Posts Tagged ‘Bianca’

Just A Thought – EastEnders

September 25, 2008

Have you noticed anything familiar about the storyline that’s unfolding in the Jackson household at the moment? No? Then let me enlighten you …

1999 – Carol Jackson returns to the square with a new man in tow called Dan. Carol has had several children, all by different fathers. Carol is blissfully happy until she discovers Dan has been fucking about with her daughter behind her back. The shit hits the fan.

2008 – Bianca Jackson, daughter of Carol, returns to the square with a new man in tow called Tony. Bianca has had several children, all by different fathers. Bianca is blissfully happy until she discovers Tony has been fucking about with her step-daughter behind her back. The shit (presumably) hits the fan.

A coincidence? A lesson to us all that the child is destined to repeat the mistakes of the parent?

Or just the lazy sods that write EastEnders recycling exactly the same fucking storyline a decade later and hoping nobody will notice?

You decide.

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EastEnders – September ’08

September 17, 2008

On Friday night, a new story-thread began in Eastenders. Bianca’s other half – Tony – was released from prison after doing a 12-month lump of bird.

We’ve been hearing that he was locked up for a beat down on a young man who was trying it on with Whitney – Bianca’s 15 year old, ironically-named daughter. The news was always delivered suspiciously when discussed, paving the way for the big-eared lunk to make himself known as one of the dodgiest characters ever to tread the hallowed paving of the Square.

I watched on catch up, and as a result had already read an article in the Guardian’s Weekend magazine about discussions the Eastenders bosses had implemented to ensure the story is handled with sensitivity. The actor who plays Tony came across very well in interview – well aware of the danger such a part might mean for him. Whitney’s parents, the article pointed out, asked that she isn’t required to do any publicity for the plot line. A wise move. The overall impression was that this was all being handled with kid gloves (if you’ll pardon the pun) and with a depth of psychological precision that would ensure the topical subject matter wasn’t treated lightly.

Yet again, it’s a case of not believing everything you read.

I’ve seen Friday, Monday and Tuesdays’ episodes now and, if I’m not mistaken, Eastenders appears to have turned into the imaginary paedo-sitcom someone dreamed up in our comments section last week (with tongue firmly in cheek, I ought to add).

Chris Coghill is a good actor – there’s no disputing that. He carries off the persona of a grown man stuck with the maturity and inclinations of a 14 year old boy with something approaching aplomb. Shona McGartney as Whitney is also pulling out all the stops – believably experiencing those rushes of love and resentment that are pretty much on tap when you’re that age. But despite the skill displayed by the staff, there are some real problems going on here.

Whitney looks (at the very least) 16 years of age – like a young adult. After a bit of googling, I find that the actress will be celebrating her 18th birthday next month. She doesn’t look like a child. In a cursory (and disturbing) piece of dialogue, Tony said ‘you don’t look like the 12 year old girl I fell in love with’ before asking her to remove her make up. Fair enough, there’s something interesting going on with the story here, in terms of Tony not being able to bear his prey growing up. But really, it feels like we’re dealing with a Woody Allen here, rather than an Ian Huntley. It renders the really taboo scenes as slightly less powerful. These scenes now look sick, but not illegal or utterly depraved. Because Whitney is evidently a young adult.

The aspect that really lets the whole thing down is the plotting. This being Eastenders, narrative devices are worn proudly on the sleeve – and the ‘Romeo and Julie’ school play issue arose at a suspiciously inconvenient time for Tony. He’s flustered as a result of Whitney participating (and probably having to kiss one of Ian Beale’s hideous offspring), so it’s been pure panto round at Pat’s gaff. Whitney’s literally chased around the house by Tony, who increasingly resembles Frank Spencer to the point he might he might, at some point, turn to the camera and gurn when Bianca tells him Whitney’s at rehearsals.

The inclusion of Sid ‘RICKY’ Owen in this mess just increases the sense we’re watching a sitcom from another dimension. If this were a film, the tagline would be ‘Ricky loves Bianca, but Bianca loves Tony and Tony loves…. Bianca’s daughter!’ Surely there’s a better way to handle this than by making the twisted man/child relationship part of some freakish love quadrangle? Why not go the whole hog and bring back Wellard – get him involved?

Fair play – there is the defence that it’s a topic nobody ever talks about and it needs to be discussed sensibly. But the problem with that argument is that it IS a topic people talk about – all the time! It’s a subject that’s constantly in the news. It’s a political hot potato. It’s a point of anxiety for many, many people.

So maybe trivialising it even further – via the lightweight medium of Eastenders – really isn’t going to help matters much.

EastEnders: SUCCESS

May 2, 2008

Winston

If you watched Eastenders last night, you’ll know that the WWM petition started all those months ago has finally enforced a result. No longer is Winston, the CD vendor of Albert Square market considered a bit-part player. No longer will he smirk in the background at comical incidents, like when Minty inadvertantly revealed that he’d hidden a budgie in a garage. No longer will he simmer in the background over the fact his market stall got driven into once, a few years ago.

For last night, Winston got a line. He had a brief chat with Peggy Mitchell. 

What’s more, he followed it up with further dialogue as Gus left the square. The fact that this was the most unrealistic au revoir in the history of the Square is irrelevant. Winston proved himself equal to any of the other second rate actors that populate Walford – people like Jane’s gay brother, the small ginger child Bianca’s dragged along with her and Shabnam (who’s only there on looks after all).

But, my friends, this is not the end. This is only the beginning. We need to build on our success. With four signatures on the petition we have marked a change in British television history. It will take guts and determination to reach our target of one million independent signatures. From there, we can get Winston his own spin off series, ‘Winning with Winston’ about the ups and downs of a West Indian market trader in a fictional London Borough.

Let’s make it happen.

Eastenders – Ricky ‘n’ Bianca

April 2, 2008

 Ricky & Bianca

I think the only return that comes close in significance to Ricky ‘n’ Bianca’s return to EastEnders is Jesus’s triumphant return to Jerusalem – the event that would set off a chain reaction that would lead, ultimately, to the long-haired layabout getting himself nailed up by what Mel Gibson would describe as ‘the fucking Jews, sugatits.’

First, let’s examine the Return Of Ricky (or: Sid Owen’s Run Out Of Money Again).

Did someone at an EastEnders plot meeting say:

“Hey, we’ve had Max’s affair with Stacey uncovered, Jim having a stroke, Phil’s wife falling off a roof, Kevin ending up with half a car punched through his guts, Shirley staring down the barrels of being one tit down, Bobby Davro showing up for no obvious reason anyone can see, the usual rubbish Asian family storyline, Dorothy terrorised by hoodies, Max being buried alive, Dino returning for ten minutes to pull the same just out of prison/transformed into a bad-boy shtick Martin did a few years ago, the Northern man’s boy stabbed-up, and Keith sitting in a chair scratching his arse … but, you know? I don’t think there’s enough going on. What we need, see, is a curmudgeonly car mechanic with a strange and unspecified nasal complaint who did nothing the last time we had him back, and will do nothing this time. Shall we, ladies and gentleman, invite Sid Owen back to the show?”

Was the sad death of the wrong Mike Reid enough to justify the return of one of EastEnders’ least interesting characters? Couldn’t they have left Ricky up in Manchester along with the other thousand ex-cast members, leaving us to wallow in the thought that Funtime Frankie’s still out there somewhere, being Frank? Apparently not.

So, what do I see when I look in my crystal ball and examine what’s coming up for Ricky? Well …

  • Phil gives Ricky his job back.
  • Ricky befriends Gus, Minty, Gary and the utterly pointless Mickey.
  • Ricky, Minty, Gus, Gary and Mickey go on a jolly boy’s outing to Margate or Saaaaarfend and many japes and chuckles ensue.
  • Ricky gets back with the monstrous Bianca.
  • Ricky, Minty, Gary, Gus, and Mickey drink ‘bottles of lager’ in the Queen Vic.
  • Phil gets into a spot of bother and Ricky helps him out of it.
  • Ricky and Bianca fall out.
  • Ricky leaves EastEnders again.

Well I don’t know about you, but I’m slavering at the prospect of the fun ‘n’ games a towering character such as Ricky Butcher can bring to the show. Who next in the cavalcade of dull and uninteresting ex-residents of Walford could they bring back?

Oz from Ozcabs? Ted Hills? The ghost of Roy Evans?

Well no, actually. Because the one they’re bringing back next is the one that should have been murdered so she could never, ever return to EastEnders.

Who decided that a screeching, rangy tart was what was missing from EastEnders? Surely we’ve already got enough awful tarts in the show, haven’t we? Isn’t the ghastly Shirley, the awful Stacey and that dreadful jizz-mop Chelsea enough to be getting on with?

No, it’s not apparently. So we get the Return Of Bianca – the event I was hoping never to see happen. This means we can look forward to her appalling caterwauling. This means we can look forward to the actress playing her not being able to act. Worst of all, this means the door has been left slightly ajar;  a crack wide enough for the worst character in EastEnders history to slide through:

Robbie, Bianca’s Bloody Brother.

That’s Dean Gaffney, in case you’d forgotten. MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON OUR SOULS.

Oh, I’m looking forward to this! The Dull and the Dreadful reuniting to annoy and bore us in equal measure. I was just getting used to Shirley’s Bela Lugosi face, hideous forthcoming coupling with Phil and general awfulness. I was just getting over the facial spasms of rage when Chelsea says ‘arksk’ instead of the more formal ‘ask’. I’d finally got over my temptation to burn my television whenever I think of the blatant injustice that is Winston’s meagre salary compared to Mickey’s. But Bianca? Coming back? I don’t think I can bare that. I might have to defect to Corrie – and that show’s appalling.

And, as a final thought, have you noticed in the recent advert for these awful characters’ return, Bianca is still wearing the same silver puffa jacket, red trousers and pink boots she was wearing in the 90s? Is there a special Bianca Shop where you can buy mid-90s Bianca clothes? Surely Pat’s not kept her outfit in mothballs all these years, has she? I find this really weird.