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Digital Journal Reports

article imageReview: EastEnders — Derek who? Special

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By Jane Reynolds
Jan 15, 2013 in Entertainment
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A 'sideways' review of the latest goings-on in EastEnders, the popular British Soap Opera.
For episodes broadcast in the UK 7th-11th January 2013
*Warning: May Contain Spoilers*
Ayesha cooks a curry but has the hots for Mas; Tanya would like to serve Kirsty stuffed on a platter; Derek had more than a touch of indigestion and Kat's feeling sick about Alfie and Roxy.
Christmas Catchup
There was more Appropriate/Inappropriate Music in the Background than you could shake a set of jingle bells at in ALL the Soaps over the festive period, but none more so than EastEnders (did we expect anything else?).
The amount of work the A/IMitB person must have had to do to find the most poignant word/line from a Christmas track and ensure that it was playing at the exact right moment in the background or gap in the conversation must have taken 364 days to plan!
It's becoming increasingly commonplace in EastEnders for a storyline to suddenly get all tied up like a neatly wrapped present, and that's exactly what's happened with Derek.
Once he'd 'come out' as Kat's mystery lover (yeah, you had us all fooled there guys), it was barely five minutes before he'd been discarded and had the door shut on him like Mary and Joseph at the Inn.
Blink and you'd have missed it (and fair play to him for not milking his death scene), but no sooner had he clutched his chest than they all just turned round and left him to it, and by the next episode you'd have been forgiven for thinking 'Derek who?', as – apart from a few token platitudes and a few tears from Alice (with that new hairstyle she'd be the spit of Tanya if she was a blond), it was 'business as usual' in Albert Square!
More unbelievable than Father Christmas
Business as usual in EastEnders generally means 'unusual' (at the very least), and the Christmas Day reveal of Max's little secret had my jaw dropping in astonishment. A wife? A WIFE?
You're about to marry your (ex) wife (who'd once buried you alive), the doorbell rings, and who should be stood there but another identikit blond Soap female who just happens to be your current wife.
Now, you all know what I'm about to say next, don't you? That's right. It's JUST. NOT. CREDIBLE.
AS IF Max would go off and marry someone else and not have got round to telling Tanya? It's simply beyond belief, and what's more beyond belief is that it was 'true', and that before you could say 'Oh, come on', she'd even gone and got herself a job serving behind the bar at the Vic!
Alfie Moon should be Employment Minister as he'd be able to solve the UK's unemployment crisis at a stroke. Just give 'em all a job at the Vic. Sorted …
Give me strength
That brings me on to Phiwl. The way he's laying the law down over Lexi is so unbelievable it's a joke. He should never have been allowed within five miles of her in the first place, let-alone given custody. The man's an 'ead case, and that poor little baby would be better off anywhere other than with a family that makes the Addams family look normal (Denny even LOOKS like Cousin ITT).
As for THIS week …
I'm sorry to say this, but Kat's used up eight of her nine lives for me. Does anyone else think that her heart just doesn't seem to be in it any more?
She looks disinterested, and the delivery of some of her lines on Monday was extremely questionable; with the emphasis/inflection on all the wrong words in places. If you look way, way back over my QVCs, you'll see just how much I used to love Kat. She was one of my favourite Soap actresses and I couldn't WAIT for her scenes.
I also used to think that she and Alfie were Soaps' best couple. Their chemistry was electric, but that's long gone, and now that Alfie's with Roxy I hope even more than ever that they'll never put them back together again. The magic's gone, and – to me – they've simply 'run their course' as a couple.
Move them both on, please. It'll revitalise both their characters, and just how many times can Alfie take her back, anyway? We all know Alfie's a mug and a soft touch, but no man should take a woman back as many times as he has. It just makes us lose empathy/interest in them and the relationship – as we'd all just be sat there waiting for it to happen again …
Come Dine With Me
Going back to Christmas for a mo: Tanya carried the whole show (for me) with her gripping and totally convincing performance, but even I'm struggling to see her inviting Tanya to have dinner with them. Would that really happen? Would Tanya's character really have agreed to that? I don't think so for a minute.
The only way she'd have Tanya for dinner is if she WAS dinner: roasted and stuffed full of sausagemeat with an apple in her gob!
Another far-fetched occurrence this week was Abi going all cow-eyed over that lad Dexter. She didn't know him from Adam, but was instantly flirting with him right in front of Jai (talk about dissing him), and the next minute had even invited him for dinner.
Again; there's no way her character would have done that, or that Tanya would have agreed to it. Oh, HOW convenient that it just happened to be Ava's lad though, and that she should then turn up too.
Ooh, hang on a minute
That's another one of EastEnders' 'convenient' tricks of fitting the storyline around the event. Never mind whether it's credible or not. It was as if they knew they needed those characters to all be in that place at that time so that they could have a confrontation, but as to how they GOT there was 'merely detail, darling'.
It felt like another one of those moments where I imagine them all sat round excitedly discussing the big dinner showdown scene and then realising that they'd forgotten to write the lead-up to it.
In THIS case, they not only had to get the Dexter character in to the house but also get Kirsty there ('Ooh, I know. Let's get Tanya to invite her for dinner, shall we?'), and then get Ava in too, so that they could have a 'full house' for Kirsty to see it all kicking off!
Their eyes met over a pan of daal
I'd twigged it was Masood that Ayesha had the hots for on Monday when I heard the line, 'I've hungered for your touch' playing behind them as they sat chatting over dinner.
It proves my point exactly about Appropriate/Inappropriate Music in the Background. If you listen to it carefully you can generally pick up clues about all sorts!
I loved Zainab hoovering the paper up (I'm gutted that she's leaving) and they've even started the year with a couple of Grins of the Week:
Bianca: "Did 'ee spoil you?"
Kat: "You know Derek: he spoiled everything." (That's a wonderful and really clever line from the writer, Sally Abbott.)
Denise (to Zee): "Are you actually going to do some work today, or are you just going to stand there slagging off the dead?"
Zee (to Mas, about Ayesha): "See when she acts the most loose."
PS
* Kim. Horizontal stripes really ain't your thing, girlfriend.
* I watched the first episode of Mr Selfridge last Sunday, and it took me half an hour to twig who it was that he reminded me of: AJ!
* How much must Alfie be paying Bianca for her to be able to afford to buy a new outfit just for a party (when she's meant to be skint), and wouldn't it have been better for her to have bought herself a new pair of Yug boots (or food for her kids) perhaps?
* Tanya brought the dish of food to the table without any oven gloves on.
* That jumper of Abi's made her look as if she'd got her bra on the outside! (One of the little boys I used to nanny for called bras 'brasies' – pronounced brarh-zee. I still call them that now. It's a brilliant word!)
* Mas didn't have a lot in his sack – again – this week, did he? I'm referring to his postman's sack, of course. He only had about half a dozen letters in it, all for Albert Square, and then he had a break. I'll bet postman everywhere would love to be doing that round!
* Is that a real tattoo, Kirsty? It's dead classy, that … (!)
If you agree (or disagree!) with anything I've written this week, come and tell me why on 'Jane's Soapy Corners', LIVE on Tellyspy between 6.00-6.30 pm GMT every Wednesday night!
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