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EastEnders: Denise is full of it, Emma is out of it and the Mitchells have had their Phil of it.

soaps-eastenders-nancy-carter-dexter-hartmanWe 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.

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EastEnders: A car crash of a New Year

7561295-low_res-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.

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EastEnders: Walford’s longest (and darkest) day

Linda-stumbles-and-finds-her-way-to-the-bathroomWhile 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

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EastEnders: Hot hens, suave stags and burning Kats

WK38-EASTENDERS-ALFIE-MICK-ROXY-MO-PETER-JOHNNY11Things were heating up in EastEnders last night. No, I’m not talking about that pesky fire but the prospect of Walford hunk Phil Mitchell stripping at his bride-to-be’s hen party.

Yes, believe it or not, the inexplicable Philip Mitchell aura had the ladies of the Queen Vic screaming for him to take his clothes off and reveal the perspiring joys beneath. However, while many ogling eyes were on an unimpressed Phil, there were no eyes on Sharon, who hadn’t turned up to her own hen night.

Sharon was over on the staircase at the stag party, not because of gender confusion but because she needed to confide in someone that she was getting colder feet than a nervous penguin. Of course, her confidante was none other than everyone’s good pal, Danny Dyer, who gave her the pep talk of her life.

Mick was a do-gooder in demand too, as he also had to contend with talking Alfie out of his foolproof plan of torching his own home. Turned out it was a little late for that, and the living room was already engulfed in flames as an oblivious Kat snoozed upstairs. With Kat’s level of make-up and aerosols both on her body and off, it was inevitable that the whole place would explode, and, when it did, Alfie’s tortured agony at the thought he had killed his own wife was played hauntingly well by Shane Richie.   Continue reading

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EastEnders and Coronation Street preview: What a blast!

soaps-eastenders-moon-house-fire-2WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS. Please do not read further if you prefer to avoid them. 

The aroma of plump sausages sizzling on the barbie, the feel of sand trickling between your toes (and the crunch of it in your sandwiches) and the blazing heat of the one solitary warm day we had are all distant memories. Our thoughts are turning from foreign holidays and ice bucket challenges to how we are going to occupy the slowly darkening evenings.

Cue the ambitious soap producer, determined to reel their temporarily errant, sun worshipping fans back in with an action packed autumn of drama. And Coronation Street and EastEnders are both really going for it this year.   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: Let it Buuuuuurn

I’m going to be a tad controversial here and also go against the blog’s own Twitter posting and say that the only thing that resembled disaster in last night’s episode of Eastenders was the script and the acting.

It was the hyped to death Queen Vic fire. For months we’ve been teased that something spectacular was to hit our screen…the disaster to end all soap disasters. In this case, I hope it does…if I have to sit through a similar shambolic half hour of ‘drama’ again, I’ll scream louder than Peggy Mitchell…and that’s saying something!

It could have been so good. So where did it all go wrong? Well any massive piece of drama that centres around Peggy Mitchell is always going to be a risk. Sure, Barbara Windsor can slap people, do funny giggles and order people out of her pub in a pantomime fashion but when it comes to the nitty gritty of powerful acting, she just can’t do it. The episode summed up just why it’s a good thing that we’re seeing the back of Peggy. The gurning, the hammy shrieks, the unfathomable lines that I still can’t work out…she was embarassingly OTT from start to finish. But she was not alone. Joining the ‘I can scream and shout as loud as possible so I’m a good actor’ brigade was pretty much the entire cast, with the sole exception of Lacey Turner who was the only one who convinced me she was genuinely terrified of her predicament.

But then, we can’t just blame the actors. The scripting was TERRIBLE. Point one…the fire would not have spread as fast as it did. I don’t care how much alcohol was lying around, the whole place was up within a minute. Secondly, any legal pub would have a SMOKE DETECTOR…most would have sprinklers so why no one became aware of imminent danger sooner is beyond me. Thirdly, there are three exits from the Vic so all this running round in circles just should not have happened. Fourthly, why was everyone standing right outside a pub that was about to explode? Fifthly, where was that fire brigade that was called pretty much at the start of the episode? Is there only one fire engine to cater for the whole of London?

It was a shambles. Half the time, it was unclear what was going on. The explosions may well have been good but we heard them more than we saw them so it’s hard to judge.  The cameraman appeared to either be drunk or recently sacked and deliberately screwing up on his last day. I couldn’t work out what most people were saying. And with the mass cast clearout they have just had, they didn’t even have the courage to kill anybody off! The contrived way that Peggy is being written out is pretty anticlimatic. You’ll know what I mean if you bother to tune in tonight, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

And finally, whoever wrote the script is obviously a Stephen King fan. From Phil smashing his way through a door in a blatant rip off of the Shining to Peggy growling ‘Let it Burn, Let it Buuuurn!’ at the end a la Carrie, the writing was horrific.

You can usually rely on Eastenders to provide stunning special episodes but if this is all the new producer can muster, then the signs don’t look good for the show’s imminent future. And if you can get through the latest trailer promoting a certain couple’s return without cringing yourself to death, I think you might just agree…

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