Category Archives: TV

Strictly 2015 – the year they broke the script

I’ve been watching Strictly Come Dancing since 2007 when, whilst channel hopping, I happened upon Alesha Dixon dancing with Matthew Cutler. I knew the format of the show but not knowing much about celebrity, and still less about ballroom dancing, I struggled to work out which was the pro and which the celebrity. From then on, I was hooked. Each September, as the nights draw in and I know the gloom of winter is approaching, I look forward to my weekly dose of sparkly, besequined escapism. I know it’s tosh. I know ballroom dancing is sexist. I know it should be fluff but boy do I take it seriously and so it seems do thousands of others.

Over the years, I’ve grown used to the sense that there is a story playing out that’s gently scripted. The producers pick the celebrities so we get certain characters in each show and then steer things to produce highs, lows, dramas and online spats. We get the comedy act, who we obligingly vote for until Blackpool week because we want to see Ann Widdecombe dragged around the floor like a giant yellow dishcloth, but not at the expense of someone who really can dance. There are those clearly destined to go out in the first few weeks as lacking any dancing ability, comedy value, or even vaguely memorable characteristics. There are the clear mid-tablers, who sometimes provide a sort of shock-exit when they lose out to the comedy act. Then there are the genuine shock exits (Pixie Lott, Helen George) who end up in impossible dance-offs, or the people like Scott Marsden who start brilliantly and run out steam. And there are those who snatch victory from better dancers just by doing Charlestons (yes Chris Hollins, I still haven’t forgiven you).

Through all this, Craig Revel Horwood plays the harsh but fair pantomime villain who possibly has a heart in there somewhere. Darcey provides helpful critique; Len spots fleckerls and Bruno just sort of madly gesticulates on the end of the judges’ table (they put him there so he can only hit one judge, and since it’s Len and he’s been getting increasingly curmudgeonly nobody really minds. Except Len).

The problem this year has been a growing sense that something’s gone wrong with the script. Usually you can enjoy the story whilst being vaguely aware of but not minding the steering. This year the steering has felt much more like manipulation and the story has become much darker and less enjoyable. The characters haven’t been doing what the producers want and their attempts to haul them back into line have revealed something almost rotten underneath the greasepaint.

It started gently enough, Carol – easy cannon fodder, minor character, should be voted out 2nd or 3rd – turned out to be incredibly likeable and when paired with Pasha saw off five other dancers. Jeremy, comedy turn, let’s put him on a plastic horse and dress him up like Woody from Toy Story. And make him dance a tango. To Go West. No, I’m not joking. And neither really was Jeremy, who it turned out could probably dance reasonably well, if the producers had had the grace to treat him with some dignity.

Then there was Peter, destined to be the star turn. The one who could really dance, though not trained in ballroom, a shoe-in for the final. Except that he plateaued, his technique stopped improving and whatever the judges did, the audience weren’t really convinced. So they put him in the DO, against then 4-time DO survivor Jamelia (also not in the script, you’re only meant to survive three at most). And then she really departed from the script by out-dancing him, getting voted out by the judges anyway, and causing a media outcry amongst people who didn’t like her enough to vote for her but didn’t want her booted out in a DO when she’d danced well.

But the one who really broke the script was boyband member Jay McGuinness – hairy, walks a bit like a caveman, too shy to talk properly on camera, spent the first two weeks shaking. Definitely supposed to go out early. Except he really could move. Aliona got his hair cut and changed the way he walked. In week 2 he did a lovely waltz that the judges praised to the heavens, so his nerves eased up. And in week 3 he did THAT JIVE. A jive that many people see the need to capitalise as a shorthand way to distinguish it from all other jives before (except maybe Jill’s). And from then onwards the judges were stuffed and didn’t know what to do with someone who became odds-on favourite in week 3 and then stayed there.

There on in, things got sour, so I have some suggestions as to what to do next year, in the hope that we keep SCD as the amazing show it is, but make it more escapist, and less Grimm tale.

1 Keep Tess and Claudia. I know one is bland and the other quirky. It works. Leave it.

2 Sack two of the judges. I don’t care which two. If you can’t decide, pick them out of a hat, they’ve all pissed me off at some point. Inform the remaining two that telling someone they have no personality is just bullying. It’s a light entertainment programme for fun and watching people get torn to pieces is neither fun nor entertaining.

3 You know the rule book that you threw out for the show dances? Where did you find it? Because you haven’t bothered with it much this year. Work out the rules and stick to them. FOR EVERYONE. If Gleb can’t lift Anita in the rumba, then Kevin (or a backing dancer) can’t hoick Kellie onto a table during a VW. I might not know a reverse fleckerl when I see it, but I can spot that.

4 Don’t give primetime TV slots to siblings for them to comment on finalists. If you do, make sure they don’t say the opposition was over-marked in the semis. Other people get sacked for less. And look up “conflict of interest” whilst you’re at it.

5 Replace Anton as a pro dancer. He will never find another woman to dive backwards off a stage into his arms. Give him choreography corner. I like Anton but he resembles fortified wine – enjoyable in small doses but if you keep glugging it you start to feel sick.

6 Give Brendan a partner that’s good who he likes. He’s looked pissed off for years. If that doesn’t work, give him choreography corner with Anton in 2017

7 Go back to basics. Watch Jay and Aliona’s showdance. He’s all in white. After the entrance there are no props. They just dance. And they won like that, despite continual negative comments; the subtle and not so subtle digs on the show and on ITT and the remarks about his face that would have been laughable had they not been at root cruel. The public have spoken. They want people who perform well in the Ten Dances, not a manic Lindy Hop that however skilled, was not strictly speaking ballroom.

8 And on that note, make sure that in the final, couples have to dance one Latin and one ballroom to start with, not the specialty dances. If they want to do those, they can do them in the show dance, where there are no rules.

As it was, during the finals this year I switched over to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, because it lived up to its name whereas Strictly had become too predictable and I knew the scores before the couples danced. I want to get back to escapism and if Strictly is riddled with unfairness, nepotism and spite, I might as well walk out of the front door into the dark, wet reality of a British winter where I can find all those in spades.

And in the end, remember this. As Terry Pratchett used to argue, stories have a way of writing (and righting) themselves no matter how much you try to interfere with them. By continually sniping at Jay, the judges somehow made him both the bookies’ favourite and yet an underdog too. If there’s one thing the British love more than a favourite, it’s an underdog, so as soon as Craig said “you had no personality”, Jay was certain to win. I don’t know what the producers and judges were up to but I do know that Jay and Aliona got their happy ending in spite of it.

Mum’s the word

On It Takes Two, that font of wisdom Richard Madeley predicted that Jay just might win because of the “mum vote”. Since then I’ve heard it said that Jay won because of the granny vote, and because of the teenage girl vote. To which I have to say: so what? Why is the female vote, across all ages, perceived as less valid and less worthy? I voted for Jay because I liked watching him dance, not because I want to mother him (he has a perfectly good mother of his own) or because I fancy him or because my hormones told me to. Women can actually make rational decisions about who to vote for. So pack in the denigration of an entire sex by insinuating that our decision to vote is based on something less worthy than men’s decisions are. It’s 2015. We can vote. Deal with it.

 

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Strictly Come Dancing: fake it until you fail?

For those not in the know, Strictly Come Dancing is a light entertainment show in which celebrities are paired with professional dancers and taught a new dance each week. Every Saturday, one of the couples is voted off until one couple is crowned the winner. It seems like something light, sparkly, spangly and fluffy but it’s syndicated worldwide; can be used to revamp and relaunch sometimes flagging careers and is the favourite of the gutter press as some of the world’s most beautiful people occasionally start swapping partners both on and off the dance floor. In that context, the words “voted off” should raise alarm bells for it can indeed become highly controversial.

The process of voting is quite convoluted and as such perhaps not as robust as it might be. First each of the four judges award each dance a mark out of 10, to give a possible total of 40. Couples are then ranked on a scoreboard and the couple at the top are given the highest mark and so on down to the bottom couple who should in theory receive  one mark (though the BBC are not good at maths and this doesn’t always happen). Then, to give audience participation, the public vote. The couples are ranked again and again the top scoring couple get the highest mark and so on down. Judges’ marks and the public scores are then combined to give an overall scoreboard.

You could at that point just wave goodbye to the person with the lowest number of points overall. However, the problem producers encountered with this format is that the fickle public don’t always vote for good dancers and sometimes, as in the case of John Sargeant, deliberately vote for people with the dancing ability of a broom pole so left to their own devices, they might give the glitter ball to the likes of Anne Widdecombe. To prevent good dancers from getting kicked out too early the dance off was introduced in which the bottom two couples both dance again and the judges then save the couple who dance the best.

The system has always thrown some curve balls and at times the judges do have to make difficult decisions. Last year Simon Webbe was up against Pixie Lott and should in theory have been toast. Simon was a great dancer but Pixie had fairly consistently beaten him, until that week in which Simon scored 35 for an American Smooth which contained an obvious mistake whilst Pixie scored the same for a Cha Cha Cha which the judges criticised for poor technique and illegal lifts. Thus all Simon had to do was correct his obvious mistake whilst Pixie, to up her score, would have had to refine her technique and choreograph out some lifts, all in the same evening. It was not to be and Len sent Pixie home, arguing “I have to judge this on this one dance that I have seen – not what has been in the past, [or] what my expectations are in the future.  I tell you – this is hard as a judge but harder as person”.

Bear that quote in mind because it helps explain what happened last Saturday at Blackpool. Jamelia, with a score of 31 for a pretty passable quickstep ended up in the DO against Peter Andre with 29 for something that might have been a jive in another universe were jigging around and doing one of your old pop routines counts as a jive. The BBC’s problem is that it has created a small army of armchair experts who know what gapping is and who know about kicks and flicks. It already seemed that Andre was over-marked since Craig argued his dance was “at the bottom of the pack of jives” this season. Len gave Peter an 8 whereas in week 3 he scored Jay 9 for a jive the like of which none of us has really seen from one of the celebrities before – and I mean that in a good way. Unless Len is using a Richter scale or some other non-linear scoring system it’s hard to see how there was only one point between Jay’s and Peter’s dances.

Once it was announced that Jamelia and Peter were in the DO it was apparent that the judges were between a rock and a hard place. Jamelia had already survived a record four DOs and so was demonstrably not popular with the public but had danced better than Peter. Peter has some talent but that was not his dance and even with what looked like an inflated score he was worse than Jamelia. So for him to win the DO, in accordance with the rules stated by Len last series, Jamelia was going to have to drop points whereas Peter was going to have to gain them. To the majority of us watching at home it looked instead as if Jamelia upped her game and Peter remained the same. And yet Bruno, Darcey and Craig voted to keep Peter on the show.

The BBC might have thought that was that. Send the unpopular dancer who was never going to win home, keep their superstar signing who most of the time can dance. However, they found themselves in the midst of a storm without any apparent knowledge as to why. The BBC seemed to have forgotten that even Capuchin monkeys have a sense of fairness. This was never really about Jamelia, it was about the fairness and transparency of a process. People become invested in Strictly. It’s what gets us through winter in a northern climate. It’s sparkly and fun and perfect escapist television. And what we expect with escapist fun is a sense of fair play. After all, it isn’t really escapism if skulduggery is seen to be done without any redress.

In this the BBC had a perfect storm. It’s been apparent for years that the producers could manipulate the outcome if they so chose. Each year they pick a comedy act, forgetting that comedy should arise naturally. But you go along with it, and vote to keep weaker dancers in at least until Wembley/ Blackpool week, because who wouldn’t want to see Russell Grant fired out of a cannon. There have been rumours before about fixes because some dance, music and costume choices seem odd at best. If you don’t like a celebrity, it must be hard not to ask them to dance the rumba whilst wearing a sequined bin bag, to You Spin Me Right Round. If I had the power to do that, I’m not sure I’d resist either.

To add to the storm and the rumours, SCD bosses have never really been open with their audience. They won’t give out public voting figures even after a series ends and despite FOI requests. And because of this, since they introduced online voting, I’ve only voted via this free method. Added to which although it’s pretty obvious that the Sunday results show is filmed straight after the live Saturday show, the BBC go through an odd charade in which they don’t lie outright, but do refer to “last night” and “on Saturday” repeatedly during the Sunday show and refer to “Sunday” repeatedly afterwards even though most of us know the result is available on spoiler sites around 10:30pm on Saturday.

So in a situation in which you have a vague but tolerable sense of some manipulation and lack of transparency, to find out just how ugly SCD’s face might be underneath all the makeup and sequins is something of a shock. Jamelia was obviously the better dancer on the night so why then keep Peter? Was it just because he’s been better in the series? In which case how do we know what the rules are? And why force celebs to go through a DO when in the end whatever they do doesn’t matter?

To compound the situation, the BBC published a blog by the studio director who explained to us “how a large scale entertainment show like Strictly Come Dancing – The Results is made” thereby making me feel like a 1950s housewife being told not to worry my pretty head about things I don’t really understand. Len was then wheeled out on It Takes Two to argue that he’d seen improvement in Peter’s dance and that that is why Peter was saved. Even though on the night Len said he would have saved Jamelia and in fact it was the other three judges who apparently spotted this miraculous improvement.

Whilst this is not really about Jamelia, it is about Peter. Like him or loath him he is an international star with a huge PR machine behind him. Once it’s clear that the BBC don’t respect its audience, treat you like children and are not transparent, you do start to wonder what hold someone like Peter has over them and quite what terms might be in his contract. I’ve long thought that the most sincere and real part of Peter is his fake tan. I’d rather not think so ill of Strictly, too.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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