Tuesday, 7 January 2014

EastEnders: Feel The Love

When Mick took his teenage son Johnny in his arms last week and delivered the sweetest, sofa-side, "it's OK son, Daddy still loves you, there's nothing bad about being gay" speech, encouraging him to come out through both of their stifled tears, the hairs on the back of my neck stood upright.

The scene echoed with the underexplored truth that dads sometimes have an easier time of their children coming out than mums. It took gay right into the heart of the family, making empathetic the character you might least expect to be – the resident tough guy. Yet there are real-life precedents here, too. Joey Barton (not far from being the Danny Dyer of football) and his frequent expressions of tenderness towards the gay uncle that raised him came to mind. The scene achieved the holy grail of soap opera. It felt real.

Dyer and actor Sam Strike, playing son Johnny, delivered an exceptional, impulsive, physical reading of the ties that bond father and son, no matter what. You could feel the love in the house. EastEnders has been struggling to find its pre-drum-roll climaxes for some time now, and lost a sizeable audience chunk because of it. The Carters have set themselves up to deliver those big, unifying Eastenders moments the show needs before the credits roll.

A predictably perspicacious piece by the mighty Paul Flynn for The Guardian on how that EastEnders' "coming out scene was a touching return to form".

Sorry for obsessing over Danny Dyer's rectum (tweet) before, Fagburn forgot to say he thought this was fantastic TV.
I cried like a little gurl.
It had a slightly improbable premise - Johnny's sexuality had never been raised before? Really? - but made for great, almost Greek, drama.
And it was made all the more emotionally potent and socially significant as it aired in the wake of Tom Daley coming out.
Really - no blow.
The line; "So you're the one we should have called Nancy", destroyed me with its loving paternal embrace. 
Danny Dyer - my new/old hero - was astonishing, and Sam Strike's Johnny is supercute and laddishly cool - this is far from insignificant if you're a gay teen looking for self-validation.
Let's hope Johnny doesn't get exiled to university and sticks around the Square for more top drama, fun and homo high jinx.


  1. It was brilliant. It really did feel true.
    It had a realism and quiet intensity that I haven't seen on EastEnders in over a decade.

    1. I kept having these Naked Lunch moments when I thought about wanting to dog Danny Dyer and then... :(

  2. So you cried like a little girl at some re-hashed fiction on TV... it was so amazing, but judging negative comments about being gay on a reality show deserves your wrath? Something not quite right eh!

    1. Welcome to the world of Fagburn. Where videos about about REAL kids commiting suicide because of bullying is considered sentimental crap. But a fucking soap opera has him blubbing... Same way he did when the POSH fox hunting one from French and Saunders said a nice thing about her consumer base. Boohoo squish squish face, indeed. Consistancy is not Fagburn's strong point. Unless we mean *consistently* shit.

    2. I suppose a date's out of the question...