The Mitchell Brothers’ Return
Every dog has its day and after serving up a dog of a soap all year, EastEnders finally had a good day. After a year of being punked in the ratings by Coronation Street, EastEnders won most popular serial drama at the National Television Awards, a robbery the like of
which has not been seen since Park Shi-hun got the nod over
Roy Jones Jnr in the Seoul Olympics.
"EastEnders actors had privately settled for Jessie Wallace winning Best Fat Girl in a Supporting Role and a Lifetime Achievement award for Well’ard the dog."
In a night full of phony surprised reactions, it was at least gratifying to see genuine shock and awe upon the faces of the EastEnders actors who had privately settled for Jessie Wallace winning Best Fat Girl in a Supporting Role and a Lifetime Achievement award for Well’ard the dog.
I don’t know who got the kickback for the television awards swindle but it was perfectly timed to coincide with the return of Grant and Phil Mitchell. When you’re looking to arrest a ratings slump you need all the help can muster.
But how would the storyliners get Grant and Phil back together? Last we heard, Phil was shooting at Grant inside a speeding car after hearing Grant had slept with Phil’s wife Kaffee. Grant chose the moment to take the car sub-marine and swim all the way to Rio to avoid his homicidal brother. The omens weren’t good.
"But when in doubt, EastEnders always chooses their default character motivation: faaaaaaaamily."
But when in doubt, EastEnders always chooses their default character motivation: faaaaaaaamily. It pretty much covers everything, however stupid, inconsistent or implausible. Which is just as well given much of the recent EastEnders plots.
And the Mitchell faaaaaaamily is indeed in quite a pickle. The world’s thickest supercriminal Sam Mitchell is facing a murder rap, Peggy Mitchell – iron-faced harridan and dwarf matriarch is apparently going to have her fingers chopped off by Don Beech from The Bill because she interfered in a row between him and his daughter. Ugly.
So to prevent Peggy becoming Walford’s answer to Jeremy Beadle the brothers Mitchell put their differences aside to return to that square yard of paradise they call Albert Square. Phil soon has supergrass Ian Beale shitting fish and subjects him to a horrific punishment beating which consisted of pushing him into the gutter and emptying tomato ketchup over him.
And you thought the finger chopping reference was gruesome? I’d hate to see the dry-cleaning bill – industrial ketchup is a bitch to get out.
EastEnders has made an art of getting things wrong recently. the terrible Ferreiras, Webcam Den‘s botched return and the recurring Sonia and Martin snoozefest – little wonder the nation was falling out of love with the soap. The Mitchells needed to make an impact and fast.
And it wasn’t long before they’d threatened Johnny Allen, assaulted Sharon’s husband/brother and confronted Chrissie because of that whole framing-their-sister-for-murder thing. It was terrific stuff.
"They are convincing as a pair of brothers, a pair of low-rent thugs and a pair of mummy’s boys. "
Say what you like about the Mitchell brothers – they’re good value. Unlike a lot of recent EastEnders disasters they’re consistent within their characters and they ring true. They are convincing as a pair of brothers, a pair of low-rent thugs and a pair of mummy’s boys.
They’re a rogue element with just enough of the tarnished glamour of the underworld to give them that dangerous edge. Their presence brings the best out of the other characters too – you forget how fun it is to see Ian Beale squirm in the face of his nemesis Phil, or the way runtish child abuser Billy Mitchell pathetically seeks the brothers’ approval.
"it may feel like a fading rock star releasing a greatest hits package to remind everyone why they bothered about him in the first place but it will do for now"
When a show revives old characters it may feel like a fading rock star releasing a greatest hits package to remind everyone why they bothered about him in the first place but it will do for now. Even if it’s only a temporary fix, maybe it’s the kick-start the show needs?
You see, EastEnders can do great characters, just like Corrie – they just forget how sometimes.
The best thing about it: The comedy gold of two fatties together – it never fails.
The worst thing about it: Barbara Windsor hamming it up like she’s on the set of Carry On Turd With The Home Perm
The verdict on The Mitchell Brothers Return: "Two Gutbuster breakfasts darlin’ and make it quick."
Marks out of 10: 8