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SHELLEY ViSiON: My despair at Albert Square.

Byline: JIM SHELLEY

I GAVE up on EastEnders after the arrival of Kevin Wicks's terrifying ex-wife Shirley - a woman so hard-as-nails, she makes Pat Butcher look like Dora The Explorer.

Kevin's children - Deano and Carly - never knew their muvver. Fair enough. But no sooner had they met they quickly learnt Kevin wasn't their father. They then discovered they were only half-bruvver and sister. The Waltons eat your heart out, eh?

Next, even though Kevin ranted on and on about how much he 'ated Shirley's guts, before you knew it, he'd slept with 'er.

Me? I'd had enough - especially when Stella (a solicitor) not only got together with arch criminal/ thug Phil Mitchell, but started terrorising his son Ben (the Milky Bar Kid).

By now I was sounding like Phil - screaming: "Do me a favour! You're making my 'ead 'urt!"

Last week was my first week back to the soap.

MONDAY

KEV is yet to organise his best man, his wedding suit - all the things every groom in EastEnders fails to arrange only four episodes before their wedding.

The 'appy couple were of course none too 'appy.

"If Deano's not going to be there, then you're not going to be 'appy. And then I'm not going to be 'appy," Denise moaned. So no change there then.

Stella was jealous of Ben's computer.

"You get all the presents don't you?" she mocked. "I wanted your daddy to get me something. But he was too busy spoiling his crying, whingeing little best mate."

She doesn't seem to do much soliciting - or whatever they call it.

TUESDAY

PHIL tells Stella they should "do their engagement properly", gives her a grand, and tells her to go and buy herself a ring. When she complains, he proposes again - in a lay-by, with the ring hidden in a burger bun. And they say romance is dead!

In an unexpected sub-plot, Count Dotula and Jim Branning have got a baby. This is probably the one thing that could make EastEnders more irritating - a screaming baby crying in every scene.

It turns out the bay-bay was left with Dot by Enya.

Amazing! Or was it "Anya"?

THURSDAY

PAT and Shirley have been banged up. No, thankfully not in that way, but in Walford nick after re-enacting a fight between Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks outside the Queen Vic which was mysteriously witnessed by no one.

Upon their release, it was time for the traditional wedding-day black taxi race as Shirley decided to tell Denise she had slept with Kevin. Pat - looking like a cross between Christopher Walken and Boris Yeltsin and dressed in gold BacoFoil like a giant Christmas cracker - had to stop her.

Meanwhile, Kevin was confessing to Denise anyway.

"But you hate her!" Denise pointed out rather pedantically.

FRIDAY

NEXT, a heart-to-heart set in the toilets that was so comically miserable, it was like a Catherine Tate sketch.

"So you only asked me to marry yer cos yer feel guilty!" Denise accused Kev.

"I'm not 'aving that!" he complained.

"'Ave it!" she threatened. "Cos it's true!"

By now they were both talking like Pat. In. Short. Sharp. Menacing. Sentences.

Kevin pointed out Denise had slept with her ex, something everyone in soap has to do. He exited to be replaced, conveniently, by Big Shirley, the human Terrahawk.

"You're snide," Denise accused.

"I only deal in trooff."

"You get off on seeing people suffer."

"Well you've got to 'ave an 'obby," Shirley admitted, which was big of her - like everything else.

Suddenly, Denise saw the light.

"Why should WE be unhappy just because you are?"

It sounded like a cry we could make to the writers of this joyless misery-fest.

CAPTION(S):

UNHAPPY COUPLE: Kevin and Denise
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 1, 2007
Words:619
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