Fear ye not TV fans, for I hath returned! Apologies for last week’s hiatus (stoopid real life!) but as promised, we’re back with a flourish, and we’ll kick things off with a song from the ever reliable Stargate Universe (which has had a stellar soundtrack in it’s short run so far), You Won’t Know by Brand New.
As promised last time out, this week we’re covering Soap’s most long-suffering Vicar, Emmerdale’s Ashley Thomas.
Ever present in Emmerdale since the character debuted in 1996, Ashley has had a pretty torrid run, even by Soap Opera standards. Fortunately, John Middleton who portrays Ashley has managed to keep the character credible which is no small feat when you consider the run of events that he’s dealt with in the last 14 years.
- Within his first few weeks after arriving he had performed a marriage ceremony and then the funeral of that Bride’s Brother.
14 years have seen several lifetimes’ worth of misfortune hit Ashley Thomas, which as I mentioned previously makes it all the more amazing that the character is not a Soap parody by this point. A degree of credit has to lay with the writers in this, as although the number of misfortunes is highly disproportionate, and the writing for the other characters involved in his storylines has been very cliched Soap style shenanigans, Ashley’s parts have remained relatively down to earth and human. In particular most recently, the storyline where Sally Spode drugged Ashley was very sensitively dealt with, and portrayed a very difficult scenario (a man sexually abused by a woman) with the right amount of realism, and in such a way that didn’t belittle the issue. The majority of the credit has to lie with John Middleton however. By not giving way to the Soap histrionics that so many actors resort to, he has managed to keep the character consistent and real, which is a huge deal for maintaining interest in a long running character. Ashley remains pleasantly quiet and ‘buttoned down’, which makes the dramatic scenes all the more impactful and meaningful, such as his recent dilemma where he tried to deal with the abuse alone. What could have been a very melodramatic scene felt achingly gritty as the character finally confessed as the fear and self-punishment boiled over inside. That’s not to say however that the character hasn’t evolved. The growth has been gradual and realistic, ultimately believable as the viewer learns more about the character each time he appears. I truly hope now in the wake of what has been pretty much a year of pretty consistent big stories for Ashley and his family that they get a bit of ‘time off’ and are allowed some storyline ‘happily ever after’ time. Both character and actor have earned it! Plus, how much more could really go wrong for the man!?
Next time out on Soap Profiles we’ll take a look at a Coronation Street mainstay, but which one very much remains down to you. Email me any suggestions, or throw a comment in the boxes at the end of the column.
I mentioned previously that I had a few things I wanted to mention and I’m going to kick that off by firstly giving a HUGE thumbs up to Matt Smith in his role as the new Doctor in Doctor Who. I wrote a little while ago that I wasn’t grabbed by Smith straight away, but after a few episodes of the latest series, I have to admit he has won me over and I am a massive fan of his portrayal. He delivers the non-stop quirky and humorous ‘stream of consciousness’ dialogue that is so central to the Doctor now with aplomb, but where he REALLY shines is when he turns it up a notch and delivers serious, meaningful lines.
When he loses it with the Dalek in the first 3 minutes of that clip…just wow! It has to rank as one of the most powerful performances I’ve ever seen. Matt Smith, you have my adoration.
Something that started last weekend that didn’t get my adoration however was Britain’s Got Talent. I saw a few people around the net raving about some performances, but other than the girl who sang ‘White Cliffs of Dover’ and the dancer Tobias Mead, nothing was standout, and even they weren’t great. Granted her singing was very impressive for a 10 year old, but it wasn’t the immaculate performance some are making, it out to be, and as George Sampson has proved, there is very little progression for solo dancer beyond BGT, and it leaves me with a very flat feeling. Considering it was a longer, special episode to introduce the series too, the quality was extremely poor and I’m already close to writing off this series. We need much, MUCH stronger stuff from this weekend if the show is to have a continuing place in the schedules.
Finally, I have to say what a letdown A Passionate Woman turned out to be. The conclusion of the second episode did tie a lot of things together and dragged the show into respectability for me, but the whole first episode was a dirge, and really only the always excellent Alan Armstrong came out looking good. Kay Mellor appears to be losing her edge when it comes to putting together compelling stories, which is a shame because her shows have in the past been things I’ve looked out for because of their quality.
But anyhow, enough of the past week, it’s time to look into the future and predict the good, the bad and the truly braindead, TTWTWB style! But hold on…what’s this?! Mark it in your calenders Ladies and Gents…today is the first ever TTWTWB…with NO LOWLIGHTS!
You heard me..none, nada, zilch. It’s a pretty thin week when it comes to new shows at all as the schedules are pretty much jammed already. Nonetheless we have a highlight for the week and one that lands straight in the middle!
Five Daughters is our highlight for the week, in what promises to be a hard hitting, dark drama, based on the murder of five women in Ipswich in 2006. It won’t be particularly cheery viewing for obvious reasons, and as it charts the tragic path the women went down, involving drugs and prostitution, the subject matter is likely to get heavy and very emotional, but if you can stomach that side of it, then this should be regarded as a must watch, particularly given the coming together of a superb cast of TV actors and the award winning writer Steven Butchard.
Falling just short of being either a highlight or a lowlight, we round off this week with a preview of The Ricky Gervais Show. This one is very much dependent on which Ricky Gervais shows up. If it’s the Ricky Gervais of The Office and Extras then this could be one of the best animated shows of all time. If however the Ricky Gervais who relies too heavily on crude humour arrives, then this will be a bit of an abomination, and one that is likely to refuse to go away given Gervais’ overall popularity.
Anyhoo, that’s me for the week, don’t forget to check out the great stuff on the rest of MultiMediaMouth, send any feedback (including Soap Profile suggestions) either to firstname.lastname@example.org or in the comments below and remember to always stay safe!