4th November 2006
No one in EastEnders ever needs to go to the gym, as
they are now all getting so much exercise storming in
and out of each other’s lives. This week, Stacey
stormed off, escaping Bradley; then it was Patrick
storming off to get away from Yolande; Sean stormed
away from Ruby, and also from Wayne, the stand-in
manager at the club. And Jane did enough walking away
from Ian to be fit enough for the next London
Small wonder that Peggy had to keep asking “Where’s
Unny?” Nobody can ever be sure where anyone is.
Unny disappears completely on Monday, leaving a
note for Billy saying that she cannot stay. The
storyline of Honey’s inability to love her Down’s
Syndrome baby is desperately moving; likewise, Billy
having to make the choice between wife and daughter.
With convincing writing and fabulous performances from
Perry Fenwick and Emma Barton, the show is dealing
with complex issues without hitting viewers over the
head with them.
On Thursday Billy tracks his wife down at her
Auntie Caroline’s and on Friday takes the chance to
sit down and talk properly. On Friday Phil realises
that Billy has agreed to the adoption in order to keep
his wife, but what a horrific decision to have to
make. Every shot of the dear little girl tears at your
heartstrings, and I know from teacher and doctor
friends that the storyline is of huge help to parents
with Down’s Syndrome children. EastEnders may not have
Coronation Street’s humour, but when it does the big
issues, it does them like no other.
Sean is clearly deluded at the moment. “The club
was crammed,” he told Ruby on Friday. Yeah, right.
About as crowded as a mosque on Christmas Day. “You’re
bound to be a bit down,” he went on, “all this
business with your dad.” Eh? “Business”? You mean his
On Monday Sean messes up again, when he rips up the
birthday card his mother has sent sister Stacey. On
Friday Stacey is angry with him for not telling her
about Bradley’s surprise trip to the London Eye, which
she ended up missing. Then she gets angry when she
sees how much Bradley has spent on a dress for her. So
do you know what he does? He storms out! Quelle

21st October 2006
“I don’t fancy you, Ruby,” Jake told the youngster on
Friday, “I pity you . . . You haven’t got two brain
cells to rub together. You’re one of life’s suckers.”
That much has become abundantly apparent as Ruby
continues to believe that Sean really has feelings for
her. If he cared, he’d get her to a physio: her
shoulders were so hunched when she heard the news of
her father’s death, they almost met on the crown of
her head. On Monday she claims to want to give her
inheritance to charity – a course of action that Sean
is naturally keen to dissuade her from taking.
It’s Johnny’s funeral on Thursday, and Ruby is
reluctant to go as she blames herself for her father’s
death. It wasn’t much of a way to go, in the end. He
survived numerous escapades with guns in the forest,
more guns and fights in his office, and even survived
the wrath of Phil and Grant when they broke into his
posh house. After all that, collapsing on the prison
floor was something of a letdown. Pat and Ruby
nevertheless discuss his sense of honour – yes, really
– and Pat warns Ruby that she has to assess whether
people are taking advantage of her. People such as
shop assistants who keep making her buy those rags of
tops she wears, perhaps.
There are more unbelievable shenanigans in the
Trueman household on Monday, when Aubrey takes
advantage of Yolande’s tipsiness to kiss her
passionately. On Tuesday Aubrey pretends that they
have shared a night of passion, and a worried Yolande
begs him not to tell Patrick. What was she drinking?
Pints of absinthe? Aubrey is not the kind of
experience a woman could quickly forget, no matter
what she had drunk.
Pauline is in full bitch mode for Rebecca’s
birthday on Tuesday, and when Martin and Sonia talk
about it on Thursday, Sonia reveals that she still
loves her ex. If that doesn’t cause Pauline’s heart to
give up the ghost, I don’t know what will.

14th October 2006
What does Ruby keep spotting in the corner of the room
that keeps her so distracted from everyone she talks
to? As if this were not irritating enough, the
shoulder shrugging is now so bad that this week nearly
every costume came off and we were subjected to a wide
variety of her bra straps. When she puts her hands in
her jeans pocket, her shoulders go so high they almost
knock her out.
On Monday Sean suggests that she hold a party in
the club for her 18th birthday and when she visits
Johnny in prison they discuss the plans. Inevitably,
she tells him all about Sean, and, inevitably, he is
disapproving. On Tuesday he demands that she finish
with him, but how long will Sean hang around if Johnny
carries out his threat to disinherit his daughter?
He doesn’t get the chance because on Friday, after
he collapses in prison, he is taken away in an
ambulance and we later learn that he has died. Just as
well it happens in hospital; the forest is so full of
bodies there would not have been room to house him
The desperate attempts to interest us in Denise
continue on Monday, when it seems that Patrick might
be her father. On Friday the attention shifts to
Aubrey. From where have they plucked this storyline?
You can only feel sorry for Kevin. First he has to
endure the drama of Denise’s violent ex-husband; now
there are fathers crawling out of the woodwork left,
right and centre. Why doesn’t he just find a different
local, chat up a nice girl and have done with all this
Martin and Sonia’s divorce comes through on
Tuesday, and on Thursday, after spending the night
together, they awkwardly agree that it was the perfect
way to say goodbye. No: I don’t get it, either.

7th October 2006
If Sid’s only interest in SJ was using her to get
money from unsuspecting blokes, surely he could have
targeted someone with a bit more dosh than Minty. Most
of the poor garage worker’s savings disappeared after
two rounds of drinks and, on Monday, he gives SJ the
last of his money. She claims she has an audition and
needs a new outfit. An audition for what, pray? A part
in Most Irritating Aussies We Have Known? Or, in Face
Just Crying Out To Be Smacked? On Thursday, after
Garry sees SJ and Sid kissing, he encourages Minty to
go to her flat, where he finds the pair in bed.
Far from being grateful, Minty blames Garry for his
unhappiness and on Friday claims that he was better
off not knowing the truth. Minty decides to leave
Walford, packs his bags and punches Garry in the face,
but will Gus manage to persuade Garry to follow his
friend to the bus-stop in an effort to make him stay?
I hope so. I really like Minty, and apart from his
taste in dumb Aussie birds (how no one in her home
country has thrown her on a barbie long before now is
a mystery to me) is a fairly well rounded character.
Jane is a bit confused on Monday and wondering how
serious Ian’s proposal was, following his crash. The
crash was nothing compared to Phil’s bombshell about
Jane on Thursday: “She was in bed wiv Grant an’ she
couldn’t get enough of ‘im.” Who could. Incredibly,
Jane agrees to marry Ian, although I suspect he is
planning some vile, spiteful showdown.
The battle for dominance between Ruby’s ears and
shoulders was in full throttle again this week as she
talked about “the money fing”, and on Tuesday there
are more fings for her to worry about when Jake
punches Sean. For some inexplicable reason, this
encourages her to tell Sean that Jake killed Danny,
and on Friday he wastes no time in letting Jake know
that he knows. Talk about a stab in the back; that’s
two, with Ruby walking around looking as if she’s
already had one.

23rd September 2006
“I just want people to get outa my face,” Stacey told
Bradley this week. Why on earth is he bothering with
her, and why, given his high-flying City job, is he
not hanging out in wine bars with his own kind, rather
than with a girl whose only skill is an impression of
Bugs Bunny?
On Monday Stacey notices that Sean is flirting with
Ruby and warns her brother not to lead her on. When
she orders him not to see her, she has a change of
heart when she sees how upset Ruby is (cue more
shoulder acting) and tells him to ask her out. On
Tuesday Jake is annoyed that Ruby is distracting Sean
from his work, and is even more angry when he
discovers that he has slept with a rep from the
Minty is also not pulling his weight at work, much
to the disgust of Carly and Garry on Friday. He is
distracted because SJ is returning home, but is
disappointed when she turns up with Sid. I really wish
he would hurry up and twig what is going on, as if I
have to listen to that smiley- smiley drawl any more,
I will put a machete through my screen. What does SJ
stand for, anyway? Slack Jaw?
I’m finding the whole Down’s Syndrome issue rather
disturbing, and on Tuesday even more so when Peggy
says that Honey and Billy would be better off having
their daughter adopted. On Friday she says that they
shouldn’t even be bringing her home, a sentiment she
would doubtless have expressed about her own three,
had she known how they would turn out.
The bad news for Honey is that now that she is out
of her hospital bed, she must resort to wearing those
stupid hair slides again.

16th September 2006
“There’s loads o’ cool bars and clubs round ‘ere,”
Ruby told Sean on Tuesday. Really? So if that’s the
case, how come everyone still only goes to the Vic and
the wasteland that is Scarlet? Ruby’s pursuit of Sean
looked doomed, until he discovered that she was
loaded, and now he can’t get enough of her. He had
better be quick, though. This week, her shoulders were
so raised, they looked in danger of swallowing her
head whole. Sean would be well advised to get a kiss
in while he still has the chance. On Tuesday there is
scope for yet more shoulder acting when Stacey tells
Ruby that she is moving in with Bradley. Stacey, whose
nose and teeth were again performing their famous
double act this week, dreads telling her friend, whose
response is completely predictable. Max is none too
impressed either and suggests that Bradley might be
rushing things to cover the real problem (Which one?
Bradley’s spontaneous combustion? His girlfriend’s
rabbit impressions? The fact that he works in the City
and goes for a slapper like Stacey?). On Thursday
Stacey cannot help boasting about the flat to Ruby,
but it is clear that Alex, the landlord, does not want
Stacey living there. How come, if Bradley is such a
high-flyer, he doesn’t buy his own place?
The Denise/Kevin fiasco is back in full swing, now
that Owen is back on the scene (Hurray!), and on
Friday they are back in the bedroom. But guess what?
When Denise discovers a message from Chelsea on her
mobile, she bolts out of the door – again. Honestly,
Kevin, there really are easier women out there, and
certainly ones that don’t require you do partake of so
much exercise chasing them out of doors.

9th September 2006

If you were asked to name the most irritating
character ever in the history of soap, SJ would surely
top the list. Garry speaks for us all every time he
rants at her for her silly Aussie smiley, smiley
attitude to life, and comments such as “Is it because
you’re Australian or because you’re thick?” have us
cheering in the aisles.
At least the Garry/Minty/SJ saga brings a bit of
light relief to the proceedings, but it’s straight
back to depression next week, following the news that
Janet has Down’s Syndrome. It is a brave storyline
and, on Monday, wonderfully handled by the actors’
characters trying to come to terms with their news;
but the relentlessness with which EastEnders does its
“issues” yet again drags the show down. Where both the
Street and Emmerdale manage to combine comedy with
darker moments, EastEnders remains incapable of being
able to multi-task in its storylines. I know it’s not
just me: for months, people have been coming up to me
on the street and telling me that they have “given up”
on the show.
If the Down’s Syndrome does not pull you down
sufficiently next week, you can enjoy the tedium that
is Ruby on Tuesday, when she asks Jake’s advice on how
to pull Sean. Stopping walking around like the
Hunchback of Notre Dame might be a start; she’ll have
the man thinking that the only presents he can ever
buy her are designer neck braces. It is clear that
Sean is not interested, but when Stacey lets slip that
Ruby is rich, on Thursday he has a change of heart.
Ruby even persuades Jake to give him a trial as a
barman at the club.
The best news of the week is that the brilliant Lee
Ross is back as Owen on Thursday. His mum turns up to
visit him in prison, and on Friday she persuades Libby
to do the same.

19th August 2006
“Why do Australians always have to shout the loudest?” said Garry, sneering at SJ. He also expressed distaste for their constant cheeriness and saying everything as if it were a question. I’m with Garry, and the sooner the duplicitous SJ is on a one-way Qantas ticket back home, the better.

Ian’s duplicity catches up with him on Monday, when Jane decides to go to the conference, only to find everyone calling Dawn Mrs Beale. It provides a welcome bit of light relief, following another heavy Bradley/Max/Jim/Rachel week (Can that family talk! I’m amazed they have any breath left in their bodies). On Thursday, there is an altercation between Dawn and Jane, and yet another woman – this time, Maeve – comes on to Ian. What does he have, exactly? One raincoat, one mobile phone and three near mutes for children? On Friday Jane is so angry that she nearly blurts it out about her affair with Grant, but a desperate Ian persuades her to stay.

The bad news of the week is the return, on Monday, of the rabbit and the hunchback. Yes, Stacey and Ruby are back from their holidays, with their irritating physical mannerisms, and still rowing about everything. Stacey thinks that Ruby uses her money to buy people, just like her father; Ruby thinks that Stacey is jealous. Oh, come on: we’ve already been down this route. Several times. Get back to I Beef ‘Er, or wherever you went. No such luck. On Tuesday Stacey takes a pregnancy test, which turns out to be positive. Agh! Not the possibility of yet another talking Branning on the Square.

12th August 2006
Is it just me, or does anyone else want to smack SJ?
That sing-song, upbeat Australian accent is really
getting on my wick, and I just don’t get what Minty
sees in her. On Monday he is pleased that her brother
(allegedly) Sid has gone and thinks that he really
stands a chance with the wombat; Garry is not
convinced, and on Thursday, when Minty finds a naked
Sid on her sofa, it looks as if his hopes have been
dashed yet again. It’s hard to believe that he spent
the entire World Cup in Germany and did not meet
anyone to distract his attentions from the creature,
and you also can’t help feeling that if he were to get
on the Tube at Walford East once in a while and head
“up west”, he would find a whole new female world
waiting to embrace him.
The only person even more irritating than SJ is
Pauline, whose venomous attacks on Sonia reached even
greater heights this week. Why, why oh why does Martin
continue to put up with it? Pauline slags off Sonia,
tells Martin what to eat, orders him home for his tea.
On and on and on. True, he finally snapped and told
her to shut it, but why doesn’t he just move out?
There is more viciousness on Monday, when, having
discovered that Martin has asked Sonia to babysit, she
arranges a last minute ticket for Rebecca to accompany
her and Joe to the theatre. On Tuesday Martin vents
his fury yet again and declares that he has had
enough. On Friday Pauline grudgingly agrees to let
Rebecca go swimming with Sonia, and there is a moment
of sexual chemistry when Martin strips off his wet
T-shirt, following a fruit and water bomb fight with
his ex. Oh, they really know how to live in Walford.
Meanwhile, the Bradley saga continues, and on
Monday the City high flyer moves in with his dad. Just
as well. I was fearing for his safety at Dot and
Jim’s, with the latter’s strange head movements,
constantly twitching as if preparing for take-off. I
love the new Brannings, and Jake Wood (Max) and Jo
Joyner (Tanya) are terrific actors who have given a
real lift to the show.

5th August 2006
What a week: extraordinary writing, terrifyingly
realistic scenes of domestic violence, and a
performance from Lee Ross as Owen that was nothing
short of genius. One minute ranting in fury, the next
seeming like a vulnerable little boy, this was a
performance of such towering magnitude, it left you
breathless at the scale of this great actor’s talent.
After all this, Monday comes as a bit of a letdown
and we’re back to Groundhog Day on the Denise/Kevin
front. When he goes to check on her, she tells him
that she needs to spend some time on her own and ends
their relationship. Anyway, I wasn’t very impressed
with Kevin’s DIY skills – why nobody ever fits a
mortice lock in this violent area defeats me; a pigeon
could have picked the Yale lock he got for Denise.
Chelsea follows her mother’s suit and ends things
with Deano, saying that she needs to be there for her
family. Personally, I suspect that it has more to do
with the fact that he looks about 20 years younger
than her; he’s also not so much arm candy as a very
thick stick of rock.
There is yet more Groundhog Day stuff on the
Martin/Rebecca/Pauline front on Tuesday, when Pauline
is determined to stop Sonia seeing her daughter. How
long can they drag this on for? At least until
Christmas, presumably, when Pauline leaves Albert
Square, apparently in a box. On Friday, after
splitting from Gus, Sonia is feeling low, and Gus
tells her that he was frustrated with the situation
with Rebecca. You and me both, mate. Sonia, however,
reveals that she has made some plans. Let’s hope one
of them is to change this damned record.
Oh, yes. And there’s more Bradley stuff all week.
Loads and loads and loads. You can change that damned
record too.

29th July 2006
Kevin had a feeling of déjà vu when yet another date
with Denise ended with him asking her about her past,
and her telling him to shut it before throwing him out
(Actually, Groundhog Day would be closer to the
truth). When will he learn? She doesn’t want to talk
about Owen! “ ‘e’s damaged yer,” he told her – not
exactly the most romantic of sentences, you have to
admit. When she is not throwing Kevin out, she is not
working at the post office. How come she has so much
time off during the day? Small wonder we haven’t seen
the postman for a couple of weeks; the post office is
never open long enough for anyone to buy a stamp.
The Owen/Kevin/Denise saga drags on again on
Monday, with Owen turning up to tell Denise that he
needs her help to enable him to change. On Friday,
however, there are more violent scenes between the
pair, resulting in Denise losing a tooth. What is it
about dental problems and that family? It’s only been
a few weeks since Squiggle’s brace was causing her
problems. You can’t help feeling that if they changed
their dentist, they might all manage to keep their
molars intact. At least on the safety front, Squiggle
(I really, really hate that stupid name) has the good
sense to call the police, and Owen is arrested. Now
the whole sorry cycle can begin all over again,
That other Groundhog Day storyline –
Bradley/Jim/Max – also drags on on Monday, with Max
telling Dot a few home truths about the man she
married. This will doubtless give Jim the opportunity
to do a bit more neck acting, although if he carries
on at the rate he has been doing, come September he
will have to have physio.
There is some unexpected rumpy-pumpy on Tuesday,
when Jake and Carly discover they have a chemistry,
and end up having sex in the office at Scarlet’s. Is
there anyone in the Square who hasn’t had sex in

22nd July 2006
Forget training for the London Marathon: Bradley’s already done it. Up and down the steps of number five, in and out of the house, in and out of the Vic, back and fore to Jim’s; it was exhausting just watching him. At last, on Tuesday, he takes a well deserved rest when Dot mediates a drink between him and Max, and although they appear awkward together, they are at least amicable.

We take a thankful break from Bradley’s exercising next week, and Stacey is again centre stage impersonating rabbits. Why has she taken to doing this - screwing up her nose and showing her teeth every time someone speaks to her? The expression is usually accompanied by a frown, too, as if she is struggling with the sun being permanently in her eyes.

On Monday Ruby (who impersonates the Hunchback of Notre Dame as regularly as Stacey impersonates rabbits) suggests that they go on holiday together, but a row ensues when Stacey asks that Bradley tag along too. Personally, I think Ruby has Bradley’s best interests at heart: the last thing the lad’s complexion needs is a tan.

When Ruby returns the £2,000 holiday money to the office in the club, she is mugged and left lying unconscious. Has ever one office seen so much action as the one in Scarlet’s? Gun threats, sex, fights, blackmail – why don’t they just name it the OK Corral and have done with it?

After last week’s disastrous date, Kevin and Denise plan another one on Monday, but that too turns into a row on Tuesday when he tries to question her about her past. With Owen back on the scene, it is not long before things turn nasty, and on Friday, after he spends the night with Denise, he reveals his true colours. Lee Ross, who plays Owen, is a great actor (his recent appearance as Paul one half of the Essex couple in The Catherine Tate Show is brilliant) and it is good to see him back; you can’t say the same about his character. How about some therapy for Owen, just to keep Lee in the show?

15th July 2006
Bradley will never have to go to the gym to lose
weight or keep fit: all the storming around he’s doing
these days, he’ll be losing pounds quicker than Martin
loses women. Last month it was sprinting off after
Stacey every time they had a row; this month, it’s
sprinting away from Max after yet more verbal fallings
out. There is yet more exercise on Monday, when
Bradley finds Max in the house with Gemma, the bunny
boiler with whom Max has been having an affair. And
there will be more on Tuesday, when Bradley tries to
avoid Max and later tells him that he does not have a
son. But guess what? On Friday, after Tanya posts
Bradley the watch Max bought for him, the lad smashes
it up and tells Max he did so. Strangely, Max takes
this as a positive sign, because it means they are
talking again. Not for long, I suspect, as Bradley
will doubtless live to storm off into the sunset once
more. Actually, Max, forget watches; you could do
worse than buy the boy a pair of cross trainers.
Another couple who do not need any extra exercise,
owing to their constantly flouncing off, are Kevin and
Denise. “I still fancy you summink rotten,” said
romantic Kevin at Fargo’s this week. For once, Denise
managed to stay in her seat without throwing a strop
and leaving, and on Monday Chelsea helps Kevin
persuade Denise to go on a lunch date with him.
Now, though, it seems that Squiggle is going to be
doing all the flouncing, and when Kevin cooks paella
for the family on Tuesday, she claims to be a
vegetarian and declares that she prefers Owen.
It’s the second attempt at a wedding for Billy and
Honey on Friday and, wouldn’t you know it, the event
does not go according to plan. At least it brings the
fabulous Nicky Henson as Jack back on the scene,
although Peggy will doubtless be disappointed to
discover that he has someone called Caroline in tow.

8th July 2006
The wrong Millers left. Now we are left with the
dreadful sight of Keith, moping around like a yeti
with a hangover and, on Monday, not even summoning up
the energy to care about Darren missing school. He
also can’t be bothered to cook a meal after Dawn gave
him £20 to go shopping. Dawn, however, keen to bolster
her holiday fund, first demands a loan from Ian, and
then extra shifts at the café. Why on earth does Ian
employ anyone at all? Jane keeps tearing around,
claiming to be rushed off her feet, yet we did not see
her serve one person this week. Little surprise, then,
when Ian tells Juley that he is cutting his shifts
because he is thousands of pounds in debt. I’m no
business brain, but I can’t help feeling that if he
were to stop doing all the outside catering jobs for
free, his coffers might fill up a little more quickly.

Sonia might soon find herself in debt, too, given
the amount she has taken to drinking. On Monday she
has another hangover, and after her supervisor smells
alcohol on her breath on Tuesday, she is suspended for
a week. I’d turn to drink if I had to look at Carly’s
fabulous figure hanging around with my ex all the
time. What does she eat for dinner? One and a half
leaves, occasionally accompanied by a daring pickled
onion? It’s not all good news for her, though (good!)
and on Thursday, when she goes to the Fowlers’ for
tea, she finds herself being suffocated by the demands
from Pauline, Martin and Rebecca – as if having to sit
opposite Pauline’s Tango tan were not traumatic
enough. On Friday Carly tells Martin that it has all
become too serious and she breaks off their
relationship. Maybe this will be the moment that she
turns to binge comfort eating. What will it be, I
wonder? A radish or two?
Meanwhile, over at Fargo’s, they are celebrating
Bastille Day, which for some reason encourages Kevin
to lay his feelings on the line to Denise. Elaine is
later none too pleased to hear the pair in the stock
cupboard. Whatever happened to the days when the
storming of the Bastille was celebrated with a couple
of stuffed snails and a baguette?

1st July 2006
This was one of EastEnders’ extraordinary weeks, with
some wonderful writing (in particular from the
consistently terrific Simon Ashdown) about the
relationships between fathers and sons. Bradley came
into his own, in the light of his first sexual
experience, which gave him a new confidence and
ability to stand up for himself. His difficult
conversations both with his grandfather and his father
Max were very real and touching; and the argument
between Jim, who is Max’s father, was likewise filled
with enormous psychological insight relating to the
complexities surrounding paternity.
But what a week for Bradley. No one ever says they
love you, and then three come along all at the same
time – Jim, Max and Stacey. On Monday, with his father
now in number five, Bradley reluctantly agrees to
share a pint with Max and instantly begins to bond –
Max, like Bradley, it turns out, prefers films to
football. Hmmm. I’m doubtful. We might be talking
Debbie Does Dallas versus Kurosawa’s Samurai Seven
here, but at least it’s a start.
Not for long, though. On Tuesday Tanya refuses to
unpack because Max hadn’t told her the real reason he
wanted to move, and Bradley also refuses to speak to
him. When Bradley sees the removal van outside number
five on Thursday, he is pleased, but then shocked to
see it drive away, leaving the Brannings still
standing there.
Moving is also on the cards for Rosie, who at last
has the good sense on Thursday to tell Keith that she
doesn’t love him anymore and that they are finished.
She is therefore off to Norfolk with Demi and Darren.
This leaves Keith crying alone in front of the TV on
Friday – probably because he has never learned how to
use the remote and can’t manage to switch channels.
His day is brightened when Darren, unable to leave,
returns, and Keith offers to cook dinner. You can only
shrink with horror at the Parmesan type shavings that
might land in it from that dreadful hair.
Also on Friday, Phil attempts to boost Ben’s
confidence for sports’ day. Oh dear. Personally, I’d
lock him in a cupboard until it’s all over. The boy
doesn’t have enough confidence to attack his egg with
a spoon at breakfast, let alone manage a sprint with
both in tandem.

24th June 2006
“Everything’s simple if you put your mind to it,”
Honey told her punters this week. Clearly the
pregnancy has addled her brain, because life just gets
more and more complicated – at least, it does if you
are Kevin. Why can’t anything normal ever happen to
the poor guy? Now he’s chasing around after this awful
Denise woman, who is clearly bonkers, and, with the
arrival of her ex, Owen, getting himself into all
sorts of bother. On Monday Kevin shares a kiss with
Denise, but on Friday she feels as if he is stalking
her. When Owen makes suggestive comments about Carly,
Kevin hits him in the face. He has to be there for
Denise yet again because it seems that Squiggle has
gone AWOL once more. It transpires that she skipped
school because she cut her mouth on her braces. You
can see why; they must have had to open up her skull
just to weld them in in the first place. I just hope
she keeps away from any magnets, or that head will be
torn off quicker than you can say heavy metal.
I’m not keen on this family. Diane Parish (who
plays Denise) is a brilliant performer, but do we have
to see yet another family go down the abject misery
route of which the show is so fond? Look what happened
to the Millers, and there is more misery for them,
too, on Friday, when Rosie breaks her arm cleaning
windows, after Keith’s refusal to do so. What on earth
is she doing, planning her wedding to this man? The
only trousseau I want to see within a yard of him is
one tightly wrapped around his neck.
At least the sweet, gentle Bradley finally sees the
light on Tuesday, when he dumps Stacey. Not a moment
too soon. Alas, on Friday they reconcile again. Oh,
come on: change the record. At least this time they
get as far as planning a night of passion, although
Stacey confesses that it will be the first time she
has ever had sex with someone she really cares about.
I’ve got a bigger worry: the already blushing boy’s
coital complexion might require her to don sunglasses
17th June 2006
“Everything’s simple if you put your mind to it,”
Honey told her punters this week. Clearly the
pregnancy has addled her brain, because life just gets
more and more complicated – at least, it does if you
are Kevin. Why can’t anything normal ever happen to
the poor guy? Now he’s chasing around after this awful
Denise woman, who is clearly bonkers, and, with the
arrival of her ex, Owen, getting himself into all
sorts of bother. On Monday Kevin shares a kiss with
Denise, but on Friday she feels as if he is stalking
her. When Owen makes suggestive comments about Carly,
Kevin hits him in the face. He has to be there for
Denise yet again because it seems that Squiggle has
gone AWOL once more. It transpires that she skipped
school because she cut her mouth on her braces. You
can see why; they must have had to open up her skull
just to weld them in in the first place. I just hope
she keeps away from any magnets, or that head will be
torn off quicker than you can say heavy metal.
I’m not keen on this family. Diane Parish (who
plays Denise) is a brilliant performer, but do we have
to see yet another family go down the abject misery
route of which the show is so fond? Look what happened
to the Millers, and there is more misery for them,
too, on Friday, when Rosie breaks her arm cleaning
windows, after Keith’s refusal to do so. What on earth
is she doing, planning her wedding to this man? The
only trousseau I want to see within a yard of him is
one tightly wrapped around his neck.
At least the sweet, gentle Bradley finally sees the
light on Tuesday, when he dumps Stacey. Not a moment
too soon. Alas, on Friday they reconcile again. Oh,
come on: change the record. At least this time they
get as far as planning a night of passion, although
Stacey confesses that it will be the first time she
has ever had sex with someone she really cares about.
I’ve got a bigger worry: the already blushing boy’s
coital complexion might require her to don sunglasses

10th June 2006
I cry when Grant arrives; I cry when Grant goes – especially when they play that special airport version of the theme tune that leaves us wondering if we will ever see Grant again. The only good thing about his departure this time, though, was that we got to see the back of Courtney, who has grown up to be the brat from hell.

So, poor old Jane is left with Ian again, and on Thursday he confides in her about his feelings of failure as an entrepreneur. Well, that might have something to do with the fact that for years, his idea of being a successful businessman was wandering around the Square in a beige mac, with a mobile phone stuck to his ear. There is excitement round the corner, however, when he lands a place on a sub-committee for the Walford Charitable Trust. Ooh, the thrill of it. On Friday Jane is fed up with the amount of work she finds herself having to do for the charity, and Pat questions her about why she is putting up with Ian. It’s the question we ask of any woman who gets involved with him (even his mother, who, I suspect, has faked her own death to escape him), but then Jane is very loyal and gets defensive. An apology drink from Pat is cut short when Ian arrives and tells Jane she is needed at the chip shop. Really? I don’t think they’ve had a customer since last August, so it’s hard to see what the panic is.

Also on Friday – and this is really bad news – Naomi puts in another appearance, when a woman Minty has helped with a flat tyre offers her a foot massage. SJ is also a stripper, but Garry is adamant that the one night Minty offered her at the apartment must be the only one. Not, I suspect, if Naomi has anything to do with it. A foot today, full body tomorrow; we’ve been here before, remember.

3rd June 2006
“Dreams do come true,” Grant told Billy on the latter’s wedding day, shortly before it all turned into a nightmare. Mine certainly came true, though, when Naomi told Sonia to sling her hook and promptly disappeared from the screen. The relationship was doomed to end in failure, not least because Sonia never learned to pronounce her partner’s name (“Nigh-Oh-Me”), and Sonia would do well to remember that whatever she is finding in the bottle of a glass beats what she had outside it.

The only person’s name which crops up with such irritatingly regularity as Nigh-Oh-Me’s is Margaret’s, and that shows no sign of abating, now that the woman is dead. On Monday Martin and Pauline cannot agree whether Rebecca should be allowed to go to the funeral or not, and Pauline is adamant that she should not. Why can’t Martin stand up to the old bat? She is such a nasty piece of work, with not a shred of sympathy for anyone, and the way Martin continues to let her control his life is insane. He could begin by telling her that her suntan makes her look as if she has been Tangoed, satsuma-ed and clementined, before taking a bath in a tub of creosote.

On Thursday Sonia joins the latest fracas, when she is determined to tell Rebecca that she is her mother. When she takes Rebecca out for the afternoon, she is confronted by an angry Martin, who is forced to let them go when Sonia threatens to reveal all, there and then. When MArtin goes to pick his daughter up, however, Sonia has relented – probably because she realises that it is opening time at Scarlet’s. Why is that nightclub open in the middle of the afternoon, by the way?

It’s another exciting week for Grant, who on Tuesday becomes embroiled in Carla’s complicated life when Ray turns up. By Thursday Grant has sussed what the scheming wench has been up to, and on Friday he leaves once again with just his daughter. Forget the therapy next time, Grant; there’s only one couch I want to see you on.

27th May 2006
“Best bloke you’ve ever ‘ad,” said Mo to Little Mo, talking about Oliver. Well, that wasn’t really saying much, and in the end the doctor turned out to be a bit of a letdown. But Little Mo’s departure made for more great scenes as Kacey Ainsworth acted her heart out at the entrance to Walford East tube station, a place that has seen more high drama than the Old Vic.
  But when one door shuts, another one opens, and now we have Carla, Grant’s estranged wife from Brazil, on the scene. On Monday she tries to explain to her husband that she left Ray three weeks ago, realising that it is Grant she loves. Surely she will go off the idea again when she comes face to face with the brat Courtney. “He hates you all as much as I do,” the devil child screamed at Peggy this week, when Grant was nowhere to be seen. Despite assuring Grant that she will be a better mother, Carla finds Courtney unreceptive, and on Tuesday Grant confides in Jane about the difficult situation. That doesn’t stop him getting his kit off for Carla, and on Thursday he decides that they can all start a new life in Portugal. Oh, dear. This announcement comes just at the time that Jane confesses to Pat that she has fallen in love with Grant. He, however, is furious that she has discussed their relationship and insists that all is over between them. I don’t know how much therapy he had in Brazil, but it doesn’t seem to have done much to help him sort his life out. First he nearly kills his brother, then he sleeps with another man’s girlfriend, then he runs away, and now Portugal is on the agenda. How is he managing to communicate with people in these faraway places, anyway? He barely has a grasp of English, let alone any foreign tongue. There is good news for him and us on Friday, though, when Courtney goes missing. To every cloud and all that . . .

8th April 2006
“I ‘ate your guts an’ you ‘ate mine,” said Phil to
Ian, in a sudden burst of the kind of affection for
which he is renowned. He was prepared to put aside all
animosity, though, for the sake of young Ben, who, we
learned from Jane, “seems to have really come out of
his shell these past few days.” Personally, I couldn’t
see it; I’ve seen lobsters slip out of their shells
with more alacrity than Ben. On Monday Peggy tells
Phil to be more friendly towards Ian for Ben’s sake,
and when Ian arrives back, they sit down to talk. It
transpires, however, that it is all an act, and Ian is
determined that Phil cannot see Ben. It’s a sentiment
shared by the boy, who, Ian told us last week, is
afraid of his father. Really? I thought he was
something of a whiz at full back on the rugby field;
even Phil is small fry in the face of 15 pieces of
best rump. On Friday, fed up with the aggro between
the two men, Ben packs his bag and heads off into the
night. All this excitement makes Phil turn to God, and
when he sees Dot praying, he goes to join her.
Whatever next? Grant in therapy, Phil praying? What is
the hard world of East End gangsterism coming to?
   Grant is also determined to do the best for his
child, and on Tuesday starts talking about schools for
Courtney. Education is the least of the poor girl’s
problems; she has inherited her mother’s supply of
dreadful hairbands and looks like a mummy on the
   Jake is in a bad way again on Tuesday, and on
Thursday turns to pills and vodka to ease his
troubles. The Mitchell bruvvers arrive in time to save
him and test his resolve to live by driving a car at
him. What is it with this pair and their insatiable
desire to try to run people over? All’s well that ends
well, and the three sit down to a lovely cup of tea.
Hardmen, or what?

25th March 2006
From where is Honey buying her disastrous headgear? No
sooner has she ditched the suede deerstalker than she
turns up in a pink skull cap and fur scarf that make
her look like a novelty condom. As if that were not
laughable enough, we also discovered this week that
Ben used to play full back in rugby. At his size,
let’s hope that it was so full back it was back in the
changing room.
   Forget any laughter, come next week, though, as
it’s gangster time again, with Grant back on the scene
on Monday, quickly followed by Johnny on Tuesday. When
Johnny sees Phil and Grant on his CCTV, the threesome
end up in another round of psychological warfare. With
Danny back as well, there can only be one train of
events: the woods. Danny, Jake and Johnny spend more
time in the woods than a teddy bears’ picnic, and
Friday sees Danny there again, as he marches Grant and
Phil through them. In essence: Johnny wants the
bruvvers dead, and there is a lot of spade-bashing and
sounds of gunshot before a fatal shot is fired. But
who is the victim, and who is the killer? The spade
comes in handy, as the body has to be buried, so it’s
another very busy night disturbing the bears.
   There’s precious little else happening next week,
although on Tuesday there is a tender moment between
Ruby and Grant, when he tells her how hard it is being
a dad. Not half as hard as it is being a daughter in
Albert Square. Ask Courtney.


18th March 2006
Why are there no normal people anymore? When Joe
arrived, it looked as if he might bring some semblance
of normality to the Fowler household, but now it turns
out that he has a prison record. He is trying to keep
it secret from Pauline, but on Monday, when Mo
uncovers Bert’s past, the secret is out. When I say
“uncovers”, I mean that literally. Mo throws herself
at Bert, and in the process of ripping his shirt off,
sees his green prison tattoo. Lucky she sees something
to stop her going any further, I say. On Tuesday Joe
is furious when he discovers that Mo knows, so it can
only be a matter of time before he is on the receiving
end of Pauline’s wrath. Any woman who can call her
daughter-in-law a “bitch” and a “conniving little
slut” is not going to take kindly to the news that her
husband is a lying jailbird.
   I am really worried about where the Kevin/Pat
relationship is going. I’ve only just come out of
therapy following her affair with Patrick, which saw
her enter the Portakabin wearing nothing under her fur
coat. Having claimed, this week, following Deano’s
joke, that she had no interest in Kevin, the pair
appear to be bonding on Tuesday, when he talks about
his son, who died of cystic fibrosis. He is later
pleased to see Pat turn up at Peggy’s birthday party.
Come on, you really can do better, Kevin. On Thursday,
it seems he has, when Yolande comes on to him, and he
responds by sggesting they go somewhere quieter. What
is this? Walford’s Grab a Granny week? While in the
rest of the country, every man over the age of 40 is
pulling teenage girls, Albert Square’s men keep
bucking the trend with the likes of Pat, Mo and
   Also on Thursday, Phil is back, demanding to know
where his son is. You can’t blame him. No one bothered
to tell him about Kathy, nor that his son was back in
the Square. It’s enough to drive a man to drink - and
possibly does, when Phil finds a bottle in the Arches
(what on earth is it doing there?) and raises it to
his lips. That can be no bad thing. At least this
turnaround might give him a few more lines to say in
the Vic than “Orange juice.”
   Poor old Martin recognises that his marriage is
over on Friday, now that Sonia is well and truly
lesbossed over at Naomi’s. “What did I do wrong?” he
asked his wife this week. Well, let’s start at
   Love’s other young nightmare, Stacey and Bradley,
doesn’t seem to be going anywhere either, when she is
convinced (again) that he is not interested in her.
Come on, move this story on; at this rate, I’ll be on
a Zimmer frame before I see them get together. And get
the make-up department to do something with him under
the lights; the lad’s complexion makes him look as if
he is in the early stages of spontaneous combustion.

11th March 2006
How much longer can they drag out these awful
storylines about the Millers? Just when EastEnders’
plots appear to be picking up after a bad patch, they
throw one whacking great boring one at us and don’t
stop banging on about it. Rosie and Mike, Dawn and
Mike, Keith and Rosie, Dawn and Mickey. Will make
stay/go? Has Mike changed? Has Keith changed? Which
will Rosie choose? Do we even care? Well, no. Not a
   On Friday I thought that might be an end to it all
when, with Mike out of the way, Keith proposed to
Rosie. But no, there’s more. On Monday he wonders
whether he has done the right thing in giving her an
engagement ring, and when she shows him a wedding
magazine, it nearly sends him over the edge – no bad
thing, in my book; any edge will do.
   On Tuesday Rosie becomes suspicious when he
suggests having their engagement party in September,
his reasoning being that six months to arrange your
wedding means six months to get out of it. But it’s
too late: Dawn tells them that she has arranged for a
party in the Vic the following evening. On Thursday
Keith is left feeling even more sick when, hearing
about the costs involved in a wedding, Rosie suggests
a quick registry office affair. Why Keith’s
reluctance? There is no doubt who is getting the
better deal here.
   The Sonia/Naomi/Martin shenanigans are far more
entertaining, although I was a tad worried during
Friday night’s snog when it looked as if Naomi was in
danger of swallowing Sonia’s head whole. On Monday,
when Sonia drops the bombshell that she is not going
to Paris with Martin and that she is leaving him, she
is stunned to discover that Naomi has cleared off to
her mother’s. That Paris trip Martin arranged was
never going to happen, anyway. For a man who could not
even be dragged to the Tate, which was right on his
doorstep in London, his planned itinerary of two days
of museum visits abroad was not very convincing. On
Friday, on the anniversary of Rebecca’s parents’
death, Martin sees a glimmer of hope as the couple
reminisce about reading stories to their daughter. No
chance, Martin. It’s Lesbos with Thomas Cook for her
this year.

4th March 2006
I’m getting rather worried about the linguistically
challenged Honey. A few weeks ago, she expressed
concern that, being pregnant, she would look like a
“bleached whale” (it’s “beached”, by the way - as in a
whacking great lump on the sand). This week, she said
that she had always fantasised about being walked up
the “alley” by her father on her wedding day. Still,
anyone who takes Billy as a fiancé must be a bit
dubious in the brain department. At least the
relationship has given us the chance to enjoy the
fabulous Nicky Henson as Honey’s father, Jack. His
relationship with his prospective son-in-law is
clearly going to produce some terrific writing. “ ‘Ow
d’you manage to move your lips without Keith ‘Arris
bein’ about?” he asked him on Tuesday. On Thursday he
is shocked to discover that Honey is pregnant, and on
Friday it is clear that his view on it is very
different from his daughter’s. It’s a pity he does not
take such an interest in her headgear. Why is she
permanently hidden under that suede dear-stalker? Is
she planning a trip to the North Pole?
   That might be no bad thing, given how boring things
are in the Square at the moment. How much longer must
we be subjected to the Keef/Rosie/Mike love triangle?
It is breathtakingly tedious and I don’t give two figs
who ends up with whom; I just wish they would all wash
once in a while. On Friday, following Mike’s departure
(again), Keef decides to propose and hands Rosie a box
containing a small diamond ring. He bought it with the
money he had from selling his chair, DVDs and
soldiers, so you can only imagine with horror what
sort of tacky monstrosity it is.
   There are also advances on the relationship front
for Sonia, who on Tuesday kisses Naomi again. It is
Martin’s habit of eating quickly, with his mouth open,
that Sonia really can’t stand, and on Friday she tells
Naomi what she really wants – in addition to getting
Martin’s jaws wired.

25th February 2006
Tuesday’s episode, written by Richard Davidson, was
hilarious. Phil Daniels, as Kevin Wicks, was in top
form as the character’s Greek in-laws arrived to
discuss the state of Carly and Nico’s marriage. The
number of Greeks was funny in itself, and the chaos
into which the occasion erupted laugh-aloud funny.
“People only get to speak when they’re holding Cupid,”
Kevin decided, taking a hideous ornament from Pat’s
bar. When the Greeks concluded that the marriage could
continue, provided that Carly have “psycholanalytic
conselling”, Phil was gobsmacked by their approach to
what was supposed to be a cpsy family get together:
“What did we end up with? The Nuremburg Trials.”
   We can look forward to lots more Kevin, because on
Tuesday he tells Pat that he will be sticking around a
bit longer. She agrees to sort out the junk room (that
would be the ear-ring room?) to sccommodate him, and
you can’t help wondering, given how many people are
staying there, why she hasn’t thought to do this
before. How big is that house?
   There is another newcomer on Monday, when Honey’s
father, Jack, arrives. Honey is sure her father will
love Billy, but after wangling his way into Billy’s
house, he finds out more than he could ever want to
know - the Mitchells, no money, a previous marriage
(although he forgets to mention his history of
violence from the days he used to beat up Jamie).
After a dodgy start with Peggy, Jack and she have a
dinner date on Friday, when Peggy reckons that she can
drink him under the table - not hard, given that she
can barely see over it anyway.
   There is a lot of drinking next week, and on
Thursday Little Mo agrees to go for a drink with Jane;
the result is a whopping great hangover on Friday, a
fact she tries to keep hidden, without success, from
the lovely Dr Cousins. Please, you are not really
going to put these two together as an item, surely?
Little Mo is very sweet, but she’s barely be able to
get through the four sylllables of penicillin sober,
let along drunk.
   Also on Friday, there is more trouble in the Miller
household between Keith and Mike (who turns up again
Thursday), who argue over which one of them Rosie
prefers. Take a look in the mirror, Keith: there’s
your answer.

18th February 2006
“Just be yerself an’ it’ll be fine,” Mickey told Keef
this week, failing to recognise that being himself is
precisely what Rosie does not like about her husband.
“I’ve finally realised what you are,” she yelled at
him in Pauline’s wedding. “ . . . You look like a sack
of spuds” – a little unfair to King Edward’s, if you
ask me.
   On Thursday, therefore, Keef spends an extra long
time in the bathroom at Juley’s, convinced that Rosie
will take him back, but when he goes there she is
still furious with him. When she then discovers that
he has lied about going to the job centre, she slams
the door in his face.
   At least it is a familiar face, though. There are
so many new ones turning up, I’m no longer sure I’m
watching the same show. Deano, Kevin, Carly, and, on
Tuesday, Carly’s husband Nico; then, on Friday, Bert .
. . That’s right, Bert. Who on earth is he when he’s
at home? It transpires that Joe has invited him to
stay at any time, and he has luckily found the door
unlocked at the Fowlers’.
Martin and Sonia, hoping for an early night, are none
too pleased to see him and then start to bicker about
who left the door open. It’s not a good night for them
all round, as they had earlier found themselves in the
same restaurant as Honey and Billy – again. It’s
Martin’s eating habits that are getting Sonia down:
just think of a hog diving head first into a bowl of
   The big news of the week is the death of Kathy in a
car crash in South Africa. Now this really is the end
of an era, and, on Tuesday, seeing Ian in a state,
Martin offers to make some food. No, Ian, no! Don’t
let him! Not if you value your wallpapers and carpets.

11th February 2006
No, no, this really is a joke now. Why would Patrick,
whose most energetic act in life is raising a glass to
his mouth, be able to summon up all this energy for
Pat? And even if he could, would he really risk losing
everything with the lovely Yolande?
   Just when you thought your worst nightmares had
been realised, on Monday they increase tenfold, when
Patrick turns up at the rendezvous at the Kabin, only
to discover Pat naked under her fur coat. He also has
the champagne she asked him to bring – and a negligee,
as she asked for a present. I’m not sure which is
likely to be the scariest: Pat naked, or Pat in a
negligee. What they do not know is that Stacey sees
the couple kiss as they leave.
   On Valentine’s Day, however, Patrick spends the
evening with Yolande, massaging her feet, while they
watch an action film and she dips marshmallows in the
chocolate fondue he has bought her. Where he found
such luxuries in Walford is anybody’s guess, but they
do the trick, and on Friday Patrick tells Pat that it
is Yolande he loves. When Stacey witnesses Pat’s
farewell kiss, it is all too much for her, and she
blurts out about the affair, resulting in a great
fisticuffs between Yolande and Pat. Personally, I
would have thought hysterical laughter would have been
the most appropriate – not only because of Patrick’s
choice of woman, but because it is hard to imagine him
doing anything that required him to take his hat off.
   There is better news on the relationship front on
Friday, as Joe and Pauline are due to get married. The
question is whether the bride will turn up, or will
she end up where everyone does during stressful times,
at Arthur’s allotment? For Joe’s sake, we can but

4th February 2006
What on earth had Honey come as, when Billy arrived to
take her out on her modelling job? Scott of the
Antarctic could not have been more togged out. I know
it’s been a bit chilly, but even the abominable
snowman is less scary. Still, at least she and Billy
are happy, although living under the same roof as Pat
from Monday it’s hard to see how that’s going to last.
The effect it has on Pat is to make her go all soppy
over Frank again, and when she contemplates his
picture, she thinks that she has lost him forever.
Let’s hope so.
   He is still very much on her mind on Tuesday, as
she stares at a magazine headline: Sex – are you too
old? Oh, no, we can see where this one’s going, and
it’s really too horrible to contemplate. When Patrick
is forced to confess to his wife that it has been Pat
doing the books, Yolande tells him to get her back
onside, when Mo has told her that the car lot doesn’t
need her anymore. After a heavy bit of flirting (it
really is very, very horrible), Patrick turns up at
her place and they end up in bed together. On Thursday
Pat can’t resist telling Jake that she has had a
dalliance with a married man, and she later tells
Patrick that he has made her feel like a woman again.
All he’s made me feel is like reaching for a bucket.
This is the most unlikely storyline in a long time –
ludicrous, in fact – and it gets even more so on
Friday, when Yolande too starts making excessive
demands on her husband. I don’t believe a word of it.
   There is less chance of rumpy-pumpy for Marin on
Friday, when Sonia is more concerned about getting a
text from Naomi than spending a cosy night in with her
husband. When Naomi turns up, Sonia turns her
attentions to comforting her friend, who is distressed
because she thinks no one will ever want her (not if
you spend your every minute at the Fowlers’ they
won’t), and so it’s another No Nookie night for
Martin. Accept it, mate. It’s going to be Lesbos for
your summer holiday.

28th January 2006
“Me an’ you – we’re doin’ all right, i’n we?” said
Sonia, as she contemplated her future with Martin.

   Doin’ all right is all anyone ever manages to do,
alas, as the Rosie/Mike/Keef saga revealed. And doin’
all right is all they attempt to do on Monday, too,
when Keef tries to impress Rosie with some jam
doughnuts and a copy of Pretty Woman – a film which is
all the reminder you need to recognise that evryfin is
far from awright back at home.

   Personally, I’ve never been convinced by this love
triangle, and especially not with the fact that Rosie
decided to stay wiv Keef. Now, with that on the back
burner, we have to await the outcome of that other
great excitement (not) – will Pauline get it together
with Joe?

   Next week is allegedly Joe’s last week before he
leaves for Dubai (Albert Square and Pauline? Or the
sun, sea and riches of Dubai? Hmmm. Tough one), and on
Thursday he calls on her for one last Salsa. Unable to
face losing him, she claims that she is babysitting
for Rebecca, but, encouraged by Martin, she goes to
his leaving do. He tries to woo her by telling her to
open up the padlock she has around her heart (so
that’s where it went, and why everyone can break into
Arthur’s shed so easily!). To be honest, mate, not
even Houdini could get out of that one, but on Friday
Joe makes a last ditch attempt and awaits a final
answer to his proposal. Oh, for goodness sake, woman:
take the ring, pawn it for the dosh and buy yourself a
decent cardigan.

   There is more romance in the air on Monday, when
Honey tells Peggy that she is pregnant, and on Friday
Billy proposes. It doesn’t go down well with Little
Mo, who rushes upstairs at the Vic and threatens to
scream if Peggy does not hand her young Freddie. I
wouldn’t worry, Mo; the ceremony will never happen.
When the vicar gets to the bit about anyone having any
reason why they should not marry, the whole
congregation will object to Honey on the grounds that:

   There is yet another new doctor arriving on Monday,
although how long he will be staying is dubious,
because Dot promptly runs him down. Dr Cousins
recovers quickly and tells Dot to come to see him at
his surgery the next day. At least he knows where it
is, which is more than could be said for the last couple.

21st January 2006
I don’t know about you, but I feel quite exhausted in
the wake of Johnny and Ruby’s departure. How many more
times could they have repeated the Juley conversation,
and what on earth is Juley going to do now that he
can’t keep running round to Johnny begging to see the
   On Monday Stacey sees a For Sale sign outside the
Allens’ house and, posing as a potential buyer with
Garry, fishes for information from the estate agent.
It quickly transpires that Johnny has no intention of
returning, and Stacey wastes no time in planning a
party – immediately. When she sees Juley dancing with
Dawn, she decides to trash the place.
   What is this great attraction for Juley that all
the girls have? He’s an ex-drug dealer, who also took
money from Phil to sleep with Ruby, and he jumps when
Johnny says “Boo!” But then everyone does. Why didn’t
Juley, who is double Johnny’s size, just sock him one?
Johnny has no bodyguards, no heavy friends (apart from
that one who the Mitchells so quickly dispensed with),
and a nighclub that is about as happening as Death
Row. On Tuesday Stacey goes in search of more clues as
to Johnny’s whereabouts and wonders whether to try to
track her down in Acapulco.  There is very little
evidence that Stacey is capable of buying a tube
ticket from Walford East; apart from a recent trip to
her mother’s house, she goes almost nowhere and has
palpitations if she ventures further than the caff.
   Meanwhile, in the Miller household, Rosie is
pleased that life is back to “normal” – well,
normality in that Muppet Show kind of way that the
family enjoy. Inevitably, it doesn’t last long, and on
Tuesday Mickey reluctantly tells his dad that Rosie
and Mike were planning to run off together. Why Keith
is so surprised remains a mystery, but his response is
to leave the house and go to Garry, who agrees to let
him stay. It’s not a good night for the hapless Garry,
who also discovers that Trudi, the girl he has brought
back to the flat (it’s a crowded night), has nicked
his wallet. On his wages, she’s in for a big
disappointment, but please, please, give Garry some
hassle-free love interest; the poor guy must be
climbing the walls.
   The course of true love is not running smooth for
Yolande and Patrick, now that Pat is on board at the
car lot. On Monday Pat locks Yolande in the portacabin
when she finds her checking her accounts, and on
Friday she even slaps her across the face. You don’t
want to be on the receiving end of Pat no matter what
bodily part she throws at you, so expect to see
Yolande in A & E.

14th January 2006
When new families arrive in any soap, viewers are usually resistant. The Slaters were greeted with derision when they arrived in Albert Square, but now it is hard to imagine a time when they were not there. Likewise, the Millers, who have been transformed from a bunch of lazy good-for-nothings into a family of real depth and interest. Mike's re-appearance has had the effect of broadening the character of Rosie, who has blossomed both physically and emotionally in the company of her ex, and on Monday, as the pair reminisce, their meeting ends with a kiss.   

They choose to do this reminiscing on the swings, which these days are only ever occupied by adults pondering their lives. There is precious little for kids to do in the area as it is, and with the grown-ups hogging the swings all the time, small wonder that they have to resort to visiting the ducks so often.   

On Tuesday Mike and Rosie try to convince themselves that their kiss of the previous night was nothing more than nostalgia, but later Rosie is in tears as she ponders what her life has become. Mike asks her to leave Keith for him, and, you have to admit, it's a tempting offer; waking up to a yeti every morning can't be much fun. On Friday Rosie makes her decision, but is it the right one?   

The interminable Johnny/Ruby/Juley story drags on, and on Tuesday the lovers are back together. Phew. A resolution at last. But not so fast. On Thursday Ruby decides that too much has happened between them, and she breaks it off again, agreeing to go on holiday with Johnny. On Friday, though, Stacey is concerned when she does not get any response from the text messages she is sending her friend.   

All of this fades into insignificance with the week's really, really big news: the sexual chemistry between Pat and Patrick. That's right. Just when your stomach had settled following Pat's last encounter with Frank, on Thursday she's off again, doing her secret agent, averting eyes look with Patrick. On Friday, in a rare moment when Pat's eyes are not scanning the joint for bugs, they lock with Patrick's, and it is clear that the couple have a connection. Puh-lease; give me a break. This really smacks of desperation.

31st December 2005
"Look to the future now, it's only just begun." The Slade Christmas dirge promises so much every year, yet in Albert Square, looking to the future is always a grim affair. But then so is looking back. The year ended with Dennis's murder, and on Monday the new one begins with Phil debating whether to turn off Johnny's oxygen machine. Given Phil's raspy tones, he's probably debating whether to nick the oxygen tank; heaven knows, he could use it. He decides against it because he wants Johnny to suffer, although anyone who has to spend every night in Scarlet's could be said to have suffered enough.    

Phil is really acting up, because on Tuesday he demands that Juley finish with Ruby by the end of the day. Juley, however, has fallen in love with her, but knows what he has to do. He therefore comes up with a gratuitous reason to end it, leaving the poor girl in pieces. On Friday Gus tells the Johnny the truth, but when Juley tells Ruby that he loves her, it seems it's too late. Wasn't the whole point of the "arrangement" to hurt Johnny? He seems to be fine, whereas Ruby and Juley are devastated.    

They are not the only ones. On Monday Dr Le Roy visits Sharon and declares that she is suffering from shock. Well, knock me down with a feather. Her husband has just been murdered; did they really need a doctor to diagnose her condition? The Square's doctors are notorious for the little work they do; Dr Le Roy will probably have to take a week's holiday after the effort he will have had to summon up to reach this conclusion.   

On Friday Pauline gives Sharon Dennis's effects (that should be another short scene - one bag, if I remember correctly), but she remains mute (To every cloud and all that . . . ). Phil encourages her to keep it together, pointing out that if she doesn't, Johnny will win. Sharon then speaks for the first time, saying that she will attend Dennis's funeral.    

Also on Friday, Patrick asks Pat's business advice regarding the car lot. Blimey. That's the equivalent of going to Ozzy Osbourne for life coaching.

24th December 2005
The ducks must be wondering what has happened to their regular meals, as no one seems to have been to see them in months. But they are clearly still on some people's minds. What present did Billy take to Little Mo to give to Freddy? "A walking duck thing." For goodness sake, somebody take him to the zoo in 2006, if only to prove to him the existence of other animals.   

At least Billy is smiling now that he has Honey, though, and tomorrow he is thrilled when she returns from her father's because she is missing him so much. I'm not sure she's the right woman for Billy, not least because she has the constant startled expression of someone who has just witnessed a very bad traffic accident. I think I'd die of fright waking up to that look in the night, and with Billy's fragile constitution, it can't be long before the paramedics are called.   

The spirit of Christmas has not softened Phil one iota, and on Monday he threatens to expose Juley to Ruby, when the latter wants out of their "deal". On Tuesday he returns Phil's money because he has fallen in love with the youngster, leaving Phil furious.    

Sharon confronts Dennis over his reluctance to adopt on Monday, but on Tuesday they arrive back in the Square with the adoption papers. Never one to let things go, Dennis also decides to wind Johnny up again by helping Ruby move her things to Juley's. Johnny wants Dennis and Sharon out of the Square by midnight or, he says, their child will grow up fatherless. He decides to grab Sharon by the throat to reinforce the point, and you can't help wondering why, when everyone leaves a meeting with Johnny maimed, they keep insisting on going to see him unarmed, let alone unaccompanied.   

The Square celebrates the New Year on Friday, with residents gathering outside for fireworks. Meanwhile, close by, there are fireworks of a different nature about to go off. No, I'm not saying another word.

17th December 2005
It's not only Coronation Street which has taken to quoting Catherine Tate's Lauren. "You disrespected me," said Johnny to Ruby this week, when he discovered that she had slept with Juley. Now, what was the condom wrapper doing on a table downstairs? Did the pair not even make it to the bedroom? So much for the night being special. On Thursday Johnny is furious when he discovers that they are still seeing each other behind his back and offers Juley money to stay away. Unbeknown to Johnny, he is still being paid by Phil to do precisely the opposite. Does no one spare a thought for poor Ruby in the middle of all this feuding?   

It's Nana's funeral on Thursday, and although Alfie is upset, there must be a part of him that is relieved he won't have to fulfil any more of her requests on that terminally long list of things she wanted to do before she died. Kat reflects on the note that Nana left to be opened after her death - "Make my Alfie happy." How could Kat do that, I wonder? Buying him a decent shirt might go some way towards it. So might letting him have a threesome with her and her sister.   

Nana's note has resonances for other people too on Thursday, and Sonia makes a major decision about the way she is living her life. Helping her to make it is Martin calling Naomi a "meddling, interfering, two-faced little bitch". Still, at least he left out the lesbian bit.    Christmas Eve is celebrated on Friday, when Alfie also makes a decision about the rest of his life. There is the usual sentimental carol-singing (bet you the proverbial moon comes out of the props' department; bet you the crane's on set too), but some nastiness in among the cheer, when Johnny warns Sharon that someone will get hurt if she does not stop coming between him and Ruby. To be honest, he's created such a gap himself, you could put the Great Wall of China between them. Dennis says that he's not afraid of Johnny. Oh, dear. Is that the sound of the florist's phone I hear ringing?

10th December 2005
What an incredibly depressing week, and it just seemed to come out of nowhere. True, it gave Lacey Turner the chance to shine as Stacey, as the character's mother sank further into depression, but did we have to have so much of it? "This is torture," said mum, on Monday. She was right. It was.   

On Monday Ruby tries to get Stacey to talk about what has happened (no, please; no more!), but the fact that Ruby is planning to lose her virginity to Juley takes centre stage - and what an elaborate plot it turns out to be. It takes only until Tuesday for Johnny to discover what has happened, when he finds an empty condom wrapper. When Ruby tells Juley that she loves him, it is all too much for the man, who decides that he wants out. How Phil becomes involved in all this is anybody's guess, but on Thursday he takes the opportunity to hurt Johnny more by paying Juley £35 to put his hand on Ruby's thigh when Johnny is looking. Phil then engineers a situation which sees Johnny finding the lovebirds in the bedroom back at his place. Ever the diplomat in such situations, Johnny arms himself with a pair of scissors, which Dennis (also stepping in - I tell you, it's a veritable bunfight) persuades him to drop. Why on earth did Juley not just find himself another woman?   

Alfie must be wishing that he had time for nookie, but there is little chance of that these days, as he continues to try to fulfil Nana's wishlist. At the rate her demands are growing, he must be wishing he could just go and have her put down and be done with it. On Friday, making plans for Christmas, she asks Alfie if they can go and buy a dancing penguin, and so Alfie is left trawling the market in search of one. Nana gives Kat an envelope which contains her final wish, instructing her that it is not to be opened until after her death. My guess is that it is a request that Alfie and Kat get back together. Anyway, Alfie finds the dancing penguin, but be prepared: this episode is a weepie.

3rd December 2005

Pauline turned philosopher for Naomi this week. "Ignoring things doesn't mean they go away," she said, going on to advise: "You should do the things that scare you most." Really? Martin and Sonia must have been terrified going to live with her, and look where it's got them: Martin sells one apple a week, and Sonia has gone all Sapphic on us. Next thing you know, she'll be booking that one-way ticket to Lesbos. "When we were young, bein' gay meant bein' 'appy," Dot said to Pauline. Fat chance of that in Albert Square.

Alas, we take a break from all this sexual excitement next week, when on Monday Pat and Ian prepare to attend Janine's trial. After having doubts about testifying against Janine, Pat is caught unawares by a familiar voice . . . Oh, no. It's Frank. Again.    

Why must we keep being subjected to this dreadful man, who does nothing but drag the show back into the dark ages? His wide-boy shrugs and hoarse whispering just make you cringe, and on Tuesday, when he and Pat sleep together - yes, again - you just want to scream. Frank reckons that he has always loved Pat (we really have been here before), but is it all just a ploy to get her to change her statement? On Thursday she decides that she cannot go through with her testimony, but after a crushing blow from Frank, changes her mind again. Then back again. We get to know what she finally does and what Janine's fate is on Friday, but by then we are past caring. How long will it be before Frank wheels up again? I know! He could turn up in the Vic and say that he never stopped loving Peggy. Then he could sleep with Pat. They could keep this going for years. Come to think of it, they have.

26th November 2005
Anyone have any idea where I Beef Ugh is? Apparently, it's where Stacey went on holiday, and this week Ruby pretended to be reading a text from her, when it was, in fact, from Juley. "She's 'avin' a great larf in I Beef Ugh," Ruby told her dad. Anyway, on Monday Stacey arrives back from I Beef Ugh where she has been visitng Zoe, and immediately becomes embroiled in Ruby's love life. Poor Ruby is baffled by Juley's coldness towards her, little knowing that Johnny threatened to break his legs if he tries anything on sexually. Juley therefore tells her that he wants to keep their relationship secret from her dad (Big mistake! Whatever happened to "No more secrets"?). Why not just get another girlfriend, or is that stating the obvious (And Ruby - put some clothes on; we're almost in December)?   

There are also romance problems for Sonia on Monday, when she confesses to Naomi that her marriage has been dead for some time (her husband is not a million miles from the rigor mortis stage, either). A friendly chat is turned into a kiss by Naomi, and on Tuesday it is clear that she has much deeper feelings for her married friend. Sonia's response is to march around to Martin and claim that she wants to make up; Naomi's response is to snog Garry, which smacks even more of desperation. On Thursday there is a big showdown in the Rovers, when the penny drops, and Martin accuses the pair of having an affair. Naomi reckons it was her first kiss, but that's enough to have Sonia offering to accompany her to gay bars. Well, that didn't take long, did it? Talk about a Damascus style conversion. On Friday, however, Sonia and Martin decide to talk about their marriage.   

Also on Friday, it's the wonderful Minty's birthday, and Billy takes along Honey as his date. Unfortunately, when she goes to kiss him, she vomits. Oh, come on, he's not that bad.