Review: Hate Crime Hoax in Albert Square

Art mirrors life in EastEnders this week as a homophobic hate crime hoax comes to Albert Square, while in Emmerdale a murderer can’t believe his luck as his bit on the side confesses to the crime.

(Note: This article contains spoilers for those who haven’t yet seen these soaps).

Marc Elliott as Syed Masood.

Yes, there has been a homophobic attack in EastEnders, or has there? Christian, the local butch queen, has just battered a potential love rival, that being the love that once dared not speak its name but is now shouting it from the rooftops. When the man he lives with, Syed, asks him about his bruised face, rather than admit the truth he decides to follow in the footsteps of Sharmeka Moffitt, but as the Ku Klux Klan doesn’t have a Walford branch and Christian hasn’t got much of a suntan anyway, he can hardly blame his bruised face on three men dressed in white sheets, so claims to have been battered by homophobes.

When Syed pushes him about this mythical encounter he replies, if you really loved me, you’d get off my back. Could the scriptwriters really have missed that double entendre? The plod won’t miss Christian, because his hate crime hoax is about to be undone when he is arrested for grievous bodliy harm.

It was a long time coming, but last week Carl King finally got his just deserts in the mythical Yorkshire village of Emmerdale as first his former mistress and then her former lover whacked him over the head with a rock. It gets complicated, but let’s just say that this might just have been a case of manslaughter or even justifiable homicide.

One is tempted to ask how many murders can there be in a village that has a population only slightly larger than that of the Taliban branch of the Peter Tatchell fan club, but there have been a fair few over the years: that of lord of the manor Mark Wylde who had no sooner appeared in the soap than he was murdered by his wife. Then the detective who was brought in to solve the murder ended up committing two more before committing suicide. Before that was the murder of businessman Tom by his son...Carl King. Ah, what goes around comes around. Carl has just been buried, but his ghost is continuing to haunt his murderer, not because he regretted wielding the fatal rock, but because his former mistress has confessed thinking she is responsible, and is now languishing at Her Majesty’s Pleasure.

Coronation Street is looking positively bland by comparison, but it won’t be soon when airhead hairdresser Maria beds the man of her dreams. Unfortunately, Marcus bats for the opposition, but such are Maria’s charms that he can’t resist, and the two end up in bed together.

What can be the reason for this? The obvious one is the ratings war; the British Soap Awards 2012 were over months ago, so the 2013 event should be due about April, which means there is plenty of time for even more outrageous plots over the next few months, and one of them appears to be in the pipeline already. Rumour has it that EastEnders bad guy Derek Branning is set to meet a grisly end, which could mean a lengthy police investigation indeed, because there will be no shortage of suspects.

[The above review was first published November 2, 2012; the original wasn’t archived.]

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