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Friday 31 October 2014

Streets ahead... clash of soaps is comedy gold

The Children In Need telethon was a welcome diversion from the horror of Black Friday and the depressing conversation about it on The Late Late.

Although the elation in the studio when the charity hit the £10m mark brought home the true horror of our own financial situation...

The BBC pulled out all the stops to entice viewers last night and the best moment was undoubtedly the merging of Coronation Street and EastEnders as the Weatherfield and Walford casts paid each other a visit in 'East Street'.

I can only imagine the confusion for those who switched it on after arriving back from the pub.

Corrie's Sean, Eileen, Hayley and Sunita greeted Christian, Darren, Jane and Zainab upon their arrival in Weatherfield. Sean set his sights on Christian -- only to be knocked down -- while Zainab and Sunita squabbled about their Indian heritage.

Later, Eileen invited Zainab over for tea, which she almost spat out when she discovered that Eileen has both a gay son and a gay lodger staying with her.

Meanwhile, Dev and Michelle are on "holiday" in Albert Square. Dev leaves for a business meeting as Michelle bumps into Alfie who, it transpires, she met while on holiday in Spain.

Dev's meeting is with his soap parallel Masood at the Minute Mart. The pair soon get into a hilarious heated discussion about being "seen as Asian stereotypes".

Over in the Queen Vic, Kat is joined behind the bar by Liz McDonald, who shares her penchant for revealing leopardskin attire. Liz's clothes don't meet with Kat's full approval, though, because "skirts needs to be at least 12 inches from the waist".

Kat's temper is further ignited when she sees that her husband Alfie is getting on a little bit too well with old friend Michelle. When the two of them perform an impromptu rendition of You're The One That I Want, Kat storms over and orders Michelle out of the pub.

The funniest scene, though, was the conversation between Gail Platt and Denise Johnson, which was a gentle ribbing of the two soaps' often similar storylines.

Denise tells Gail that her husband is in jail for murdering her ex-husband. Gail smugly replies that her husband killed his ex-wife and their neighbour.

"But did he actually drive you into the canal?" challenged Gail when Denise revealed that her husband took her to a canal to kill her.

The cast put their differences aside and the writers brought the comedy up a few gears by lampooning the soaps' stereotypes and exaggerated storylines. Kudos to them all for poking fun at themselves in the name of good cause.

Many more popular programmes merged especially for the charity. A hybrid of Come Dine With Me and Dragons' Den saw the entrepreneurs trying their hand in the kitchen.

The competition was rife. "That's the most beautiful custard I've tasted," said Duncan Bannatyne as he sampled his own spoils. "That is the most disgusting dessert I've ever tried in my life," spat Peter Jones when he brought it to his mouth.

Theo Paphitis' Greek dish eventually took first prize, despite Jones pencilling in a lesson with revered chef Heston Blumenthal.Elsewhere, McFly's Harry Judd took on The Saturdays' Rochelle Wiseman for a special edition of Strictly Come Dancing. The BBC newsreaders performed Lady Gaga's Poker Face and the Loose Women panel took on Girls Aloud's The Promise.

The evening was co-presented by the ever-charming Terry Wogan who embodies a sincerity that is sorely amiss in the new guard of television presenter. A superlative host for a spectacular evening of television.

Children In Need (BBC1) HHHHH

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