Posts Tagged ‘Eastenders’

Eastenders, 2009

January 6, 2009

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Regular readers may well roll their eyes at the sight of Eastenders in the headline again, but as anyone who tuned in over Christmas will tell you, the sitcom has drifted from regular melancholy into the absolute zero of acute depression.

A few of the current threads seem designed to make viewers slit their wrists. They may as well slot split-second banners in the film reels saying ‘END IT NOW’ in a bold black font, just to kick the public that little bit further into the pit of despair.

So, put on your party hat, pull out your party poppers and get down with us as we celebrate the most miserable Eastenders threads of 2009! (so far).

Dotty, Dot and the Non-reformed Nasty Nick

Even casual viewers will know a bit about Dot’s blighted past where her son is concerned. He’s tried to poison her, always stolen from her and is generally a complete, drug-addled bastard. So, at Christmas time – a time for giving – writers decided to bring back the malevolent offspring. For one episode he was convincingly reformed and I expected a slow-building but subtly well-written build up to his dastardly intentions. Instead, by New Year, a hundred heavy-handed hints made the blatantly obvious oncoming conclusion plain, meaning we’ve months of watching Dot tragically kid herself ahead as dramatic irony looks wearily on from the side of the stage. Happy new year.

Max, Tanya, Lauren and Lies

At the centre of last year’s Christmas-time borderline-incest infidelity scandal, this story is running and running. And running. Then meandering a bit and now faltering to some sort of conclusion. After alcoholism, a confusing bit with a gun and an intentional road crash, Tanya’s banged up in the least secure prison in Britain, where it seems to be perfectly legal for a woman on trial for attempted murder to socialise, unobserved, with the bloke she’s accused of trying to kill in her cell (not even through the bars, as might be a bit more realistic). Everyone knew young Lauren had done the driving when she admitted as much, and I don’t think I’m far wrong when I say that every viewer is probably hoping young Abby (the little shit) gets put away for life in some weird twist of fate in the next couple of weeks.

Sean, Roxy and Jack’s Three-Way Disaster

Poor Sean had mended his wicked ways when he discovered he had a daughter – and the fact she was premature even seemed to strengthen him. He was almost completely sane by the time he found out (on Christmas Day, round the table, naturally) that the kid wasn’t his. It was it’s mother’s sister’s ex-boyfriend’s. This resulted in lots of laying about depressed in the launderette, baby-kidnapping, falling into an icy lake and tons of screaming and wailing. I think we were meant to feel sympathy for Sean – which was misjudged really, considering most viewers are still reeling from the period of time in which Sean was dealing coke, being a complete sod to everyone and physically torturing much-loved character Gus. Good riddance Sean then – even if he was a well-acted figure of fun.

Bianca, Whitney and the Sex Offender

And now to possibly the most depressing story of the bunch. We all know Whitney was abused by her adopted mother’s boyfriend. Well, Bianca found out, Tony got arrested and now we’re having to suffer the consequences – a damaged teenager, Bianca at a loss, Ricky looking confused (plus ca change…) and lots and lots of crying. The only light at the end of this particular tunnel came with the recent arrival of Janine Butcher (Godbless her), the best ever Eastenders pantomime villain we’ve had for a while. A good move by bosses, bringing her back. Last night she delivered a nasty line to Bianca when told she’d upset  Whitney: ‘Oh – is that my fault? But I’m not the one who bought a paedo into the house?’.

What an awful woman.

So, if these four tales of warm, hard-grafting East End types from the working classes don’t fire up the cockles of your heart, I’m not sure what will.

Oh!
Knees up Muvva Brown! etc…

Eastenders – 10.12.08

December 10, 2008

Eastenders bosses saw sense, eventually. Rather than drag out the paedophile story until Christmas day for a freaky, festive finale, they opted to have Tony leg it a couple of weeks early. They also spared child-of-the-damned Lauren from his sneaky clutches, mercifully. Not sure how, but Lauren manages to be a realistic character, despite the fact the girl who plays her is somewhat dead around the eyes. Saying that, having your Dad cheating on your Mum with a girl less than half his age and then having your Uncle shack up with Mum as soon as she’s separated, dated an ex-squaddie half her age and tried to bury Dad alive in an urban forest, I suppose your senses might be a little numb.

Tony went out with a bang in an episode focused on Pat’s house. For one of the poorest threads in Eastenders history, it was surprising that the game was upped and the revelation episode was, in fact, genuinely affecting. If you didn’t see it, you won’t believe it, but Patsy Palmer – that shouting, rust-headed, walking mardy put in a bravura performance for once in her life. Bianca and Whitney’s interactions were horrifically believable, and Tony’s blank-faced nastiness went down well too.

I say ‘went down well’, but that’s hardly the right phrase. The thirty minutes left the audience nauseous as Bianca had what was occurring spelled out to her multiple times. When Tony’s amusing attempts to wriggle free failed (causing a cheer in my house), Bianca ran to the toilet to vomit copiously, just as I popped a roast potato into my mouth. Don’t they realise this is tea-time telly?

When Bianca pleaded with Tony, asking her to reveal if he’d touched little Tiff, he stalled when asked ‘why not?’. I can’t have been alone in wondering if he was going to specify the girl’s hair colour as the reason for his not advancing on her. It was even possible that he might have used the ‘Paedogedden’ reason given by Simon Pegg on Chris Morris’s Brass Eye special that he simply ‘didn’t fancy her’, but he left it, vaguely, at ‘that wouldn’t be my style’.

Making light of it is easy, so I’ll stop as this was actually a moving episode. Bianca’s character reacted exactly as the audience has come to expect – at first entirely selfishly and then, ultimately, believably sympathetic. It reminded us why she’s got such a strong role in a leading soap.

Tony was chased off at the end after making a crucial but mistimed return to the scene of the crime to pick up his passport and it’s genuinely good to see the back of him. At first the whole plotline was little short of comical, before turning more credible as Tony began to ‘go off’ his young prey as he watched her mature.

Despite Chris Coghill’s good showing, I’m glad we can move on from the era in which Eastenders became Beastenders.

All that revolting conversation at a time when me and the missus are settling down to dinner. What kind of time’s that to be airing such nastiness?

It’s a bloody disgrace.

The Monday Question: Whatever the bloody hell ever happened to…?

December 1, 2008

The likes of I’m a Celebrity and Celebrity Big Brother, along with lesser rivals CelebAir and Celebrity Scissorhands, remind us what happens to those washed up once-were-gonna-bes who were once instantly recognisable before fashions and our memories move on.

David VD from this year’s jungle experiment is the perfect example. The man is a bizarre, plasticated nobody who is convinced he’s somebody. His gnashing white teeth and blonde highlights give him the false impression that he still counts. He’s firmly of the impression that it wouldn’t take a forceful nudge, a rummage through wikipedia or a blow to the head for Joe Public to have any recall on who he is. Or was. We had, quite simply, forgotten he existed…

But now we have the internet, IMDB and the aforementioned Wikipedia we are empowered. We CAN find out where these barely remembered TV-folk have got to. We don’t need I’m a Celebrity or any of these piss-poor vehicles – all we need is the power of our memories to recall them and then we can google about instead of doing any work until we have their entire working history before our eyes.

Case Study 1:

Tinker out of Lovejoy

Poor Old Tinker had a sinister face and white hair like an evil gremlin. Whenever he came onscreen, children shrieked and tiny underpants throughout the nation were soiled with screamer-shits and worried piss.
But where is Tinker now?

Just a cursory glance over IMDB shows me that Tinker’s been a busy bastard doing the compulsory stints in Emmerdale, Casualty and The Bill, etc… but was also, presumably, Danny Dyer’s Dad in the Football Factory – literally one of the worst films I’ve seen! Dudley Sutton (that’s his real name) was also Wilfred in Eastenders, latterly. Weirdly, I seem to have blanked this from my mind. He’ll always be Tinker to me.

Let’s have another…

Case Study 2:

mike morris

Mike bloody Morris

Plucking a name and face from my mind, inexplicably, Mike Morris pops into view. Mike fucking Morris, who I hated as a child with no good reason. Mike Morris, scourge of local news programme Look North, serving Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire with his impotent, bawdy humour. Despicable Mike Morris, later of TVAM, with his strawberry blonde moustache and clearcut homoerotic obsession with Richard Keyes.

Mike Morris made me angry at the world I lived in – he unreasonably became, to my childish eyes, the personifaction of everything shameful there is about being a man. Moustaches, stupid toothy grins and a lack of ability when communicating with women (Christa Ackroyd). He was clearly seething that he’d never attain the popularity of people’s favourite, Harry Gration – who, incidentally, looked just like my Biology teacher, Mr Vickers.

But where’s that evil Mike Morris now?

Apparently he doesn’t work in television any more. Thanks for putting my mind at rest, Digitalspy .

And to finish off:

Case Study 3:

That Ferreira girl out of Eastenders

Remember that really badly written Asian family in Easties? I know – there are a few to choose from in Eastenders’ chequered past. But the daughter in this one looked like she might go quite far. She was good looking and could just about act… so it was weird to see her sink without trace when the family got axed from the show.

Like some guilty internet stalker, I find her immediately via the BBC website. With her real, actual name, I trawl IMDB to see that, shock of shocks, she featured in The Bill after Eastenders – a familiar career curve. Blimey… she was in Bend it like Beckham too…

A look at her personal website reaps no rewards as it’s not been updated since 2007, but IMDB tells me she’s soon to feature in movie Cash & Curry. Check out the website. I think it’s going to be a MUST SEE for 2009.

End of Case Studies

So –  if there’s some actor, presenter or pundit you’ve lost track of in the midsts of time, get on the internet, track them down and let us know …

…whatever the bloody hell ever happened to them?

Just A Thought – Children In Need

November 12, 2008

wogan pudsey

I know this is going to make me sound like a right miserable shitheap, but isn’t it about time Children In Need took heed of its own slogan – ‘Do Something Different‘?

I know I can’t be alone in thinking that a seven hour showcase of the shittest of the shit that Britain has to offer isn’t the best way of getting folk to stump up their money. Without referring to the schedules, I know it’ll go something like this …

  • Wogan and that fucking Fearne Cotton limpit introduce Westlife singing something shit
  • The cast of EastEnders sing some Godawful rubbish gleaned from the cultural wasteland that is musical theatre
  • Sugary bullshit artist Katie Melua sings something shit, yet wistful
  • The bollocks that is Strictly Come Dancing does some dancing
  • Take That sing their latest shit song
  • ITV gamely joins in by letting the stars of one of their few remaining popular shows (The Bill, Corrie or Emmerdale) sing a shit musical number that closely resembles their EastEnders counterpart’s efforts from earlier
  • Boyzone sing their latest shit song; the BBC newsreaders make fools of themselves as they sing an old 70s rock song dressed in women’s clothes
  • Whoever won the X Factor last year sings something soulless and shit that Simon Cowell’s minions wrote in a committee in five minutes flat
  • Over to Kate Humble and the mentally disturbed Bill Oddie for no reason other than everyone on a BBC contract is required to do something for the kids
  • Edgy Facebook generation singer Adele / Kate Nash / Duffy sings something shit about mobile phones or what-have-you
  • The cast of Top Gear prove yet again that anything they do beyond the bounds of their own editorial control is a complete disaster
  • KT Tunstall sings something shit, etc. etc. etc.

There must be a better way of mounting a televised charity event than simply filling it with hours and hours of the worst music this country is currently producing, surely?

If Comic Relief can do it, why not Children In Need?

NewsGush: Harry Bored of TV

October 15, 2008

TV Burp marvel, Harry Hill has revealed that he no longer watches the box for fun, according to information nicked off DigitalSpy who nicked it off the Radio Times…

It’s easy to see why.

“It’s quite a painful process because there’s no limit to the amount you can watch. If you’ve got workaholic tendencies, you can always say, ‘Yeah, I’ve got an hour to spare. I’ll watch another Wife Swap.’ It’s very boring for my wife.”

…he says.

TV Burp deals with the absolute minutiae of the most humdrum scenes- a kettle in the background of a drama that resembles a dog’s face, a throwaway comment about shoes or, more notably, a soap stars face that appears to deflate on demand. The pause button on his Sky+ must be absolutely knackered.

The good news is that a new series of Burp – the only quality output on ITV – is coming soon. They clearly know they’ve a winner on their hands judging from all the bill posters across London and the number of promotional billboards on the street. It’s a good, old-fashioned Saturday tea-time treat.

Not sure the ‘fiiiiiiiiight!’ catchphrase can last another series, mind you.

NewsGush: Emmerdale Hit By Credit Crunch

October 9, 2008

Due to financial shortages, Emmerdale is the latest soap to enforce cutbacks in the form of AXING background staff.

There are genuine concerns on the back of the job losses that viewers who have grown used to the gritty, rustic realism of the series will now notice a shortfall in the amount of people pretending to sip fake pints of beer at the back of The Woolpack.

Television watchdogs are preparing for floods of calls via their specialist helplines from ITV-viewers who may have become disturbed by the lack of non-speaking characters tutting under their breath when an argument kicks off in the street.

Experts say the potential devastation that may be caused by the absence of unusually silent characters finishing their transaction in Viv’s post office at the very beginning of a scene, who then walk out before anyone says anything, is impossible to calculate.

Rumours that Eastenders is about to suffer the same fate, placing WWM favourite, stall-holder Winston Smith in the firing line, have not yet been confirmed.

Promotion

October 6, 2008

Made by Dave Medlo, sometime WWM writer and permanent head honcho over at the Medlo organisation.

Feel free to cut and paste the link…

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=TXtvgceU08g

…then spam-spurt this motherlover all over the internet’s face.

Any ideas or suggestions for flogging this uncharacteristic slice of professionalism will be gratefully received in the comments section.

The Friday Question: Catchphrase

October 3, 2008

When Badger Madge mentioned Nick Cotton’s upcoming return to the Square and the fact that he will inevitably crow ‘alright ma’ just before the drum solo – she unwittingly inspired this week’s Friday Question.

Catchphrases are burnt into the fabric of the tellybox. From quiz shows to sitcoms to soap operas – characters and presenters need a hook. Some are invented for the purpose, some come about organically… but all lodge themselve in the consciousness like a tapeworm on a sphincter in spasm.

What’re the best catchphrases?
Or the ones that make your extremities shrivel in horrible agony…

I don’t believe it!

I ‘ATE YOU, BUTLER!

You don’t get nothin’ for a pair, not in this game…

(It’s good, but it’s not right)