The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - SEVEN DAYS -

Eastenders’ viewing fig­ures have been suf­fer­ing of late, and it’s not that hard to see why. There is just far too much vi­o­lence, too much talk about money and not enough light-heart­ed­ness.

There is yet more money talk on Mon­day, when Jean asks Michael to in­vest the Queen Vic’s £10,000 VAT money for her. Ten thou­sand? That means that the pub must have taken £50,000 in three months. How on Earth has it man­aged to do that, with tak­ings of roughly a ten­ner a day? Michael is reluc­tant to take it but even­tu­ally agrees, and on Fri­day, nip­ping off to Paris with Ja­nine, de­nies that he ever had it when Jean is des­per­ate to re­trieve it.

On Tues­day, Phil gives Lucy money to help her find Ian, and Zainab pays £1 for two china cats worth £200. On Thurs­day, Lucy searches Ian’s on­line bank­ing ac­counts and dis­cov­ers that his credit card has been used in Rochester (alas, not the New York one), while Zainab whinges to Ma­sood about the price of a new sofa and Michael gives Ja­nine the £500 reg­is­tra­tion fee to put her un­born baby on the wait­ing list for a prepara­tory school (that would be ‘prepara­tory’ for a life of cheating, ly­ing, de­bauch­ery and killing, pre­sum­ably).

On Fri­day, Sasha is dis­cov­ered book­ing theatre tick­ets with Kim’s credit card, while Derek bumps up cus­tomers’ monthly pay­ments. You see what I mean? Money, money, money. It may be the thing that makes the world go around, but it is the kiss of death to soap. Hav­ing it, not hav­ing it, win­ning it, los­ing it... The fi­nan­cial cri­sis in Greece is as noth­ing com­pared to that of Wal­ford.

So, where has Ian gone? Has he had a ner­vous break­down? Has Alan Sugar sum­moned him to run his busi­ness em­pire? Has he just gone in search of a new mac? And what, or who, will Lucy find when she ar­rives in Rochester on Thurs­day?

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