Thursday, November 15, 2012

Message to Ann Mitchell: Just NO

I'm sorry but I'm one of the few (or the secret many) who don't worship at the altar of Saint Cora, matron saint of drunken, abusive old ladies.

I don't buy her as the ready-made matriarch of the Square. For instance, matriarchs are wise and usually give good advice. Pat, for example and on whom they're desperately trying to base Cora, was a mentor, friend and relative to most of the Square and always gave sound counsel. Even the mini-matriarchs - Peggy and Pauline - who only concerned themselves with the welfare of their relatives, never gave a duff piece of advice.

Here we have Cora's record: -

  • Telling Lola to bang on the doors of Social Services to demand the return of Lexi. Lola did that, as well as roughing up Trish Barnes's office, and got nothing in return.
  • Telling Lola that she was a good mother because she gave birth on the floor of McKlunkeys. (Psst ... Bianca gave birth in the Vic, Zianab on the floor of Masala Masood and Tanya in her lounge without ever removing her tights; none of them would win any Mother of the Year Award).
  • Throwing a strop and telling Lola her baby would be better off in care.
  • After Tanya was encouraging Abi to concentrate on her studies and stop hanging around with Jay and Lola, Cora tells Abi that her primary concern should be supporting her friends.
  • Threatening Janine when Janine was in the early stages of pregnancy.
  • Threatening Janine when Janine was in the early stages of labour.
Sound like a matriarch? She sounds like a self-centred drunken old lag, who's appropriated Dot's home, brought in a waif and stray and acts like a spoiled brat and sulking because it's her long-lost daughter's birthday.

Speaking of the long-lost daughter, Ava is obviously a hastily concocted add-on, created within the past year as a means of giving Cora something or someone on whom to focus (when she isn't drunk) after Jo Joyner leaves and now that Tania Franks is doing some worthwhile acting congruent to her obvious talent. (Well, you didn't think that capable an actress would remain an occasional cast member of EastEnders, did you?) 

I mean, this time last year, Cora was kicking up her heels, spying on Rose's mystery letters, getting drunk and eventually dealing with Tanya's cancer cold. No mention ever of Ava or anything else. In fact, Tanya's dead dad - you know, the one she killed? - was supposedly the love of Cora's life.

I'm also well aware of the fact that most professional actors have egos the size of the world, and  Mitchell would be no different. After a lifetime of existing, theatrically, on the periphery of the likes of Maggie Smith, Judy Dench and Vanessa Redgrave (her contemporaries), this is her day in the sun; but it doesn't entitle her to assume the mantle of Diva-in-Residence.

Mitchell hasn't been part and parcel of the EastEnders' establishment long enough to let a fart and have it stink up a room before she's making the sort of demands listened to by too many recent Executive Producers which resulted in sending the show into the downward spiral about which Lorraine Newman is in denial.

First, she's angling for a part in the programme to be written for her son, Che' Walker, that eminent actor-director and playwright who lives in council accommodation at the public's expense. You might remember Walker, or then again, you might not; but he was in the programme before ... Here's his picture:-

Don't remember this teddy bear blubber boy? Well, how about this pic from ca 2001?

Ross. Sharon's Ross, the ineffectual married man who followed her back to Walford, abandoning wife and children to work alongside her in he pub, until she sent him packing to his family.

He made such an impact that we've all promptly forgotten him, which is why Mommy Dearest is probably lobbying for him to be written in again as a different character. Maybe he can be yet another Branning - I know, Uncle Gordon Branning's boy Biffo the Bouncer. Or maybe he can another Mitchell cousin, Uncle Clive's Shakespeare-quoting son Quentin. Or how about another Moon cousin, Percival Moon? OOOh, maybe he can be a re-cast Sean Slater, who's been spending the past four years supersizing himself.

At any rate, he'd be sure to gravitate toward Cora in some capacity.

As if that's not enough, Mitchell is also lobbying for TPTB to create the character of the man who knocked Cora up with Ava and then scarpered. In Mitchell's mind, this man was the real love of her life, so now she wants him to show up in Walford and become part of the fixtures, fittings and, presumably, part of Cora's life again.

Look, I know this show is in serious danger of becoming The Branning Show, but EastEnders is supposed to be an ensemble piece, and I want to know who the hell this actress is to presume to be turning it into The Chronicles of Cora?

Many's the time in the recent past that TPTB have humoured the likes of Barbara Windsor and June Brown, by bringing back characters and/or creating characters/storylines that they demanded. Sometimes this worked (the return of Grant) and sometimes it stank (Nick Cotton and Dottie/Rose Cotton).

Yes, Mitchell is a recognised actress of some gravitas, but she isn't the star of the show; still, she must be worried for her ego, in that after the initial introduction of her long-lost daughter, complete with requisite cheeky, chappy, underachieving adolescent son ripe for being fucked by Whitney/Lucy/Lauren, the storyline and the characters will be back-burnered for something and someone more familiar (yes, we're talking about Sharon/Phil/Janine/Alfie ... anyone but a Branning or a Branning satellite).

The actual star of the show shouldn't be a person, it should be a place - it used to be the Vic, which was the heart and soul of Walford. Not the Brannings' front room or the silly charity shop,which always seems to be full of clobber and lacking customers.

And Lorraine Newman's answer to Ann Mitchells demands requests should simply be a resounding NO.

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