Thursday 21 September 2017

Redwater: There are no donkeys but it's really really Oirish (and 9 other things we learned from the Eastenders spin-off)

It goes down well with viewers

Kat and Alfie: Redwater. Pictured: Kat (JESSIE WALLACE). See PA Feature TV Redwater. PA Photo/BBC/Patrick Redmond.
Kat and Alfie: Redwater. Pictured: Kat (JESSIE WALLACE). See PA Feature TV Redwater. PA Photo/BBC/Patrick Redmond.

Chris Wasser

Kat and Alfie Moon have moved to Ireland. Yep, Redwater premiered on RTE One last night. And the heavily-plugged EastEnders spin-off, which sees one of British soapland’s most annoying – sorry, iconic - couples, start a new life on the Emerald Isle, isn’t exactly off to the best start.

For the uninitiated, Redwater is a fictional town in Waterford. It’s also the place in which Kat (Jessie Wallace) from EastEnders, reckons her son grew up – the one that was taken away from her as a baby.

So, she and husband, Alfie (Shane Richie), have decided to seek out Kat’s long-lost child for themselves. They’ve left the twins back in London. Alfie is sick. They’re loaded. You’ll figure out the rest as we go along. We’re not in Albert Square anymore, lads. Anyway, here’s what we know after episode one. Spoilers ahead, obviously…

Redwater doesn’t seem to know what it’s called…

The telly guide had it listed as Kat & Alfie: Redwater. RTE and BBC advertised it as such. But, then, according to the fancy title sequence, it’s just ‘Redwater’. You can’t have it both ways, lads. Pick one.

Fionnuala Flanagan plays matriarch Agnes Byrne
Fionnuala Flanagan plays matriarch Agnes Byrne

Redwater’s title sequence is a hoot…

Think Glenroe meets True Detective, and begorrah and bejaysus, it’s a sign of what’s to come…

Redwater is definitely not EastEnders…

The only thing funnier than Kat and Alfie getting their own show, is Richie and Wallace telling members of the press that Redwater (or whatever the heck it’s called) isn’t a ‘spin-off’, but instead, a standalone, six-part drama. The thing is - we can finally see what they mean. Sort of. With so many supporting players vying for the spotlight (including Maria Doyle Kennedy, Peter Campion and Fionnula Flanagan), and various sub plots emerging throughout, Redwater is looking a lot less Kat & Alfie Go on Holidays and more like Kat and Alfie have wandered on to the wrong bleedin’ set…

There are no donkeys…

The last time EastEnders came to Ireland, in 1997, they made a holy show of us. Twenty years on and Redwater kicks thing off with Kat and Alfie arriving at their new home in a broken-down taxi which poor Alfie has to push up a hill. We’ll call that progress.

But it’s really, really Oirish…

To be sure, to be sure.  Redwater is the kind of place where everyone knows everyone else’s business and the, erm, local cowboy (Ian McElhinney, resplendent in hat and overcoat) rides his stallion to the beach every morning for a swim, before fixing everyone’s problems. Oh, and there’s a lot of alcohol consumed in this here town. Obviously.

The writing is shockin’, just shockin’…

Honestly, it’s like a bad play; a cold and tonally awkward mish-mash of hammy one-liners and things that no human being would ever say and/or do.  Our favourite clanger, though? “What made him go riding in the middle of the night?” We think whoever said it was referring to the cowboy on his horse. Maybe. Plus, the acting is dire.

It is not the new Broadchurch…

Nope. Definitely not. Killinaskully with notions, maybe, but definitely not Broadchurch. Or The Wicker Man…

Kat and Alfie: Redwater. Pictured: Kathleen (JESSIE WALLACE) and Alfie (SHANE RICHIE) . PA Photo/BBC/Patrick Redmond.
Kat and Alfie: Redwater. Pictured: Kathleen (JESSIE WALLACE) and Alfie (SHANE RICHIE) . PA Photo/BBC/Patrick Redmond.

Kat and Alfie have a new rainbow-coloured wardrobe…

And Alfie only brought one outfit to Waterford, it seems. You’d miss his leather coat.

Redwater doesn’t know what to do with poor Alfie…

First they make him push a taxi up a hill. Next, they dress him up as a lollipop man in a community race. Then they try to make him walk off a cliff. Then he climbs up another cliff and has to be saved by a hipster priest. What next? Alfie drowns in a pint of Guinness?

The whole thing is actually about a killer priest…

Yep, and not just any killer priest, but one who develops a murderous streak because – wait for it – the milk man delivered orange juice to the church after he specifically asked them not to. And Father Trendy (Oisín Stack) hates orange juice. Well, whaddaya know? It’s barmier than EastEnders. That’s quite an achievement.

Redwater continues on RTE One next Sunday at 9.30pm.

Kat and Alfie: Redwater. Pictured: Alfie (SHANE RICHIE). See PA Feature TV Redwater. PA Photo/BBC/Patrick Redmond.
Kat and Alfie: Redwater. Pictured: Alfie (SHANE RICHIE). See PA Feature TV Redwater. PA Photo/BBC/Patrick Redmond.

Viewers were divided on the new series, with as many praising it as not:

Kat and Alfie: Redwater. Pictured: Kat (JESSIE WALLACE). See PA Feature TV Redwater. PA Photo/BBC/Patrick Redmond.
Kat and Alfie: Redwater. Pictured: Kat (JESSIE WALLACE). See PA Feature TV Redwater. PA Photo/BBC/Patrick Redmond.

 

 

Read more: WATCH: Meet the Byrnes and see the village of Redwater ahead of series debut

Choppy waters ahead for 'Eastenders' Irish spin-off

Online Editors

Editors Choice

Also in Entertainment