The demise of the beloved Fat Pat was both swift and agonisingly slow. Swift because, although she’d had a few dodgy moments with the old ticker, it wasn’t until a doctor officially told her she officially had cancer that she started to go downhill fast. So fast, in fact, that I’m entirely put off doctors. They can apparently kill you just by telling you you’re not well. Pat went from her usual lumbering round the Square under the weight of enormous earrings and the cares of the world, to slumping over the kitchen sink sporting the finest blue rings around her eyes a makeup artist has achieved since Night of the Living Dead.
Yet her actual death seemed to take forever. It was the longest hour of my life. The scriptwriters had apparently decided that Pam St Clement was due at least an Oscar, if not an All About Soap Bubble Award, for her moving and gritty portrayal of a woman expiring from The Big C (which, in Bianca’s interpretation, seemed to stand for Complications. Anyone enquiring about Pat’s health would be informed by Bianca that it was “’Er ‘eart. And… Complications”).
Pat refused to take her death lying down, and insisted on getting up to put the kettle on. “Pat!” everyone admonished her. “You should be resting!” Pat didn’t want to rest. Pat wanted a nice cuppa, or preferably gin. You can’t blame her, really.
The entire neighbourhood called by, ostensibly to pay their respects, but mainly to work out their own personal issues via the medium of Literally Staring Death In The Face. Tanya obviously found it an upsetting experience, both because Pat is one of the few people in Walford with a worse reputation than she has and because she, too, is suffering from The Big C. Derek Branning called in to be even more horrible than usual, and Dot had some kind words and a Bible so Pat wouldn’t go to the hereafter unprepared. Janine, still filled with the spirit of Christmas, popped round to repossess Pat’s house, but even she was forced to reveal her softer side when Pat told her she was the only daughter she’d ever known (erm, what about Diane, proudly displayed in a photo frame adjacent to Pat’s bedside?). Ian popped in for a blub, and Bianca spent a lot of the episode looming around the door frame looking like she had even more Complications than Pat.
And everyone was uttering the D word. Not death – not in front of the kids – but David, as in Wicks, as in the son of Pat, the father of Bianca, and the actor known as Michael French who plays Nick Jordan in Casualty. Every knock on the door, every approaching car, every close up of a shoe – surely this must be him? Nope, it’s Michael Moon. That one’s Ricky. Oh, it’s Ian back again. But finally – the Wicks who was never known as Wicksy (that was Our Simon) turned up. He was introduced to his grandchildren, but poor Whitney was left to introduce herself – presumably no-one could quite work out how to explain her. After a heart to heart with his dear old mum he decided he couldn’t ‘andle it and it took quite a tussle in the rain from Carol to get him to come back indoors, so Pat could die in his arms.
And she even had her own theme tune at the end.
Posted by PLA