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Echo Beached

January 11, 2008

echo1.jpgWasn’t sure what to make of Moving Wallpaper/Echo Beach last night (ITV, 9-10pm). When I first heard of it, I relished the chance of something new, something different, something poking fun at itself. Kind of like Drop The Dead Donkey, but a soap. Yes, Moving Wallpaper (a dramedy about the making of a soap, aired before that soap) is all very post-modern and nudge, nudge, wink, wink, and parts of it were actually very funny (the new producer whipping out the soap award checklist and telling his writers they need to develop storylines around them) but parts were a bit media-wanky (especially because of that annoying, twattish James Lance who gets right up my nose for some reason). But because the comedy comes before the (supposed) serious soap, the (supposed) serious soap becomes a farce. Apparently it’s possible to watch Echo Beach without seeing Moving Wallpaper, and perhaps if you did it would make the soap less of a joke. But does the presence of Moving Wallpaper make you disengage with the characters in Echo Beach? They’re mere constructs after all. Or do you start thinking of them as actors playing characters, and does Echo Beach the soap become a totally different soap in itself? Is Echo Beach a soap that’s actually about actors playing characters in a soap called Echo Beach?

My head hurts.

The soap itself is a bit mediocre. It’s full of glossy, gorgeous ex-soapies: Him off Hollyoaks, Her off Footballer’s Wives (with McClusky off Grange Hill thrown in for good measure – brilliant!) But if you’re casting Martine McCutcheon and Jason Donovan in the lead roles, you expect a chirpy, cheeky cockerney lass and a strapping Australian hunk. Not (as was the case last night) two (very good) actors being stilted in their performances because they were trying their best to speak the Queen’s English. It was actually realty off putting. Donovan is actually great. I’d forgotten what a good actor he is and it’s wonderful to have him back doing what he does best (after the loin cloth of course). Martine, however, looked frumpy in a dress that we saw being chosen in Moving Wallpaper and had unfortunate wooden lines – “Go. And never come back.”

The young cast aren’t great, but then it’s rare you get a great young soap actor, and they usually improve with time (as I’m sure both shows will) as long as they stop “hunting for pussy” – made me cringe a bit, but then I *am* getting old… I’m hoping both the shows and the actors will be given the time and space to develop and hopefully this will turn into a cracking post-modern comment on today’s television. Either that or it’ll run out of steam and be off our sets come Christmas.


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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 16, 2008 5:00 pm

    Ever since I was a young boy, I ‘ve wanted to ravish McCutcheon.

  2. January 16, 2008 5:03 pm

    how young *are* you?

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