EastEnders celebrates 30 years with most pointless whodunnit in soap history

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A CHINK of light appeared at the end of a seemingly endless tunnel on Monday.

Lauren Branning, having cracked the Lucy Beale murder case, dared to dream: “If they catch who did it then they’ll find out what happened to her.”

Abi: “It’s not as simple as that though, is it?”

The girl’s got a point, Lauren. EastEnders hasn’t drawn out the most pointless whodunit in soap history, featuring its least-cherished character, for 10 long, agonising months only to unmask the killer in the blink of an eye, silly sausage.

There’s the show’s (sort of) live 30th anniversary week from tomorrow, remember? A welcome distraction from the gibberish coursing through Albert Square.

It has become a girlie fantasy land where men are made to get their tops off (Peter) or whisk women off their feet literally (Kush), like Richard Gere in An Officer and a Gentleman.

And for the other half of the audience? Kat the Slapper wobbling her cleavage-of-despair at Stan the OAP.

No. Thank. You.

It’s a place where fun runs are held in the middle of winter and £100,000 cash is routinely set alight in kitchen sinks.

Aspirations of owning a washer/dryer are dependent on winning the lottery, at least if you’re Fatboy. Or indeed half of Walford.

And the stresses and rigours of modern life drive people either to drink or, in the case of this week’s laughable humdinger between Charlie and Roxy, into bed with their sibling-in-law on discussing the probable vegetative state of his comatose wife, her sister, Ronnie.

I mean, why wouldn’t that make them randy?

The writers treat nearly everyone with disdain, including the best character Stan, played immaculately by Timothy West, whose shoddily handled euthanasia storyline has zero dramatic merit.

They’ve made the cancer sufferer an apparent invalid overnight reliant on Tina to mix a lethal dose despite him being perfectly capable of popping down the chemist and doing the deed himself.

Denise has been turned into a bitter, alcoholic, surrogate-dad beater, although they at least had the mercy to send Nasty Nick to the great crack den in the sky on Friday.

Let’s just hope next week’s revelations resolve old loose ends, like Jane hiding Lucy’s mobile under the Beales’ floorboards.

Ten months I’ve endured that saga, only to go and miss the big payoff by inadvertently booking next week off.

But I’d have still felt the same of EastEnders that Charlie does of Ronnie: “There’s new hope every day and then the next moment it’s gone. It’s every week that passes. I’m just desperate for it to stop now.”

Thirty years of hurt.

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THROUGH a haze of cake maniacs, X Factor cast-offs (Keedie Green and Sheena McHugh) and “fault diagnosis of electrical inverters” operatives came Si Genaro, with Marvin Humes’s intro, on The Voice.

“The man, the myth, the legend…”

… the Chicken Train pillock from last year, back with “my peace song” which had me longing for war on a global scale as an escape.

“It’s all about laying down your guns and finding love. It’s called When The Last Bird Flies.”

Pul! BANG!

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THIS week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes…

• Fortitude’s immense Stanley Tucci.

• Last Week Tonight With John Oliver’s return.

• Animals In Love’s Liz Bonnin: “I’m about to meet a bird that knows exactly what to do to steal the spotlight.” (Katie Hopkins?)

• BBC1 paint-by-numbers heartstrings-tugger The Gift’s search for a woman’s long-lost jilted lover, who she cheated on and ended up pregnant, hinging on a man named Willy Horn. Which is what got her into trouble in the first place.

• And Sky News’s Lucy Cotter on the Bafta Red Carpet to award presenter David Beckham: “Have you seen many of the nominated films?” Becks: “Yes, I’ve seen Lego… Paddington…” … Paddington… Lego…

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THIS Morning guest: “My name’s Paul Robeson and I wind up Big Ben.”

Yeah, you oversized, out-of-date, unreliable, flea-ridden, cog-rotten, rickety old clock.

That kind of thing?

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SINGER Claire Richards ahead of her fire-eating performance on ITV’s Get Your Act Together: “It just occurred to me that I could burn or damage my vocal chords and then that’s it. No more Steps.”

Urgent call to floor manager. Remove all extinguishers. We can’t miss a chance like this.

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THIS week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates…

• C5 Stone Age experiment 10,000BC’s producers “providing the tribe isotonic drinks, sugars, jerky and fresh meat” on day nine instead of admitting defeat.

• Stephen Fry’s wall-to-wall Bafta brown-nosing.

• Olivia Colman dragging her Broadchurch accent on a grand tour of rural England.

• The One Show’s Alex Jones battling her inner TV demons for 27min 13sec before inevitably mixing up guest “Pam” St Clements with her EastEnders alter-ego “Pat” Butcher.

• And this audience reaction to Nancy Dell’Olio’s Get Your Act Together magic act… Sam Faiers: “I don’t know how she did that.” Rav Wilding: “How did she do it?” Faiers: “I don’t know.”

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COOKING, diving, gymnastics, in fact pretty much every activity known to man has had a pro-celebrity TV contest.

Now add angling, ITV4’s The Big Fish Off (my sentiments almost exactly), from “deepest, darkest Devon” with pro Dean Macey: “You cast it, hit the clip, lowered it down, it went in the buzzer lovely, you hit the bite and played it like a pro.” And in English, please?

And celeb Tamer Hassan, “star of such films as The Business, Football Factory and Dead Man Running” (ohh, THAT Tamer Hassan), on fishing: “I can’t think of anything worse.”

Pro-celeb angling? You saved me the words, Tamer.

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JOEY “Snowy” Essex finally served a TV purpose and made an early bid for Sports Personality of the Year by beating over-competitive Louise Hazel and Mike Tindall to The Jump victory.

A result that makes me forgive C4 for pre-recording two of the “live” final’s three events.

Davina McCall announced: “We have our final three. One of them will be crowned The Chump champion.”

Joey has it in the bag, then.

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THE Final Jump.

Promise, C4?

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CHRISTINE Bleakley on This Morning’s beauty slot: “Apparently, ladies, shaving your face is the secret to younger skin.”

Can’t say it’s helped any of the Loose Women.