Who Killed Lucy? The Reveal

I was wrong! But I was OH. SO. RIGHT. I just picked the wrong brother.

Bleeding Bobby Beale. I even said it in my last blog post twice that Jane was covering for Bobby. I just couldn’t quite bring myself to believe they would do that to such a young character.

I also thought there was more drama in the murderer being Peter, her twin.

But, what a wonderful LIVE delivery by young Eliot Carrington, who frankly looked a little evil. Massive kudos to him.

Note: he said ‘No matter what she says’ – he thought she was still alive at that point. Oh dear. I think I’m gonna cry tomorrow.

(And also, I even called Kathy Beale last night… SO CLOSE to 100% right. Argh!)


Who Killed Lucy? EE Live Week – Part 2

Another tense episode done and another classic live duff-duff – BUT FIRST, we need to deal with last night’s cliffhanger…

As predicted (by me) – Abi almost immediately turned round and said “What the Wellard are you on about, dad?”

There is more to explore with Abi – she’s becoming quite sinister – but also with Max, who seems to have spent the last ten months believing his youngest killed Lucy.

I’m going to park Jane and the card to one side for a moment, and just think about a few of the other elements of tonight’s episode.

First up Phil… what on Earth is going on there? What has he discovered that he needs to tell Ian about on his wedding day? For fear of things being thrown at me… are we going to find something out about Kathy?

Could it be that she’s not really dead? I could fill a whole blog post on this, so I’m going to resist, and just ask – what else do Ian and Phil have in common that would be that urgent?

Secondly Stacey and Kat – part of me wants to believe that Jessie Wallace has been taking the method acting too far and isn’t actually supposed to be that drunk.

The production team just said “Well, we’ll have to make Kat drunk for the week – Jessie’ll never get through it otherwise.”

I think I missed a bit, but why is Stacey suddenly gathering the troops – other than to set up the remake of the opening of the very first episode tomorrow?

And Martin’s “I’ve pulled.” – the whiff of Stacey Fowler is getting stronger.

Thirdly, Jo Joyner. Poor Jo Joyner. Meme’s going round the internet already of the moment she realised she said Adam and not Ian. Bless, her, she is a touch out of practice – especially as she only seems to be appearing in the live scenes.

Which leads to my new theory that the only reason for the live episodes in the first place was because Jo Joyner couldn’t commit to the weeks spent filming it and insisted they did live episodes. (And quite right too, she did miss out on the last live episode).

Fourthly (I don’t know how high these numbers are going to get) – It seems that while Jo Joyner is merrily messing up lines, the production team didn’t trust Eliot Carrington (Bobby Beale) or June Brown (Dot Branning) to go live, with all of their scenes being pre-recorded.

And while we’re on Dot – and partly to save going up another number – why is she telling everyone she killed Nick? Not exactly, she didn’t ring an ambulance, and instead let Jesus choose. Jesus killed Nick – now there’s a storyline that’s never been done in a soap before.

If insurance companies can use ‘act of god’ in a legal context, why can’t Dot?

And lastly (unless I think of anything else) – that cliffhanger. Peter accusing Ian and Jane – completely forgetting that Jane wasn’t living in the house at the time.

Let’s explore Jane’s actions. They can be interpreted one of two ways – either she thinks Ian did it and she wants to escape, or she’s scared of being rumbled and wants to escape.

Either way, Jane wants to escape – and with Bobby.

Once she got to the altar, the first thing she said to Ian was “Where’s Peter?” – This fits in with my theory that Peter did it and she’s covering for him. It also fits in with Jane wanting to talk to Peter to tell him what his dad did.

She then gets cold feet mid-way during her vows – gets a bit of water – and then continues on and looked genuinely ecstatic that she’d married him. If she thought he murdered Lucy, but was stalling for time, she wouldn’t look that happy.

No, I’m ruling Jane suspecting Ian out.

Jane scarpers the Vic during the speeches – the lights on the train flicker in the same way they did the last time we saw Lucy alive – and Dot’s wonderful monologue on murder begins.

Dot talks about two things – one a wicked thing does not a wicked person make, and two, if someone we love does something wicked what do we do? If Jane had discovered Peter had done something, what would she do?

Jane spirits Bobby away with Masood’s help, and gets him to get his stuff. He’s going to Masood’s. Why would they go to Masood’s if she’s running away from a murderer? Why not leave town completely?

Are they going to stay there for a night before fleeing – or is she just sending Bobby, because she fears that she might be taken somewhere else? Walked away in cuffs? Or, perhaps, is she covering… for Bobby, and wants to get him out of harm’s way?

Then there’s that last scene – Peter drags Cindy over to the house just as Jane is about to tell Ian something.

So… it wasn’t Peter. Or at least if it was him, he’s not aware that it was his actions that caused Lucy’s death (my original theory).

Tomorrow’s episode will begin with a lot of flustering and dithering while they all try to work out what’s going on – then there’ll be the distraction of the discovery of Nick’s body.

We’ll get even more distractions, it will be one of the most agonizing hours of television before finally at the end of the episode we – and Ian – learn the truth.

The truth being that Peter or Cindy or Bobby killed Lucy and that Jane OR Denise – don’t forget she was living there at the time – covered it up.

I still believe that Peter inadvertently caused her death, that Jane has covered it up for him, and that Peter will elope with Lauren, none the wiser of Ian and Jane’s decision to protect him.

A full hour and a half of it tomorrow – but at least you won’t have to put up with any more wild speculation from me.

Oh, and one final thing “Everywhere I go is Pooh.” Brilliant.

Who Killed Lucy? EE Live Week – Part 1

EastEnders’ live week kicked off with Sharon tottering down Bridge Street, and frankly the fact that she didn’t fall over was one of the most impressive bits of the episode – and that’s saying something!

The episode rocketed along, with most of the audience just waiting for the next live scene (cue lots of explaining on Twitter to the uninitiated that it wasn’t all live)

I did think our second live scene had come when Peggy burst into Dot’s, but no, that’s just Barbara Windsor’s normal acting style.

After 25 minutes of pre-recorded material, we got two more live scenes. Jane discovering the card that Lauren wrote. And Max telling Abi that Lauren knows that Abi killed Lucy.

Although, Jake Wood mumbled slightly so it almost could have been anyone he was putting in the frame – but no, subtitles say that his last line was ‘That you killed Lucy.’

So did she?

This is a big week for EastEnders – there’s five episodes and six hours worth of material to get through, this is just the bread roll to get us interested before the main meal, they ain’t going to have shot their load this early in the week.

(That’s a disturbing mix of metaphors)

No, I think this is an early red herring, designed to get anyone who wasn’t watching interested enough to tune in tomorrow night.

What we do know is that Max is under the impression that Abi killed Lucy. Why does he think that? Did he see her attack her? Did someone else tell him? Did he check out the latest odds at William Hill?

More importantly – did Max know that Lucy was dead before Ian found out?

That I’m unsure of – but I do think we’re in for an “I’m Spartacus kind of a week” with various false endings before we really find out who – and why.

Other things to note:

Lauren’s card revealed to Jane (not to Ian and Jane) that she knows Lucy died at home. Why just tell Jane that and nothing more? If she’s revealing what happened, then she’s only some of it. It feels more like a threat. So why did Lauren run?

Jane looked confused at first, then as if she’d realised something when she read the card. Might I have been wrong, and it’s actually Jane who rumbled the whole damn thing? I still don’t think Ian did it…

Phil is back to confess something to Ian – but what? There’s something he needs to know. Is this to do with Lucy – or is it something else? And just what was Phil ransacking the house looking for? His passport, presumably. Is he scapering the country with Peggy – and will they take Dot with them?

Peggy and Mick in the pub was delicious self-indulgent. A good job that scene wasn’t live or else Danny Dyer may have just cracked up laughing it.

CGI was used in the episode twice – the production team are really going all out.

A couple of new storylines starting to appear as well:

Richard Blackwood has turned up, looking for Ronnie. He knows Phil, but not Billy. What’s going on there?

Martin Fowler and Stacey Branning had an interesting, brief scene. Watch this space.

One final thought: I quite liked Peggy being back. I ADORED Christian being back.

Someone call the waiter, I’m ready for the main meal now.

The Casual Vacancy

JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy begins it’s BBC1 adaptation tonight, so a few of you may be wondering whether or not the book is any good. I first read and reviewed The Casual Vacancy back when it was published in 2012.

Below is my review from three years ago…

So my last blog post was about how Harry Potter and JK Rowling has appeared throughout my personal and professional life. The reason for that was so that I could write this blog about her newest book – The Casual Vacancy – purely on the merits of the book itself.

However, now, as I sit down to write this blog, I wonder if that it is possible – and if it is, should I?

With any established brand – and that is what she is – whether it’s a TV series, a musician or a maker of champagne, there is the expectation on the next product to be as good as the previous one, if not better. Executed badly, they risk devaluing a franchise (various film series spring to mind here), but if it’s pulled off, they can reap huge rewards.

Some might say it’s unfair to judge The Casual Vacancy in comparison to the Harry Potter series, but the truth is a lot of people will buy The Casual Vacancy whether they like the sound of the plot or not, because they are fans of Rowling. Her writing, her characterisation, her plotting and her pacing are hallmarks of her writing, and so must be assessed in terms of both their standalone appearance in this novel, and in comparison to her previous publications.

It would, however, be unfair to compare the impact. Potter was a cultural phenomenon, which The Casual Vacancy will never be, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t as good as Potter – or indeed, better.

So, now that I’ve set out my stall, it’s time to actually find out if it was actually any good…

I liked it.

The plot is subtle. It concerns a village – Pagford – on the edge of a larger town, Yarvil – and The Fields – an estate between the two. The parish council of Pagford is split into two factions, those who wish The Fields to be governed by Yarvil – led by the pompous, big fish in a small pond, Howard – and those who wish for it to be governed by Pagford.

The second faction was, up until about page 5, led by Barry Fairbrother, but when he dies, he leaves a spare seat on the council, the Casual Vacancy referred to in the title.

The next 500 pages or so are about the three potential replacements, their families and friends and Krystal Weedon a resident of The Fields and her family.

It doesn’t exactly sound very exciting. It’s certainly no “Boy Wizard and friends defeat Dark Lord by destroying seven split pieces of his soul”.

But the plot isn’t really the point. It’s about the characters and their relationships with each other. It sort of attempts social commentary, but I don’t think it really succeeds – the concept of a parish council in a small village is too far removed from the realities of most modern lives.

What it does succeed in though, is the development of a fascinating group of characters. The characters of The Casual Vacancy – specifically Krystal Weedon, Andrew Price and Fats Wall – compare tremendously well to their Potter counterparts.

These characters seem real and of this world. Harry Potter was never supposed to be of this world, but looking back on him and Hermione and Ron now, they seem a bit two dimensional.

Casual Vacancy is told from a number of different viewpoints, something which helps build the scope of the novel, but which also helps to define the characters and their relationships with each other.

All of the characters are horrible. I don’t think I can look back on them and truly say I liked any of them – but I certainly felt sympathy for them, and I definitely got to know them in a way that, over seven books, I didn’t know Harry Potter (who was always a bit coy over defining his feelings).

Maybe that’s the point Rowling is trying to make – we’re all as horrible as each other, and even those people that we like, our friends, our family, our lovers, if we were inside their head and knew everything they were thinking, would we still like them as much? Probably not.

Like them or not, you get to know the characters so well, that you CARE about the results of the election. It feels tense as you build closer and closer to it until you get there, when suddenly it doesn’t matter any more. From the day of the election, the story spirals out of control of the hands of our characters. A chain of events begins that will likely change the dynamics of the village for a long time, and it is, a little bit heartbreaking.

Not bad for a plot-light book about a local election.

Negative bits:

The Weedon family’s dialogue where Rowling falls into the trap of trying to write an accent. It goes over the top a bit, and reminds me of her writing of Hagrid. Also as a resident (sort-of) of the West Country where Pagford is supposedly located, it reads more as Scouse than Farmer…

Rowling’s over-use of brackets to for explanation of back story (sometimes lasting over a page) is distracting.

Howard and Shirley Mollison while good characters, were also good characters when they appeared in the Harry Potter series. They are Petunia and Vernon Dursley, albeit a few years older. They are Mr and Mrs Muggleton of Muggleville.

That’s about it for negatives.

The book certainly isn’t for everyone. It’s not a page-turner, more of a slow-build, but if you have the time to invest in it, and you have a taste for books from the more literary end of the spectrum then I would certainly recommend giving it a go. Even if you didn’t like Harry Potter. Perhaps, especially if you didn’t like Harry Potter. It’s completely different.

I’m giving The Casual Vacancy a 7.5 out of 10. It is by no means perfect, and it’s not going to change anybody’s life, but it is enjoyable, and it is well written.

Who Killed Lucy? My final theory

Lauren knows what happened to Lucy.

Well, catch up love, I’ve known for weeks. I worked it out here and here.

But have we worked out the same thing?

I reckon it was Peter, covered up by Jane – for reasons explored in more depth in the previous posts. Or at least I did. Do I still reckon that?

It appears that a phone number is enough to help Lauren work out what Emma knew – assuming that is, that Lauren has worked out the same thing.

But was it just a phone number? As well as a series of numbers, there was also a slightly unclear scribble. Was is SOC? 80C? SOO? 800?

My money is on S.O.C – scene of crime, and the phone number? It was a London landline number, a Walford landline number if you take a careful look at some of the numbers dotted around the Square (on the Arches for example)

Does this suggest a the scene of the crime was a Walford based location? I’d say it would have to be, I can’t see one of the most iconic deaths in the show not happening on the Square.

But it was also a number that Lauren recognized, almost immediately.

In the world of mobile phones, how many landline numbers do you know off the top of your head? I know mine. I know my mum’s. I know my granddad’s. I know my work number. I know two local taxi numbers.

So, I think we can narrow it down to the Branning’s, Beale’s the restaurant where Lauren works, and probably the Beale house, where her husband-to-be and best friend Lucy both lived.

That doesn’t really change much. I’d kind of figured it out was a Branning or a Beale.

Has Lauren given us any clues? Let’s assume that Jacqueline Jossa didn’t know who killed Lucy during the filming of this week’s episodes. We know that they were filmed before Christmas and we know that none of the cast found out until January.

So we can rule out any shifty eye movements and tense shuffling from Lauren as clues. We need to look at the writing, and not necessarily the words, but the actions behind them. Daran Little the writer of Friday’s episode has stated he doesn’t know who killed Lucy, so Lauren’s choice of words (ie, Daran’s) are another red herring.

But Lauren telling Peter she can’t marry him, and writing ‘I know what happened to Lucy’ in Ian and Jane’s wedding card were actions that would have been story lined to happen by the people who DO know who killed Lucy.

Telling Peter she can’t marry him is probably not indicative of Peter’s guilt, but more that if Lauren knows who killed Lucy, can she live with the secret and marry him? Unlikely.

But writing in Ian and Jane’s wedding card… is that a message to Ian to finally let him know… or is it a threat to either Ian or Jane?

Lauren’s got form of revealing things indirectly. She found out about Max and Stacey and played a video. She found out about Stacey murdering Archie and recorded the confession, ready to hand it over.

So I’m convinced she’s threatening either Ian or Jane, revealing that she knows what they did.

I refuse to believe that Ian Beale will be revealed to be a murderer, partly because it potentially could ruin the character irreparably, and because I don’t think he can have lasted the last ten months lying like that (Ian’s a bad liar). Also, Ian’s a man on the edge of a nervous breakdown, this would have pushed him into La-La land.

So it must be Jane, then. Lauren thinks Jane did it.

And that means that I’m at the same point I was when I thought that Emma thought that Jane did it.

Everything points to Jane, and I think the anniversary episode on the 19th February will end with the audience believing it to be Jane. Then the flashback episode will reveal she’s been covering for someone.

And who would she cover for? Peter or Bobby. Maybe at a push Cindy.

The show will want the biggest dramatic impact possible in it’s biggest episode yet. That has to mean it’s the two people either side of Ian at the altar who are implicated.

Jane is covering for Peter.

This Is Not About EastEnders

I get very easily distracted.

This isn’t new information, I’ve told you it before. Books, TV, computer games, alcohol, all of these stop me from writing.

Even now, it’s taken over fifteen minutes just to write these opening few sentences, and that’s because I’ve been watching Back to The Future (Part 2)

However, just because I’ve been distracted, doesn’t mean I haven’t done anything since the last time I updated you on my writing. I am making the assumption here that you care. If you don’t care, you’re likely not reading this blog anyway.

So what have I been doing?

For a while, actually not much. Work for me goes pretty crazy in the few months prior to Christmas, and this year has been no exception, especially with the lack of an assistant (something which is still causing me problems).

But I returned and blogged with a vengeance at the beginning of January with a post about the Lucy Beale murder mystery in EastEnders. That post went crazy with over a hundred visitors in one day.

In the course of January this year, my blog achieved fifty percent of the traffic is had achieved in the whole of 2014. It seems that people like to read about EastEnders almost as much as I enjoy writing about it.

I’m going to do a few more blog posts about pop culture where and when I can – it’s a great traffic driver and watching those stats go up certainly boosts your self confidence.

I also enjoyed writing the post and it helped me get my narrative juices back.

You may recall I sent out my novel – I sent it to six different agents last summer, and three people responded – all with no.

Then one of the negative responders came back asking to see more. Rather excited, I sent them the rest of the novel – and then came back with no.

So I’m officially putting the novel on rest again, but Memories of a Murder will live on in screenplay form, as I’m currently adapting it for submission to the Writers Room on the BBC website.

BUT… within the last week or so, an idea that has been bubbling under in my head for the better part of a year now, finally clicked into place and I worked out exactly what I was going to do.

“The Project” is under way, and best of all, at the end of it, I don’t need an agent, I don’t need a publisher, or a TV producer. It just needs a lot of hard work from me, and for me to be happy with the end result.

And then I’ll drop it like a Beyonce album, when you’re all least expecting it.

I have index cards, some new pens, blu tack, and a ball of string, and I’m ready to go.

And that’s all I’m telling you about it. For now at least. In the meantime, watch this space.

Or watch EastEnders.