Monday, 27 August 2007


Forgetting it was Sunday when the TV schedules are all over the place, I switched on for the lunchtime news and found myself in the middle of Eastenders, which I hadn’t seen for many years; by an extraordinary piece of luck I had tuned in just in time to catch a line of dialogue which must be one of the finest in the soap’s twenty-two year history.

I never latched on to the background of the episode, but playing a major part in it was a sad, lonely, fat, unattractive woman who I gathered had, apart from all her other problems, lost her job. She gave out a wail of anguish comparable to Ian McKellen’s in his 1969 Richard II: “I live with bread like you, feel want, taste grief, need friends", when he made the last two words a cry full of pain and desolation. The memory of the line from Eastenders will stay with me for a very long time:

“I’m not even good enough to sell cheese!”

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