110. Randy

Tapehead no 110

It’s hard to believe, but since the climax of the David and Cindy story line, EastEnders has got better and better.

From tomorrow’s omnibus, this week just soars to another level.

Grant and Phil are still on Cindy’s tail (as it were), although why is not really clear. At least it gives them plenty of excuse to do what they do best: run around the sidestreets of London like a couple of Weetabix skinheads from the Suedehead novels, “having a larf watching Barry squirm.”

As Phil babysits Baby Ben (at the bar), they start plotting military maneuvers in Paris. (Grant in Paris could be even better than when he went to Ibiza.)

Even Martin, one of those soap kids who grows a year older every episode so they can get him involved, finally gets his first story line.

This is a symbolism spectacular. 

Broken mirrors: broken lives. 

Bonfires: lives going up in flames. 

Robbie’s phallic firework, with Claire looking on…

Then there’s Joe aka the Running Man.

After Auntie Nellie’s smelly pussy, writing “EVIL” on his chest, and weeks of cowering in kitchens chanting “Satan’s here” (a phase that, let’s face it, we all went through as teenagers), Firework Night is a pyromaniac’s paradise/hell. The Prodigy have got a lot to answer for.

Then on Thursday, when David ventures into Joe’s room, “he makes a shocking discovery.”

David has become positively Shakespearean, practically tragic, a Lothario destined to self-destruct: like East Enders’ very own Guy Fawkes.

Randier than a hutch full of bunnies, David is almost as randy as Claire, the foxiest girl on the square, who is reading up on snogging lessons.

He is now on course to alienate the few cast-members whose lives he hasn’t already tarnished. How they can even consider getting rid of him is a mystery.

Judging from the opening scene of a fantastic Secret Lives, Errol Flynn was almost as good a kisser as Claire or David Wicks.

Born in Tasmania, a teenage delinquent expelled for truancy and seducing local girls, Flynn certainly lived “a full life.”

He was a pearl diver, gold prospector, and jewel thief; stood trail for murder, and starred in a panto in Northampton where he was sacked for throwing the director’s wife down a staircase. Not to mention his prodigious plastic penis. (In other words, a life that carried uncanny echoes of Tapehead’s.)

Secret Lives says Errol’s appetite for living was strangely contradicted by an equally manic talent for self-destruction but this seems inevitable. Despite – or perhaps because of – an estimated 12,000 sexual partners, in 1943 he was charged with having sexual relations with two underage girls – one of whom breaks a 50-year silence on this programme. 

During the trial, in true David Wicks-style, Flynn dated an 18-year-old from the courthouse. Good work fella ! 

Errol died aged 50 of a heart attack (and no wonder).

He was found by his 17-year-old lover Beverly and died, the narrator says somberly, “a victim of his debauchery.”

Which, to Tapehead, seems as good a way to go as any.

The canine equivalent of Errol And David appears on Nick O’ Dwyer’s brilliant episode of Modern Times, Dog Trouble, which follows the Dog Warden service round an estate in Sheffield.

“In all the years I’ve been in this business, I’ve never seen a day without dog trouble,” says the warden, poetically.

Mother of two, Maxine, sits in the living-room of the council house she shares with 13 enormous Akita dogs, watching one shagging another in front of her. He’s not called Randy for nothing. 

The downside is people like Mr. Fox, a grisly Neanderthal who makes the Slobs from Harry Enfields look like something out of Tatler.

He has mistreated his dogs so badly that, back at the pound, one of them sits facing the wall, head miserably pressed into the corner, permanently cowering from any human contact.

Sadly, it looks as if they put down the wrong one.


EastEnders omnibus: Sun, 1.30pm, BBC1

Secret Lives: Mon, 9pm, C4

Modern Times: Weds, 9pm, BBC2