2017 Eastenders Round-Up ~ Week Commencing 10 April 2017

EastEnders has been packed with more juice than a blood orange and still the drama continues – here are a few of the highlights from Albert Square…

Alexandra D’Costa (SYDNEY CRAVEN) – (C) BBC – Photographer: Jack Barnes

Stacey’s Preggers ~ Stacey (Lacey Turner) has been trying to get pregnant again so that she can truly have a baby belonging to Martin (James Bye) and she’s succeeded. Baby Fowler is conceived and the couple couldn’t be more delighted as they decide to keep the news between themselves. With Jean (Gillian Wright) back on the scene (hooray, might I just say? I love Jean!) I can’t imagine that the news is going to be met with a full hoorah as we all know what happened to post-natal Stacey last time. Let’s see where they’re going with this pregnancy storyline for the character. It could be a bumpy ride (pardon the pun!).

Bex’s Bullies ~ Bex (Jasmine Armfield) suffers again at the hands of bullies; Louise (Tilly Keeper), Madison (Seraphina Beh) and Sydney (Alexandra D’Costa). Destroying Bex’s guitar is one step too far, but luring her into a false sense of security by having Madison make her believe that she has broken away from the gang and wants to be friends, ends in more than tears. Handing over a box of sweets to Bex as a peace offering, let’s just say the chocolate ones aren’t chocolate! Louise is obviously not happy to be a part of the bullying but it looks as though she can se no way out. The storyline is reminiscent of bullying suffered by a few fellow pupils when I was at school and I’m sure is extremely relevant today. Bullying should be highlighted and EastEnders are doing a grand job of that.

Michelle tries to make amends with Bex while she helps out in the Café, but is stopped when Madison, Alexandra and Louise enter. Michelle Fowler (JENNA RUSSELL), Bex Fowler (JASMINE ARMFIELD), Louise Mitchell (TILLY KEEPER) – (C) BBC – Photographer: Jack Barnes

Sonia’s back! ~ Sonia (Natalie Cassidy) returns when her daughter cries out for help as a result of her bullying hell. So, is mummy going to put a stop to it? How long is she staying for this time? And most importantly of all, where’s her trumpet? Hee hee…

Ian steps back ~ Ian (Adam Woodyatt) starts to consider stepping back from his business empire building as Jane (Laurie Brett) tries to convince him that spending more time together would be a better use of his time. Will the workaholic take his wife’s advice and start to become all about the pipe and slippers? It is Ian Beale we’re talking about, I’ll believe it when I see it!

Lauren & Josh ~ Lauren I(Jacqueline Jossa) is dolling herself up for a night out with the girls again and happens to mention to Josh (Eddie Eyre) which nightclub opening she will be at. Of course he turns up, but she bolshie Lauren bolts when her crush goes to kiss her. What game is she playing?

EastEnders Round-Up ~ Week Commencing 13th March 2017

Walford has been churning out the misery again, this week! If it’s not Bex (Jasmine Armfield) and her woes, there’s Max (Jake Wood) and his scheming, plus Tina (Luisa Bradshaw-White) is struggling all the more with Sylvie (Linda Marlowe) now that Shirl (Linda Henry) is banged up. Here’s a few highlights:  

Tears before bedtime for Tina ~ Caring for mum isn’t getting any easier for Tina as she decides that taking Sylvie to work is the way forward. Kathy (Gillian Taylforth) isn’t keen on this idea, whereas Tina isn’t overly keen on Kathy’s opinion either, she is doing everything she can to avoid putting her mum into a care home.

Bex’s bothers ~ Bex is still being bothered by bullies and formulates a plan to avert going back to school. Telling her dad (James Bye) that an apprenticeship will be her plan, it’s clear that Bex will do anything not to return to the bullies’ lair. This storyline is still only just hotting up…

Linda’s back (and she’s gone again!) ~ Linda (Kellie Bright) makes a brief return this week after Jane (Laurie Brett) tips her off about Mick’s (Danny Dyer) problems. The reunited Carters reconnect and Linda’s all for staying at The Vic while arranging for her mum to have alternative care. However, Whitney (Shona McGarty) seems able to convince the worried landlady to return to where she is needed most of all. Although I’m not so sure this is right for Mick. So, it’s back to maternity leave for Kellie Bright after her keeping in touch day!

Grandad ~ Max (Jake Wood) is suddenly seeking a relationship with Lauren (Jacqueline Jossa) and his grandson. Stacey (Lacey Turner) happily encourages him to go round to see them both. However, what are Max’s real intentions for this step? He’s always playing a game and his daughter is wise to it, too. More to come I shouldn’t wonder. I’m a fan of Jake Wood’s so I’m glad to see him taking a more central role in the soap, again.

EastEnders to strike? ~ June Brown who plays Dot missed out on a BAFTA for Best Actress in 2009. Now, the cast are claiming that they’re going to halt filming if she is snubbed this year. This is probably an exaggeration, but as the stalwart turned 90 years old this year and continues to work on the soap, I see their point that recognition is surely over-due.

EastEnders Round-Up ~ Week Commencing 6th March 2017

Walford has provided every emotion going, this week. Ian’s (Adam Woodyatt) results from his recent tests, Shaks (Shaheen Jafargholi) loses it with Keegan (Zack Morris) and Carmel (Bonnie Langford) blows her top. It’s all going on… here are a few highlights:

Picture Shows: Carmel explodes at Shakil as she tries to make the enormity of the situation he’s in sink in. Carmel Kazemi (BONNIE LANGFORD), Shakil Kazemi (SHAHEEN JAFARGHOLI) – (C) BBC – Photographer: Kieron McCarron

Shakil at Boiling Point ~ Having been associated (you can hardly call it friendship) with Keegan, Shakil finally snaps and pummels the bully, this week. Although Keegan has supposedly allied himself with his school ‘pal’, he has been tormenting him just as much if not more than Bex (Jasmine Armfield). Finally pushed to his limits, Shaks turns on the hateful teen. This won’t be the last of it, so I’m interested to see how this plot continues. EastEnders haven’t shied away from showing the horror of bullying. I applaud them for that.

Carmel’s crisis ~ The situation between Bex and Shaks ultimately beings problems for their parents and in this case it’s Carmel (Bonnie Langford), Martin (James Bye) and Stacey (Lacey Turner) who end up at loggerheads. With Carmel being grandmother to Stacey’s baby, this clash of heads does not bode well. Carmel and Stacey had already endured a tempestuous relationship, this latest twist appears to be the final nail.

Stacey Branning. Stacey Fowler (LACEY TURNER) – (C) BBC – Photographer: Nicky Johnston

Ian’s ‘ills’ ~ Ian finally goes to the GP surgery to receive what he anticipates to be devastating test results. He reveals to his family, in dramatic scenes, that he hasn’t much time left. Cue Jane (Laurie Brett) in floods and Kathy (Gillian Taylforth) in shock as he continues his tale of woe. It seems that Ian doesn’t have much time left to prevent himself from heading towards type 2 Diabetes. Although that’s nowhere near the tragic storyline fans had in mind, it’s great that EastEnders have shone a spotlight on the seriousness of this situation. No more donuts for Ian!

Shirl takes one for the team ~ Shirly (Linda Henry) is a mum who will go all out to protect her family, and she is now offering to go to prison in place of Mick (Danny Dyer). You can’t knock Shirl for following her maternal instinct, but I really don’t want her to go! With Danny Dyer taking a break from the show, I wonder if the writers will put Mick behind bars for a short time?

I miss Lee ~ I have to admit that I didn’t realise how much I would miss Lee Carter (Danny-Boy Hatchard) until I saw his performance on Let’s Sing & Dance for Comic Relief and felt a pang of regret that he has left the Square. I’m sure I can’t be on my own for feeling that he is a talented actor and I hope he moves on to bigger and better. At least the door is left open to enable him to return. The storyline that he left on was a well-crafted plot and he deserves a British Soap Award for his exit.


National Television Awards 2017 ~ Winners Round-Up

This year’s National Television Awards, hosted at The O2 and presented by the ever-enthusiastic Dermot O’Leary, was an evening full of deserved winners in my humble opinion. It was a glitzy, star-studded night, peppered with entertainment and emotional speeches. Here are a few of the highlights:

Casualty marks 30 years in style ~ Best Drama, I admit, was a category I had my eye on and the eagle-eyed among you who are likers of Break A Leg’s Facebook page and followers on Break A Leg’s Twitter page will have spotted our very obvious plug for votes. The award was collected by a number of members of the cast and the speech shared between Break A Leg Critic’s Choice Special Recognition 2016 Award Winner, Amanda Mealing and Break A Leg’s Patron, Cath Shipton. Cath has returned to the show as Duffy after a lengthy break, and Amanda previously played the role of Connie in sister show, Holby City, before joining the cast of Casualty. The girls made a wonderful speech which covered all bases and the look of sheer amazement on all of the cast members’ faces was quite something. It’s been a long time coming and I hope there will be more where that one came from. Yes, I’m biased!

Casualty win Best Drama

Walford Wins ~ Although they missed out on the Serial Drama award (which was a surprise to me…), the Eastenders cast bagged a trophy when Lacey Turner (Stacey Fowler) scooped Best Serial Drama Performance. I admit my vote went to Lacey, as I think that she plays the role of Stacey amazingly well and I can’t imagine life in the Square without her. Lacey is notoriously shy and shocked whenever she wins a prize for her marvellous efforts, but I thought she gave a very confident speech, this year. A cracking actress with such a bright future ahead of her, in and out of Walford.

Lacey Turner with her much deserved trophy!

More glory for Mrs Brown’s Boys ~ And the award for the most members of one family on the O2 stage goes to… this gang are always so infectious when they win an award and Mrs Brown’s Boys have won more than can be mentioned in this humble article (they also have the Break A Leg Critic’s Choice Award for Best Comedy… by the way!). It was obvious early in the evening that Mr O’Carroll was in a mischievous mood when the camera caught him and his wife, Jennifer Gibney snogging!! His winner’s speech was a joy, as always and I wonder if there will be another sitcom to rival their winning streak anytime soon? The Christmas and New Year’s specials were among some of my favourite episodes of the show, so I feel that they are still flying high!

Mrs Brown’s Boys win again!

The Dales Dominate ~ Emmerdale ran away with the Best Serial Drama trophy and from the vibe in the room, I suspect it came as quite the surprise to many, not least the triumphant cast an crew. With so many episodes a week and a loyal fan base, perhaps it’s not quite so hard to believe that the back-runner has stormed it this time.

Special Recognition ~ Graham Norton always very (un)graciously accepts that both his good self and his programme are likely to come second place to serial winners, Ant and Dec – who swept the board yet again, as it happens. Therefore, his Special Recognition award was a mighty good idea and long overdue, too. I enjoyed the reel that had been compiled, not least because I had forgotten he had starred in Father Ted. Norton’s list of credits is pretty incredible and if O’Leary were to hand over the baton as Presenter of the National Television Awards, I think there would not be far to look for a replacement.

At last! Well done, Mr Norton!

What’s New Pussy Cat? ~ I can’t not mention Tom Jones and his fablas opening number which set the programme off in style. I am over the moon that I have seen the legend sing live, and it wouldn’t have gone a miss if he’d popped back on for another number or two and started a party in the O2! Good choice!

What a treat to be entertained by this legend.

The full list of nominees and winners can be found here: http://www.nationaltvawards.com/


Eastenders Weekly Round-Up ~ Week Commencing 2 January 2017

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:

Programme Name: EastEnders - Portraits 2017 - TX: n/a - Episode: EastEnders - Michelle Fowler (No. n/a) - Picture Shows:  Michelle Fowler (JENNA RUSSELL) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Kieron McCarron
Picture Shows: Michelle Fowler (JENNA RUSSELL) – (C) BBC – Photographer: Kieron McCarron

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…

Programme Name: EastEnders - TX: n/a - Episode: EastEnders - Denise Fox (No. n/a) - Picture Shows:  Denise Fox (DIANE PARISH) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Nicky Johnston
Picture Shows: Denise Fox (DIANE PARISH) – (C) BBC – Photographer: Nicky Johnston

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.



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