147. Lakes

Tapehead no 147 

As Pol and Tone continue their impression of Woodward and Bernstein in EastEnders, according to Channel 4 this week’s Brookside is dominated by two questions: 

“Iis Rachel cracking up ?” and (on Friday) “will baby Calvin Corkhill prove too much of a temptation for Susannah ?”

To which you all reply: is the Pope a Catholic ? Does Elton John look like a Teletubby ? (One with a small colony of hamsters living on his head.)

Danny’s descent into depravity, as a one-man crime-wave (as predicted by Tapehead) can’t be far way now that he’s hooked up with Tin-Ed. Expect episodes full of glue-sniffing, joyriding, and sexual experimentation any day now.

On Tuesday for example Danny gets his first handbag and by the end of the week he’s even stealing a security camera. The nice touch is that it’s all thanks to Eleanor – a solicitor.

Meanwhile Mick – a bit of a one-man crime-wave himself – keeps making speeches about Justice and Innocence, conveniently ignoring the fact that he’s, erm what’s the word ? Guilty.

Mick can’t bear the thought that people are talking about him. Just because he’s juiced up an old granny on smack heroin and murdered her. Bloody gossips, eh ? If Mick asked them, “Haven’t you got anything better to talk 

about ?”, the answer would be…”No.”

What’s really upsetting him is being chucked off the school governors’ board. It’s good to see a parent prepared to take his responsibilities seriously – even if he has just been charged with murder.

More merry Scousers in Jimmy McGovern’s new series The Lakes featuring the cast of Priest, music from the dreaded Cast, and the reappearance of Billy Corkhill’s fabulously feisty missus, Doreen.

The manager of The Lakes’ hotel even says: “do you wanna hear my theory about Scousers ?”

Cue audience chorus: “NO!”

The first 15 minutes give you the general idea: lots of swearing and drinking, screaming matches about giros and going down the bookies. So not like Cracker and Brookside at all then. Plenty of Catholic guilt and immoral yearnings (so not like Priest either). When the young hero is not gambling, womanising, and going on the rob (making coruscating Scouse wisecracks all the while), he’s reading poetry and swooning at falcons. (‘Course he is.)

It’s a lively romp, a sort contemporary Henry Fielding, well led by John Simm and Emma Cunniffe, whose resemblance to a young Martin Platt and older Victoria from Coronation Street give it an added soap-like dimension.

Come Monday, the exodus from the streets of Liverpool to the Lakes could reach Rwandan proportions. On this evidence, all the girls in the Lake District are up for it like you wouldn’t believe and the views are bloody magnificent. The Lakes aren’t bad either. Our hero cops off with three girls in the first 15 minutes. Just give a girl a lift and you can have a wig-ding with her. At it like rabbits, they are up there.

The series looks grrreat as they say in Liverpool but next to Holding One’s portrayal of urban rape and private shame The Lakes is small fry.

Episode three and the only problems with Holding On so far are the overwritten Phil Daniel’s character, who seems to have wandered in form a different series, and of course that exciting title, which must be a ploy. The real title is: Not Holding On Very Well At All Really. It’s Falling Down meets EastEnders.

Tapehead is gratified to see that, even in a sympathetic treatment, Tony Marchant is intent on getting his own back and destroying one of the Inland Revenue. (Are you sure, Tony ?!)

Characters are dropping like nine-pins, all going round the twist, coping with the pressure drop. God knows what sort of apocalyptic climax Marchant is building up to.

By contrast, even Vets In Practice seems like a barrel of laughs. (No hamsters are murdered.)

This week’s theme is stomach pumps. Fay the baby Alsatian has swallowed a Thomas The Tank Engine Christmas tree (as you do), and Alison the lamb has her bloated stomach unblocked.

The vet does this by sticking a tube down her throat and sucking the liquid loose, the way Tin-Ed and Danny siphon petrol.

“The fluid in the lamb’s stomach,” the narrator intones darkly, “is too thick to suck out.”

Luckily, the vet looks like she could suck a golf ball through a garden hose, which seems like a virtue – until you see the result. 

The moral though is clear: never French-kiss a vet.


The Lakes: Sun, 9.05pm, BBC1

Brookside: Tue-Weds-Fri, 8pm & 8.30pm, C4

Holding On: Tues, 9.30pm, BBC2

Vets in Practice: Fri, 8pm, BBC1