Pick of the Night

The Evening Standard (London, England), February 18, 2005 | Go to article overview

Pick of the Night


Byline: IMOGEN RIDGWAY

EASTENDERS

8PM,BBC1

FOR ALL we know, Den Watts might close up the Queen Vic every night by having a life-affirming chat with Dot and Pauline. He might also spend every day making comments such as "it's the end of an era", "I'm indestructible" and "pay me tomorrow". We simply don't see him saying such things because the EastEnders cameras are pointing at the chip shop or Pat's earrings instead.

On the other hand, these script devices could be throwing up not-so-subtle clues about one of tonight's major plot developments.

Unless you've been living on Titan (and it can't be the tranquil haven you hoped for since that space probe arrived), you probably know that EastEnders is 20 years old and Dirty Den is once again leaving Albert Square. Well, he has been pretty unpleasant lately, what with splitting up his son and adopted daughter's relationship, "persuading" young Zoe to hop into bed with him, conning Sam out of her pub, and wearing that revolting suede jacket.

But he should have known that someone wouldn't let him get away with it all.

Not another superfluous gangster, either, but his missus.

For a soap originally underpinned by dominant female characters, it seems odd that Chrissie Watts is apparently the only strong woman left in Walford.

She has garnered the support of Zoe and Sam, and the trio (Kim Medcalf, Michelle Ryan and Tracy-Ann Oberman, above) concoct an elaborate revenge.

Well, sort of- their actual plan is not revealed until the last possible moment, and even then it seems a bit sketchy. (Is this to keep us in suspense or was it the result of one of those on-the-hoof EastEnders script rewrites we've been reading about?) Mind you, the ladies do get to dress up in a variety of spangly tops.

Obviously, I'm not going to spill the beans about the exact nature of Den's departure, but it is marked by some of the tightest, funniest dialogue this soap has seen for months.

Let's just say that you are guaranteed a "what's she doing there?" moment, at least one gasp of shock and some borderline-slapstick fighting, all of which ensure that for once EastEnders is actually worth watching.

Oops, I nearly forgot; tonight's the last time you'll see Andy the breathless gangster as well.

Unless you're going home via the Blackwall Tunnel, that is.

In Search of Myths and Heroes 9pm, BBC2

Should actors worry about becoming typecast? Michael Wood is happily explaining the legend of Jason and the Golden Fleece here when up pops actress Sasha Behar, aka Mad Maya from Coronation Street, to read part of the story. …

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