EastEnders’ Contribution to Children in Need

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Our British friends on Friday night watched the annual BBC charity show for Children In Need, and as usual, the EastEnders cast were featured in a few segments.

Spoiler alert: If you’re only familiar with the current episodes running on US public TV there might be many unfamiliar faces, but that shouldn’t deter you from enjoying the performances.

Shane Richie (Alfie Moon) led off the troupe through a few numbers from the classic musical Grease, in which Shane has starred in on the stage as Danny.

Then in “The Ghosts of Ian Beale,” we get to see some long-not-seen EastEnders faces, including Michelle Collins (Cindy Beale) and Gillian Taylforth (Kathy Beale), and both look like they haven’t aged a day since their last EastEnders appearances more than a decade ago!

Which segment did you like better? (Email me at walfordgazette@gmail.com)

I especially loved hearing Ethel’s and Lou’s voices in the aural montage. And how about Martine McCutcheon’s (Tiffany) real-life hit single “Perfect” playing on the radio in the launderette?

The BBC also published an EastEnders Children In Need 2015 calendar, getting the actors to pose for photographs various vignettes of undress, a la Calendar Girls, including 87-year-old June Brown (Dot Cotton).

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In 2009 I had the privilege to see June on a West End stage production of Calendar Girls with Anita Dobson (Angie Watts), Jill Halfpenny (Kate Mitchell) and Jack Ryder (Jamie Mitchell).

The calendars are on sale for £10 (but only to UK residents, boo!).

The Return of Nick Cotton, and 10 Nuggets You May Have Missed from the Last Walford Gazette

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EastEnders fans in the UK were greeted last week with the return of Nick Cotton, lurking around (see above). Can’t you hear him say to Dot, “Hi, Mah… Miss Me?”

Even though he was presumed dead, I’m not surprised. As John told the Walford Gazette’s Larry Jaffee in 2003, “I think they keep him like an ace card up their sleeve. When it gets a bit quiet, [time to bring back Nasty Nick].”

Meanwhile, here are 10 nuggets you might have missed from the last Walford Gazette (No. 87):

1) Speaking of Nasty Nick, About 12 years ago, a few New York-area EastEnders fans were planning a weekend get-together, and in walked John Altman (Nick Cotton) with the WG’s Larry Jaffee.

2) Tracy Ann Oberman (Chrissie Watts) recently starred in an episode of Father Brown, playing a character who also had enemies and was involved in someone’s death.

3) Patsy Palmer (Bianca Jackson Butcher) recently moved her family to Los Angeles, and she told the Walford Gazette in 1995 that she wanted to star in a live-action version of The Little Mermaid.

4) Does Ian Beale use Viagra to keep a constant flow of women in his life and bedroom?

5) “I’ve got a well-fit new bloke. He’s been inside, but I don’t mind. Some girls like a bit rough.” Who am I? Big Mo

6) WPBS of Watertown, NY reinstated EastEnders after scores of fans complained about it being canceled and off the air for two months.

7) You can buy wallpaper that looks just like the EastEnders logo (aerial view of London and The Thames) through www.lovemapson.com

8) Paul Bradley (Nigel Bates) was college chums at Manchester University with Rik Mayall (The Young Ones), who died earlier this year.

9) Grant Mitchell was apparently a jazz fan, as evidenced by the poster of British saxist Courtney Pine once seen in his flat.

10) Lucy Speed (Natalie Evans) and Letitia Dean appeared in a 1995 movie called England, My England about a 1960s playwright trying to write about a 1600s composer.

The next issue of the Walford Gazette, last in 2014, (#88) is in production. You can renew via PayPal at the box to the right. If you would like to check your subscription status email: walfordgazette@gmail.com or phone 917-291-2488. Cheers.

Exclusive Photos: Greco, Brooks on LA Set of ‘British Andy’

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Brits in LA — Michael Greco, Andy Newton Lee and Charlie Brooks

By Larry Jaffee

LOS ANGELES – Last month the Walford Gazette reported about the forthcoming comedy pilot TV show British Andy, which is being modeled after The Office’s spoof mockumentary style.

Now we can share exclusive photos taken on the Hollywood set from the pilot, which was shot last week.

Of interest to EastEnders fans is the featured role of Michael Greco (EE’s Beppe di Marco) and Charlie Brooks (EE’s Janine Butcher Evans), who stepped in the last minute for Patsy Palmer (EE’s Bianca Jackson Butcher).

Palmer was unable to take the part, but Brooks happily took over.

British Andy is the brainchild of actor Andy Newton Lee, who shared the photos with the Gazette.

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Eight years ago, he came to Hollywood in hopes of furthering his acting career, which included stints on Coronation Street, Casualty and Hollyoaks.

He’s had a more difficult time landing parts in America, and instead founded a successful relocation company for mostly Brit expats called Next Stop LAX, the inspiration for the series. The company is called “Make It in Hollywood” in British Andy. Newton Lee plays the title role, and in his real-life he uses that moniker.

In the pilot, Greco and Brooks play themselves, although Greco’s character plays off his EastEnders celebrity by heading an LA removal company called “Beppe & Friends.” (Editor’s note: “removal” is Britspeak as in furniture/moving company.)

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Greco in real life has been located in LA for several years, and has focused on playing poker professionally. However, he recently had a scene and few lines as a hotel concierge in the ABC drama Revenge.

Unlike actor Shaun Williamson being referred to by Stephen Merchant as “Barry from EastEnders” in Ricky Gervais’s Extras a few years ago, Beppe only comes up as a mover, and Greco is known as Michael around the “Make It in Hollywood” office. Newton Lee admits that British Andy is shot to look like Gervais’s earlier hit The Office.

Newton Lee, who’s starring in, producing and writing British Andy, tells the Gazette that he’s slated 13 episodes for British Andy, and as soon as postproduction is complete, he will be shopping it to television outlets on both sides of the Atlantic.

“The biggest challenge was getting everyone’s schedules together,” Newton Lee was quoted in the Daily Hull, his hometown newspaper.

“We originally had Patsy Palmer from EastEnders playing our ‘big celebrity’ and then Patsy became unavailable.

“I’d written the episode around Patsy’s arrival, so I was a little taken aback when we couldn’t make it work. I then had the idea of asking Charlie Brooks, who agreed to step in.”

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EE’s Greco confirmed for LA Telly Pilot; Palmer Next?

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LOS ANGELES — Former EastEnders actor Michael Greco (Beppe di Marco) has signed on for a role in a pilot television show to be filmed in Los Angeles, and former colleague Patsy Palmer (Bianca Jackson) is in the “final stages of talks” to also appear in the initial episode, the Walford Gazette has learned directly from the show’s runner.

The planned series, which is being pitched to both UK and US networks, is the brainchild of Andrew Newton Lee, CEO of  Next Stop Media, which helps expatriates and actors with American immigration issues, such as obtaining visas.

Newton Lee, who had acted in Coronation Street, will play the pilot’s title character, ‘British Andy’. Newton Lee told the Gazette he’s also considering talking to other EastEnders actors, such as Danniella Westbrook (Sam Mitchell), about appearing in his show. Shooting is to begin most likely in mid-October, he added.

“[British Andy] is the same premise as The Office, Extras and Episodes. The actors play parodies of themselves,” Newton Lee explained. His show revolves around a fictional relocation service called ‘Make It Hollywood’, and the celebrities who come seeking its assistance.

In Extras, Ricky Gervais’s follow-up to the workplace mockumentary The Office, celebrities played versions of themselves, including Ross Kemp (Grant Mitchell), Kate Winslet and David Bowie. Extras, which featured Shaun Williamson in a recurring role as ‘Barry from EastEnders’, was situated in London, and The Office was located in Slough, the London suburb.

British Andy, like Episodes, will be set in Hollywood. In Episodes, soon to be starting its fourth series on the American pay cable channel Showtime, Matt LeBlanc (Friends), stars as an actor playing a gym teacher in an American sitcom based on a British hit series, whose husband-and-wife comedy writing team have a problem adapting to Tinseltown.

A British-American production, Episodes, which airs on BBC2 in Britain, was renewed for a fourth season on Showtime.

A British tabloid, the <em>Daily Mirror</em>, first broke the story about the pilot, and reported that Palmer recently relocated her family</a> to Los Angeles. The pilot reportedly would be her first LA job.

In 1995 Palmer told the Gazette’s Tim Wilson that she would love to do a Disney movie, and fancied herself doing a live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.

In 2002 Greco left EastEnders, and he told this reporter at the time during an interview in London he recently found an agent in Los Angeles and hoped to make it big in the States. “Brits are really accepted there. I know a lot of Brits go to America to try to crack it.”

Greco has since sporadically acted, rather focusing on a professional poker career. He once played himself in an episode of Absolutely Fabulous.

On his IMDB resume, Newton Lee is described as a ‘series regular’ on the BBC’s Casualty and Hollyoaks, as well as Granada’s Coronation Street.

Newton Lee appeared on Piers Morgan in Hollywood, which aired in the UK on ITV1 in February 2009, and he spoke of the difficulties actors face when relocating to Los Angeles.

Instead of waiting to “pass the audition” in a heartless town, Newton Lee now is seeking to create his own vehicle.

Real London Therapist Psychoanalyses Ian Beale

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By YasmIn Headley

Editor’s note: The author is an Integrative Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) psychotherapist in private practice in London, UK. Yasmin is also studying for a PhD in Mind-Body Medicine and Integrated Mental Health. She has followed EastEnders on and off over the years. You can reach her at yasminheadley@gmail.com and read more about her background at www.yourhappiness.com and www.thecompletelife.com

Introduction
We are all a subject of our history. Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you something or is invested in you continuing to live as you are.

For some this is a good thing, for many this is not the way to go on. Many would love the magic elixir which would get rid of every negative break with the past but it is not possible to do so in a bottle, a happy thought or magic.

In looking at a psyche of a person we would look at their history, their present life and their thoughts and behaviour. We would look at the support system and resources they have in their lives and we would look at what they do when they are stressed.

In some therapies, such as the psychodynamic and the psychoana- lytic, a great deal of time is spent on the patient’s past and in the unfurling of their history. In cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which is the approach I take, I spend some time there, but I also look at their feelings, thoughts and behaviours. These are key to helping an individual change. Modern-day research shows how we are not just a subject of history and genetics but we are also affected by epi-genetics. Epi-genetics is our environment, those who we have around us, the food we eat and the activities we do.

Ian Beale, like all of us, is subject to his genetics and epi-genetics too.

•••

Ian Beale: Psychological Profile

Age: around 44 years old. History: Several ex-wives. Many relationships. Several children. Potential for suicide and/or psychotic break: probable. He lives in Walford, England.

Ian Beale is one of the few characters left on EastEnders since its inception in 1985. He grew up in the East End of London, known for its poverty. His father worked as a local fruit and vegetable trader. Families then often stayed and lived together.

Mr Beale’s history has certainly been interesting. In his life, he has had so many women who were un- faithful to him. There seems to be something about the women he chooses that makes them not as in- vested into the relationship as they should be. Is it the other women or is it Ian Beale?

Is Ian Beale’s choice something that will always lead to him maintaining his interest in his businesses and not his relationships? The victim mode would look into how the women are unfaithful, uncaring and in the end a distrustful species. The more mature mode would realise through having worked with thoughts, feelings and behaviours as to how much Ian is himself invested in causing his own ruptures. Often during his greatest moments of self-interest, typically involving various business venture obsessions, these relationship-rupturing events occur with the women in question.

The very secrets and mental lies he tells himself and others result in the women also lying, naming him the father of a baby. Keeping secrets is the very thing that attracts women with secrets too. So many events in Ian Beale’s life lead to his own undoing. His inability to be direct and truthful leads to a world of avoidance and lies.

Ian could very well attempt suicide or even go ‘mad’ or homeless rather than face matters head on. Ian Beale has learned to live in a world of secrets. I think he has a narcissistic personality disorder. Mr Beale does not just have overcompensating feelings of greatness; he’s often at the other end of the spectrum, experiencing long-term feelings of inadequacy. His greatness needs to be reflected not just in an empire of businesses in Walford, but his women also have to show how much they admire him.

A narcissist often attracts borderlines. A narcissist and a borderline present wonderful stories of aban- donment, loss, leaving, death and destruction. It is never boring when living in such a household and must be a scriptwriter’s delight.

Ian Beale is not exactly hand- some nor is he a Mr Universe with rippled muscles, is he? Yet, some- how, he always seems to attract

women. Is there some Viagra secret that we are unable to see? What se- cret is Mr Beale keeping in the bedroom that seems to have him always attract more women into his life? That alas, may be something we may never find out, as the British Board of Film Classification seems to be always running its fingers through the digital edits.

Meanwhile, the narcissist Mr Beale goes through Walford keep- ing everyone informed about what he is doing every day. He is more active in his needs for strokes of at- tention and ‘likes’ than a celebrity B-lister Facebook account. But this need of his to have constant ap- proval means that he is also over- sensitive to what others may think about him.

Feeling and thinking are also foreign to the narcissist. The only feelings that count for him are:

• What do others think of me?
• Don’t they know who I am?
• Why aren’t they thinking of me?

Imagine living in a world like this. It must be so exhausting thinking in this way. Me. Me and about me. He’s the type of person who would think it is easier to go ‘mad’ than to be sane in the world.

Maybe being ‘helpless’ will give Ian Beale the care and attention he needs. This behaviour strat- egy though does not tend to work long term. In moments like these it is as though he goes back to being a teenager again and not responsible for himself or others.

This is the Ian Beale that was brought up in Thatcher’s England of entrepreneurs, ambitions and money. Beliefs and thoughts of pure success can also mean having another extreme of pure failure as also being possible.

Ian Beale’s saving grace is that he is a good father and tries his best as a father to be there for his children. The only thing he has not thought out is that the women who leave him also leave his children, which then of course leave him lost again. Where would we be without being able to watch Ian Beale getting himself once again into the frustration of a pickle of lies? In Cognitive Behavioural Therapy we often ask patients what their goals are.

Depending upon what Mr Beale’s goals may be, I would be looking at helping him change his thoughts, beliefs and behaviours. Other possibilities are to look also into relaxation approaches such as mindfulness, hypnotism, guided imagery and stress reduction. In times of stress we are more likely to repeat unhealthy behaviours. Catching the next moments of stress before such ‘acting out’ takes place will leave Ian Beale in a much better position.

However, where would we be if everyone on Walford had CBT? There would be no EastEnders and all the wonderful ‘acting out’ which goes on. It would make very boring viewing. Meanwhile, we have Ian Beale in the Kingdom of Walford who is unaware that the Achilles’ heel is of his very own making.

N.B. Please note that these are imaginary musings and do not represent an actual clinical case study.