Archie Mitchell’s murder… a bit Midsomer?

by Lynn Connolly

Was anyone else sitting watching last night’s EastEnders saying, “That would never happen…” over and over again?

My family and I were. It started when the opening scenes showed Ronnie cradling Archie’s head. She hated him, she said so many times, before and after his death, so why do that?

Then there was Roxy’s reactions which went from a kind of shock to resignation and fondly remembering the “old days”. And all this while Archie’s body was on the floor.

And then Jack came in, who’s an ex-copper, and what does he do? STEPS over the body several times, narrowly avoiding stepping into a spreading pool of Archie’s red food colouring.

He got Ronnie and Roxy a brandy each and finally, he decided it might be an idea to call the plod, so off he went after instructions to Dumb and Dumber to stay put and touch nothing. So what do they do? Move about and touch everything.

They went upstairs to check out the rifled rooms, happily picking stuff up and generally messing up the crime scene altogether. Not content with that, they then put a blanket over Archie, hence screwing up any fibre evidence too.

Meanwhile, Jack – who we can only assume contacted the police by pigeon carrier, so long was he gone – came back and said the police were on their way. And again, I suspect the police were racing to the scene on donkey-back, because they took about 12 years to arrive.

However, once there, with no sign of SOCO or senior officers, a PC began to question Ronnie and Roxy. Ronnie then set off on a panic attack, so on that basis alone – or at least, that’s how it seemed – the youngest PC ever decided to arrest her on suspicion of Archie’s murder.

But, so far, nobody had officially declared him dead. Which sounds daft given it was obvious he was, but a forensic doctor has to declare him dead before he officially is, therefore, Ronnie was arrested before anybody a) said Archie’s was definitely dead and b) who said it was murder? Maybe Queen Vic’s bust fell on his head?

We know it didn’t but in theory, PC Stupid didn’t.

I mean, can you imagine the lawsuit that would’ve ensued if this wasn’t actually lala land? It might’ve gone something like this…

Solicitor: “So you arrested my client, the grieving and shocked daughter of the deceased, for a murder before you knew there had been one? And what made you decide to arrest her?

Constable: “Well, she wasn’t being co-operative and she was panicky and annoying.”

Solicitor: “I see. What amount will be award made to my client your Honour?”

And let’s not forget about the man-mountain of a copper who was ineffectually trying to put up crime scene tape – before anyone knew it was a crime scene, but hey ho – who couldn’t stop pocket-sized Peggy from running into the Vic. The coppers in the pub didn’t stop her either. Nobody at the door to stop anyone ruining further the already trashed scene? I think not.

All of the amateurish and poorly researched procedure – not to mention just plain human reaction to something so hideous – ruined it for me. And that’s a shame because it could very easily have been done better.

It was all too Agatha Christie for me to suspend my disbelief. Suspects everywhere in various states of murderous angst, and Peggy’s snarling glare from behind the bushes before the deed was done was very Poirot.

As was Peggy’s reaction to hearing Archie was dead when Phil told her. And just by the by, Peggy had just got through rollocking Sam for being seen out and about when the door went and Sam answered it. Way to keep a low profile. But Peggy didn’t mind that it seems.

Anyway, when Phil told her Archie was dead, what was her reaction? Relief? Joy? After all, not long before, she’d been wanting him dead herself of course. But no, she went into grieving widow mode and moaned, “’E was my ‘usband!” between sobs. Yep, really likely.

So what did you think of it? OTT and ludicrously unbelievable or a fun bit of nonsense and you enjoyed it anyway, despite the gaping holes in the plot?


Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.