152: Barry Grant

Jim Shelley finds cause for celebration

Tapehead no 152 

As one of the hoods in True Romance puts it: 

“Hey boss. Get ready to be happy.”

Barry Grant is back in Brookside. Never mind the labour landslide or beating Italy, this calls for a street party, a public holiday, when we can all dress up in shell suits and say things like, “You’re out of order, Terry.” Tommy McArdle can’t be far behind.

Barry’s entrance (at the end of part one on Friday) is, of course, a Big One, like Harry Lime’s, all black suit and shadows. He says his first ”You wha’ ?!” after two minutes, his first “You’re jokin’, aren’t ya ?” after four, and has pulled at least one female member of the regular cast before the end of part two. (Tapehead see’s him ending up with the solicitor, Eleanor.)

“Has Barry got a scheme in mind ?” ask channel 4, to which you can only say, “Has Judith Chalmers got a passport ?”

He’s obviously back to sort out Scots gangster Finnegan, putting an end to the champagne, cocaine and George Graham impersonations. Finnegan has put a stop to Bar Brookie’s Happy Hour, which was never very appropriate for Brookside anyway. Jacqui Dixon’s other bright idea was getting Mick Johnson to do the security. (Well, would you argue with a man who snuffs out grannies ?)

Today’s omnibus focuses on Christian and his mother (or “me mudder” as he calls her), who Tapehead reckons must be Jackie Corkhill’s long-lost sister. So far, her finest moment is referring to Christian as “ The next Wayne Sleep.”

Elsewhere, Ollie and Sour-Face Simpson (or “Bel” as some people call her) go to court to contest custody of Danny. (Neither of them wants him.) Cassie (Gary Oldman) is trying to get Elaine to come back from being on the run, which even has some of the cast confused. 

“I thought you were the one who sent her away in the first place,” as Jackie Corkhill puts it.

Max and Susannah have found the perfect surrogate mother. As Susannah says, “She’s young, she’s good-looking, she’s bright”, which certainly rules out Cassie, Elaine, Rachel, Bel… Well, any of them really.

Good news in EastEnders too, to compensate for the disastrous loss of Sonia and Carol Jackson.

Fat Pat Cabs has received a letter from Cindy (hurrah !) “and it was posted in London !”

“She could be anywhere,” Pat panics, understandably concerned for the male population at the idea that Cindy is on the loose.

Only this is distracting her from her main objective for the week: “Going shopping Up West.”

Her new hat (for Barry’s wedding) is a subtle shade of violent fuschia, and delicately complements her wallpaper/lipstick. Her earrings in Tuesday’s episode are not earrings at all, but two baubles off last year’s Christmas tree. 

Roy is worried too and not only about Barry, who is in turn, rightly fearing of Pat finding out about the car lot. (“She’s gonna go ballistic”)

“I saw Ian earlier,” Roy tells her. “You should really tell him about Cindy’s package.” (Gulp.)

Luckily, Ian is busy running for the local council (“I’m the people’s candidate and I’m listening”) with George Dixon’s daughter, Canny Annie, as his spin doctor.

“Let me guess,” she says after Ian’s meeting with Max, the editor of the local paper. “He wants something newsworthy.” 

“Yeah, how did you know ?” says Ian, his interest swelling…

Max, meanwhile, has plans for Fat Tony. 

“I think you’ve got what it takes to be a proper journalist” (Bad eating habits, no education, inter-changeable sexual preferences…)

Phil is back from Scotland, plastic rats are taking over the market, and Kaff is back in the Caff. 

“I’d like to be able to say it’s good to be back, but it isn’t.”

Tapehead reckons she’s targeted the vicar as her next victim.

Joe goes to the shrink who asks him hopefully, “No hallucinations ?” (Joe fails to disclose that he’s sure Sarah’s eyebrows are growing together and fangs keep appearing.)

Joe the Running Man is off again, running up to Sarah even when she’s walking up the street towards him, and then running off to Bolton with Irish Mary. This, if nothing else, gives That Bitch Lorraine the chance to revive her old saying, “I don’t need this right now.”

Joe is flirting with the idea of regrettable sex (what other kind is there ?) although you’ve got to admit Joseph and Mary has a nice ring to it. 

“There’s nothing between me and Mary I swurrgh,” Joe complains.

Sarah consults Alex the vicar, who, mystifyingly, quotes not the Bible, but Phil Oakey.

“You’re only human,” he tells Sarah.

Well, only just.

Brookside, C4

EastEnders, BBC1