And so to Christmas in Albert Square, courtesy of the EastEnders.
Dear Lord, where do I start? Let’s begin with the basics. Ian’s glasses. Get him a decent pair. Enough said on that front.
Jane and Ian in bed together. Sorry, I just wasn’t buying it. Unlike Ian, who has done exactly that in the past. The idea that he could get it any other way is, of course preposterous. Laughable, even.
The Nazir family getting into the spirit of Christmas. They’ve only just had presents for one of their bi-annual Eid celebrations. Now they’re just being greedy.
Okay, now on to the big stuff. It is only a year since the Carter family moved into the Square, but they soon made it their own, so much so that I have taken to calling it CartEnders, which it undoubtedly is.
Now, Danny Dyer as Mick Carter. It’s a thin line between acting emotion and looking as if you can’t quite see because you’ve lost a contact lens, and over the festive period Mick lost a lot of contact lenses. Even when Linda told him she had been raped by Dean, it looked as if he was scanning the floor in case said lost lens should saucer into view.
This was supposed to be a big climactic moment, but this, along with so much else, seemed to be more of a spoof than real drama. The whole gamut of “The Dummies Guide to Expression Acting” was here. There was SITMD (Staring Into The Middle Distance) Nancy; Angry Shirley; Hurt Mick (Optrex, you should really keep your eye on this one – I see a lucrative advertising deal beckoning); Jolly But Secretly Worried Babe; Botox Bruvver of Mick (I still have no idea what his name is); and so many other CartEnders, I would get Repetitive Strain Injury were I to start writing about them all.
Now, let me set the scene for The Big Moment. My mum and I were on the sofa, having been watching TV for what seemed like years (nothing on, as always), and enjoying (I use the word very loosely) the usual EastEnders unhappy Christmas. Just as Mick had taken to the floor to find another lost contact lens (or beat up on Dean, as they would have us believe), Shirley tried to bring a halt to the proceedings by announcing that Dean was, in fact Mick’s bruvver (although, in fairness, she did say “brother”; it’s just funnier the other way).
Quite why she thought this would stop Mick is anybody’s guess. Even the most cursory reading of the Cain and Abel story should be indication enough that the sure way guaranteed to encourage someone to beat another to a pulp is by shouting “He’s your brother!”
It stopped Mick in his tracks, but he soon announced that this made no difference whatsoever, and off he went on another contact lens hunting expedition, stopping only to find Linda’s ring left on the bedroom dresser. I like to think that she has merely nipped off to the hairdresser, because, to be frank, not since Mary turned up at the stable without a hairdryer has such a messy coiffure graced Christmas.
I watched it all again at about 2am, just to be certain the whole thing hadn’t been a ridiculous dream, but, alas, it hadn’t. Does Shirley really look 14 years older than Mick (she claimed she had him at that age). Would Stan (the always terrific Timothy West, who must really have been desperate for the money to take this role on) really not have twigged that when his wife went off to a caravan for a few months and returned with a baby, that all might not be as it seemed?
I really rate producer Dominic Treadwell Collins, who returned to the show at the end of 2012 and breathed new life into it. But the CartEnders have taken over to the detriment of other characters. It’s good to see Nick Cotton (John Altman) back – the show needed a new villain, albeit a resurrected one – and there can never be enough Mitchells for my liking.
It seems as if the CartEnders are here to stay, though, with news of renewed contracts and, doubtless, more branches of the family crawling out of the woodwork.
In the meantime, Mick, I really hope you find that contact lens.