LETTERS FROM LONDON
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
20 February 2015
I Killed Lucy Beale

It was Bobby what done it. Had you guessed? Lucy's 11-year-old half-brother
said: "Whatever she says, she started it. She made everyone unhappy." His
explanation didn't quite work, did it? It was the bit about her making everyone
unhappy that sounded a bit like a writer, an adult writer.

14 possible suspects. Clue to executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins who
was brought in to help declining ratings in the soap July 2013: we stopped
caring. When the hype began and we were informed that the murderer would be
revealed in 10 months, we collectively lost the will to live - or care.

LIVE! It was broadcast LIVE! Not exactly. EastEnders went more or less mostly
less, live to celebrate its 30th anniversary. Tape plus live. They did this in 2010 if
you don't remember or you have refused to be depressed and often bored by
the soap simply giving up in 1999, 2004, 2012.

The biggest faux pas as delivered live by Max. Oh Max. This is the very same
actor who literally mumbles his way through the soap. I don't even bother trying
to decipher what the hell he's on about. Not just because he is an odious
character, but also because if he can't make the effort, neither can I. Although
truth be told, I have been known to shout "WHAT?"  if he goes on too long.

Max mumbled: "She knows you killed Lucy" confronting daughter Abi. He was
meant to say: "She knows who killed Lucy." She being his other daughter
Lauren. Elocution lessons - please! The actor denied he fluffed his lines. How
would we ever know?

We crossed Max off the 'who killed Lucy Beale' list of thousands because he
had recently signed a two year contract.

But his ex, Tanya, appropriately messed up the next night when she made a
surprise appearance and asked after Jane's new/old husband Ian as Adam - his
proper name. Oops. "How's Adam?" "They are both fine thanks." It's been two
years since she shared the square with the miserable, sexually misguided -
predator really - Max. So off the list.

The advantage of the live episodes? We didn't have to turn on the subtitles. BBC
insists on over-miking every possible incidental background sound. Terminally
annoying cheeky-chappy Alfie scarfing down crisps with his mouth open. Yuck!
Or terminally annoying Sharon in her standard stilettos striding round the
market. Stupid. "What are they saying?"

The background music in the Vic was from 1985. Clever-ish. Surprisingly
restrained, although I'm not expecting subtle sounds to continue sadly. Was that
a piece of paper being crumpled up? Was that an apple rolling off the stall?

But I digress. Back to those suspects. We figured that Ian didn't do it because
he has been on the soap from day one and surely this would break with
tradition. Although the newly established tradition of bringing back
past-their-sell-by-dates ex-EastEnders has been established. All happily joining
in a nostalgic reunion. I'm thinking ill-advised. You?

For months we thought Lauren and Peter fitted in the frame. She had her real
life baby a week before the airing and Peter is off to fame and fortune in
Hollywood. So, both off the show. We were wrong. We suspected Abi because
she has been increasingly weird and has gone from nice to nasty. We were
wrong. Then we were convinced Cindy did it, but then she's rarely seen - so we
were wrong.

Once Jane began acting suspiciously we thought - red-herring? Jane? It would
have had to have been an accident. Thursday night we were sure she was
covering for the real killer. Bobby! We were right.

All bets are now off. A staggering £80 million had been handed over to the
bookies since we were forced to spend 10 months guessing.

Bookmaker Ladbrokes had taken over 50,000 individual bets, with money being
placed on 77 different characters. 77? Huh? There aren't 77 actors on the show
- are there? If there are, where are they? I'm going to start counting. William Hill
had banked 10,000 bets in their shops alone with betting right up until the final
suspect was revealed. Irish punters placed £1,000 bets on Billy Mitchell. Really?
Never occurred to me. He's been on the show too long to be dumped. Bobby
Beale was second best going the night before. We were right.

We were disappointed.
The Omen wasn't an omen was it? They should have
axed a proper character. 10 months and we get Bobby who is on the soap
possibly once a month.

But the real shocker was - KATHY! But you're DEAD! Ian's mother was last seen
on the show in 2000 having been one of the regulars since 1985. Remind me
why can't she come back to the square unless given permission by Phil? Oh.
Kathy Come Home. Well, she will be. We have been promised "This is only the
beginning of one of the most earth-shattering storylines." Hmmm.
Earth-shattering. Like Bobby hitting 'she started it' Lucy over the head with her
music box? Months of more suspense than? We can't wait. Well, we can
actually. Is that Den over there hiding in the bushes?

11.9 million tuned in, more than 1 million tweets, more than 30,000 tweets alone
sent in the single minute after we finally knew Who Killed Lucy Beale.

There was a nice touch. A lovely love heart with the names 'Julia and Tony'
etched in a concrete wall on the square. A reminder of the show's creators Julia
Smith and Tony Holland. We miss them.

Not a nice touch was Zoe Ball's frenzied presenting behind-the-scenes after the
final EastEnders live episode. Oh stop! There was congratulatory hysteria all
round. Cast and crew hugged, kissed, back-patted, ZB squealed. They did it
LIVE! I do believe actors do that on stage. Can they now be called luvvies?

10 months of hype filled with twists and turns, clues and non-clues and it was 11
year old Bobby, who doesn't know he killed Lucy. Hmmmm. A bit of a damp
squib perhaps? Duff...duff...duff...duff...duff...duff...duff...duff...
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