BBC Promises ‘BritBox’ VOD Service Will Provide New UK Episodes of EastEnders

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Well, days after the completion of issue #96 comes the announcement that EASTENDERS IS COMING BACK through a new subscription video-on-demand service to launch in the first quarter of 2017 called ‘BRITBOX’ backed by BBC Worldwide and ITV, Britain’s two leading television producers.

There are still many unanswered questions, like pricing, exactly when, so stay tuned…. And let’s not forget the BBC twice before promised similar services in 2002 and the iPlayer in 2011, but neither materialized.

Ad-free BritBox will be available on responsive web, mobile (iOS and Android), Roku, AppleTV, and Chromecast at launch in the U.S. Pricing for the service will be available at launch.

“This unique streaming service will celebrate the very best of British TV, and offer the most comprehensive SVOD collection of British content in the market today,” the press release stated. “For decades, BBC and ITV have produced iconic British television series, and for the first time these shows will be combined in a single, curated service allowing fans to find the classic shows they love and discover new hit series.”

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Programming will include:
• An amazing selection of soaps and series that will be available as soon as 24 hours after their UK broadcast, including much-loved titles EastEnders, Emmerdale and Holby City.

• A British classics collection from ITV and the BBC, featuring iconic period dramas Brideshead Revisited, Pride and Prejudice, and Upstairs Downstairs; political thriller State of Play; murder mystery series Inspector Morse and Rosemary and Thyme; favorite sitcoms Keeping Up Appearances and Fawlty Towers; and much more.

• An array of drama premieres never-before-seen in the U.S., including New Blood, from acclaimed novelist Anthony Horowitz, Tutankhamun, The Moonstone, and In The Dark, from BAFTA award-winning writer Danny Brocklehurst (Ordinary Lies). Also, season premieres of drama favorites Cold Feet and Silent Witness.

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Full details of the BritBox service, including additional titles and price, will be released at launch. Fans can submit their contact information at www.BritBox.com to receive further details about the service when it becomes available.
Follow BritBox @ Facebook: BritBoxUS / Twitter: BritBox_US / Instagram: britbox_US

 

It’s Good to Be King: Jake Maskall Reflects on Danny Moon, EastEnders and The Royals

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By Larry Jaffee

(Editor’s note: What follows is an excerpt. For the complete interview, please subscribe.)

Jake Maskall is best known to EastEnders fans as Danny Moon, the troubled, second cousin of Alfie.

Accidentally killed by his brother Jake, Danny met his demise, as he was on his way to kill Phil and Grant Mitchell on orders from his boss Johnny Allen. It was EastEnders at its best, a cat-and-mouse game between the Mitchells and Allen that began in the latter’s luxurious suburban house, and then is transported to the woods.

Maskall, currently co-starring as the new King Cyrus in The Royals, which made its third-season premiere on the American cable network E!, was eager to talk to the Walford Gazette not just about his current job, but also his time on EastEnders. He was amazed to learn that Americans only saw Danny get killed within the past year.

A fictional, over-the-top take on the British royal family, The Royals in its first season involves Cyrus conspiring with his sister-in-law the queen, played by Elizabeth Hurley, to get rid of the saintly King Simon, who’s considering abolishing the monarchy, much to the chagrin of everybody in the immediate family except his son.

The series’ snappy dialogue smacks of tabloidish excess celebrating utter hedonism: sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll. Despite suffering from testicular cancer, the weirdly stylish King Cyrus relishes his power trip and the trappings of royalty.

Walford Gazette: While rivals, I don’t think Jake and Danny Moon on EastEnders intentionally wanted to kill each other.

Jake Maskall: No, there was a huge amount of love there. Danny was unhinged. He was bipolar basically, and he was lost. But there was definitely a rivalry because Jake was always the top boy. People always asked him to do things. There was huge tension and jealousy from Danny, and especially with his state of mind. His father had beaten him up, and used to leave them for days. Danny was a lost soul basically, and Jake had to take over the father figure role, and so it was quite a complicated relationship. It was complete love at one end of the spectrum, and at the other end there was that jealousy and underlying hate.

WG: That scene of Danny in the woods with Grant and Phil is among the greatest EastEnders scenes.

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JM: It was a real standout week leading up to that. It was odd filming on location outside of Elstree. It always felt a little bit alien. They wanted to make those episodes more filmic. I was walking around those woods with that really heavy shotgun, raised arm, pointing to Phil and Grant. It was a long shoot. My arm at the end of the day was killing me. Fun memories.

WG: Any particular rapport struck with Ross Kemp or Steve McFadden? JM: I only met them that week. They were both coming back to the show. McFadden was lovely and very complimentary of my acting, and I took that as a huge compliment coming from him. I watched EastEnders, and always was a big fan. I thought he was a remarkable actor actually. So getting a nod from somebody I respected I thought that was great. Ross went to school with my brother.

WG: How did Joel Beckett end up playing Jake a lot longer?

JM: We left together. Then they wanted us back. I said to them, “I’ll only come back if you kill me off.” I didn’t want it to be an open door. I wanted to move on and do other characters, and here I am King of England. It was the right choice. I was ready to leave. I had a great year on the show, came back and then was accidentally, I must say, shot to death by my brother.

WG: Are you still in touch with Joel?

JM: Absolutely, he lives down the road from me in North London. We’re going out for a drink this week.

Kevin and Denise – A Match Made in Heaven?

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By Charles S.P. Jenkins

Phil Daniels is perhaps best known for his starring role in The Who’s film Quadrophenia. His role as Jimmy led to his playing a cockney in a number of other productions before coming to the role of Kevin Wicks in EastEnders.

I remember that when he first appeared in Walford as Kevin Wicks, I was decidedly unimpressed with the character. I think that this was mainly due to his whimpering around his kids, the dozy Deano and less dozy Carly. Apparently he had plans to see the kids ‘settled’ and then to take off and ‘travel the world’. However, he does not go. No, he decides to stay and, with the kids, he settles into the house of his cousin by marriage, Pat Evans. This leads to our being treated to endless boring plotlines centring on their domestic dealings. I couldn’t wait for him to change his mind and ‘sling ’is hook’, as we used to say in the East End, and GO!

Not long after the arrival of the Wickses, into the Vic walks Denise Fox, played by Diane Parish, a former Lovejoy character, and now here as a mother of two spoiled girls. The elder, Chelsea, is lazy and thinks herself a beauty who upon arrival throws herself at Grant Mitchell during one of his return visits. The younger is unpleasant and surly and supposed to be a ‘clever’ child. Although this child is named Libby, she answers to the ludicrous name of Squiggle! She takes a shine to Darren Miller, which proves that she and her sister are demonstrating an early tendency towards making poor choices in men!

I dismissed both Kevin and Denise as two more dull characters to fill the screen while we awaited the further exploits of Phil Mitchell. And then it happened: Kevin was sat at the bar of the Vic one early evening bemoaning something of absolutely no interest when in walks Denise, grumpy as ever, and the two met, and… my opinion changed.

There have been great ‘pairings’ in film and on the stage: Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh; the couple in The Thin Man series (William Powell and Myrna Lloyd), Cary Grant and just about any woman he worked with. Of course, ‘on-screen chemistry’ does not always translate into ‘off-screen attraction’, but as far as I was concerned, this on-screen ‘odd couple’ certainly looked made for each other.

Although this meeting of Kevin and Denise was hardly the forerunner of ‘a match made in heaven’, I did not see it that way at all. Instantly sparks flew between them. She, being the obvious aggressor and Kevin, defending himself against what he saw as an unprovoked attack! How on earth did I think that they were a match made in heaven, you may be asking? But sparks and insults often hide an attraction between two apparent combatants. Anyway, upon reflection I soon realised what it was about these two characters that appealed to me and made me believe them to be an ideal couple on screen.

I have to confess that I have disliked and been disliked by some in the past that I eventually changed my opinion of, and I could tell that despite the spats, Kevin and Denise were destined to ‘find each other’ sometime. But this is not the point: what was it I saw in these two characters that made me suddenly like them together?

Allow me to tell you about my parents. My mother was a true East Ender, from the Borough of Bethnal Green, while my father came from the South London Borough of Dulwich, where actor Dennis Harman went to school. My parents were like ‘chalk and cheese’, quite different in personality and had spats often. However, one was able to see their attraction for each other, which was especially evident when they danced together, which they often did in our kitchen. To see them ‘move together to the music’ was quite magical. They were graceful, and although I am sure that they were not especially great dancers, together, they gelled and moved in perfect unison to the rhythm of the music. As a child, I loved to watch them dance.

Something else about my parents that Kevin and Denise have in common with them: they were short, perhaps even tiny! My mother was 4 feet 11 inches tall, although she insisted she was five feet in height. My father was 5 feet 1 inch, but was what you would call wiry. They were both dark with jet-black hair, which my father inherited from his Welsh ancestry. From where came my mother’s colouring, I know not. Both also knew how to dress to their best advantage and always looked fine when they went out, and they made a handsome couple.

Seeing Kevin and Denise together at the bar of the Vic immediately made me think of my folks: both small and dark, with Kevin being wiry. I wondered how long we were going to have to wait for these two to realise that they were ideally suited?

Denise has a temper, which brought a great deal of friction to their early attempts at starting a relationship. There were multiple misunderstandings when they tried to ‘go on a date’, each abruptly ending with Denise walking off in a huff. She can be quite the pit bull. Despite this, Kevin chose to respond to Denise’s tantrums by showing a side of him so far not seen on screen. Since he obviously had begun to have ‘strong feelings’ for her, brave Kevin appeared undaunted by these failures and kept coming back with the hope that she had calmed down and he could continue to try ‘to win the hand of the fair maiden!’

Even Denise’s daughters noticed that there was ‘something’ between their mother and Kevin. While Chelsea actively encouraged her mother to be nicer to Kevin, the spoilt, unpleasant and loud Libby became openly hostile to the kind overtures made by Kevin to her. Libby, who is supposed to be a clever child had her head in the clouds and yearned for her mother to fall back in love with her father, the odious Owen Fox. Obviously the child saw her parents and herself living happily ever after in some distant fairyland on a planet far, far away!

So why was Denise no longer with her husband? Like many failed marriages in Britain and elsewhere, the abuse of alcohol can be found as the root cause of their breakdowns. This was the case with Denise and Owen Fox. Apparently, she had fled her husband and their life together along with her daughters and escaped to Walford. Here she took up the position of postmistress in order to support her family. And like Kevin, she was trying to make a new life for them.

Meanwhile, once Kevin decided to stay in Walford, he took over the car lot and began selling second-hand cars, while Carly took up the job of a mechanic along with Gary and Minty at Phil’s garage under the Arches and Deano tried to show off his skill as a vendor in the Bridge Street Market.

Things now looked set for Kevin and Denise to finally go on a date. Daughter Chelsea was working at a restaurant where the owner had taken a shine to Kevin. Chelsea was soon fired, but Kevin stepped in and got her reinstated. When this owner insulted Chelsea and Denise a little later, Kevin, always the gentleman, sided with Denise and gave the owner a piece of his mind. All now looked set for the couple to finally get together, as Denise became less hostile towards Kevin.

But as we all know, even though Kevin and Denise appear on screen to be a great couple, and despite the fact that it looked as if all would go smoothly for them, dark clouds were sure to be looming on the horizon together with a meddling unpleasant child causing havoc. Alas, the path of true love never runs smoothly, especially in a soap opera!

Dr Charles S.P. Jenkins is solely responsible for the fine websites stories-of-london.org and eastend-memories.org

 

Alfie Moon on the Therapist’s Couch

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By Yaz Headley

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

We are all a subject of our own 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. Many would love the magic elixir that would get rid of every negative break with the past, but it is not possible to find it 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 behavior. 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 psychoanalytic, a great deal of time is spent on the patient’s past and in the unfurling of their history.

In the version of Integrative Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which is the approach I take, I spend some time there, but I also look at their feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. These are key to helping an individual change. Modern-day research shows how we are not just a subject of history and genetics but are also affected by epigenetics.

Epigenetics is our environment, those whom we have around us, the food we eat and the activities we do.

Patient’s File Alfie Moon.

The song “Whats it all, Alfie” about comes to mind….. The thing is – does Alfie ever have an answer to this question? I think not. Alfie does not know from one day to the next as to what is really going on. Alfie has no real sense of self. Alfie is amorphous and adapts to whosoever he is with. He is a perfect host at any place he is in, because he can easily adapt to people and those around him. He absorbs what is around him and easily gives and reflects their energy.

Alfie’s parents were killed in a car crash when he was young. The loss of a parent when young has been found to be a significant factor for those who suffer from depression later on in life. It is often thought that we can manage and handle matters when we are young, but the loss of parents is a huge blow to anyone who is starting out in life. So much needs to be reset and changed.

No one is as important to us as our parents or those who may care for us. The value of our original carers is inestimable because our memories and imprints when young are scorched into our DNA. This is then carried within us for the rest of our life, and we need to rework it if we are to live better lives. Such important imprints are not easily replaced.

Alfie is no stranger to criminal activities either; identity theft, bigamy, and arson. He is always trying it on, trying to make things better. Trying to find a short-cut to happiness and wealth. In the end, the charming, sweet Alfie starts again and again from zero. A perfect host to others, but to himself, he is not true. Alfie promises the moon but barely gets past the cheddar cheese.

We all know an Alfie. They are sweet kind people but in the end, do so because they also hope you will also in the end really look after them. Alfie is very co-dependent, and his very own existence is determined by others. We all in some way are co-dependent, but Alfie has it perfected to an art-form.

Only a co-dependent like him would be able to live with someone so borderline or bipolar as Kat. Kat is unpredictable, and the very seeming predictable Alfie likes the ups and downs that Kat brings to their lives to avoid making his own decisions. He is so busy fire-fighting the entrails which Kat leaves in her wake that he does not have to do anything about his own life. You meet these people sometimes. Sweet helpful, always thinking about others. He can be hot and cold and committed and avoidant too.

Avoidance is very accepted today. We can avoid relationships, discussions, what counts by – by watching lots of TV, looking over and over at mobiles, playing online games, by lots of sex, food and alcohol; behaviors which seem so acceptable nowadays. All often accounted with a “I’m just having fun”. There is a tipping point, though, to avoidance. A point when it becomes unhealthy. Its fun to drink, eat and have sex. But there is a point when it really starts to have a negative effect on ourselves and those around us.

Alfie does it with his relationship with Kat. But at the end of it, they really need to stop avoiding. But the stopping of avoiding is unexpectedly harder to do then to continue with the avoiding. But hey, where would we be without the fun, unpredictability, and avoidance of Alfie and his hot and cold relationship with Kat. Life would be so boring if he were reasonable, organized and settled. He is such an important character that keeps the EastEnders storyline moving. ©2016 Yaz

On EastEnders, He Couldn’t Save Demi’s Leo

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Dr Kay informing Leo’s dad the patient didn’t make it

By Larry Jaffee

Will Barton acted in one episode of EastEnders, as the ER doctor unsuccessful in saving Leo (Demi Miller’s boyfriend) from fatally overdosing. Viewers can see the scene, which was broadcast originally in the UK on 12 August 2005 at http://tinyurl.com/hp75gk9 and within the past year on US public TV episodes.

Two years ago Barton was in Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’Be at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, where he performed with Jessie Wallace (Kat Slater). (See Wallace talk about the production at http://tinyurl.com/zmm8q3w)

“Barbara Windsor (Peggy Mitchell) came to the press night with Paul O’Grady, the chat show host in Britain,” says Barton. “Babs [as she’s known in British show biz] was lovely. She seemed to enjoy it. “

Windsor was in the original production of the musical, also at that same venue in 1959 before moving to the West End, where the Cockney musical comedy played for 886 performances. “Barbara played the innocent girl who’s forced into prostitution, and Jessie played the madam of this whorehouse at the end of the 1950s.”

Wallace was moonlighting between Fings Ain’t Wot and EastEnders at the time.

“Jessie, when I worked with her, was absolutely fantastic, and always on time. She’d sometimes have to have a morning off to film [at Elstree]. The play would work round her EastEnders schedule. They were really nice because they wanted to keep her. She would juggle the two, and was very well organised.”

Of EastEnders, he says he used to watch it, but he preferred Brookside. “In 1985 the drama was so amazing. Then I did get into EastEnders. When I had kids I stopped watching soaps altogether. And I don’t really watch EastEnders or Coronation Street at all any more. I know that they’re good dramas.”

So how did Barton end up being in EastEnders as the ER doctor not able to revive Leo? “It was literally my agent calling up and saying, ‘Hello darling, I’ve got an interview for you. EastEnders. Go down to Elstree studios, two days’ work. I’ll send you the script.’ I learned the piece, got the job. Then you’re on set being a surgeon. I had to be told what was happening because I hadn’t been watching it. I didn’t know Demi and Leo’s Romeo and Juliet was so big.”