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Soap yourself down

Nicola Mostyn travels Soapland and finds it filled with movings out and movings on

Published on July 7th 2008.


Soap yourself down

After her roving eye was almost given its own passport, Liz has finally put husband Vernon out of his misery, realising that a life spent with him was about as appealing as a life lived in polo necks abstaining from gin. Since Vernon is usually such a chuckle-headed dolt, seeing him do bitter was a sad spectacle. Rejected, forlorn and compelled to conjure up trite song lyrics every other sentence, he was all for packing up his drum kit and hitting the road, before Lloyd intervened and offered him a room. Before long it was like Men Behaving Badly chez Lloyd. “She made me put my drums in the cellar,” Vernon revealed. “Ever seen what damp does to a drumstick?” That does not sound like a story I want to hear, Vern.

Lloyd must be a well-written character, because I have quite forgotten that he is played by Craig Charles. Or perhaps it is that he is just being Craig Charles and I’ve forgotten about Lloyd. Either way, Lloyd/Craig has too much time on his hands. No sooner had he come to Vernon’s rescue than he was giving Becky relationship counsel after her spat with Roy. Give Lloyd/Craig a relationship soon, please, or he’s going to turn into Trisha.

The spat in question took place because Roy, the Jiminy (and indeed the Jimmy) Cricket of the Street, was trying to make Becky see that, having drunkenly shagged Steve McDonald, taking on a part time job at the Rovers might not be the most sensible of moves. If sense were stonewashed denim, Becky would be fine. Sadly, it isn’t, and she isn’t.

The row began brewing in the café and Blanche, who only came in for a milky coffee, got a front row seat as per, then moved seamlessly on to heckle Ken about his general failure as a human being. “She’s got one of her moods on,” says Deidre, by way of explanation. Eh, Deidre? Blanche only has the one mood: malevolent evil. Scriptwriters, please can you give Blanche another mood? Frustrated apathy? Cheerful lunacy? Anything, just to un-crease Deidre’s forehead a touch.

Over the road, sinister Scot Tony (Scrooge McDuck) is trying to buy up half of Weatherfield to develop demonic knicker emporium, Underworld. Rita is seizing the chance to disentangle herself from Norris and afford a better class of demi-wave but Tony has underestimated “greasemonkey” Kevin Webster, who is happy with his lot in that cheerful way us northerners are. Tony, however, is not the sort of man to take no for an answer. He just needs to find someone to harangue Kev into believing that money really is the most important thing in life. Good job Kev isn’t married to a manipulative, materialistic social climb…oh.

Over in Eastenders, it’s Phil’s time to go. Way beyond, in fact. “You’re a middle aged man and you are still living with your mum,” thunders Peggy, forgetting to add to Phil’s list of selling points that he is a recovering alcoholic, last dated a psychopath (now deceased) and has a head like a spud.

Phil’s attempts to find common ground with his son (results so far: they’re both human) seemed doomed when he stumbles across Ben’s tap shoes. “I’ve been learning to dance and I love it” says his son, practically pirouetting across the kitchen. In the bin they go.

Sean is back (yawn) and covered in someone else’s blood.

Worried about what he might be capable of, Stacey had a plan to take Sean to Little Mo’s, thinking perhaps that Little Mo’s is a bit like Lourdes for London headcases.

Despite Stacey running around like Sean is an unexploded grenade of pure wickedness, his confrontation with Jack Branning did not end, as one might expect, with him decorating himself in Jack’s Type O Negative, but in Jack talking Sean down, in the manner of a horse whisperer, and persuading him to aim his psychotic tendencies on the AWOL Roxy instead.

Up until this rather dubious act, Jack was looking like his brother, Max’s, polar opposite: all muscles and hair and decency to his brother’s immoral albino ferret. But, no, it seems that ruthlessness runs in the family. Last episode it transpired that they also have a irresponsible sister, Susie, so no doubt she’ll be dropping by soon. That should give Sean something to do.

Over in Emmerdale, Eli is moving out, too, from the home of his first (and second) cousin once removed, Debbie Dingle. The Dingles do a great line in dark, scruffy, testosterone-fuelled men with questionable ethics. I’ve long stopped being able to tell who belongs to who, but I have observed that they are like grey hairs, take one away and three will come back in its place.

The latest Dingle scam, because there is one every week, included sewing machines, curtains and Terry’s back cupboard and resulted in the clan all getting their jobs back.

This was thanks to the ingenuity of latest Dingle addition Gennie, who, in celebration, cranked up the ever-present incestuous overtones by playing pat-a-cake-pat-a-cake with first cousin Eli before trying to snog him. Eli, to his credit, pushed her away. “It’s just a bit wrong, innit.” Yes, though presumably the pope wouldn’t mind about him sleeping with Debbie, since she’s better looking.

And finally, another moving on of sorts. Clive Hornby, who played Jack Sugden for 28 years, has gone to that great cow-shed in the sky. RIP. Some people will do anything to get away from the Dingles.

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Jonathan Schofield - editorJuly 7th 2008.

I've added the byline, thanks...and you're right Nicola Mostyn is the best writer about TV in the NW. Easily.

DrawohJuly 7th 2008.

Just read the lead on the front page. Nice one Nicola

DrawohJuly 7th 2008.

"If sense were stone-washed denim, Becky would be fine. Sadly it isn't, and she isn't." Move over Grace Dent! (Guardian Weekend) btw who wrote this? It's superb and deserves a byline.

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