David's Smashing Time
WARNING: some plot revelations.
David Platt's rampage in last night's Corrie was an odd affair. Few of the men in the street tried to restrain him. Kevin Webster stood around "like one of Lewis's", as they say in Liverpool, while David smashed up his client's cars. Guardian reader Ken Barlow tried the softly-softly, caring approach and got a twisted ankle for his pains.
David wasn't enjoying it much either, eventually reduced to walloping a bicycle to pass the time until the police arrived. For this wasn't a rampage born of rage but a calculated tactic to get himself arrested.
Fortunately, police cars and ambulances always arrive in Coronation Street within three minutes rather than the twenty minutes that is more usual in real life - unless the plot requires that someone expires or is burned to a crisp, in which case they get stuck in a traffic jam in Rosamund Street.
Jack P. Shepherd (David Platt), whose acting skills I have long championed, did a turn on the 'This Morning' (ITV) sofa yesterday and revealed a deep understanding of his alter ego and the complexity of the character which is why the 'devil child' never totally forfeits the viewer's sympathy.
As you'd expect, he was asked to do his 'evil look' several times, for this has become a party piece that the actor will never escape from. But it transpired that this is a natural expression for Jack that he has just exaggerated for the role. Several times Eammon Holmes said 'He's doing it again!', only for Jack to say 'No, I'm not!'
He also made some astonishing revelations about future storylines. In prison, David has a gay cellmate with whom he ends up sharing a bunk. I think there was something about a top bunk and them both being on top, but we'll let that pass. There will also be that old cliché, the prison shower scene. Fern Britton thought Jack was joking but he insisted this was all true. But if they're really planning to do a contemporary version of 'Scum' at 7.30 in the evening it will have to be delicately handled.
I later remembered that Eastenders had a similar prison scenario with one of their young characters many years ago in which a rape scene was done by hints and implication. Viewers could draw the inference or not, which probably meant that older viewers thought it was jus a bit of horseplay amongst the inmates and the ten year olds thought it was a gang rape and wondered why everyone still had their boiler suits on.
A friend of mine was a wardrobe mistress at Thames Television. She once told me she'd had a nightmare of a day working with Hughie Green. He had complained about everything and been rude to everyone in the studio. He asked for the heating to be turned up and then flew into a rage about the excessive heat and demanded the heating be turned off. And they were only shooting a short trailer for one of his shows.
So this week's 'Curse of Comedy' drama (BBC4) about one of the most unpleasant men ever to appear on television (Jeremy Clarkson was still in nappies then) held few surprises.
It was worth watching for Trevor Eve's remarkable feat of impersonation. There were several scenes where I thought I was actually watching Bob Monkhouse.
That's not to take anything away from his performance. Rather, it's to point out that there was a great similarity between Greene and Monkhouse in terms of toe-curling unctuousness. That might explain why Monkhouse was so disliked by many people for much of his career.
The difference, of course, was that Monkhouse was a very good comic and, so far as one can tell, beneath the stage persona a fairly nice and generous man.