Eastenders New Year’s Day ~ Episode Review

New year, new television programme to include in Break A Leg’s episode reviews, the first programme being Eastenders. I am aiming to round-up each week’s episodes but to kick-start, here’s my take on the dramatic scenes that took place in the first instalment of 2017.

It has been no secret that Ronnie (Samantha Womack) and Roxy (Rita Simons) were going to be exiting the soap without an option to return. The Mitchell sisters have been almost as iconic as the Mitchell brothers, although I think their imminent demise has been met with mixed reactions from the viewing public. The photos that had initially emerged last year seemed to indicate that alcohol would play its part in the tragic double death of the sisters, Ronnie was pictured in her wedding dress with her reprobate sibling at her side while they perch precariously on top of a building. As last night’s tragic tale unfolded that building was revealed to be the hotel that Ronnie had become Mrs Branning, at.

Programme Name: EastEnders - TX: 11/01/2016 - Episode: 5209 (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: Jack Branning.  Jack Branning (SCOTT MASLEN) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Kieron McCarron
Picture Shows: Jack Branning. Jack Branning (SCOTT MASLEN) – (C) BBC – Photographer: Kieron McCarron

It was all going as well as events can for Eastenders, Roxy agreed to give her sister away after Phil (Steve McFadden) was declared too unwell to leave hospital. As a well wish, their cousin had arranged for a Thelma and Louise style car to whisk the girls away in style. A London bus had already transported the rest of the wedding party off for the celebrations. However, the first fly in the ointment appeared when Roxy felt unable to be party to the nuptials given that Ronnie had not yet told Jack (Scott Maslen) that she wanted Roxy to move with them to start their new life. Ronnie can’t move without her sister and she’s soon back-tracking on her solo trot up the aisle. However, in true Ronnie and Roxy style, they reconcile with Jack’s blessing for Roxy to join them in Ongar and the wedding is back on.

The wedding reception is a full on knees up with the sisters taking centre stage, dancing, having group selfies and a spark striking up between Roxy and Max (Jake Wood). Retiring to their respective bedrooms with twenty minutes to go until midnight, it seems that Roxy and Ronnie’s shenanigans are not finished. While Jack is reading Cinderella to the children (which is quite haunting in itself, given the clock that is shown at various intervals) and Max is waiting for a spot of how’s your father with his sister-in-law’s sister, the dynamic duo are roaming about the hotel. We see the red herring roof scene where there could quite easily be a mishap, particularly given Ronnie’s impersonation of the key scene from Titanic – how apt!

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 23/12/2016 - Programme Name: EastEnders - January-March 2017 - TX: 01/01/2017 - Episode: EastEnders - January-March 2017 - 5416 (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: Ronnie & Roxy are racing each other to jump in the pool. Ronnie Mitchell (SAMANTHA WOMACK), Roxy Mitchell (RITA SIMONS) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy
Picture Shows: Ronnie & Roxy are racing each other to jump in the pool. Ronnie Mitchell (SAMANTHA WOMACK), Roxy Mitchell (RITA SIMONS) – (C) BBC – Photographer: Guy Levy

However, the swimming pool is the final resting place for two of the soap’s most popular and enduring characters. With Roxy diving in, never to surface again and Ronnie misguidedly jumping in after her in full wedding get-up including a pesky veil… I expect most of you saw the rest.

What struck me with the exit storyline is that the filming was pretty spectacular and the parting shot, though incredibly sad, was also poignant. Plus, if this sends any sort of message to viewers, it’s that intoxication and swimming don’t mix.

The unfortunate end to a happy day aside, I was also impressed with the showdown between Mick (Danny Dyer) and Lee (Danny-Boy Hatchard). It was every bit as memorable as a part of the episode as the departures which led to silence as the credits rolled.

Well done, Eastenders!

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