Tuesday, April 03, 2007

In Praise of Barry Grant

A few years ago, I used to be a huge fan of the soaps. But then things changed. In short, I got a life. And I stopped having time to watch all the soaps every day. But I enjoy working at a soap magazine, and I still tune in to the odd episode of EastEnders of Coronation Street. Which was how I found myself watching Tracy Barlow's trial in Corrie last night. But rather than being horrified by the result, I was left dumbstruck at the sight of Sinbad-from-Brookside waddling around with a bacon sarnie in his flabby gob. What's that all about?

In it's heyday, Brookie was up there with EastEnders as one of the finest soaps on telly. Harry Cross, Amanda Redman, the Jordaches, Terry Sullivan and his moustache... even the siege, the rare disease and – my personal favourite – Mike Dixon being locked up in a Bangkok jail for smuggling heroin in little Kylie's teddy bear. But nowhere in that list did you see mention of a little fat man whose only major storylines involved 1) washing windows badly and 2) shagging Mandy Jordache. So why do we need him on Corrie? (Mind you, for a programme that considers Hear'Say drop-out Kym Ryder to be an actress, what else can we expect?)

However, the one character that all the soaps should bring back is Barry Grant, played by the lovely, menacing and whispering Paul Usher. Barry Grant is one of my top two soap villains of all time - along with (original) Dirty Den.

Barry Grant - here's a man who infiltrated a cult, was involved in murder, drug smuggling and gun plots - but it's OK, because he loves his mum. Barry Grant - he was there from the first episode and he became the best recurring character a soap could ever wish for - even appearing in the (awful) final episode. He was a scally, he had a 'tash, he was bezzie mates with Tel (even though he shagged his wife and fathered her child), and he was never far from a warehouse with an industrial-sized freezer, just the right size for a human body. He was a legend.

Sod Sinbad, he's a fat, podgy insult to the legend of Brookie - in the words of Bazza, "just do one, will you?"


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Paul said...

Barry Grant. I liked all the Grants. They were my soap family. Well, them or the Jacksons in EastEnders... RIP