Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Adventures in Soap Land

Ah, the wonders of those digital channels which seem to show nothing but repeats of old soap operas! Thanks to UK Bollocks, I've just been able to catch up with a 1998 episode of Eastenders. How good it was to see again such well-loved characters as Roy, Barry and Mark. The big news in the episode was that Fat Pat has got back together with Roy. However, the trauma of her affair with Frank and the stress of their separation had taken its toll on poor old Roy, who was suffering a recurrence of his impotence problems. The man whose stunning virility once turned Pat away from lesbianism was now reduced to stuffing vegetables from Mark Fowler’s market stall down his trousers in a vain attempt to impress his wife. After the two onions and a carrot he had down his Y-fronts embarrassingly came loose and rolled down his trouser leg in the cab office, Roy decided to think big - trying first a cantaloupe, then a huge melon. This produced a bulge in his trousers so impressive that the women of Albert Square started hurling themselves at him - he’s groped by Mo Slater in the Vic, whilst Dot Cotton has an attack of the vapours and has to be given a warm bath and a rub-down by Jim Branning. It also put a frisky Pat in the mood for love, however, limp Roy was still unable to get it up. In a final act of desperation, hapless son Barry helped him strap a wooden spoon to his flaccid knob in an attempt to simulate an erection.

After that classic episode, I settled down to watch an equally enthralling episode of Emmerdale Farm, this time from 1996. It was the one where Viv Windsor’s marriage to wandering lingerie salesman Bob was thrown into chaos even before it had started. When the question, “Does anyone here know of any lawful reason why this man and woman should not be wed?”, a mysterious one-legged stranger leaps up from the back of the registry office and shouts: “Yes, Viv Windsor is actually a deserter from the Scots Guards and I am carrying his baby!” There was further disruption when the police arrived and arrested Bob - it seems that his lingerie samples were actually the result of a series of daring burglaries from women’s bedrooms and washing lines. He was, it transpired, one of Yorkshire’s most notorious pantie sniffers. Another regular having a brush with the law in this vintage episode was Seth Armstrong, who was questioned in connection with the disappearance of former gay lover Amos Brearly. Seth found himself accused of murdering Amos and stealing his amazing Noddy Holder-style sideburns in order to wear them as his bizarre handlebar moustache. Police feared that he might also have set his sights on Zak Dingle’s incredible beard. Meanwhile, the vicar was called to perform an exorcism at Emmerdale Farm after strange nocturnal lights were seen streaking across the fields and Jack Sugden was seen digging a thirty foot long grave. It turned out that nobody had told Jack that his foot and mouth ridden sheep had to be dead before he burned them. His blazing flock had started at least nine rural fires as they tried to flee. The riddle of the grave remained unresolved - I guess I'll just have to watch again tomorrow.

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