EastEnders: Welcome to the feel-bad story of the year

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EastEnders: Welcome to the feel-bad story of the year

May 11, 2016 - 10:18
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Last orders for tragic Peggy Mitchell as she returned to Albert Square’s vale of tears and learned that the end is nigh. Welcome to the feel-bad story of the year.

Peggy Mitchell returns to EastEnders

Last orders for tragic Peggy Mitchell as she returned to Albert Square’s vale of tears and learned that the end is nigh. Welcome to the feel-bad story of the year.

The legendary landlady’s cancer is back and this time it’s terminal. Sadly, her dysfunctional “famlee” (murdering baby snatcher Ronnie, raging alcoholic Phil, nymphomaniac Roxy etc.) are rallying round in her hour of need. So her final days will not be easy.

A shadow of her former brassy self, Peggy looked hollow-eyed and frail. But even in her reduced state, the magnificent Mrs Mitchell reminded us why she is arguably EastEnders’ greatest ever character. Never a dull moment when she’s around.

After she was found hiding out in Ronnie’s house, still-feisty Peggy told her sister Sal: “You always were an interfering old cow.” Sal: “And you always were a stubborn old goat.”

Then a truly poignant scene as the two siblings embraced each other and the world went quiet. Their silence spoke a thousand words. A genuinely moving moment.

So much better than most of the dismal dialogue the right-on writers inflict upon us. Like Stacey droning on about her bipolar. Poor Sonia. As if waiting to hear whether her breast lump was malignant wasn’t bad enough… she had to listen to Stacey ploughing through her long list of medical problems. Again. She sounded like she was reciting a social workers’ handbook.

Duelling cancer dramas as relieved Sonia got the all clear but elsewhere in busy Walford General Hospital, devastated Peggy received the bad news that she’s doomed to die. She welled up. But seemed resigned to her fate.

Excellent understated performance from Barbra Windsor. But this was more than just acting. Like millions of soap fans, she is bidding a fond farewell to an old friend. We’ve missed Peggy. And we’re going to miss her.

Meanwhile, the non-event nonsense over at the Vic continues to bore for Britain. You just wish Peggy would march into the bar and tell the calamity Carter clan: “Git art of my pub.” If only. In our dreams.

That Koi carp crap is ludicrous. Mick gets caught on CCTV putting them back into Belinda’s pond and now her swinging husband’s blackmailing him and Linda into playing foursomes. WTF? The top team who think this implausible drivel up? What planet are they from?

Lame-brain Buster tried to nick the expensive fish to fund his campaign to stop bargain superstore Costmart setting up shop by the market. Worried that consumers might get value for money, our anti-commerce hero wants them to carry on paying the stall holders’ high prices. I’m on Costmart’s side.

But back to Peggy’s sad demise. And Sal sighed: “She’s had to fight the whole of her life to keep this show on the road.” She still is. If it wasn’t for the queen of Walford, we’d be stuck with the carp, Costmart, the trials and tribulations of transgender Kyle and Martin’s toilets. Don’t go Your Majesty!

Now stand by for Grant’s less-than-joyous homecoming which, I’m guessing, will start with his famous catchphrase: “Hello mum.” As Peggy enters her heart-breaking last chapter it’s going to get messy. Sob. Pass the Kleenex.

There are 11 Comments

Kevin O'Sullivan's picture

Loltless writes:

Oh dear.........more doom and gloom    :(    poor Peggy Mitchell she really does look ill. Hope it's only in the script ??  Won't be following Eastenders for much longer  at this depressive rate. At least the soaps on ITV have some humour!

Kevin O'Sullivan's picture

By Anna May

Poor old Les Coker. Loves dressing as a woman, but his wife’s so ashamed she won’t let him tell anyone, even if it means it’ll stop them being blackmailed to the tune of a thousand quid every month.  Has she been living on another planet for the past few months? It’s no holds barred in Walford now.  You can do whatever you want, with whoever you want, in anyone’s clothes you like and nobody cares. I know I don’t.  The poor guy, though.  Trying to sell his ‘buy now, die later’ funerals in the pub, in the hope he can afford to pay Aunt Babe’s hush money. What a cow she is, but what a cow his wife, Pam is too!  If only he was a schizophrenic.  Then he could divorce Pam and marry Christine instead.  Omg, I’m actually hoping that happens now!
But see…that’s Pam all over, that is.  Pouring kindness on to boys like Jay, who’s currently being done for messing with underage girls, but neglecting her husband’s need to fulfil himself as Christine.  She can’t even bear to accept poor, misunderstood killer, Ben, as her own grandson’s boyfriend. Her whining voice is enough to drive anyone to murder and, considering there are still a few people left on the Square who haven’t had their turn at whacking a spade into someone’s brain, she could very well be next.
Actually, looking at my watch, I’d say we’re due another murder right about now and, what do you know, the Beales are discussing bringing Psycho-Bob back to Walford High from some boarding school elsewhere, which has apparently changed him…most probably into someone completely different.   Either that, or Louise will step into the breach and try to do away with Ben by way of a red hot shovel to the face, to make up for all the teaspoons he burned her with.  Of course, it won’t work because Ben is immortal, being destined to regenerate in the vicinity of Arthur’s bench (he loved this place) for all eternity.  Mind you, with a face full of bandages, it’d certainly make it a lot easier to replace him several times a week, instead of the obligatory once a year. 
Don’t look now, but there’s an impenetrable blockade outside Ian’s café and he’s been forbidden to enter by the market traders.  I don’t know…one day, people like you…the next, they won’t even let you into your own property.  Tina’s probably in there right now stuffing all the fresh cakes she can find down her knickers and lining her bra with bacon.  Why would she do that?  Because she’s a thief…Ian.
Now, would you believe it...Martin’s just helped to nick a load of toilets from Jack Branning without him knowing.  Guess what, though? Kyle knows about it and so does Stacey…and everyone else on the Square, who just happened to be wandering about outside while several huge boxes with bogs in them were clumsily delivered straight into Stacey’s kitchen!  Into her KITCHEN, folks!  No matter, though, because she’s totally elated to find them there after rushing back from the Vic, where she’s just chucked her drink over Jack to stop him leaving the pub.  Because THAT’s how you stop someone leaving a pub. You don’t distract them by talking to them normally to avoid suspicion. No…you throw a drink in their face and blame it on a spasm.  A SPASM!
Never mind all that, though.  Buster Bloodvessel has just barged into Ronnie’s house demanding Glenda spills the beans about Roxy’s whereabouts.  Ronnie returns a few minutes later to be asked the same thing and finds out Roxy’s not only run off with a few thousand quid belonging to Glenda and Danny (I’d forgotten about him), she has something belonging to Mr Bloodvessel as well.  He leaves angrily with Glenda in hot pursuit...all the way to the front door, shouting insults at him to further help the situation. Surely a simple, “Lip up, fatty!” would have sufficed.

Kevin O'Sullivan's picture

A shouting match to rival any heavyweight boxing match of the glorious 70's. You shout at me and I will shout back a referee appears from nowhere splits the warring factions, and peace resumes only until the next scene when shouting breaks out again. At least the rumble in the jungle had a decisive outcome.

Anna May's picture

Still reluctant for Les to come clean about Christine, Pam’s convinced anyone with an extra fiver in their purse is the blackmailer. Babe boasting smugly about her lovely holiday abroad doesn’t help. She could do with murdering, that one. Ben? Fancy getting yourself into Pam’s good books by murdering Aunt Babe? Of course you do!

Then there’s Buster’s self-important role as ringleader, no less, in the campaign to stop Ian selling his restaurant to Costmart. You know…that restaurant he owns, which he can sell if he wants, because it’s his…that one. Well, being the committed ringleader he is, Buster has decided to boycott a meeting Ian’s holding in the pub. He does love a good boycott, doesn’t he. If only he could spell it. Ian wanted to hold the meeting in Stacey’s kitchen, but it’s full of toilets. I’m sure she’ll let him know as soon as it becomes vacant. Hmmm.

Of course, good old Shirley tries to help her best mate, Kathy, by having a go at studly boyfriend, Buster, but to no avail and, just when Ian thinks his problems can’t possibly get any worse, Kathy tells Buster (he’ll always be Jacko to me) that Ian needs extra cash to keep Bobby at a private school. She thinks he’ll feel sorry for Ian and call off the campaign, but he announces it in the pub and makes Ian look even more of a plonk. What a bint. She left off the bit about Bobby being a psychopathic killer who should really be chained to a wall in a padded cell. That might have swung it! Although, reading it back, that doesn’t sound very good either.

Ian doesn’t have good luck, Kathy. Stop trying to fix things…just let nature take its course and wait for one of his kids to murder him and put him in a bin. Just let it go. That’s it, Kathy, do something else instead…like…I don’t know…let Buster, the guy who just crapped on you and your son from a very great height, snog you in broad daylight. WHAT?!

This Buster’s got some brass neck, hasn’t he? Blatantly betrays her then goes begging for a bit of back door action! No, Kathy, don’t do it! You know what these baldy men are like! Think of Shirley! Get him away from your back door! No, Kathy! Oh…she did. Just in time to be able to give birth to his premature baby by Christmas, in Albert Square’s very own maternity ward…the Queen Vic’s cellar. You’re welcome. That’ll be a tenner.

Meanwhile, it’s deja vu as Glenda repeatedly tries to convince Ronnie she regrets being such a rubbish mum and wants to make amends…again, whilst Ronnie repeatedly reminds Glenda what a rubbish mum she’s always been.

Cue Roxy staggering about in the kitchen grumbling childishly, “Well, haven’t you got any biscuits?” Um…a hello might be nice before rifling through your sister’s cupboards like a demented cookie monster. Long story, short…Roxy needs twenty grand to avoid being killed, so Jack gets it on the way home, as you do, and gives it to her in cash, as you do. She leaves and a few minutes later Glenda follows, telling Ronnie she’ll be five minutes. Roxy offers Glenda five grand to leave Ronnie alone, because she doesn’t want her to mess Ronnie about (pots, kettles). So we’re left to believe Glenda’s run of with the money and Ronnie’s left believing the same (doof doof).

In other news, the skeletal remains of Abi’s gerbil, Rolf, remind Ronnie of Roxy’s childhood rabbit (bit creepy), so she presents Amy with a rabbit pre-named Hercules and tells Jack she wants he and Amy to move in with her. Hang on…the poor girl didn’t even get a chance to name her own pet? I think a phone call to ChildLine is in order.

To be fair to Glenda, we didn’t actually see her bugger off, so she’s probably just been murdered…or, even worse, got drunk, bumped into Phil and ended up blowing the whole lot on an expensive hotel room for them both to do ugly things in all night. See…this is what Phil does to me! I used to be all right!

Anna May's picture

It’s the day after the day before and Kathy wants to know what Buster’s plans are for their future. Kathy, have you learned nothing from your past close encounters of the bald kind? First things first, he tells Kathy he thinks she’s beautiful, ‘cos that’s how you compensate a woman you’ve just shagged and are about to dump. You just tell her she's pretty, or something. We fall for all that, us women. So needy and grateful. Then you profess your undying love…for Shirley! Referring to her as, “My Shirl,” after moaning about how badly she treats him, Buster still doesn’t want to lose her, bless his heart. Mate…when ‘your Shirl’ finds out what you’ve just done (and she always finds out), you’re going to die and, if you don’t, you’ll wish you had.

So, to pour on even more guilt, we now have Shirley taking every opportunity to tell Kathy what a good mate she is. Should Kathy own up about Buster? A two-pronged revenge attack might be just what Eastenders needs…right after Shirley punches Kathy to the floor and steps over her to get to the Café for a bacon roll, because she's 'ungry. As for his non-excuse of, “I’ve been in prison arf me life.” For crying out loud, Buster, buy yourself a jar of liver and leave these poor women alone! Ugh!

Anyway, forget that, because Belinda Slater is about to blackmail Mick and Linda into entering into a foursome with her and her fella, Neville! Yuk! Will they do it? I mean, Belinda says she has CCTV footage of Mick and his son, Johnny, putting Belinda’s Koi carp BACK into her pond after Buster and Mick’s other son, Lee, nicked them in the first place. See, this is why Linda and Mick are being blackmailed, instead of Buster and Lee who were actually the ones who…because…err… Ridiculous. Just stop.

Finally, what’s Andy got lined up for Ronnie after flicking through a folder full of information on her baby-swapping ordeal? He’s a naughty boy, isn’t he…pulling a stunt with her laptop, so he can get back on it and do what he REALLY wants with it. We’re on to you, Andy, with your ‘being nice to everyone’ act. Best you sort out Stacey’s kitchen-cum-bathroom (yes, I said cum, get over it) before you start messing with anyone else on the square. If Phil finds out, he’ll run at you and fall over.

Peggy’s return is a sad one and I’ve nothing better to add to what’s already been said in Kevin’s review. However, no doubt, Grant is making his way back to the Square as we speak. Room for one more? No…actually…there isn’t.

Anna May's picture

There I was, waiting for a dramatic climax at Belinda’s posh abode…four, to be exact, but only Neville was really ‘up’ for it. So, after finding out the CCTV cameras are dummies, Mick and Linda run off to their car with Belinda behind them, having made up her mind she’d rather have the love of one man than the life of a swinger with randy Nev. Angrily chasing after them in his dressing gown, he gives them a taste of what he’s capable of by...throwing a slipper.

Back at the Vic, Linda and Mick take pity on Belinda and when Neville turns up to convince Belinda to go back to him by slagging her off and telling her nobody else would want her (‘cos that would work), Mick gives him a smack in the mouth and sends him on his way with a cut lip.

You see, in Mick’s world, trespassing and fish-bothering isn’t something you want the rozzers nicking you for, but ABH is just a slip of the fist and Neville won’t give it a second thought. Having already wasted my time and a large proportion of two episodes focusing on a pond and some frilly underwear laid out on a bed, this doesn’t help.

Now homeless, the obvious choice is for Belinda to move in with Stacey, who has no room at all. A quick flash of Nev’s Gold Card does the trick and Stacey’s more than happy to shoehorn yet another Slater into her increasingly claustrophobic home.

Belinda, you have a Gold Card. Hotel room? Pay six months rent up-front for a home of your very own? No? Of course not. That would be too close to real life and we wouldn’t want that, would we.

Maybe Belinda has forgotten the procedure for renting accommodation in Walford. Simply stand in the middle of Albert Square, look thoughtfully at an empty property…you’ll have the keys within an hour and be moved in by dinner.

Wherever she ends up, Linda’s offer of a shoulder to cry on is all Belinda needs to get near Mick and stir things up between them. Here we go again…sigh.

Elsewhere, Sonia’s plight is being played out superbly by Natalie Cassidy. If there’s one thing I miss it’s the Jackson girls ‘avin a proper barney or just keeping it real together in a scene. Carol, Bianca and Sonia have always been favourites of mine and, whatever you might think of Sonia and her brash attitude or general behaviour, she’s stayed true to our memory of the sarcastic little trumpet-abusing girl she was all those years ago. She’s one of the few long-standing characters, in my opinion, who’s actually grown up into the person we’d expect her to be.

Instead of carefully chosen words to describe how she’s feeling about the prospect of a double mastectomy, Sonia’s outbursts are crude, but honest…and believable just by being entirely typical.

Unfortunately, it looks like Phil’s not taking no for an answer from his dying mum, Peggy. Poor cow’s just about had it with her battle with cancer, but selfless Phil needs her to help him through his liver transplant woes. Organizing a Mitchell get-together is surely the best way to convince her to hang on for family’s sake (him, basically).

Leave your poor mum alone, Phil. She’s having enough trouble trying to restrain that insistent bouffant of hers. Even the massive bulldog clip in the back of her head can’t tame it.

Kevin O'Sullivan's picture

Another great review, Anna. Phil and Peggy's sightseeing trip "up West" was excruciating. But great to see Peggy fulfilling her lifelong ambition to sit among the gold-tops on the back of milk float. Nothing like setting the bar low. As for Belinda moving into Stacey's miniature hovel, all homes in Walford are like the Tardis. Small on the outside, cavernous inside. Who can forget Carol's tiny terraced house which at one point boasted 11 residents? Anyway, Peggy pegs it next week and we can rest assured that the always subtle producers won't milk it for all its worth. Much. Stand by for a ruthless onslaught of sentimental slush. And the return of grunting Grant.  

Anna May's picture

I thought Phil and Peggy’s little outing was very sweet. I remember growing up in London and travelling everywhere by Tube and boat. Those were the days, eh? As for Sharon coming to Phil’s aid on the bench, what the bloody hell were those first words out of his mouth? If anyone knows what they were, please tell me, ‘cos I’ve run it back several times and it still comes out as, “Wunnuvan tawken antchi.” Eh?

I’m dreading Grant coming back. Kathy’s going to be surrounded by all those baldy men. Has she forgotten what Phil once called her? He called her an OBG - an ‘oldie, but goodie’. What is she now? She must be an ‘older and gooder’, because these men just keep coming…ahem. All we need now is for all Phil’s exes to feel sorry for him and start fighting each other to get in his bed. Mind you, he was really lovely with Peggy in the last episode. I think I might fancy him myself now.

Hazeleyes's picture

Great storyline, Peggy plays it so well and great to see grant back. Ian Beatles storyline hilarious Bobby possibly to kill again . Great to see two storylines that are well played and well written.

Hopefully Sam will be back and all of walford can give Peggy the send off she deserves well done

Anna May's picture

Ian’s still not winning at life, being Walford’s most hated, with Buster referring to his up-coming monetary gain as not just blood money, but sweat money. Nice. Ian replies, “You sell cockles and whelks! You've never broke into a sweat in your life!" That’s right, Ian! Well, not since he banged your mum the other day anyway.

What’s this? Another family meal? They’re coming thick and fast, these Mitchell get togethers. I can’t keep up. “One last time,” says Peggy. Hmmm…I think we all know what that means, don’t we. What with all her last-minute words of advice to anyone who knocks at the door, there’s no doubt the end is nigh. Gutting.

Louise makes an interesting request for Peggy not to cook anything green. So…no frogs, no snot and no leprechauns. Right you are. Later she comes back in to ask for peas. So, yeah, that happened. Then she phones up to cancel anyway. Well, Louise, I hope you feel really guilty for not turning up for those peas when you find out what the meal was for.

Surprise! No, not sausage surprise…not this time. Belinda’s decided to help Stacey flog the bogs. The obvious buyer is the bloke they nicked them off in the first place…Jack. I didn’t see THAT coming. Belinda, you have a Gold Card! How many times! Just buy them off Stacey and give them to someone else to offload.

What did I say? First Kathy sniffs round Phil and gets told to mind her own business, then Sharon has a go, then he has a chat with Shirley. Persistent Sharon can’t let it lie, though, and is back again later to tell him she’ll always be there for him. Don’t do it, Sharon, not again. Plus the fact Denise is probably already up the duff by him. I can see no reason for THAT scene with Denise and Phil a few weeks ago if it wasn’t for the sole purpose of impregnating her. None at all. All we need now is for Kathy to get back with Phil and find out she’s pregnant by Buster. Hang on…I’ve seen something like that before. Can’t remember where, though. It’ll come to me.

Moving on, Ian decides not to sell his restaurant. Now, I did NOT see THAT coming. He goes outside to announce it in the street, because there’s already a stag party in the Vic and Stacey’s kitchen is still full of toilets. Cue Buster, still being a git as Ian offers to buy them all a drink, then holding out his hand to shake Ian’s when he finds out he’s not selling. Typically, Ian immediately forgets how nasty Buster’s been and shakes his hand! He’s touched your mum’s bits with that hand, Ian. Yuk!

Enter Bobby…the happiest little sibling killer you could ever wish to meet. Ian tells Jane Bobby’s staying put as he’s not selling the restaurant anymore. Poor old Jane, his long-suffering yo-yo wife, is not happy. She’s dead.

Back at Peggy’s, Ben’s bailed too. He’d rather party hard at Martin’s stag do…in the Vic. Never mind, though, GRANT’S BACK!! Wanders in the back door, says a few words, smouldering look to the camera. Just like me, I’m sure everyone else who’s been eagerly waiting to see his cheeky face again was thinking…why has he come back without his lips?

Kevin O'Sullivan's picture

Submitted by Hazeleyes on Tue, 17/05/2016 - 20:23

What great acting by dame Barbara Windsor, and good to see Pam St Clements make a guest appearance very touching moment between Peggy and Pat , and the Mitchell boys back how good is this week going to be. Not so sure on the Bobby storyline though that could be one too watch.

Peggy dying tonight was done so sensitively and caring , the only thing I will say is when the clock stopped at the end it should have stopped at 8.00 as it ended that would have been a fitting tribute to the cast and writers all round good story