Tag Archives: sapphire and steel

Save the Surprise: Kat Slater and the Hand of Fear

Over in EastEnders, Kat Slater (yes, technically Kat Moon now, but like all soap characters her true name remains the one she had when the public first fell in love with her – you can keep your “Bet Gilroy”s and “Dot Branning”s, thanks) is having an affair.

Affairs are a soap’s bread and butter (check: mixed metaphor?) and so to make this one more memorable it’s been decided we shouldn’t yet find out who the secret shagger is. Instead there have been a series of remarkable scenes in which Kat pouts and drops her knickers for an unseen force. Particularly startling was the one in which it appeared as a silent shadow on the walls of the Queen Vic’s cellar. Even allowing for the ludicrous idea that any of Albert Square’s gobby residents could shut up for more than a couple of seconds, it lent the affair an odd air of telefantasy – like Sapphire and Steel if they’d left boxes of cheese and onion crisps lying around.

Since then we’ve seen her simpering at a disembodied, twitching hand and glancing guiltily at a sinister creeping FOOT from beneath the bedclothes. It’s all very exciting. Or it would be if, as viewers, we had any investment at all in wondering who it is. We’ve been presented with a series of suspects, each of whom keeps smugly fondling their phone whenever Kat composes a saucy text. But the mystery’s meaningless. ‘It’s been an affair that has left EastEnders‘ viewers playing detective,’ wrote the Daily Mail this week in a tedious article that I shan’t link to. Nothing could be further from the truth. There’s no detective game to play because there are no actual clues – each suspect is shown to be as equally likely as the others. Sure, we can guess at who it might be, but our guessing is based on what we think producers’ intentions are, not on anything generated organically from the characters. It’ll be much more interesting once it’s all out in the open and poor Jessie Wallace – an excellent actress who deserves a lot better than this – has someone to play against.

Secrecy’s pretty big on the telly this summer. EastEnders have loved a whodunnit since their first and best – the Who Got Michelle Fowler Pregnant? saga, which this current plot harks back to with the phonecalls business – but now it applies to big public events too. The audience at the dress rehearsal for the Olympics opening ceremony were asked to #SaveTheSurprise, and I’m glad they did – the two long hours of contestants proceeding in was sorely in need of the clever and moving pay-off it got with the metal petals. Meanwhile, those who saw the preview screening of Doctor Who‘s season opener were begged not to reveal that new companion Jenna-Louise Coleman appeared in it. I’m not so sure about that one – it’s not like her appearance was a big twist at the end of the episode, like River Song’s in A Good Man Goes To War or Rose’s in Partners In Crime; she was in it right from the start, and knowing that much counts as no more of a spoiler than knowing that the Daleks and their Asylum were too. The real surprise was in the exact nature of her appearance, and a press release along the lines of ‘You’ll meet the Doctor’s new companion too, but maybe not as you’d expect’ (and cue speculation) would cover that.

I don’t know, I think we’re too twitchy about spoilers generally, not that I’d ever deliberately spoil something for someone else if I could avoid it. If something’s worth watching then it can’t hinge solely on its surprises, and it should be just as enjoyable if not more so the second time around. That was true for Asylum of the Daleks, and for the Olympics opening ceremony, but sadly not, I’m afraid, for Kat Slater secretly shagging a silent cellar shadow.

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TV Pitches: Muse

Will Muse’s rock career be alright after billions of people around the world have heard their official 2012 Olympics song Survival? I mean, it’s awful, isn’t it. It’s ridiculous. (Yes, it’s both those things but I love it.) Here are some TV pitch ideas for the lads in case they have to step back from music after this.

Muscle Museum

The concept: Horrific documentary in which the boys investigate body parts left behind by serial killers.

Dom: That’s a nice peroneus longus you’ve got there Chris.

Chris: Yes it’s in very good condition isn’t it. Shame they couldn’t salvage the mucous sheath after this poor fella got flayed.

Matt: I can’t find my guitar. What’s happening?

Sunburn

The concept: Ill-considered revival of the mediocre Michelle Collins vehicle. Nicki and the gang are back from the Med and working on the pier in Muse’s home town of Teignmouth. Matt and the boys play amusement arcade attendants who get into all sort of hilarious scrapes.

Chris: If we don’t find that bag of 5p coins before Brian Conley gets here Nicki’ll have our guts for garters!

Michelle Collins: I heard that! Go and clean out the Penny Falls machine with a toothbrush.

Chris: (muttering) At least no-one’d ever make a shitty tv show out of Penny Falls.

Plug In Baby

The concept: The boys get their own shopping channel segment selling electric baby substitutes to the lonely and/or barren.

Matt: And THIS one will crucify your enemies!

Dom: No, Matt! That’s the gentle tears and real nappy action model.

Matt: (flipping baby roughly over) Aha! I’ve exposed your lies, baby! The underneath is no big surprise! Now it’s time for changing! And cleansing everything!

Dom: (sigh)

Time Is Running Out

The concept: Sapphire and Steel spin-off in which the boys chase the physical embodiment of Time through a building and try to stop it “running out”.

Matt: Bury it! Why can’t we bury it?!

Chris: We tried that Matt. It regressed us all to toddlers and made us dig it up again.

Matt: Murder it then. Why don’t we murder it? Or smother it! Or–

Dom: I wish we could take time back to before the Olympics.

Supermassive Black Hole

The concept: Science exploration show in which the boys join forces with Professor Brian Cox for some fun with astrophysics.

Matt: Oh baby, don’t you know I suffer?

Chris: That’s because the Schwarzschild radius is directly proportional to mass, while density is inversely proportional to the volume. Since the volume of a spherical object (such as the event horizon of a non-rotating black hole) is directly proportional to the cube of the radius, the density of a black hole is inversely proportional to the square of the mass, and thus higher mass black holes have lower than average density.

Dom: You got that off Wikipedia.

Professor Brian Cox: Hey you do all realise this song sounds exactly like Do Something by Britney Spears, don’t you.