Couch Potato: Breaking Bad in Albert Square

Breaking Bad
Breaking Bad

In the hit US drama Breaking Bad, a chemistry teacher stricken with cancer turns to crime, selling drugs to provide for his family.

So it’s a complete mystery where the bozos behind EastEnders came up with their latest whacko storyline.

Only instead of Walter White, it’s cafe waitress Carol Jackson considering desperate measures to protect her kids from the bailiffs.

And rather than crystal meth, it’s cannabis, with useless Tina the lesbian in the role of Aaron Paul’s Jesse Pinkman.

When I say this was the most convincing plot of the week in Walford, you’ll have some idea how stir-fry loopy this soap has become.

Not that it hasn’t enjoyed a mini resurgence under new showrunner Dominic Treadwell-Collins.

He’s introduced Danny Dyer’s Mick Carter and his Timothy West father Stan, both among my top 10 characters to have emerged from E20.

Sadly, though, at the expense of Shane Richie’s Alfie Moon who’s been shunted, like Wayne Rooney to England’s left wing, to cover Fatboy’s alleged “comedy” role during actor Ricky Norwood’s two-month suspension for a dodgy video.

EastEnders may have its plaudits but you can pull apart its make-no-sense plots for fun.

The Jackson household got its first final-demand letter just four days after financially flash patriarch David Wicks departed the scene.

In June, Ronnie upped and left, Johnny upped and left (then returned), Honey returned then upped and left, and for all I care, Bonnie, Connie, Donny and Yasmin Le Bonny upped and left too.

And for every Mick and Stan there’s an Aleks (the man of a thousand accents, none of them Latvian), Tamwar the IT genius who’s settled for assistant market inspector, Martin the no-show poltergeist and some spectacular overacting by Dean(o).

It’s the World Cup, though, that’s catapulted this show out of reality’s orbit.

England’s final group match wasn’t shown in the Vic because of Linda’s karaoke night, with not a squeak of complaint in a pub that, for the BBC’s all-embracing politically correct mantra, has every country’s flag as bar bunting.

Then on Monday Tina/Jesse Pinkman asked landlord Mick: “Are there some spare shifts going? There must be some, what with the football.”

Yes, Tina. It’s crammed in the Vic. That Greece v Costa Rica game, so dull even the ref stated booking subs sat on the bench, really pulled in the punters.

And as if that failure to acknowledge England’s premature exit wasn’t laughable enough, the track playing on the jukebox at that moment was Another Star by Stevie Wonder – the BBC’s World Cup theme.

Now, it could be that the entire Songs in the Key of Life double album is on the playlist.

Personally, I’d lean towards another possible explanation.

The producers actually thought Danny Welbeck would lead England to World Cup glory.

And, even more astonishingly, everyone would be la-la-la’ing Stevie Wonder instead of ITV’s vastly superior title song.

That’s EastEnders, though. In la-la land.


BBC1’s Alan Shearer on Argentina’s Angel Di Maria: “He tried on the left, he tried on the right, he tried cutting in. The number of times he cut in and hit the front man with his balls.”

Frankly I’m amazed he could run at all after that.


This week’s Couch Potato Spudulikes...

BBC2’s epic The Honourable Woman.

Belgium’s enthralling World Cup victory over USA.

Aussie kid Nick Kyrgios’s through-the-legs winner in dumping Rafa Nadal out of Wimbledon.

C5’s publicity material for The Trial of Gillian Taylforth re-enactment: “Newspapers were printing blow-by-blow accounts.”

Big Brother’s Mark on being up for eviction: “I’ve been made an escape goat.”

The Jeremy Kyle Show host telling a waste-of-oxygen guest: “When the lie-detector test was being taken in your hotel room you actually wrestled with the examiner.”

John Barrowman revealing on The One Show husband Scott’s reaction to his MBE: “Yeah, Massively Big Ego.”

And This Morning’s seamless link from an image of a surgically enhanced, enormous penis to Holly Willoughby announcing: “Mark Wright’s in the Hub.”


Three days of mud and morons and what’s to show? A peak audience of 2.6 million, a pitiful return for the Beeb sending 300 staff to Glastonbury.

Only two noteworthy events in BBC3’s treehouse – Kasabian’s Tom Meighan making an arrogant tit of himself and grinning simpleton Gemma Cairney vanishing up Kelis’s backside...

“I have the goddess here. I’m in awe. People who saw you were fizzing with golden delight. I would love to be as amazing as you. Three tips to be Kelis?”

One, go to America. Two, stay there. Three, that’s it.


C4’s The Secret Life of Students revealed university undergraduates get rat-arsed, act like toddlers, sleep around, spread venereal disease and are the most compelling known argument for compulsory chemical castration.

No idea why they kept it so secret.


This week’s Couch Potato Spuduhates...

TV adverts failing to ditch England’s football flops.

The BBC treating Sherlock’s next series as “breaking news”.

ITV carelessly airing a Benidorm repeat with Les singing Two Little Boys, the day after the Rolf Harris verdict.

Good Morning Britain completely misjudging the Rolf Harris story by finding a friend to insist: “He’s not a child molester.” Worse, smirking Sean Fletcher, back from Brazil, wearing flip-flops in the studio.

And John Barrowman going all Smashie and Nicey, telling This Morning: “There are lots of things I do for charity that I don’t talk about,” before talking about the lots of things he does for cheridee that he doesn’t like to talk about.


BBC commentator Guy Mowbray at Belgium v USA: “Argentina is the prize for whoever goes through.”

And one more victory means they get to keep the Falkland Islands too.


A line-up to relish on Celebrity MasterChef – Biggins, Kiki Dee, Tina Hobley, Charley Boorman and Jason Connery, who had me imagining his dad: “He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to John and Gregg.”

Especially as he revealed: “I’m nervous. I want to quell that into an energy bubble.” You’re frying courgette fritters, Jason. Calm down.

Biggins, meanwhile, was name-dropping: “As my friend Joan Collins said, it’s best to have three or four dinner parties in a row because you save on flowers.”

Though, in Biggins’ case, I prefer her later work.

“Zip it, shrimpy.”


This week’s Emergency On-Screen Legal Disclaimer of the Week award goes to...

ITV1+1, 10.50pm on Tuesday, as Benidorm goes blank: “If you can see this it means...”

It means we’ve cocked right up and didn’t bother checking for Rolf Harris references in a Benidorm repeat.


Big Brother’s Winston reciting a poem to Danielle: “Such a beautiful girl, her name is Danielle. When I first saw her I said, ‘Cor, f***ing hell’.

“Got a hard-on when I saw her in the shower, concealing in my pants like the Eiffel Tower.

“She’s got a great body, shaped like an hourglass. Pretty face and couldn’t keep my eyes off her arse.”

You old romantic, you.