EastEnders has never shied away from bringing back the odd legendary character; returns for Grant Mitchell, Peggy Mitchell and Janine Butcher are testaments to that. So it was no great surprise when recently departed boss Sean O’Connor announced the return of another legend…. er Robbie Jackson.
Not exactly headline grabbing stuff is it? Robbie is one of those characters who divides fans right down the middle. On one side there are those who hate him and on the other are those who… well hate him a little less. Those who have a soft spot for the character (myself included) were looking forward to his return. We needn’t have bothered.
The build up to Robbie’s entrance was subdued, even by Sean O’Connor’s standards. Carmel discussed a new market inspector with the traders and in turn, they all looked forward to seeing the new dude in action. When the time for him to show his face came and went, there was visible unrest among Donna, Kush and Martin. Then suddenly he was there – like a returning hero, complete with a gormless grin and badly fitting suit. Martin, in particular, was horrified.
Mr Fowler could not believe Robbie had risen from nothing to become the head honcho. Surely a mirror image of Sean O’Connor, who went from head honcho to nothing himself. What followed was an attempt at comedy that was about as funny as coming home to discover your house has been burgled. Robbie was always a little annoying – Under O’Connor’s regime; he is downright insufferable.
The traders were summoned to a team meeting that was held in a small dingy room. What made the writers think it was good viewing is unclear. Who wants to watch a show about meetings and annoying bosses when they’ve come home from their own jobs to get away from all that. On and on this farce went, until the traders had just about lost the will to live. By this point, most of the viewers had too.
Yet there were times when we felt sorry for Robbie. Yes, he was an idiot who dished out more corporate speak than a politician, but it was a little sad to see him subjected to cruel jibes from Donna. Martin tried to sit on the fence, a wise move given that Robbie is his ex-brother in law. Donna was her usual brash self:
“Admit you hate him.”
Martin refused to reply and decided that Robs was not a bad ‘ole’ bloke once you get to know him. Fast forward to the end of the episode however and Martin was about ready to punch Robbie’s lights out:
“I think I hate Robbie Jackson.”
He was only echoing the viewer’s thoughts at this point and one has to wonder how the writers on this show managed to make Robbie even MORE unlikeable than he previously was. It truly is up there with life’s greatest mysteries; along with who built the pyramids and why 21p Aldi noodles taste better than Bachelors ones. We may never know the answer to these questions but one thing we do know is that Sean O’Connor and his band of writers have ruined another character. Is anyone even shocked anymore?
Robbie may be back but he would have been as well staying away.
Did you enjoy Robbie Jackson’s return? Let me know in the comments below.
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