Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year, New Misery

Already, I am exhausted.

Not from enduring both the UK and the US New Year celebrations in LA (4pm and midnight, respectively), but because the soaps have seen in 2011 with about as much cheer as the Australian cricket team.

Val walked out on Eric in Emmerdale, after suspecting him of having killed his wife following the plane crash of 1993 (30th of December, to be precise – another not so happy New Year); EastEnders’ Ronnie swapped her baby with Kat’s, after her own suffered a cot death; and Coronation Street’s Tracy was left for dead after having her head bashed in.

Seventeen years is a long time for Eric to be called to account for his actions on the night of the plane crash, but he assured Val that he was incapable of murder. I have to agree; if he were, surely he would have bumped off most of the other irritating women who have crossed his path over the years, Val included.

I suspect she’ll be back, not least because the tiny case she whizzed down the garden path when she left so hurriedly couldn’t have been holding more than a toothbrush and a pair of tights.

Meanwhile, in the Woolpack, there was more violence on the karaoke, where every song was being strangled. And it looked as if Mia might go the same way, when she kissed Adam and induced the wrath of Scarlett. Expect more Scarlett fever when she learns more.

Samantha Womack gave the performance of he life as EastEnders' Ronnie, when the character discovered her dead baby. At the end of the show, there were contact details given for anyone who had been “affected” by any of the issues.

I don’t have children, but I sobbed my way through the whole thing, and Ronnie’s shock, followed by the realisation of what she had done, was totally convincing – certainly a lot more convincing than the doll she had taken from the cot in a scene that made it look as if the baby had grown about 18 inches in the short distance walk between the house and the Vic.

I’m also not convinced that Alfie wouldn’t have spotted the different baby. Apart from the identical outfits, they had entirely different physical features. Maybe all that staring at the full moon has done more to his eyesight than we realised.

Coronation Street went for laughs in the vileness with which Tracy treated the locals in the hours leading up to her beating. Although Steve was found with bloodied hands at the scene, there are plenty of suspects.

1. Emily. David cut her ear when doing her hair, after Tracy went into the salon and goaded him about their sleeping together. Having her hair coloured was the biggest excitement in Emily’s year (although enjoying a sweet sherry was right up there, too), so taking a mallet to Tracy’s head might have been hard to resist.

2. Nick. Having truly lost Leanne after she discovered he had sex with Tracy, he took to the bottle of whisky, which is always the drink of angry men in Walford (it’s always vodka for angry women, as it is in Weatherfield, too) and invariably brings about fury. When will somebody tell Nick, by the way, that nookie in a bed is not illegal? The wine bar, the bookie’s, alleyways - no floor or wall is too sticky or dusty for him.

3. David. Always chief suspect at a crime scene, and definitely this one, after Tracy criticised his sexual performance. I still can’t get my head around David being old enough to have sex, especially as he looks barely old enough to turn on his train set, let alone a woman.

4. Mary. Having had a premonition in which she saw Tracy “lying on a slab”, after being insulted by the younger woman, she’s a good bet. Let’s not forget how she has already managed to kidnap Norris and get herself excluded from Hayley’s wedding (not to mention sabotaging the wedding train); there is darkness there, certainly. A conviction would mean the end of the character, though, and the show can’t afford to lose one of its great comic creations.

5. Gail. Despite the fact that in one scene, there appeared to be a difference of three feet in height between the women, let’s not forget that Gail has three dead husbands behind her, which is something of a record. That iron is also almost permanently in her grasp, too, so could easily double up as a weapon.

6. Steve. It’s unlikely that he would kill the mother of his child, much as he is disturbed by her threats to reveal his and Becky’s baby-buying exploits. What was he doing in the alleyway, though, and, more to the point, why does nobody ever lock the door to their yards?

Whoever turns out to be the attacker, of this much we can be certain: another hilarious court case, more prison scenes with lots of dopey extras, and surely a blue plaque on the street that could justly be re-named Death Row.

Here's wishing you all a happier New Year than our soap counterparts look likely to have.

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