Eastenders by Alan Moore

There was a lot of controversy surrounding the tentacled apparition that reached from the quantum rift in the park in his first week as head writer. However, the time was quiet, favouring a low boil introducing new characters and events to the BBC’s London-based soap opera.

That week introduced us to Derek Mitchell, the brother from Earth 342 who enjoys re-created Victorian operatic displays and begins fitting orgone energy detectors to the back of all the vehicles in the shop. He’s having a relationship with Emmanuelle who now runs the tinker’s shop restoring brass-ware, and is raising Enod-429, a robot who looks like an infant.

Meanwhile, we learn Ian Beale to everyone’s surprise has reached his 100th birthday, and the physiological hour stops Ian shedding women from his skin. Instead, each one from the past begins returning to him and he’s forced to go on the run. TV Quick, What’s On and Teat Guide focus on the zombies, but Ian’s anniversary causes much consternation and disruption to Albert Square life.

A gang with tea cosies on their heads take The Queen Vic with firearms. They just want barrels of beer. It is too far to go to the brewery. If they are quick they can get them back across the road and up three steps. Nobody is sure who they are but when they get to the basement they find Jack Brannon is working on tech developed from the Higgs Boson Particle Accelerator. As he is rumbled, the tech is no help in tracking the  thieves, but they spill beer into it, producing a unique gold flake which he is able to synthesise and reproduce. It becomes the bar’s speciality and drives business.

As the beer makes it’s way through the taps and then the water supply of the Square it affects the perspectives of those who have drank it to were they see past the strict binaries of monogamous relationships. Thus, they are all reunited with their partners. Ian Beale gets the support to help him embrace polygamy. This is confirmed in the joyous celebration, DotCottonFest. Albert Square under a happy banner of inflatable Dot. Everybody is vaping. Moore is quoted as snorting when a critic praises “the Constantinuity”

Fans suspect the Beeb had put pressure on Alan for the halloween story in which Alfie Moon becomes the moon. There is a huge dance to celebrate his ascension at the new Walford nightclub, Chi. However, in the basement, David Watts discovers his deceased father (Dirty) Dennis’s spirit being summoned from after-death by Bianca Butcher. Bianca falls into a trance. She tells David she was behind the beer robbery. She was only taking part in the ritual because someone found out: Patrick Trueman, and he was blackmailing her. Trueman, she says, was the same person who engineered Alfie’s ascension to gethim and other witnesses out of the way. The building began to shake, from the tentagram in the basement to the plasticine disco.  At Number 8, Enod-429 runs into her mother’s room and the lights go out across the square..

Before Saturday morning, The Daily Mail had seized on the black magick storyline and the lead to Afro-Carribean background actor Rudolph Walker’s involvement. Moore was accused of perpetuating nig-nog stereotypes and the following afternoon, pictures of his house went on the website. By Sunday, The Mail Online published photo’s of the writer’s bedsheets highlighting pubes and possible sperm with the caption, “what a beautful pattern, who’s fancy now?” The reportage drew wide condemnation and an emergency meeting at the BBC. At this time, Moore told Glycon, he was fucked off and going to live on a new planet he had discovered.

There were minor reservations in the BBC, but the following week’s storyline ran as planned. Trueman had exploited Derek Mitchell’s technology to bring five great villians through a trans-hub door-mensional through-stream. Al Capone, Ronnie Biggs, Charlie Croker, Bernie Maddoff and Pablo Escobar materialised in the basement of the nightclub. Although David Watts escaped, Bianca Butcher was made into their hell-dog. The building went on fire, a pivotal part of Moore’s long-term plan to have Denise Fox join the Fire Service. Phil and Derek attempt to get the Square’s electricity supply running again, but accidentally blast Janine through a cloud. Fears grow for the missing Bianca over the course of Tuesday, until people decide it’s probably for the best. David Watts confides in Emmanuelle, who cannot cope and goes on a brass-polishing craze. Meanwhile, the criminal gang abduct Enod-429 and blackmail Derek and Phil into helping them. Their goal appears to be to punch through to reality using the conceptual tube lines, although when a Coca-Cola salesman comes across Ronnie Biggs in the Queen Vic, the great train robber is seduced into becoming a representative for the pop.

Moore’s “Reign of the Greys” storyline was to have been a hyper-media narrative, with manifestations of Al Capone popping up on Strictly Come Dancing and Bernie Maddoff’s expansion plans being thwarted by Cbeebies’ Bob the Builder. The post-Moore phase was actually very good but few dared say it was better. Some elements remained. The conspiracy syndicate was broken up when Escobar’s tank was destroyed by Janine Butcher returned to Earth as an ice missile. Other elements of Moore’s plan were not retained. Rather than being valiantly defeated in the five nights a week serial, Bernie Maddoff still hangs about Albert Square like a bad smell, laughing at teenagers and stealing their game systems.

Enod-429 may be long gone, but there are increasingly hairy babies born in Walford nowadays and the Northampton-man influenced Curt Vile lager is on tap at The Vic.

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