What on earth have the writers of EastEnders got against Gus and his elderly dog, Wellard? Over the last few weeks they have decided to hand him over to monstrous psychopath, Sean – a cartoon character that belongs in a low-grade horror movie. Why?
Gus, who regular viewers of ‘Enders know as a happy-go-lucky, poetic road sweeper has been prodded, poked, imprisoned, and now tortured by Sean. His dog, Wellard, has been threatened with a stick, yanked around the square in a way you just shouldn’t treat old dogs, and locked in a cupboard without food or water for what seemed like the best part of the day. This has bewildered me.
Have the writers been taking their cues from Hostel or the Saw movies? Who thought this horrible, uncomfortable, and downright nasty storyline was right for an early-evening family soap opera? “Things have got stale in the square,” someone says, “let’s torture Gus.”
In the twenty-odd years I’ve been watching this show, there have been plenty of dreadful and unpleasant storylines: Stella’s bullying of Ben that left you feeling dirty after watching it, the disasterous Ferera family of Asian stereotypes, Kevin being gut-punched by the engine block of a Ford Focus, Pat naked in bed with Frank, but Gus’s trip down the rabbithole of Sean’s one dimensional psychosis takes the biscuit.
This storyline is vile. It interrupts the flow of the show. It lands in peril two minor characters that you felt assured weren’t there to be put in peril. And certainly not by brutal shitbags like Sean – the most badly handled character the show has ever produced.
I don’t want to see Gus being tied up, beaten, bullied, and imprisoned. I feel cheated by the EastEnders writers. I was so angry with the treatment of Wellard, I wrote the BBC a letter. That’s right - a letter. Good, if ultimately useless characters like Gus aren’t there to be shown the instruments by bad and completely useless characters like Sean. They’re there to attend stag nights, fill out the numbers in the Vic, and drink the health of more important characters when they either marry, or die.
What next? Phil battering Keith and Ghenghis to death with a pool cue?