Mistletoe and Whine
And so another EastEnders Christmas beckons, with Albert Square's own Mary and Joseph - Billy and Honey - finding no room at the Vic, or anywhere else.
Most families sit down to watch a big movie on Christmas Day, and the Brannings are no exception, only the love story they think they have lined up turns out to be a (shock) horror film. I hope this will signal a return to form for Stacey and bring Tanya centre stage.
Meanwhile, the return of Pat the Bitch gathers pace; have you noticed her increasing hostility towards Denise? And her devotion to Stephen has all but destroyed her relationship with Jane. What's happened to Pat the (padded) shoulder to cry on? She is not the only character returning to hideous past form; see Phil Mitchell. Ah Phil Mitchell - it's not tinsel, but his mean little eyes that glitter with delight at the misfortune of, well, everyone. He stitches up his own family, and is unwittingly(?) engineering the tragic downfall of Kevin Wicks.
As for the New Year, we have the prospect of Ricky and Bianca - the Return. I'm not totally convinced by this move, it could be brilliant, or......... More intriguing and imaginative is the reintroduction of Clare Bates; but I hope she is the last of these blasts from the past, I heard whisperings about Nick Berry being approached, apparently he's not keen as he's busy running a catering company in Hove, or is that just a euphemism for a burger van in Brighton?
Anyway the new(ish) cast members need time and space to establish themselves as well; Vince Monks is shaping up nicely, and let's hope Len Harker (Chris Ellison) returns soon.
Everyone seems to like Ronnie and Roxy, but why have they been given the poison chalice that is 'The Club'?! Whoever gets to run it ends up dead or widowed - see Steve Owen, Sharon Watts, Johnny Allen. Plus, the set and 'atmosphere' itself is so palpably naff and fake; still the Mitchell sisters couldn't work at the Vic for much longer, more's the pity.
Finally, it is nice to hear that Frank Butcher/Mike Reid will be given a proper send off and that Janine will return for the funeral, albeit briefly; not so good about Diane reappearing, but you can't have everything and it is a welcome change from the non appearances of Michelle Fowler at her brother's funeral, oh, and her mother's funeral as well. Which brings us full circle, since it's been a whole year since the demise of Pauline Fowler, and the demise of a period when EastEnders was in the doldrums; 2007 has been a gradual return to form and whatever Santer (sorry!) has in his sack for next year, we'll all be watching and praising and, occasionally moaning!