EASTENDERS has had a pretty bad quarter, since the last update.
First the BBC1 soap posted its lowest ever ratings, 2.9million viewers for an episode back in June, and now respected BBC commentator Mark Lawson has pointed out the show, along with Coronation Street and Emmerdale, has become outlandish and unsustainable on account of the ludicrous number of rape victims and murderers.
I can’t remember a time when EastEnders was anything over than deranged, but the show’s forced right-on agenda proves it’s lost the plot[/caption]
And that’s before you even start trying to calculate the number of Walford characters who’ve been abducted.
Personally, though, I don’t remember a time when EastEnders was anything other than the most deranged show on television.
I would’ve thought more obvious signs it had lost the plot would be Ben Mitchell’s six different heads, Phil Mitchell’s people smuggling operation with Barry Grant off Brookside and the surprisingly high number of characters who revealed they were gay in time for the opening of the show’s new LGBT bar.
Which has to be the happiest EastEnders coincidence since The Queen Vic organised a “European night,” not long after the Brexit vote.
MISSING A TRICK
It’s good to have your prejudices questioned, though, so I watched with added care last week to see if I’d been missing a trick, as the Square came to terms with the bloody aftermath of the pub siege.
Hunter’s still dead, thankfully, but Keanu’s made a remarkable recovery from being shot at point blank range and Bex is up for something called a “Pride of Walford award.” (Previous winners include Reg Cox, Roly the dog and the bloke who ran over Tiffany Mitchell.)
The real focus of the drama, however, was Bobby Beale, who’s freshly released from prison and so traumatised he’s prone to taking drugs and wandering off into train tunnels.
As would you if you’d killed your sister and undergone four head transplants.
The cure for all this torment is classic EastEnders and actually a bit easier to believe than the idea Ian Beale’s new lodger is Rainie, the prostitute he had sex with the night daughter Lucy was killed.
Bobby’s embraced Islam.
The focus of the soap last week was Bobby Beale, who has decided to embrace Islam[/caption]
The show says it hopes to combat negative representations…but there’s been no word of why these representations might be negative[/caption]
The soap would be less tiresome if it had a blanket approach to all religions – writers had no qualms when introducing killer Rev Lucas Johnson[/caption]
He says: “It helps me see the good in people.”
The show says it is “to counter negative representations of Islam.”
No word on why these representations might be negative, of course, just as EastEnders never had any dramatic response or even a mention of Islamist terror attacks in London or three East End schoolgirls running away to join IS.
Bobby’s story exists in a soap vacuum.
It’s a no-context approach that treats the viewers as dangerous idiots, of course, but wouldn’t grate quite so much if EastEnders had a blanket approach to all religions.
It doesn’t, though. Only a couple of weeks ago some Christian “End is nigh” nutter was roaming the market and the show had no qualms about introducing Rev Lucas Johnson, who was driven to kill by his Christianity.
This slanted agenda defines EastEnders as much as all its murders, rapes and abductions.
The only thing that’s changed here, since the dawn of time (1985), is the amount of scrutiny and competition it gets, which, given that ratings have recovered, means the misery will probably continue indefinitely.
Still, on the positive side, Adam Woodyatt’s tenderloin of Iberico pork, with parsnip three ways, has seen him through to the next round of Celebrity MasterChef.
THIS week’s winner is Simon Cowell and Brent from the Mr Meaty cartoons.
Sent in by the brilliant Reenie E.
Picture research: Marta Ovod.
Next up: No-poll dancing
STRICTLY Come Dancing came out of the traps like Johnny Vegas on the opening leg of a 4×100 metres relay on Saturday.
Two weeks they’ve been rehearsing and viewers still aren’t trusted enough to vote.
Mike Bushell slipped up when he made an accidental sex joke and revealed that Katya Jones texts him in bed[/caption]
Instead, the contestants laid out their nervous credentials over 140 testing minutes.
“Eighteen years in the Premiership and I’ve never been as nervous as . . . ”
We know, we know.
There was an awful lot of “great energy” flannel from the judges as well, including Craig Revel Horwood, who needs to ignore any “be more positive” instructions.
This panel’s already compromised enough by the fact Motsi Mabuse’s sister Oti has – by accident rather than design – ended up with Kelvin Fletcher, who’s one of the favourites.
Mercifully, there are two dancers no amount of “great energy” can save. One is James Cracknell, whose tango had more than a touch of the Boris Karloffs about it.
The other is BBC reporter Mike Bushell, who did a sailor’s hornpipe to The Contours with double nork-grab to finish, accompanied by the insatiable Katya Jones, who sounds like she still won’t take no for an answer.
“Even when I was in bed, next to my wife,” complained Mike, “Katya’s saying, ‘Give me five, give me five, give me five’.”
Mike. Don’t even think about it.
Quizshow dough-balls of the week
Tipping Point, Ben Shephard: “In the UK, Midsummer’s Day is during which summer month?”
Ben Shephard: “Hock and pork shoulder are cuts of meat from which animal?”
Tipping Point: Lucky Stars, Ben Shephard: “Which British band recorded their track Bloom with composer Hans Zimmer for the TV series Blue Planet II?”
Danny O’Carroll: “Slade.”
And Ben Shephard: “Which British Prime Minister’s surname is an anagram of ‘re-thatch’?”
Grylls turns up the heat
THE potential of Channel 4’s Treasure Island With Bear Grylls has been clear from the moment the contestants introduced themselves to each other, day one.
“My name’s Mano, I’m 42 years old and I’m a doctor.”
The hunt for £100,000 on Treasure Island has provided a welcome distraction from attention-craving Elissa[/caption]
“I’m Marco, I’m 30 and I’ve been in the Royal Marines for the last six years.”
Whooping and cheering.
“And my name’s Ben, I’m 26 and I’m a double-glazing salesman . . . ”
Channel 4 can choose contestants as well as it likes.
Of course, the magic new ingredient here is £100,000, which is being dropped in separate boxes all over the Pacific island and has immediately opened up all sorts of camp divisions, including political.
Chief protagonists are energetic capitalist Lord Ivar Mountbatten who, with Marco’s help, has already hunted down and hidden £35,000, and champagne socialist Morag, who prefers to sit around moaning but has scrounged £1,000 off other contestants.
It gives the series real edge, forces viewers to pick sides and has been a welcome diversion from attention-craving Elissa, who’s been trying to make hungry islanders give a toss about the identity of the man whose sexual advances she once turned down.
“Boris Johnson?” “No.”
“Donald Trump?” “No.”
“No. Higher paid.”
- Treasure Island With Bear Grylls, Sunday, Channel 4, 9pm.
Great TV lies and delusions of the month
- Ronaldo to Piers Morgan: “Thank you for the Arsenal shirt, I’ll keep it in a special place.”
- Strictly Come Dancing, Shirley Ballas: “James (Cracknell), I’m sure you’ve inspired many men to go out and find a dance studio.”
- Celebrity MasterChef, executive chef Vikki Jeffryes-Miller: “Vicky (Pattison), you’ve nailed it. Sack off the day job and we’ll give you a job.” Day job?
BBC1, Wednesday, Japan With Sue Perkins.
Elderly Japanese woman: “Are you a comedian?”
Sue: “The jury’s out on that one.”
Oh. Hang on. The jury’s back in . . .
No. She’s not.
STACEY Dooley Sleeps Over.
Stacey: “I can sleep anywhere.”
THE brilliant cast of Netflix’s best-show-on-TV Top Boy, which doesn’t have a single weak link.
Holocaust survivor Dorit and John melting my cynical old heart on First Dates Hotel.
Stavros Flatley put on a stunning performance on BGT: The Champions[/caption]
Stavros Flatley and the charismatic, genuinely funny American comedian Preacher Lawson both raising the roof at BGT: The Champions.
And another mesmerising week on Good Morning Britain in the company of the hyperactive Piers Morgan and the equally exasperated Susanna Reid, who truly are the Pork And Mindy of breakfast television.
Comedians Giving Lectures
Dave, unfunnyman Nish Kumar on climate change: “Why on Earth are we talking about anything else?
“The world is burning, you fools. None of the other stupid bulls**t matters. For the love of God, do something. Call your MPs to demand wholesale changes to legislation.”
Or maybe start by not appearing on television shows sponsored by motor cars, like Comedians Giving Lectures.
Random TV irritations
RANDOM TV irritations: Peaky Blinders failing to kill off the worst Scottish accent in drama history (Jimmy McCavern) in that ridiculous end-of-series bloodbath.
Cross-Channel Sink Or Swim contestant Arg wearing nut-tight Speedos when he’s vast enough to feature on the shipping forecast.
The creators of Peaky Blinders missed their chance to kill off Jimmy McCavern and his atrocious Scottish accent[/caption]
MOST READ IN OPINION
Dave offering us Comedians Giving Lectures, as if the preachy left-wing sods did anything else these days.
BBC News reporter Amol Rajan greeting Pointless Celebrities host Alexander Armstrong with a “Yo”.
And Piers Morgan still banging on about the insect bite on his leg without giving us any update on the poor insect, who’s probably expired from cholesterol poisoning by now.
Great Sporting Insights
Jake Humphrey: “Spurs have had no wins, with only one win this season.”
Ben Kay: “The white shorts in front of him were behind him.”
And Matt Le Tissier: “City are leading 1-0 but it really should be 1-0.”
(Compiled by Graham Wray.)
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