Couch Potato: Nasty Nick’s return the perfect time to end EastEnders

HE'S BACK ... John Altman as 'Nasty Nick' Cotton.
HE'S BACK ... John Altman as 'Nasty Nick' Cotton.

ALL manner of frights and spooks on Friday’s Halloween-themed EastEnders.

The Vic was transformed into a horror zone. Lauren was stalked by Abi in a terrifying mask.

And, much more spine-chilling, Ricky “Fatboy” Norwood attempted to act drunk and John “Nasty Nick” Altman attempted just to act.

Blood-curdling stuff all round.

It’s all fittingly gruesome for a soap that’s lost itself in a cul-de-sac of depression, even by its own standards.

Out of the Lucy Beale murder came the uplifting tales of Linda Carter’s semi-incestuous rape and Alfie Moon’s spiral into self-destruction that saw him torch his own house, succeeding only in disfiguring his beloved Kat for life.

Or at least three weeks. Depending on when the make-up artists get fed up.

So how, you may ask, were the Walford massive going to claw themselves out of this mire and cheer us up again?

By the only way they know how – a lesbian domestic violence storyline.

They’ll argue that tackling these issues is what makes EastEnders realistic.

So let’s examine those credentials.

Ronnie, Albert Square’s most fiercely independent woman, has agreed to marry Charlie, a penniless, mild-mannered janitor who’s been pretending to be a police officer.

Dot, on finding butt-ends of the cigarettes Nick - the son she thought was dead - smokes, in her kitchen bin, instantly accepted grandson Charlie’s explanation they were his, despite two minor facts.

Firstly, he’s never been seen smoking.

And secondly, he doesn’t smoke.

Then the pair had this exchange...

Charlie: “I want to scatter Dad’s ashes and I want to do it today. We can do it in the Square.”

Dot: “Don’t you have to have permission to do that? A licence or something?”

Oh, Dot. EastEnders thinks nothing of small details like the legal requirements for such matters.

Just the previous Friday, Kat and Alfie married without displaying any wedding notices, let alone for the period demanded by law.

An obstacle like that might hamper such a realistic plot.

In fact the only surprise is Ronnie and Charlie, who got engaged at 8.27pm the same day, hadn’t tied the knot by 8.31pm, gone on honeymoon over the weekend and divorced by the start of play on Monday.

The biggest sign that the show has been chasing its tail for nearly 30 years is Nasty Nick’s return.

It has finally come full circle and is a perfect place to call it a day.

The BBC won’t do that, of course.

So let’s head over to the Jacksons’ where Carol was urging Sonia to pose for a naked calendar to show her distant hubby what he’s missing out on: “If Martin sees other blokes picking up that calendar and checking out his missus...”

... then EastEnders truly will be as realistic as ever.

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COMPARE and contrast. The X Factor’s Simon Cowell, November 25, 2014, on Louis Walsh bad-mouthing Stereo Kicks: “What you did as a mentor was disgraceful.

“When you take on a group like this you’ve signed onto this. It is out of order to say, ‘I’m going to lose people’.”

The X Factor’s Simon Cowell, November 26, 2005, in the sing-off to his act The Conway Sisters: “Girls, based on this performance you can’t win the competition. Chico, it was a terrible performance tonight. So it’s a question of ‘is it entertainment value or is it loyalty?’. I’m going to send home the Conway Sisters.”

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JODIE Marsh On... Lying Cheating Men.

Makes a change from lying cheating men on... Jodie Marsh, I suppose.

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GUESS what’s happening on Autumnwatch...

Chris Packham: “Michaela, blow into this. You always do a good job when it comes to blowing.”

Michaela Strachan: “No, don’t stand like that, Chris!”

“Alright, hold on. I’m just getting hold of it. Right. Blow and then we’ve got to pull it out.

“So, I blow and it’s going to extend?”

“Go on. Blow hard. Really blow...”

“That was a good blow.”

It was of course demonstrating how a stag’s larynx bellows during the rutting season.

Why, what were you thinking?

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DERMOT O’Leary teasing tonight’s X Factor guest performance: “Stepping out from behind the judges’ desk to do what she does best on this stage, our very own Cheryl.”

Brian Friedman. We need one boxing ring, a toilet attendant and a medic on standby.

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THIS week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates...

* BBC1’s continuity announcer arrogantly proclaiming The Missing “one of the year’s talking points” before a second of it had even aired.

* Corrie cops interrogating murder accomplice suspect Tracy Barlow apparently during the duty solicitor’s lunch break.

* ITV’s Frankenstein game show Keep It In The Family not bothering to wheel out the star-prize car for the winners.

* Citizen Khan’s dreadful, 1970s, half-hour mother-in-law joke.

* Autumnwatch making Martin Hughes-Games, in a wetsuit, look like the Creature from the Black Lagoon has enlisted in the Special Boat Service.

* And Simon Cowell’s advice to Jake Quickenden: “You’ve got to get better at singing.” And that, folks, is what makes him the multimillionaire music mogul he is today.

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AUTUMNWATCH anchorman Chris Packham explaining how a Bewick’s swan differs from a whooper swan: “It’s got yellow, not orange, markings and it doesn’t have that large knob on top of the bill.”

Unlike Autumnwatch.

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A BOARDROOM bloodbath on The Apprentice as His Sugarness fired three and almost added: “Karren, you’re fired. Nick, you’re fired. I’M OUT OF CONTROL!”

So incredible that Sugar telling hypnotherapist Sarah: “You’ve helped clients with erectile dysfunction... don’t look her in the eyes, Nick,” was forgotten by the time he’d re-holstered his finger.

Still, I was disappointed Samuel L Jackson-alike Steven didn’t leave threatening: “I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious, camp flapping...”

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THIS week’s TV Name of the Week award goes to...

Charlotte Watmuff. Not only Keep It In The Family’s assistant producer.

But also my initial thoughts on Keep It In The Family.

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THIS week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes...

* The Missing (minus the suffocating BBC hype).

* Eddie Mair in Matt Baker’s The One Show seat.

* Strictly getting away with rock classic Black Betty in Halloween Week.

* Life Story’s Arctic fox pup face-planting into the snow while lemming-hunting and the stunning hummingbird versus honeybees aerial battle.

* Wednesday’s The Chase contestants’ team imploding with the line: “I’ve got nothing to say to the maggot,” who took the minus £3,000 option.

* And Life Is Toff posh boy Edmund Fulford “who’s not known for his sparkling intellect” declaring: “My academic achievements aren’t high but what I hugely lack in some areas I make up for big time in... ... in ... in other ways.” The state of private education today, eh?