Brendan’s last week: Friday

There are lots of tears in the hospital. I think that, having made the set, Hollyoaks are determined to get their money’s worth out of it. Cheryl tries to stick to the story Brendan came up with despite Ste’s questioning. Unfortunately she’s so bad at lying she can’t even face Ste and probably wouldn’t fare much better with Dumb and Dumber.  Cheryl says she heard what Seamus said to Brendan although Seamus was dead when she got there.  Ste’s almost as slow on the uptake as Cheryl is bad at lying but even he knows that the dead aren’t famed for their chattiness and realises that it was Cheryl, not Brendan, who shot Seamus,.

Half way intelligent cop has disappeared. Dumb and Dumber want to interview Cheryl. And Brendan’s not actually dead, just a bit wounded. The man has more lives than a cat although since he failed to be dead when he was blown up I suppose it was silly to think a police shoot out would stop him. How different the ending to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid would have been if Brendan had featured.

Sienna thinks Seamus’s winning betting slip should go to Cheryl. Whatever. Myra breaks the news of the death and shooting to Nate in her own special way. Then she informs Darren that Nate is a millionaire with a country estate and will marry Cheryl so Darren decides maybe he can keep the betting slip.

Brendan is trying to convince Ste to let him take the blame. Max tells Sienna and friends that ‘It’s murder out there’.  Yes Max, that’s Hollyoaks for you. Will decides to turn detective to help his mother so frankly the woman is doomed.

Cheryl confesses to Nate that Seamus used to hurt Brendan. Cheryl tells Nate their relationship is over. I wish Nate didn’t remind me of chutney. Every time I see him I wonder if his breath smells of cheese. This worries me.

Ste tells Brendan it ends here. Poor old Ste, covered in bruises, asking if Brendan knows what love is. It’s like a lesson in denial. And Kieron needs a proper acting job away from Hollyoaks. Dumb or possibly Dumber comes to take Brendan away from the hospital to prison.

Darren tells his dad they don’t need to move. They are the new owners of the pub. He’s won the bet. Lying about the betting slip probably isn’t a great move. And Nancy hates the fact that he appears to be gambling again but goes along with it to keep the pub. Oh I don’t care. I want Esther back.

Anna tells her family that she got Mark to safety from Patrick and meant to go back for Sienna. She claims Patrick is the one who is dangerous and manipulative. Max however thinks that Anna tried to gas the kids and suffocate Sienna. This is Max who thought ‘Kevin’ the barman who drugged her was lovely and who fell for Walker’s ‘I’m a good cop me’ act.

Anna says she’s better but also makes it clear she did try to hurt the twins. Anna gets taken away by men in white t-shirts as if we’re in Hollyoaks: The Victorian Years. Patrick does a special villainous aside just so we all know it’s him really. Mind you, I’m not too sure about Sienna either.

Ste is falling apart. He wants Cheryl to go with Nate. She says she’ll confess to the murder. Ste does not want Brendan’s sacrifice to be for nothing. He bellows this just as Nate approaches. Ste bless him is rather accident prone. Cheryl tells Nate the truth and still blames herself for not seeing what was happening. Nate points out she saved Brendan when he really needed her. I’m warming to Nate. So long as he leaves I’ll like him. Ste tells Cheryl ‘you run as fast and as far as you can and don’t look back.’ He might have added ‘before anybody else is murdered, shot, strangled, or hit by an exploding van door’.

Mercy’s missing and creepy doc is back. Hollyoaks then murder a U2 song. There really should be an embargo on cover versions of their songs. If you hate U2 you won’t care if you never hear one again and if you like them you certainly don’t want to hear that kind of dirge. Ste’s kids are back. Cheryl at least gets a glamorous and tear free exit looking like a cross between Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn, if such a thing is possible.

And Brendan. Well Brendan is looking at a long stretch in prison although the man is still alive and this is Hollyoaks. Who knows what will happen.

Brendan’s last week: Thursday

So Seamus is dead and Cheryl is cracking up. Anna the Creepy Carer has some explaining to do. She says she has thought of the family every single day. Dodger says he thinks of the family everyday and then forgets he’s got a twin. Sienna does not look impressed.

Ste has heard gunshots which will put the kibosh on any cover up even though Brendan’s made Cheryl wash any gunshot residue off her hands and has fired the gun himself. Cheryl feels guilty about not seeing what Seamus did to Brendan and no amount of hand washing will rid her of either blood or guilt. Brendan wouldn’t tell her about the abuse because he loved her and didn’t want her world to come crashing down. Cheryl confesses that she too had wanted to be daddy’s favourite. Except no, not like that.

Dodger thought Anna was dead then was convinced she’d come back.  Will takes after his mother at least in general creepiness and manipulation. I need a stiff gin to get through this episode. Sienna doesn’t want Anna as a mum which is cool as Ann doesn’t recognise her anyway. She really is quite unhinged and I’m not sure this is the best way to portray mental health problems. In fact I’m fairly sure it isn’t. Anna can’t face Patrick. The cops are everywhere thanks to Ste.

Meanwhile back at the club/ O.K. Corral Brendan unplugs the phone. He wants to lie to get out of this. He’ll take the wrap for Cheryl. In fact he says he’s taking the bullet for her. I’m not quite that’s what that expression means.

The police, who have found someone halfway intelligent, are trying to make contact with Brendan. Darren and Nancy are arguing over a horse race.  Turns out it was a horse called Lady Luck and she’s romped home so Darren goes off to find Seamus and give him the good news.

Patrick encounters Anna. Will gets protective. Patrick says something about medication. Anna is convinced Patrick used to beat her. Anna’s other husband/ Dodger’s other dad whose name I never knew so I can’t say I’ve forgotten it does a big The Family’s Here speech. I momentarily wonder if I’ve switched to Eastenders.

Brendan and Cheryl argue. Brendan wants to protect her for ever. He can’t let Seamus win. (Or Walker for that matter). Brendan sees it as past crimes catching up on him.  Cheryl says he can’t go to prison so Brendan tells her he killed nana. Cheryl at this stage seems too stunned to take this in. #StopCherylCryingIDon’tLikeIt

Patrick shouts at his lawyer like some kind of 1980s yuppy throwback. He knew where Anna was, mainly because it seems he had her locked up in a hospital. Darren wonders where Seamus is as he was just about to make his night. Oh his night’s been made Darren. Take the betting slip and run, run like Lady Luck.

Cheryl wonders if the police will believe about the abuse and so understand why they shot Seamus. Brendan tells Cheryl he’s going to meet the police and she’s not to follow him out.  I think it might be suicide by cop. Out at the top of the club steps Brendan confesses to assorted murders, all the glare of several helicopter floodlights on him. Cheryl realises a second too late what Brendan’s planning. Brendan shuts the door on her, pulls a gun on the police and his world goes black.

Brendan’s Last Week: Wednesday

Brendan replays Walker’s last words – there’s a parting gift that will tear the Bradys’ lives apart. He knows it’s not over, he’s pulled the pin out of a grenade.  I’m not sure if Walker meant an actual bomb, or just Seamus. The police don’t know Walker is dead, let alone that he’s left some kind of bomb, metaphysical or otherwise. I don’t know why I’m surprised. Hollyoaks Police rarely know anything, even when you tell them.

Brendan tells Ste that Seamus beat him up, then made it up to him ‘in his own special way’ and the light finally dawns on Ste. In fairness to Kieron Richardson and Emmett Scanlan who play Ste and Brendan, it’s well acted. It’s a bit hammy from Scanlan but convincing for all that. And as Brendan admits to Ste, the abuse is not a reason for him to hit people. He knows that not everyone who has been abused turns out like him.

Ste wants Brendan to tell Cheryl about the abuse, convinced that she’ll believe him. I doubt this. She didn’t believe Nate when Nate mentioned it to her. Then Ste says the fatal words ‘after today we get our happy ever after’.  Oh dear god no, don’t says things like that for pity’s sake, Ste. Now we know for sure that it’s all going to go belly up.

Creepy Will and his even creepier carer are back. Darren pokes his nose into Seamus’s business. Bad idea. Seamus confesses that him buying the pub depends on a bet. Darren points out that there are no sure fire bets, giving anyone watching this twice a nice example of retrospective irony.

Creepy Carer, confronted by Almost As Creepy Will says the agency know her as Elaine Brooks, her married name. Texas and Will fall for it. Seamus, rather drunk, has an appointment with Lady Luck. Darren hopes he doesn’t catch anything which is rather a slight on Lady Luck. Darren finds what might be Seamus’s betting slip.

Meanwhile, back at the Bradys’, Cheryl finds a gun which is why I always prefer to leave the ecosystem under my sofa entirely alone. No good ever came of tidying up under furniture. Presumably this is the gun used to kill Dumbbell. Then she turns on her laptop to find a recording of Brendan and Seamus and their therapy session with Walker. Ooops. I hate it when Cheryl cries and I can’t help but think that Walker in fact wanted to die, leaving this mess behind him.

Will and Texas have an engagement party and my creepometer breaks.

Seamus and Brendan confront each other in the club. Seamus tells his son that he has driven Cheryl away by being a ‘filthy queer’. But Cheryl now knows what really happened with Brendan and there we have our bomb. Of course Seamus was beaten by his father too. As that cheery soul Larkin was wont to point out, man hands on misery to man. Seamus is now denying he abused Brendan and I can understand Brendan’s fear that no-one will believe him. Except he seems to find some conviction from somewhere, he knows what Seamus is.

Ellie joins the party late, looking rather odd. Except it turns out she’s Anna, Dodger and Will’s mother. Meanwhile Seamus is beating up Brendan. It’s not even 7pm people. So Cheryl shoots Seamus. Yes, I know. I really wasn’t expecting that. Roll on Thursday.

Brendan’s last dance: Tuesday

It’s the morning after the night before. Will and Texas are wedding planning. Wedding planning normally irritates me but in their case it’s worse. Will, always slightly jealous of his brother Dodger, has taken a turn for the creepy. Will lied to Texas about Dodger so that she’d have sex with him, she then found out the lie and pushed him whilst standing at the top of a flight of stairs. Oddly, he didn’t immediately tumble down them. Instead Will waited until she’d gone and then threw himself over the edge both literally and figuratively.

Will ended up in a wheelchair but forgave Texas. Everyone, including Texas, thinks she pushed him, since the shove occurred on the only stairs outside a nightclub in England not to have CCTV. I’d describe Texas as Dumb but that leaves little room for describing the Hollyoaks police force. Will, getting creepier by the microsecond, tricks Texas into being his girlfriend and then his fiancé.  The only person creepier than Will is his new mysterious carer.

The police are currently represented by Dumb and Dumber. Dumb tells the Bradys that Walker is on the run. Brendan says Walker will never stop, giving me visions of the Terminator.

Texas and Walker bump into each other at the graveyard. The creepy carer sticks her nose in with Leanne and invites her to Will’s special lunch. Even atheists offer a collective prayer that this isn’t a euphemism. Nate is either being very romantic or turning into a creepy stalker. You decide.

Brendan’s in a portacabin decorated with pictures of the Bradys. I have no idea, sorry. Could be Walker’s lair. Cheryl wants to stay and work with Seamus in the pub, despite the extraordinary death toll in Hollyoaks. Run Cheryl, run.

Walker talks to Texas. She recognises him. Bad move. Mind you, she has no sense of self preservation that woman. Texas passes on a message from Walker to Ste. Brendan must meet Walker by his dead brother’s grave or Ste’s kids will get hurt. By this point I’ve got a headache and I don’t think it’s going to go away anytime soon. Brendan torches the lair, or whatever it was. Will talks to the Carer about Dodger. She’s like a nanny who turns out to be a ghost in real life.

Brendan is at an appropriately snowy graveyard. Walker, or maybe someone else, tries to look threatening on a scooter. And then we have a car—bike chase in a graveyard. And I keep wondering how bad Walker must smell after months on the run.

Cheryl tells Seamus that she and Nate are moving back to Ireland. I know at least one person will die this week and I’m starting to wonder if it will be Nate.

Will is tracking Texas using GPS, tells her, and she thanks him. (I know, I know, I just can’t do anything about it). Will realises that Creepy Carer AKA Ellie Harper is a fake when he phones her agency. Since, as they say, it takes one to know one, his creepdar must work well. Unlike Texas who has all the survival instincts of a panda.

Brendan and Walker go mano-a-mano, Walker having ditched the scooter. Brendan spouts philosophy worthy of Eric Cantona. This is street fighting vs. crazy cop fighting on a very high bridge. Crazy is winning until Brendan kicks him under a train. Personally I wouldn’t put it past Walker to survive since whilst Brendan should be covered in blood, he just looks a bit shaky. I’m certain there’s a bomb somewhere, preferably somewhere under Nate. Roll on Wednesday and another sweet teatime episode of Death in Hollyoaks.

Brendan’s last week in Hollyoaks: Monday

The story so far…

For those who can’t remember, got confused, or don’t watch Hollyoaks but are reading this anyway, Brendan and Walker are the anti-hero and the ultimate bad cop. Brendan, all round hard guy, sociopath, and moustachioed muscle man who’s probably quite nice really, seems to own about half the club that used to belong to Warren (don’t ask, it doesn’t matter). Walker was the undercover cop charged with getting close to him although he appears to have taken his job a bit too seriously and personally. Brendan sold Walker’s brother some drugs which left the brother in a persistent vegetative state and ultimately killed him, thus Walker wants revenge.

Walker has tried to get revenge before, which resulted in a prolonged chase around Southend (I think) with Joel’s dead stepdad in the boot, Brendan killing his nan, Mitzeee escaping from jail whilst handcuffed to a sex-starved nymphomaniac and an exploding house flinging Brendan beachwards. Then, when Walker tried to kill Ste, he shot Dumbbell the footballer instead (don’t ask, I don’t know). Walker then resurfaced and got some kind of hold over the new barman who I’ll call Kevin as it might be his name, although it probably isn’t. Kevin had to kill Mitzeee’s sister who looks so like her I could just call her Mitzeee but, oh no, hang on, she’s called Max. Possibly. Kevin drugged her instead of killing her. She escaped and seems to be about to seduce the new headmaster.

Anyway, Walker has Brendan’s dad at gun point which is odd because Brendan has previously tried to kill his dad and Walker isn’t daft. He must know Brendan would cheerfully murder his dad if he could get away with it. Perhaps Walker will get Brendan to shoot him.

Cheryl and Steve are in a car park somewhere. Nate’s being Nate. (Nate is the millionaire who drove a horse and cart around Southend, whenever I see him I think of chutney, no idea why).

Walker hits Brendan over the head, knocking him out. He wakes up to no Walker, handcuffed to his dad Seamus. Dad tells him ‘You dropped your guard when you turned around. Do you remember nothing of what I taught you?’ which is as about as direct a reference to male rape, paedophilia and incest as you can probably manage at 6:30 in the evening.

Walker’s off, locking up Cheryl and Steve with a terrifying efficiency often lacking in modern society. He puts them somewhere dark and cold where they’re running out of air. It’s possible this is my flat though I’ve not noticed them. Then he returns to play truth or dare with Seamus and Brendan.

This is therapy à la Walker. It’s direct but might be better than the therapy he’s had so far.  Ste still has a touching faith that Brendan will find them despite the fact that Ste’s face is covered in blood from the last time Brendan found him.

Aha. Walker is blaming Seamus. If Seamus hadn’t raped Brendan, Brendan would not have become a drug dealer. So Walker unties Brendan and gives him a piece of lead piping, having thoroughly wound him up. And we know Brendan basically has zero self control, so will he end up beating Seamus to death? At this point Hollyoaks’ background spooky muzak really starts to grate though not enough to stop me wondering just how dark early evening TV is allowed to be.

Faced with a pipe-wielding sociopathic son with a really odd moustache, Seamus denies it all but apologises for something and says he didn’t know how to stop.

Meanwhile Cheryl and Steve have a chance, as cold people have slower metabolisms.  Also, there’s piping in the wall. Just break the bloody piping and get some air in. Honestly, some people have no imagination. Then Nate arrives. If it were me I’d tell him to go away and send someone less irritating to the rescue. Cheryl and Ste get out. This is all going a bit too well.

Seamus loved Brendan. And knows he’s going to hell. Walker wants Brendan to choose between Seamus or Ste and Cheryl. Seamus agrees that if it will save Cheryl, Brendan can batter him to death (it’s 6.55 people, I don’t want nightmares). Brendan tackles Walker with a gun which is never a good sign. Presumably several neighbours were shot.

Everybody’s happy. Walker has a Messiah complex and several armed cops apparently fail to apprehend him as we have the final shots of cut cable ties and an unconscious/ dead police officer. And tomorrow, creepy Will gets involved. Sleep well.

Dear Facebook

What’s happening? Well, since you ask. It’s grey. And dull. It’s been really grey and dull all day, as if noon decided to masquerade as twilight. Consequently, I’ve been pondering whether or not to buy a SAD light, or at least a light to combat SAD. Feel free to populate that scroll bar to the right with adverts for said SAD light.

Go on, I dare you, do something useful for once. Advertise a daylight lamp for me. No, not the ‘Lose 1 stone in a week’ ad. Or that picture of a lime that promises I’ll lose 5kg in a week (how, by eating limes all day? Will I have a bowel left at the end?) Ditch the Rihanna weight loss plan as well. If you’d seen me you’d be trying to sell me more pies. And nix the ad selling me a degree from Liverpool as well. I have three degrees. Given that my career prospects seem to have descended with each degree, I fear a fourth will see me on an unpaid job placement with Holland & Barrett.

While I’m on this topic, now I’ve got the bull by the horns, not the Louboutins either. They look nice but I can’t afford them. Try selling me boots for horses, you may have more luck. NYC hotel deals are also useless for much the same reason. Here’s a tip. If anyone has a picture of a horse for their avatar, try selling them really really cheap stuff. Go on, give it a go. All horse owners are broke. Tell us what’s on offer in Lidl and Wilkinsons and we’ll be in there like rats up a drainpipe.

And no. I don’t want to click the little camera icon to add a photo so stop nagging me to do so. I’m middle aged. And grumpy. I got through the first 25 years of my life with no internet access and no mobile phone. I don’t want to add another picture of my dinner. When I want to ‘update my status’ I will do so without your apparent explosion of Americanisms to help me.

That’s all for now, ta. Hugs and stuff. Helen
PS Lamps, lamps, lamps. And more lamps. Thx.

Strictly Come Dancing: Semi Finals

So, left in we have: Lisa; Louis; Dani: Denise and Kimberley. Of those, Lisa is the only one not yet to have scored a 10. Kimberley and Denise have both been in the dance off. Denise has topped the leaderboard seven times; Louis twice; Kimberley and Lisa once and Dani never (or should that be, not yet?) This means that everyone who has topped the leaderboard this series is down to the final five.

I’m afraid I have all this on a spreadsheet so I’ll tell you one more thing. Lisa is the only one left who the judges have ever put in the bottom two.

OK, two more. I’ve added up the total scores for the five remaining dancers and they rank in this order:  Denise; Kimberley; Louis; Dani; Lisa. So, the show starts with the usual pratting around from Bruce and some odd VT of the remaining celebs pretending to race each other. Tess has hit the mark in a little black dress. It’s time to start dancing people, they’re doing two dances each.

Dani: dancing the American Smooth. It’s elegant, clean, smooth but with fast footwork. There’s a gorgeous lift though to me she looks slightly sticky going into it and overall she looks quite tense. It is lovely but it just lacks that extra something.  Len praises her technique, the heel turns and the lifts but feels the frame could be stronger at times. Bruno agrees and liked the Ginger Rogers touches. Craig liked the start but said the hand position in the first lift needed attention. Darcey says there was a lovely quality and elegance throughout but that she misses a little sparkle and it was a bit safe.

Score: 34

Louis: jiving. He has lovely character and movement and his performance skills have improved amazingly. However, it is flat footed and a little slow. The tricks were effortless and spectacular, particularly the back flip into the splits but at this stage in the game it’s not as good as I would have hoped. Bruno says his performance has really improved but says the kicks and flicks were not sharp enough. Craig agrees and says he his feet are sickled and he’s flat footed. Darcey says it was a fun routine with great style but that Louis is perhaps too supple to give the kicks the snap they need. Len says it was too casual, the dance lacked quality and his foxtrot better be better than that.

Score: 31

Denise: dancing the tango. She has beautiful shaping and sharp, clean footwork, she didn’t quite hold my attention but that’s probably just my bias. Craig is effusive but says there was a little gapping so Bruno shouts at him. Darcey says her attack was extraordinary but says to watch her kicks. Len has a go at them for making trivial objections which given what he’s just said about Louis shows an alarming level of hypocrisy for someone who’s supposed to be head judge. Bruno says it was fantastic and sensational.

Score: 39

Kimberley: dancing the American smooth. It’s gorgeous and she looks absolutely amazing. Her partnership with Pasha is such that to the untrained eye it’s starting to look as if they’re both professionals. The song, Fever, is a great match to the dance. Darcey loved it saying she looked like a film star. Len wanted more in hold and says she looked like Jessica Rabbit. Darcey says forget Jessica she looked like Cyd Charisse which let’s face it is a far more flattering and less sexist comparison. Bruno, bless him, gets rather carried away. Craig says she could go straight on stage with that routine.

Score: 38

Lisa: dancing the salsa. Allegedly. It looked like all the other Latin dances she’s done. True, she’s obviously in party spirit but she’s also hesitant, not clean enough and loses timing. There aren’t really any recognisable salsa steps and at one point she does something that might have been a floor spin but Robin has to heave her to her feet. It’s not pretty and we didn’t really need a homage to Ann Widdecombe. Robin is very obviously out-dancing her but he can’t really hold himself back any more. You can tell when you watch the professionals with their professional partners just how much they hold back even with the best celebs. But when you watch them with their celeb partners they pull their punches and make sure they look like a team. Except not in this case.

Len says she was so much fun, Bruno found the crash landing hilarious and thinks there’s no point in making a technical assessment. Yes, Bruno, yes there is. I think you’ll find a technical assessment is your job. Although if you like, here’s one I prepared earlier: it was a train wreck, an embarrassment and an insult to Nicky who got voted out so that we could see this. Craig was giggling too much to say anything and Darcey says her partying is fabulous and she loves her. Really? I mean really? Then they give her the same score they gave Louis, which is utterly insulting.

Score: 31

For the halfway break we have clips of the celebs saying how much they want to get to the final. It seems that if you can’t wheel out a small child, you must borrow one from the nearest available relative. Failing that, grab one off the street if you think you can get away with it. Louis doesn’t bother with this pathetic, attention seeking trick which I suspect has gained him as many votes as it’s lost him, hopefully more.

Dani: for her second dance she has the Argentine Tango, so no pressure there then. She has great control and rhythm and her balance in the difficult moves is amazing and much improved from the first weeks. The kicks are sharp and very fast but once more I’m wondering if it’s really ‘wow’ without being able to tell you why. Len said he loved the start, which they did without music but with so much hollering from the crowd that I couldn’t tell what was going on. He praises her for mastering the technique. Bruno calls her the lady of the night which I assume he meant as a compliment. Craig says Vincent has taught her well but noticed one bumpy lift (really? What about Lisa’s floor sweeping moment, or were you asleep for that?) Darcey enjoyed the intensity and control but wanted perhaps a slightly crisper leg action.

Score: 38 (Total 72, 3rd)

Louis: foxtrot. I stopped writing and just sat there and gawped so you’re on your own. Sorry. It’s here on catch up. On It Takes Two Ian Waite said that Flavia had given Louis a lot of content and indeed she did. You see something new in it each time you watch it and I should know, I’ve watched it  once or twice. Per hour. I may be biased. Craig criticises his thumb (ahem, where was Lisa’s thumb?) but loved it. Darcey says it was superb and he almost made it look too easy. Len said some of the rise and fall looked like bobbing up and down. Well at least he can actually do rise and fall. Lisa gets stuck on the fall. Bruno says he is a smooth operator who is back on top.

Score: 38 (69, 5th)

Denise: rumbaing, not my favourite dance. It’s clean, controlled and well acted with the beautiful shaping that I’ve come to expect from Denise. She is however wearing a wafting, floaty dress which I suspect may hide a multitude of sins. Darcey says some moves were a bit broken up but she gave a beautiful feeling. Len says it won’t be a proper final if she’s not there. Whatever, Len. Bruno says he was deeply moved and I hesitate to ask in what way. Craig says it was gorgeous but thought the dress might have been used to cover her hip action.

Score: 38 (77, 2nd)

Kimberley: dancing the Charleston. It’s fabulously goofy, beautifully acted and makes great use of the music and lyrics. There was a triple combined cartwheel from the two of them along with amazing lifts. Len says it was fun, frivolous and all you want from a Charleston. Bruno says she was flying high. Craig thought it was fabulous and Darcey calls her a quirky, naughty flapper.

Score: 40 (78, 1st)

Lisa: dancing a foxtrot-based American Smooth without lifts. So that’s a foxtrot then. She has her name in lights behind her, as if we didn’t already know that the producers have gone bonkers and think she belongs on Broadway. Her footwork is off, she gets left behind and the whole thing is distinctly meh for the semi-finals. Watching her you realise that’s not just gapping, it’s M&S gapping. You could drive a bus between Robin and Lisa when they’re in hold, if you were so inclined. Bruno praises the jazz and pizazz, and says she’s in a league of her own. Craig loved the stylised stuff but throws in a comment or two about the gapping and her free arm just in case we’re starting to think he’s biased (newsflash Craig, you’re too late). Darcey says she could be a musical theatre star and her lines are perfect in the mirroring sections. She says the only fault is that Lisa raises her shoulders in hold. Oh I give up. Len then says she is the ‘people’s champion’. No she isn’t Len. You know when they say it isn’t over until the fat lady sings? Well in my opinion, Lisa should start singing.

Score: 32 (63, 5th)

Lisa is indeed in a league of her own. It’s just a shame it’s the Vauxhall Conference not the premiership with the other four who are left. I know she’s proven that larger ladies can dance and that is a great thing. She had moments when she was wonderful, particularly early on in the series. However she simply has not improved in line with the others and to keep her in solely for her size rather than for her ability is patronising.

I suspect the producers are involved in something of a stitch up. Lisa will be appearing in Craig’s Strictly Confidential show, hence his lack of critique of her abilities. The producers know what the voting patterns are even if we don’t. We can guess that Lisa has a substantial fan base since she’s been near the bottom of the judges’ scoring without ever being in the dance off. We also know that Denise could fall over and win against anyone in a dance off. As a result, any fans of Louis, Dani and Kimberley know they need to phone in and vote, otherwise they risk seeing their favourite in the dance off with Denise.

The producers may be many things but they’re not particularly thick. By praising Lisa to the hilt they raise her voting profile and that of at least three of the other four contestants. So we keep voting so that they can pay off George Entwistle. Nice. Let’s see what the dance off brings. I know this much though – if Lisa is in the final this year, I’m never watching Strictly again.

Hollyoaks: your questions answered

So, it’s the week of Lynsey’s funeral (I know it’s normally spelled Lindsay but this is Hollyoaks) and with the whole Mercedes/ Bobby/ Mitzee/ Walker/ Silas plotline things are getting quite complicated. So here are some answers to the questions you’ve been searching on.

Well some of them, anyway. I can’t answer things like ‘what were the scriptwriters on’ or ‘they ate how much cheese and dreamt up what?’

Who killed Lynsey? And why?

The creepy doctor, the one with a mouth like a Nick Parker puppet. He was in love with Mercy and knew that Lynsey was on the verge of finding out that Mercy stalked herself, stabbed herself, and blamed Mitzee

How did Lynsey die?

Strangled with her very own scarf in Brendan’s flat. (It was the doctor, with the scarf, in the living room, now I come to think of it).

Who is Lynsey in Hollyoaks?

The childhood friend of Sheryl, strangled by the doctor. Please at least try to keep up.

Was Brendan married to Lynsey in Hollyoaks?

No. Now you’re just being silly. Although recently we found out that he did have a fling with her brother, so what do I know.

What does Brendan’s nan know?

Well not that much really given that she’s dead. But before death (it was Brendan, with his own bare hands, on the veranda) she confessed that she knew his father, her son, raped him. That was a particularly cheerful episode.

Is Brendan responsible for Lynsey’s death?

No, not really, though Sheryl still seems to be blaming him. He thought it might be to do with his gangland connections, but turns out that was just Joel and Theresa having a bit of a giggle with bullets and a Filofax. Don’t look at me, I don’t make this stuff up.

Who told the police about Lynsey’s murderer?

Jacqui. She just got suspicious of the doctor, his lying ways, and his really, really odd facial structure. Then she found Lynsey’s scarf in his office.

Did Ali kill Lynsey?

No. He’s not a murderer, that I know of. He is a serial cheat, philanderer and con merchant. Think of him as NFH, or Normal For Hollyoaks.

Who hilled Lunsey?

Say what? I’m going to put that down to dodgy autocorrect on someone’s mobile. Ditto ‘lincy hollocs’.

Does Mercedes get caught for Lynsey’s murder?

No, because she didn’t do it. Actually, scratch that. She didn’t murder Lynsey but this is Hollyoaks and a little thing like innocence never stopped them from locking anyone up. But no, she didn’t get caught anyway.

Where was Will?

Ah, now Will was being manipulated by mass murderer Silas (last seen boarding a bus in a fetching beige ensemble). Will was arrested and Texas was convinced it was him but turns out that actually he was just out stalking a random woman he met on the internet, at Silas’s instigation (both the stalking and the meeting).

Could Lynsey come back on Hollyoaks?

Doubt it. The scriptwriters are odd but this isn’t Dr Who and they’ve yet to do either resurrection or timey wimey stuff. I suppose she could haunt Brendan for a bit though.

Why did Joel murder his step dad?

Mainly because his stepdad was an abusive git, but also because Brendan egged him on. Actually Joel didn’t murder him so much as accidentally drop him off a lighthouse. Ok, so dangling someone from a lighthouse isn’t that clever in the first place but it was more manslaughter than murder. Honest.

Who shot Riley

Or Dumbbell, as I usually call him. It was Walker (Dafoe-alike). Walker was aiming for Ste, in order to get revenge on Brendan for the death of his brother. And this is why we shouldn’t give guns to cops. I’m not entirely sure where Walker is at the moment. Possibly on a bus with Silas.

Why did Mercedes kidnap Bobby?

Well. Mitzee was on the run and slept with Riley. Mercedes found out and decided to punish Riley so she kidnapped Bobby and demanded a ransom. It wasn’t the best thought out plan and she left Phoebe holding the baby. When Phoebe realised what was happening she told the McQueens what was going on. Mercy is now locked up somewhere, after Myra grassed her to the police. The McQueens are now going straight. Apart from Jacqui and Theresa who are shoplifting using Kathleen Angel as a cover and then selling on the loot.

I think that’s about it for now. After the funeral, there’s a wedding . In Hollyoaks that does not bode well, but does provide comic fodder.

Last week in Hollyoaks, or…

… I’m an academic, stop me watching soap operas

The story so far:

So, Mercedes is truly, madly, deeply in love with Dumbbell the footballer, with the emphasis on madly. And Dumb. I’m really not feeling the love and don’t quite see what she sees in him. Anyway, shortish version, he ended up with Mitzee, his (second) cousin. Mercedes stalked Mitzee, driving her a bit nuts, a common theme in Hollyoaks, that might be lacking a little in political correctness, but what the hell.  Having spent last week watching Hollyoaks Later, I’d say the odd slight about people being loony is the least of Hollyoaks’ problems.

Mercedes cracked Mitzee over the head with something or other and then stabbed herself so that when the whoozy Mitzee came round, Mercedes blamed her for the stabbing. Criminal justice in Chester appears to be a bit off key and no-one worked out that there was anything wrong with this scenario so Mitzee got sent dahn for seven years. In the meantime the unfortunate Linsey realised what Mercedes was up to. Creepy doctor, the one with a mouth like a sink plunger, killed Linsey, out of love for Mercedes. There were many, many suspects but eventually Jackie worked out that he’d dunnit, and after a car chase he was arrested.

Myra, Mercedes’s mother, worked out that Mercy stabbed herself. Cue much shouting of ‘But Mercy, have you no pity?’ Mercy, it appears, is the least appropriate nickname in the universe ever. Via the baby monitor, Myra established that Mercy was intent on Murder.  No-one specific, just a general threat to the world. The heavily pregnant Nancy has also realised that Mercy is guilty. So Mercy threatened the unborn child. And this was before I started watching the late-night stuff.

Onto the subplots. Dafoe-alike is an undercover cop. His brother is in some sort of vegetative state due to bad drugs. Brendan is a drug dealer so Dafoe wants Brendan to suffer. Although it was the doctor who killed Lindsay, Dafoe was present in the flat at the time and did nothing to stop it happening. I don’t think the police know this. Well they sort of do because Dafoe is the police.

Linsey’s murder was never anything to do with Brendan or the disgruntled psychopaths he had a grudge match with. That was Warren’s son and his girlfriend Theresa – who is possibly very pretty under all the makeup. With all the makeup she looks like Barbie. Anyway, all the stuff with the Filofax and the bullet with the pink ribbon was them. Brendan knows what they did. Which is good, because I’m barely keeping up and have forgotten why the pair of them don’t like Brendan. Beyond the usual standard that he’s mad and has stupid facial hair.

No idea where Silas the mass murdering granddad in beige slacks is. I last saw him getting on a bus. As loose ends go, he is one who could undo the very fabric of society.

Mitzee is in prison, sometimes referring to herself as Anne, which is apparently what she was called before she adopted her stage name. Curse her, I have enough problems remembering even one name. Mitzee’s mum turned up. Which is nice. I didn’t know she had a mum. She’s been notably absent so far. In fact I’m starting to think Mitzee’s hallucinating since her mum is allowed to stay there for as long as she likes. Oh I was right. She’s hallucinating.

Brendan cooks Wee Scottish Warren Spawn a birthday meal. The man is comedy gold. He likes making crème brûlée (‘it’s not pudding’) as  ‘you get to use a blow torch at the end, and that’s awesome.’ As it turns out, a sad presage of Brendan’s possible demise, as he must at least have singed that tash.

The teenagers decide to go to Amsterdam as one of them has been having an online romance with Lola. His mates tease him and are convinced that Lola isn’t who she says she is, cue a cry of: ‘for the last time, Lola is not a man’. Oh I think you’ll find she at least talks like a man, even if she walks like a woman. It’s a mixed up world.  Sometimes I love the scriptwriters. The teenagers all arrange a trip to Amsterdam. In Hollyoaks road trips only mean one thing – disaster and several deaths. If you watch Hollyoaks, you’ll never get in another minibus again.

Right, that’s the round up. Now I’m taking one for the team and watching Hollyoaks Later.

Apparently Later involves the Hollyoaks women wearing even less than they normally do.  I’d put in a plea for equality but I don’t really want to see the men wearing any less. Except maybe Dafoe-alike. He’s growing on me. He could just take that vest off.

The teenagers end up in a grotty backpackers hostel with a Christian for a guide to the seamier side of Amsterdam. He’s only there, of course, to turn people away from all the sin that is present in Amsterdam and in no way is he enjoying the proceedings. The boys could see him as their own personal Gladstone.  Mr Christian lectures them on STDs, whilst playing the guitar.

In the meanwhile, Mitzee has escaped. Something about a crash on the way to a mental hospital. She’s handcuffed to a woman almost as deranged as Mercy, but as things turn out, much nicer.

Brendan and Warren-son, apparently called Joel, kidnap Joel’s stepdad who, to be frank, isn’t very nice. Brendan beats him up, whilst dancing to Connie Francis singing Stupid Cupid. It’s very funny, in a very sick way. Later, when Evil Stepdad is thrashing around in Brendan’s car boot Brendan tells him off on the grounds that ‘you’re ruining a good song. That’s my favourite song that is.’

Unfortunately, Brendan’s relatives are not going to let him get away with kidnapping Evil Stepdad, who I think he intends to maim a bit whilst leaving Joel to do the actual killing, a bit like a cat teaches its kittens to kill. Actually, now I think of it, quite a lot like the way a cat teaches its kittens. So the magnificent Cheryl gets in the car with the kidnapped stepdad. Unaware of his presence, Cheryl sometimes asks what’s rolling around in the boot. However, she’s more preoccupied with the fact that her nan’s got cancer. We’re all used to nans conveniently having funerals. In Hollyoaks they inconveniently get cancer. Brendan’s plans for Stepdad will have to take a back seat, or a car boot even, to Cheryl’s need to see dying Nana.

On the way, they start playing the most surreal shopping list game I’ve ever come across. Apparently Brendan’s going to Paris and is taking, amongst other things, a stuffed seagull.

Dying Nan absconds with a horse and carriage. This is definitely on my list of things to do before I die. Or just Things To Do. The week goes on, and gets grizzlier.

Joel drops his stepfather from a lighthouse. I’m not sure it was deliberate but then again, I think the courts don’t generally accept ‘oops, butterfingers’ as an excuse, even in Hollyoaks. They might, even in Hollyoaks, ask why he was suspending his stepfather from a lighthouse in the first place.

Instead of leaving the corpse, or just dropping it further down the cliff, Brendan puts it back in the boot. Oh I don’t know. None of this is really logical. I don’t even know where they are, having drifted off, or perhaps spent slightly too long making a cup of tea during an ad break. They’re somewhere bleak, with a coast, near Chester, and there’s a funfair. Blackpool? They might be in Blackpool.

I skip some of Wednesday’s instalment. Mitzee has found Nancy. I think Nancy might be about to become the world’s worst getaway driver.

In the meantime, the teenagers have made it to Amsterdam without a minibus in sight. Lola as it turns out is not male but is a very attractive woman. Anyway Jonno walks in on Bart snogging Lola. ‘She’s mine Bart’, he shrieks. Oh for god’s sake. You don’t own the woman. Bart starts to have a really bad trip and goes green. Jonno fucks off and leaves him on the street. Nice. Jonno is so preoccupied he fails to notice a naked Neil cycling past him. Lola helps Bart. The Christian wanted to go along to the naked cycle ride, but only to stop the horror of it, obviously. Still no minibus, and the bad trip turns out not to be that bad.

Brendan’s Nanna appears to be sick too, apparently dying as Brendan is speeding away from the cops. I’m confused but I think Cheryl, Joel, Brendan and Nan are in the car, with Dead Evil Stepdad in the boot. At least he’s quiet now. If stopped, Brendan could at least say he was rushing to the hospital. Brendan tries this but the policeman is having none of it until the magnificent Cheryl tells him how it is. I get distracted, look up, and it looks like Dafoe will kill Nana. Sorry, my bad. Maybe I’m hallucinating. No, it’s Dafoe, and he’s angry.

So by Thursday night, Brendan and Dafoe are driving around with a dead stepdad in the boot. And I appear to be watching an episode of Skins. Or what I think Skins is. I never watched it. And Nancy is the pregnant getaway driver for two mental patients.

Somebody is one step ahead of someone, because the body is missing from the boot when the police get there. Brendan notices that Dafoe didn’t panic, which makes him suspicious.

The other mental patient wants to see her boyfriend so she can get pregnant, that’s why she broke out. But she’s still handcuffed to Mitzee. So Mitzee sits outside a car whilst her handcuffee is shagging in a car. Then she has to get in the car. Which is odd. Nanna’s just announced that she wants a threesome. Afterwards, when Mitzee says she really wants to get out of the handcuffs, turns out boyfriend could have got them out of the cuffs all along. Now there’s a surprise.

Then  it gets really grizzly and I feel like I should issue a channel 4 style warning, except they are pitifully inadequate. Next time, when they say I might get upset, I’ll take them more seriously. Turns out Brendan didn’t just ditch the body in the sea but is butchering it. Cheryl sees him and is sick. I agree.

So. Onto Friday. What fresh hell has Hollyoaks Later devised? Cheryl looks at Brendan and says why are you so calm?’ Whilst I’m thinking ‘how did you get the blood out of that shirt?’ Or, do you have lots of identical shirts.

Bart decides to stay in Amsterdam. His mate sees Lola with another man. Lola runs Bart a bath. You sense she’ll be gone by the time it’s full. Actually Bart all but drowns himself and Jonno saves him. All three teenagers get home in one piece. Not before the Christian got high on cookies and had a long conversation with a Jack Russell Terrier.

Away from the comic turn, we find out that Brendan’s father raped him. Nana tells Brendan she knew what was going on. Brendan blames his nan for not acting. I’m not sure that’s really fair. I blame his dad for what he did, not Nana for doing nothing. Brendan smothers Nana. I’m not happy. I’m not watching the late night specials again. Ever. You’re on your own.

Brendan trashes the house, unfortunately causing a gas leak. Really. Have some people no sense. Why is the gas on? Previously, Brendan did something mean with Dafoe’s phone. They call each other, Dafoe thinks Brendan’s a cop and says he thinks he’s trapped Brendan. Brendan says ‘I didn’t see that coming’ just as he gets blown to kingdom come.

Really, I’m sticking to the early evening stuff. And a quick update. Mercy’s kidnapped little baby Bobbie in a bid to get Dumbbell back. Dumbbell slept with Mitzee. After Mitzee and her mad friend had handcuffed Mercy and Dumbbell together. Brendan is OK but a bit singed and in a wheelchair. Dafoe’s playing Good Cop/ Mad Cop and is currently in a Mad phase. I’m going to bed early with cocoa. And finally, as Myra put it ‘Poor Mercy, she never has any luck on her wedding days’. Told you, I love the script writers.

Hollyoaks: Lynsey’s Murder part deux

So, Silas is now out, having faked a fit and then coshed the blackmailing doctor. I don’t know who was responsible, whether it was the police or the prison guards. Silas was left in the care of Tweedledum and Tweedledee, who didn’t think to handcuff him to the bed, so it’s not really surprising that he got out. I couldn’t help but think of Hannibal Lecter and the lengths he had to go to to get out of a gimp mask and a cage. Silas had it easy, meaning we have a mass murderer on the loose in the wake of the murder of Lynsey.

Here are the suspects:

The Tashtastic Brendan: first to find the strangled body of Lynsey, dead in his flat. She’d been looking for a holiday in Portugal, a seemingly innocent activity. There was no build up or warning and even Brendan managed to walk past her corpse whilst talking to her, so it’s fair to say her murder was a bit of a surprise. No-one other than the police think The Tashtastic One did it, so he probably didn’t.

The Tash’s mobster enemies: Now this is tricky. I’d rather not say that Hollyoaks is beyond my understanding, but really it is beyond my understanding. So, The Tashmeister sent Son of Warren to do some dodgy drugs deal. SoW was stabbed by dodgy drugs dealers and nearly died. The Moustache, in a revenge attack, put one of them in a coma. The comatose mobster then died (I told you, Chester’s suburbs are dangerous). So the mobsters are seeking revenge against Brendan and may have killed Lynsey, mistaking her for Sheryl. Easy mistake to make if you’re purblind and drug addled, one of them being a petite brunette, the other a statuesque blonde.

Silas: actually in jail at the time. May have astral planed out to commit murder. I’ve been trying to work out who he reminds me of and then I realised. It’s as if someone didn’t like the John Major they had in grey, sent him back, and got another one in beige. No matter what colour the things Silas wears actually are, they all develop a beige aura. Now I think of it, perhaps he didn’t astral plane. Perhaps someone got hold of the John Major Spitting Image puppet, spray painted it in Landlord Beige and clothed it in cast offs from Lakeland. Then they could have put that in prison, the guards wouldn’t have noticed, and they could have sprung Silas.

Will aka Dopey: arrested by the police, currently out on bail. Decided he was going to make money by writing a book about Silas. Was manipulated by the Beige Ninja. Will is apparently the intelligent one in his family. This worries me. No idea where he was when Lynsey was killed, wandering the streets somewhere with no CCTV and no google streetmap cameras apparently. I don’t know where this is, but I’d quite like to know for future reference.

Brendan’s psychopathic friend: So apparently Dafoe-alike knew Australian Ally in a previous life. Lynsey found out. Just possible the Dafoe-esque one strangled her. If you’re a betting person, a good outsider.

Mercedes: Currently 3 to 1 on. Got let of hospital in time to kill Lynsey, though the doctor covered up this information for her. I’m not sure why he bothered since Hollyoaks police think 2 + 2 = pi. Given that she was in hospital for stabbing herself and then framing Mitzeee she’s highly qualified. Also, if found guilty she’d get to spend more time with her mother who’s in jail for growing pot. Except Myra didn’t grow the pot, her nephew did. I think. My head hurts.

Ally aka that one from Neighbours. Provided one of my favourite comic moments when Mr Tashmagoria stood next to him and just said ‘Jesus, you’re huge’. Could be him. Repeatedly tells stories about how his sister was raped and he got there too late to save her/ he was a doctor in Iraq and got there too late to save someone/ World War III was about to break out and he got there too late to stop it/ vampires killed his favourite werewolf and he got there too late. Ach. It probably wasn’t him. He’d only have got there too late.

The Blackmailing Doctor: a latecomer to the party but I have my suspicions. Has a weird thing about Mercedes. Knew she didn’t like Lynsey. Didn’t really like Lynsey himself. Supposedly on shift when it happened. A good outside bet, with shortening odds.

So the escapee, a veritable rampage in pale taupe, went straight round to see Texas. The police, unlike practically everybody else, were unable to work out that was where he would go. Texas cried a lot. Silas turned the air around him a fetching shade of pale magenta. He tied Texas to a chair (really, is this early evening viewing? In my day it was Blue Peter and you were grateful for it). Dodgy came round and banged on the door, and then left, apparently unable to work out that Texas might just be in trouble. Seems Dopey really is the bright one in the family. I predict a career in the police for Dodgy.

Then Silas donned a hat in fetching straw colour and left Texas to be rescued by the Gay American. Darren, never the brightest bulb, told a journalist that Dumbbell the footballer really has been going out with cousin Mitzeee thereby picking up a plot thread the scriptwriters seemed to have forgotten.

Will finally confessed to Nancy Drew, who’s proving not to be as wooden as I first thought, where he was when Lynsey was killed. Proving that he really is Dumbo, Will was acting on the instructions of the Camel-coloured Assassin and using the Biscuit Hitman of Hollyoaks’s best stalking tips to entice a woman to meet him. Turns out, Will’s sole witness on the day of Lynsey’s murder is a woman who caught him videoing her. Fair play to the scriptwriters. Now Will’s only hope of redemption is to find the girl he was stalking and have her act as witness for him to prove he isn’t a mad, murdering stalker.