Tuesday, 27 July 2010

(Good) Life Of Brian?

Charles Collingwood (Brian Aldridge)

For a while there, I thought Pip was falling in love with Edana the heifer, then she revealed that she and friend Emily had made a pact to have no more relationships, so that can't be the case. With a rare flash of insight, Pip said to David "I must have been a real pain to be around these last few weeks." What is she talking about 'the last few weeks'? Make that the last 17 years, dear. Hopefully, with her rekindled interest in all things bovine and going back to college, we will hear less from her over the next few weeks.

The fete story dragged on and we learned that the murderer was… But you'll have to wait till next week. Listening to David and Bert learning their parts made me think "that's 15 minutes of my life I'll never have again."

Kenton and Kathy's relationship is going from bad to worse. I know Kenton isn't the most thoughtful of men – in fact, you could say that he's more self-centred than a black hole – but my God, can't Kathy whinge? The woman could moan for England: whatever Kenton does is wrong. Not a wonder the poor sod is kipping on Kirsty's sofa (and I do hope that the relationship goes no further). As he is so committed to Jaxx's, why doesn't he move a bed into the place?

Poor Joe Grundy – not only was he denied the part of the old retainer in the fete murder mystery (it reminds me of Vivian Stanshall's comedy LP, Sir Henry At Rawlinson End, where the butler was 'Scrotum – a wrinkled old retainer') but Joe was unceremoniously dismissed from the community shop rota in what will probably come to be known around Ambridge as 'courgettegate'. Joe's not much good as a scallywag is he? Every time he comes up with a scam, he cocks it up somehow. David must be pretty thick too not to have realised what Joe was up to.

A storyline that's developing nicely is the Borsetshire Land/Rodways/New Livestock Market saga. Everything seems to be going Brian's way – he managed to persuade the irascible Mr. Hastings to give BL the option to buy his land and drippy Benedict Wheeler of Rodways is falling over himself to do business with BL. In fact it's all going so swimmingly well that you just know that it's all going to go nads up before long and that Brian is riding for a fall of Humpty Dumpty proportions. Let's face it, it couldn't happen to a nicer bloke - I just hope that Matt has a hand in it somehow.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

In Which Izzy Talks Sense

A bit of a reality check for Brenda last week when, instead of attending the AmSide strategy meeting with Matt and Lillian as she assumed, she was put in her place by Lillian who told her to get two coffees, no sugar and hold the biscuits. Brenda had a moanette afterwards to Matt, who said that it would take time for Lillian to come round and uttered the immortal words "trust me". I was instantly reminded of the Jungle Book film, where the snake Kaa sings "Trust in Me" to a hypnotised Mowgli – the fact that it was a snake seems oddly appropriate.

But all was not lost for Bren, who later pulled Lillian's chestnuts out of the fire by finding out about the bridge-widening scheme near where AmSide was thinking of buying a property. Lillian magnanimously suggested that Brenda sat in on the strategy meeting. At this rate, she'll soon be letting Brenda do the washing up.

Pip's (and our) ordeal continues as she mopes about Jude. "At least she's started coming out of her room" said Jill, as if this is something to be welcomed. Are there no six-inch nails anywhere on the farm, for God's sake?

I was impressed with the attitude of Izzy, who gave up her day off to listen to Pip's moans, which reached a crescendo when she found her stuff (shampoo, CD) just tossed aside. A bit like her really. "He didn't care!" Pip wailed. Er, yes, that might explain why he slipped off to the USA without warning. I warmed further to Izzy when she told Pip that it was a good thing that Jude had gone and she never liked him. Let's have more of Izzy's plain speaking – she can always get through life with no friends.

As proof that time is indeed relative, I was gobsmacked to learn that Vicky and Mike are celebrating their first wedding anniversary. Can it only be a year? And while on the subject, what's happened on the veal front? When does veal become beef? If these calves were people, they'd be ready to settle down and start a family by now. Not that I care.

Finally, there was the dagger through the heart of Kate's announcement that she would be coming back for a full year. She wants to see Phoebe who, as Kate told Jennifer, "is on the verge of growing up". Good – watch and learn, Kate, watch and learn. For her part, Jennifer told Brian that "joy was unconfined". Not in my bloody house it wasn't, nor at chez Roy and Hayley either. I reckon Hayley will kill Kate and will only be caught because 327 people will all give her a different alibi. Perhaps we should get Izzy to talk sensibly to Kate and persuade her that she is needed back home in Africa, or in the South American rain forests, or the Hindu Kush, or Antarctica, or – but you get the idea.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Whodunnit? Who Cares?

Hedli Niklaus (Kathy Perks)

First of all the good news – Jude has slung his hook, leaving a heartbroken Pip wailing and generally moping about the place. I'm glad he's gone but I hope Pip gets over it soon. For my sake, not hers. David and Ruth were very angry that he'd exited the way he had – would they have preferred it had Pip and Jude gone off together?

And what an opportunity missed by Aunt Elizabeth! When doing her "shoulder to cry on" bit, she was asked by Pip "What would you do in my shoes?" What a chance! "Emigrate", "Follow Jude to America", "Go into a convent right now", "Stand on this chair while I fix this rope" – these are just four answers that would have got Pip out of the way and Elizabeth blew it.

Elizabeth also told Pip of her own skeleton in the closet, when Cameron Fraser went to the loo in a restaurant and never came back. I suppose we should be grateful that it was Elizabeth who was revealing skeletons, rather than Lillian, or else Pip would probably have retired by the time Lillian had finished. Not so much a skeleton in the cupboard, more a fully-fledged necropolis.

What else happened last week? Joe's pathetic attempt to fiddle the stock rotation were nipped in the bud by Susan. If only you'd left the Almond Slices alone Joe, you could still be munching your ill-gotten gains. Personally, I think his actions are totally against the ethos of a community shop and he should be pilloried on the village green as punishment.

Kathy and Kenton seem to be drifting apart, but they are so wet that you couldn't pay me enough to care about it. The story that is really ringing the "you are going to be so bored by this" alarm bells is that of the Murder Mystery as the number one attraction at the fete. I have the horrible feeling that this is the Christmas Panto five months early and we'll have the angst about casting, getting the lines right and all the other things that have you reaching for the wrist-slitter around mid-November.

Of course, the way to make the storyline more acceptable would be to have Lynda's mutilated body discovered on the green and the would-be detectives have to question the 12-deep line of suspects, with the actual murderer winning a pig, or a meal at Grey Gables, or the freedom of Ambridge. Sadly, this is unlikely to happen and, ladies and gentlemen, I am deeply afraid that all we have to look forward to is a fete worse than death.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

It's Kick Kenton Time!

Richard Attlee (Kenton Archer)

Poor old Kenton – it hasn't really been his week, has it? Fresh from his triumphal opening of Jaxx's, he is getting the cold shoulder from Kathy. Not only has he been sent to the doghouse, I wouldn't be surprised if she was making him sleep there.

The latest foot-in-gob moment from Mr. Considerate came when he revealed his plans for a treat for Kathy and Jamie, which was – wait for it – a trip to New Zealand at Christmas. Not only can Kenton catch up on seeing his daughter, but presumably Kathy and Jamie could amuse themselves by visiting Sid's grave and seeing how much the flowers have grown in the six months since they planted poor old Sid there.

Way to go Kenton! This storyline also led to the front runner for "most obvious truism of the week" when Kathy told Pat "Kenton is still not much help". Put that phrase on a loop of tape and play it instead of the theme tune. Pat's answer? For Kathy to go and visit Jaxx's so Kenton can see that she is really concerned about the efforts he has made. Sorry Pat, but you appear to be confusing Kathy with someone who gives a toss.

Then Kenton got an earful off David for allegedly encouraging Pip to swan off round the world (please God, make it the Solar System). Now here I must make a stand – I'm right behind Kenton on this one and I'd even drive Pip and Jude to the airport. When Ruth vetoed the idea of setting up an emergency account for Pip, on the grounds that "it might encourage her to go" I bet the BBC switchboards were jammed with people wanting to know how they could give. It took me an hour to get through.

Sadly, I can't help thinking that this trip is doomed to failure, as we keep getting Pip becoming increasingly intense and Jude backing away. Note how worried he was when he thought she was pregnant and how lukewarm, bordering on the slightly chilled, when she revealed that she had left college and could go all the way with him, so to speak.

Jude was also less than thrilled when invited round to Brookfield to discuss things like sensible adults, although I reckon it's going to be hard to talk with David gripping you warmly by the throat. When Pip said "it will show them how serious we are" you could hear Jude thinking "what does she mean 'We'?"

Going on the nastiness of the writers' recent track record, what's the betting that Pip will get to the airport and Jude will tell her to get lost? Watch this space.

And finally, a correction. I said last time that Alice and Chris were going on holiday to Somerset, whereas their destination is, in fact, San Francisco. Easy mistake to make. Good luck to them. Why not take a few friends along, such as Pip and Jude? Better still, hire a Greyhound bus and fill it with people from Ambridge (make your own list)? I know there's no such thing as an earthquake season, but if we were all to pray hard enough…