Saturday, 26 April 2008

The wonder of Walfotd

I wish I lived in Walford. Aside from the mix of colourful characters with colourful family lives and sociopathic neighbours, I want the wheelchair the Branning kid has. I only follow EastEnders so I don't know if Coronation Street and Emmerdale are awash with disabled characters. Maybe the sets are just like a Mobility Roadshow. with wheelchairs whizzing all over the place. All I do know is that wheelchairs and the disabled generally are peculiarly absent in and around the Square. There's Janet, of course, the child with Downs Syndrome, but I understand the character Honey, her mother, is leaving the show this summer and presumably will take her daughter with her. Besides, Janet is rarely seen out and even though she is under Two she seems to be able to look after herself whilst Billy's selling fruit and veg and Honey's doing service washes in the laundrette or both of them are socializing in the 'Vic.

Just recently we've had a few appearances of 'Hevver`s fearsome mother who uses a mobility scooter in much the same way as a ram raider goes shopping. She's not exactly disabled – unless you count malevolence as a disability.

And so at last along comes a bona-fide disabled character, Penny Branning, daughter of Jack, who is paralysed after a car accident. She has an amazing wheelchair. It apparently levitates down the steps of her father's flat and up the flight to her aunts. Either that or she has a team of engineers building ramps wherever she goes. Unfortunately it must be the most uncomfortable chair on the market.. I'm no expert (well I am actually) but those armrests look awfully high to me. How does the poor girl wheel herself? And her dads flat looks pretty small – does it have space for an adapted bathroom? What about Tanya's house. I've seen no evidence of a downstairs toilet. These things worry me. I think the problem is that the actress Mia McKenna Bruce is not actually paralysed, or indeed disabled in any way. I don't hold that against her you understand but it does mean that the producers don't have to think about the reality of the situation. Oh yes, and how many dropped curbs have you seen on Albert Square?

I suppose its no worse than Neighbours. Admittedly I haven't watched it since kylie and Jason got married but I seem to remember various characters going blind or being paralysed. in sundry accidents; milking the story line and then either going off for rehabilitation or more frequently benefiting from a miracle cure. And if I here one more character say they'd rather die than be in a wheelchair for the rest of their life...

Oh well, until next time, good bye.