IT'S amazing how a good old heart attack can inject a bit of life into a soap. Coronation Street has been in stasis since the conclusion of the dreary 'Who killed Frank?' non-mystery some weeks back, so it was left to Audrey Roberts's dodgy ticker to jolt everyone awake.
"I can't be doin' whirr any more stress," said Audrey during yet another heated row with tiny and malevolent David, The World's Most Ungrateful Grandson, and his grasping chav-shrew Lady Macbeth, Kylie, over ownership of the hair salon.
In terms of soap set-up lines, that's as clear a signifier that something bad is about to happen as a man on a three-legged stool next to an open window in an episode of Casualty.
And sure enough, within seconds -- whump! -- Audrey was slumping to the floor, clutching her chest in mortal pain and making a face even more agonised than Norris's last week when he revealed that barmaid Betty had been thoughtless enough to die without settling up her £4 paper bill in The Kabin.
"Me gran's 'avin' an arr attack!" whined David down his mobile to the emergency services, which I imagine at this stage must have a team of paramedics and police officers positioned on permanent standby around the corner from the viaduct.
His little pinched face squeezing into a lemon of remorse, David, refused a lift by his part-human, part-android brother Nick, had to make his own way to the hospital, only to be rebuffed all over again not just by Audrey and her boyfriend, posh reformed conman Lewis, but also by Gail, who finally appears to be growing a brain -- although there's still no sign of the bottom half of her face materialising.
Elsewhere, Coronation Street has received a major shot of adrenalin from the return of pantomime villain extraordinaire Terry Duckworth, who plans to open a lap dancing club using the £12,000 windfall of his long-lost son Tommy -- or rather long-sold son Tommy, since Terry famously auctioned him off to highest bidder when he was a baby.
To say Terry has filled out a bit since his last appearance is an understatement. He appears to have secreted a sofa up his shirtfront and is pointing his belly threateningly at anyone who gets in his way.
"Wages?" he barked, belly swivelling like a gun turret, after Tommy enquired about a salary. "Behave yourself! We're talking profit-sharing." Yeah, 50pc for Terry and the other 50pc for Terry.
"It's Sodom and Gomorrah all over again," bleated an appalled Norris, who'd just been assaulted by an auditioning lap dancer's bottom in the Rovers. "She could have someone's eye out with the bust on her!"
Between all this and inveterate idiot Sally's brief adventure in capitalism being crushed on the cobbles now that Carla has been left Frank's share of the knicker factory in his will, I'm predicting a vintage run in coming weeks.
Ireland's Worst Holiday Disasters, as it was billed in listings, on the TV3 website and in on-air promos, turned out to be plain old Ireland's Worst Holidays. Not that it made much of a difference. Even by the dubious standards of TV3's hysteria-driven documentaries, this set a new low in crassness.
True, four young Irish women lost their lives in the Air France flight 477 crash and there were two Irish victims of the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, two events that were covered here.
But how anyone can consider the Icelandic volcano ash cloud disruption, the Asian tsunami and the sinking of the Costa Concordia as being in any way "Irish disasters" defies belief.
Archive footage was crudely stitched together using the most tenuous of thread and the usual coterie of print journalists were on hand to offer their second-hand opinions. Scraping the bottom of the barrel is one thing; this was sucking the last traces of moisture from the scrapings.
coronation street HHHII ireland's worst holidays HIIII