations between them weren’t exactly great on the day of the wedding. However, Robert’s bit of rough, Aaron, was on hand to give his part time nemesis and part time lover some words of advice that his ongoing venomous attitude is affecting his lil sister Victoria and so he offered full apologies to be taken back under Andy’s bulging bicep of a wing again.
What has been the most awkward party that you have ever been to? In my yoof (not very many years ago, I may add) I went to a house party, given that I was such a cool kid. Apparently my friend’s parents had not been informed of this impromptu shindig and, when we started pouring ourselves refreshments (lemonade, of course) they came downstairs to investigate in full bondage gear.
Oh how we all laughed. A few years on, I’m not laughing anymore as I have learned just how uncomfortable those leather straps and shackles can be so I have nothing but sympathy for Mr and Mrs (CENSORED) but my point is, no matter how awkward a party you think you have attended, nothing could quite top the sheer cringe factor of the Carter get together in last night’s EastEnders.
Well meaning but sadly clueless Mick decided that the stunning Stacey needed some help in securing a bloke as it’s not like she has other things on her mind at the moment. Thinking that she and Dean are destined to be (again), Mick planned a drinks party upstairs and brought them together, a situation which poor Linda was shoehorned into. I could barely watch as the weasel like Dean plonked himself comfortably beside Linda on the sofa, causing her to understandably recoil in horror.
Stealing looks at her and warning Linda that they have to be careful, Dean really does seem to have deluded himself that Linda was a willing participant in their recent vile encounter. Things couldn’t be further from the truth, and the fact of the matter was that Linda faced the agony of being left alone in a room with her rapist for a prolonged period of time.
I bet I wasn’t the only person who spent last night’s EastEnders episode willing any member of the Carter family to just look at Linda. Properly look at her. She was practically catatonic – no makeup, still in her slippers, no trace of her usual sparkle and peppiness. “Mum’s hungover,” said the kids. “I need you with me today, L,” said Mick. To be fair to Mick, he was a tad distracted by the disappearance of his “sister” Shirley, who’d done a runner after shooting Phil Mitchell. “It’s not like she’s my mother,” he said to Dean. Oh, the dramatic irony. But Mick, who loves Linda to bits, still wasn’t looking at her. Not properly. Because if he was, he’d have seen that she was suffering and she needed him and she wanted him to just stop for a moment so she could tell him why. Continue reading
While we were dragging ourselves from the comfort of our beds and into the grips of a wet, wintry Monday morning, the residents of Walford were still stuck on the same day that started over two weeks since.
It seems like an age ago that we were writing about the horrendous prospect of Phil Mitchell stripping at Sharon’s hen do and yet here we are, just a day on, as the most eventful day in EastEnders history continued to throw powerful drama our way. If a wedding, the reveal of an affair, a shooting, the death of a dog, a blossoming new romance, a couple splitting up, a text from Peggy Mitchell and a fugitive on the run wasn’t enough to cram into one day, Walford writers hit us with the most emotive punch yet, as Dean’s breakdown led to a harrowing attack on landlady Linda Carter. Continue reading
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. Continue reading