71. Planet Brookside

Tapehead no 71

They just never learn, do they – the good people of Brookside.

In fact, the more extraordinary the events that happen to them, the more stupid they are when it comes to anything elementary.

Take Mick, part-time pizza man/part-time detective in Homicide.

After months of being stalked by Mad Jenny the teacher, Mick has sorted out the problem superbly: he’s let her move in. Sometimes, he even lets her take the kids to the park. Good work, Mick you really should have been a therapist.

Then there’s Mandy Jordache. Her and Brenna are really close these days because, according to Brenna “we’ve been through so much together” (ie, “you buried my brother under your patio” – a genuine 

bonding experience).

The week starts with Brenna standing at the breakfast bar, brewing up some skin of toad and wart of dog, as is her wont these days. 

Mandy knock it all back, in between being sick, telling everyone she’s got a bug and wondering out loud whether “the plague’s come back again”. Anything except sees a doctor.

Such a good judge of character Sinbad is still having difficulty in believing that Mandy didn’t want to marry him – “after all I’ve done for you” (ie bury your husband under the patio).

By Friday, though, it looks as if Mandy and Sinbad will actually get married. The producers, it seems, felt a plague was one thing, but no one would believe that anyone could be dumped by Mandy Jordache.

It’s real bumper week (or bump-off week).Rachel gets her exam results (the result being: like mother, like daughter); Max and Patricia Farnham try to get Bing to invest in their business (never look a Gift Box in the mouth); the Farnhams decorate their flat to look like the one in Shallow Grave (Keeping Up With The Jordaches, presumably).

As the wedding approaches, Mandy is looking more and more dreadful (and the poison’s not helping either). For some reason, she is still waling round in a grey prison apron.

Mad Jenny and mad Brenna re both madly making puns, “Ooh, you look dressed to kill,” etc.

When Mad Jenny goes to visit her dad parents, Mick gives Bev’s mate, Janice, an extra portion of the Pizza Parlour Special.

Janice, a vision of sophistication, reveals her idea of perfect lie-in: 

“a dirty great big cooked breakfast in bed, then watch Richard And Judy” she winks saucily – obviously a girl after Tapehead’s own heart.

Janice gets ready in a hurry (short skirt, silver T-shirt, no lippy) and leaves disheveled. 

“Do I look dead rough?” she ask Mick. 

“Do bears shit in the woods?” smiles Mick.

Next, on the grounds that it is Totally Improbable (ie, a Brookside pre-requisite), the scriptwriters get Ron Dicko to bond with Mandy, 

You know, “Our Tony, Your Beth,” etc.

“I’d still be in prison if you had your way,” points out Mandy, with uncharacteristic sharpness.

“We’ll have to agree to disagree on that one,” says Ron, as if they were talking about whether Ian Rush had scored more goals for Liverpool than Kenny Dalglish.

“Oh, alright,” says Mandy, returning to type.

Undaunted, the scriptwriters then get Ron to volunteer to babysit Mick’s kids. Luckily, Mick is so thick he makes Mandy look like a member of Mensa, and manages to forget Ron’s racist hate campaign.

Brenna and Jenny get to cackle and say, “So this is goodbye.” 

Jenny gives Mick her farewell present: a book. Not the most obvious choice for Mick, but still. It’s at this moment, we realise Mick is in really big Trouble: Jenny’s an Ian McEwan fan !

“First Love, Last Rites,” Mick reads slowly, predictably missing the possibility of any significance. 

“It’s my favorite!” explains Jenny meaningfully, practically twiddling her villain’ moustache.

Brenna flies around the close on her broomstick; Jenny gets to go all Reservoir Dogs.

Outside the registry office, with characteristic sharpness, Sinbad had noticed Something Is Wrong: the Best Man and the bride to be are not there !

“I’m sure there’s a perfectly simple explanation,” says Jean – with characteristic sharpness.

Mandy and Mick are certainly simple. The plot has been indubitably lost, so there is, as always with Brookside, no rational explanation. 

But no one could deny that this week’s Brookside is absolutely perfect.


Brookside: Tues 8pm, Weds 8.30pm, Fri 8pm C4