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article imageReview: Is EastEnders now just the 'Dirty Derek' Show?

By Jane Reynolds     May 14, 2012 in Entertainment
A 'sideways' look back at the latest goings-on in EastEnders, the popular British Soap Opera. For episodes broadcast in the UK 7th-11th May. *Warning: May Contain Spoilers*
Fairy Godfather, or just a deluded Marlon Brando? Yes, it's the Dirty Derek show - again …
Something creepy happened this week. No, not Michael smiling; Dirty Derek wore a different suit. "I'm a good man who's done some bad things," he said. Yeah, you're just 'misunderstood' aren't you, mate?
In Derek's latest attempt to have us believe he's just a regular guy, he even wore a nice brown suit (instead of his normal cockroach black), to go and see his daughter in. That's right, his daughter.
A few months ago we didn't know he even existed, and yet EastEnders has pretty-much turned into the 'Derek Branning Show', and there he was this week, doling-out presents (again), in one scene, before popping over the road to the pub to wind Ray up a bit, then stepping outside to shout at a poor young girl … who just happened to be his long-lost daughter.
We knew he had a son, but now there's a girl too: Alice. She seems nice-enough, but please, why so much Derek?
Actually, as most of the rest of the cast are on a six month break I guess they've got to fill the time somehow, but – boy – it's getting tedious. It's not even as if he's a likeable character, and as I've just read that Ian Beale's off for a 'little break' soon too, does this mean we'll suddenly find that Derek's taken over the caff and the chippy as well?
Once place he won't be getting his hands on is the Arjee Bhajee; not after that magnificent relaunch. Who wouldn't want to go and eat curry with Tamwar's miserable gob looking at you and a rapper in the corner? Sounds like a top night out – NOT – but their makeover (it didn't look any different to me), seemed to assure Zainab that their future was rosy.
"We're back on the map," Afia pronounced.
"And now you two are set up for life," Zee beamed.
What? After one night? Who are you: Gordon Ramsay? I've seen Kitchen Nighmares, but that takes the poddadom.
Tamwar and Afia's faces are enough to curdle the lassi, and I reckon they've got far more pressing things on their mind than running a Restaurant anyway. "I'm living the 'married and working together' dream." Tamwar intoned to Fatboy. Wow.
After only a few months of marriage, Afia's got itchy feet and Tamwar seems to prefer spending his time with FatBoy. Is Afia displaying lesbian tendancies? Just 'putting that out there', as she's always trying to hook up with the witches' coven (whiney Whitney, Lauren and Lucy), and nearly jumped out of her sari at the chance of going to a gay club with Christian. I might be on the wrong tack here, but it was just something I spotted. Watch this space?
Something else I spotted was Phil's kitchen: in the hall. I'm sure I must be wrong, but has it moved? This conundrum has exercised me all week, and when DCI Marsden was walking round the room, I kept pausing it and trying to figure out whether I was mistaken, but it looks to me as if the left hand door that used to lead outside now leads to the kitchen – due to there being kitchen cupboards in there.
It wouldn't surprise me. Nothing suprises me in EastEnders. Carol, Tiffany and Morgan (and the kitten), set off to live in Suffolk in a small hatchback. What about all their stuff? I take more than that with me when I go cleaning on a Wednesday.
So, that's Kat; Ricky; Bianca; Carol; Tiffany; Morgan; Janine (Michael?), and now Ian, all either going, going or gone on a break. Anthony Moon's leaving too, as are the viewers – in their droves. EastEnders' ratings are at their second lowest ever, and do you wonder why?
I've been commenting for months about the lack of credibility of the storylines, and the viewing figures prove it. People aren't stupid, and turning the show into a gansta's paradise revolving around 'Dirty Derek', and Ben's gormless guinea-pig-gob popping up every five minutes is a complete turn off.
Don't even get me started on the witches' coven and Lauren's drinking. Let Cora sort her out (but don't turn her into another mafia-type character too, please!), or get Derek to do it; he's doing everything else at the moment.
If I wasn't doing this blog I wouldn't still be watching right now. It's only the lovely Tanya; Zainab and Kim that are keeping me going at the moment. Doesn't bode well, does it?
The Producer's resigned this week. Maybe a new broom will make a difference? I've been saying for months in my Soapy Corners that there's real credibility issues here, and now everyone else is finally saying it too.
The funny thing is though: EastEnders won 'Best Soap' at the British Soap Awards last month. I didn't say anything at the time (as I never like to comment on anything other than what I see on my screen), but this has been its worst year ever, so how did that happen?
Not surprisingly, there's barely any Grins of the Week. That's another thing: where's the humour gone? Apart from Kim, there's nothing to laugh at any more …
Tamwar: "Is that halal?"
Fatboy: "Mate, it's not even chicken."
Fatboy: "You need a theme."
Tamwar: "Er, Indian is kind of The Theme."
PS I like DCI Marsden. I can't wait to see the look of satisfaction on her face when she slaps those cuffs on that little stoat.
PS2 It's not just Alfie; Denise is another one who keeps her champagne under the counter (unchilled). She sold one to Kim, who took it straight home to drink. Er, champagne is served chilled guys.
PS3 Why does Ben have school uniform on so often? He never actually goes there.
PS4 Christian's yellow hair's a bit scary.
PS5 Where did they get that Chinese takeaway from? It's my dream to eat a chinese from containers like those (I've only ever seen them on US TV shows); mine are always those clear plastic ones. It's SO not the same!
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