Following on from the eerie silence of the finishing credits on New Year’s Day the Square has been in mourning for the tragic loss of Ronnie (Sam Womack) and Roxy (Rita Simons). While their exit from the show will be noticeable for more reasons than the glum expression on the face of newly widowed Jack Branning (Scott Maslen), I have to admit that the fall-out had made for excellent viewing. Although other sagas in Walford are playing second fiddle, they’ve also not been forgotten either. Here are my top five highlights of the week:
It has to be the post-traumatic scenes that have unfolded since the Mitchell sisters met their maker in a chlorine and alcohol fuelled disaster. Scott Maslen has surpassed himself in the episodes following New Year’s Day. I think it must be a combination of the filming and Mr Maslen’s performance that almost slowed the early scenes of the week to a funeral procession pace and gave the distinct impression that we were following events as they happened. Glynis Barber is sticking around as Glenda the grieving mum and the variation in the ways that they are both handling the loss and failure to unite in their grief is an interesting journey for both Jack and Glenda.
I am not entirely convinced about Jenna Russell taking over the role of Michelle, but what I am convinced about is that there is so much more to her visit than popping into the country for a decent cuppa. So, I am carefully checking out all of the tiny give-aways which are subtly hidden in her various scenes and I feel confident that more characters will be following to wrap this little mystery up. Although I’m not taking to Russell as a replacement for Sue Tully, I don’t deny that she is an accomplished actress who will be capable of carrying the ensuing drama that will surely come. I am rather surprised that her scenes with Ian (Adam Woodyatt) and Sharon (Letitia Dean) have been minimal thus far.
It was brilliant news for Mick (Danny Dyer) when he found out that Ollie was making good progress and that no more appointments are required to check up on the little one’s progress. Poor Mick has a lot on his plate as it is what with Linda (Kellie Bright) is with her ailing mother. Of course, in real life, ‘Linda’ is on maternity leave so Mick will be dealing with the ups and downs of the Carter family for as long as that lasts! At least he had Whitney (Shona McGarty) to accompany him to the appointment. Even if the air is clouded with her husband’s guilt… However small it may seem in the grand scheme of things, thank heavens Mick has caught a break with his youngest son. For now…
Denise (Diane Parish) has definitely made her mind up about the baby she’s carrying and intending to put up for adoption and Patrick (Rudolph Walker) has a real shock when he learns that she doesn’t wish to hold the baby after its born. Denise’s heart breaking speech listing her reasons why she couldn’t risk bonding with the new baby made for engaging viewing. I think Patrick is going to find being the birthing partner an arduous task and have started to wonder if he will pull out of it altogether, given his reaction to her decision.
Finally, my ‘don’t you just wanna scoop them up and hug them’ prize of the week goes to Billy (Perry Fenwick), Honey (Emma Barton) and their little family. When all else is crumbling around them, their unit seems so settled and secure and fills me with confidence! Probably misguided confidence because this is Eastenders after all, but for now, they are a real delight to watch.