We all like a drink at New Year and it’s been a particularly rocky new year in Walford (or a normal one by EastEnders standards) so we can’t really blame any of the Albert Square residents for getting a little bit sloshed but Denise took it a wee bit too far this evening. Yep, the Vic is often home to people making a bit of a spectacle of themselves (we’re looking at you Sonia ‘Gastric Band’ Fowler) and it was Denise’s turn today.
Having had a face off with Kim about the bruises on Patrick’s arms, Denise sought solace in the bottom of a bottle and wasted no time in lashing out at all and sundry before falling unceremoniously from her stool. This sobering moment gave Denise a bit of a wake up call and sent her back home with her drunken tail between her legs but one thing was sure; something needed to change where Patrick’s care was concerned. Denise cannot go on like this; but where will this leave everyone’s favourite Trueman?
The main action in Walford however was in Dexter’s exit. Naw, just kidding, it was the car crash obviously but we’ll cover Dexter’s departure first and he pulled off something I never thought possible in his final appearance; he was actually somewhat likeable. He spent his last few moments not thinking of himself; which is largely what he has done during his entire infuriating Walford tenure, but reuniting dying Stan with Cora. Cora was considering joining Dexter in Newcastle (given my close proximity to the Toon, I’m a tad worried at how close Dex will be to me) but we know that her stony but slightly soft centred heart lies with Stanny Boy.
They were united with a mix-CD (modern!) at the subway station and went back to Walford to face their uncertain but tender looking, if only short term, future.
EastEnders’ New Year special had more twists and turns than a giant’s intestine as Ronnie and Charlie’s wedding day spiralled shockingly out of control; spelling death, destruction and more red herrings than Morrisons’ fish counter.
Ronnie was getting married and, for some inexplicable reason, was so desperate to see the back of Nasty Nick that she stole 100k from Phil and handed all of the cash over to Walford’s least trustworthy resident. Quite how Ronnie assumed Phil wouldn’t notice such a substantial dip in finances was never really addressed but when the truth did dawn on Mr Potato Head, all hell broke loose.
Ronnie had tied the knot with Charlie boy, watched by guests such as Sharon Watts, Billy ‘spare part’ Mitchell and Mrs Doyle. She got somewhat distracted when she saw Nick lurking about (seriously, this is a guy who is better at lurking around corners and behind doors than Sideshow Bob from The Simpsons. I half expected him to stand on a rake) which proved the point that paying him to go away was never really going to work.
Ruthless Ronnie may have slammed a car boot down on a two bit criminal last New Year, but Nasty Nick, Albert Square’s most notorious villain, is a different kettle of fish altogether. This is a chap who has no qualms about poisoning his mother, blowing up a cafe or faking his own death; a few words of warning from a blonde in a wedding dress won’t see him off. Still, Phil can be quite scary, so when Nick overheard Ronnie giving Phillip permission to kill Nick, he sprung into action. As cutting the brakes of Mark Fowler’s motorcycle all those years back had worked out so well for Nick (his son, Ashley ended up being killed), Nick sliced the brakes of Ronnie’s wedding car before swooping off into the shadows.
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.
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
It’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 mortuary 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