Judy Bennett (Shula Hebden Lloyd)
Poor Shula got a right mouthful from Darrell this week as he told her he never wanted to see her again and to stop interfering in his life. "I'm sick of playing a sucker to make your empty life worthwhile" was his parting comment. So you won't be moving into the Stables then Darrell?
What had Shula done? She decided that The Elms should know that one of their down and outs, Eric, had been aggressive towards his fellows. As a result, Eric was banned and he took it badly – when he found Darrell begging on his patch, Eric accused him of grassing him up and gave him a good kicking. Nice one Shula – not only is Darrell still on the streets but now he's got a black eye and sore ribs to boot.
Shula is very upset, telling Alistair that she's made it ten times worse and should she seek out Darrell and apologise? I think that if Darrell saw you approaching Shula, he'd have it away on his toes before something even nastier happened to him. Fortunately Alistair tells her to leave Darrell alone, so the poor sod has a chance of surviving for another week at least.
I fear for the health of Helen and Rob's lips as we are subjected to long periods of silence, ended by what sounds like a mini sink plunger as they come up for air before doing it all over again. At least we are not being subjected (yet) to sounds of Tom and Kirsty playing tonsil hockey, but give them time. Tom took her to a food exhibition and then they went to a bird reserve, where Kirsty reminded him that he hadn't mentioned business, sausages or Ready Meals for over an hour. Carry on like that and he'll be being mistaken for a normal human being.
There was a ray of hope when Brenda came back to the village (we learn that she's no longer with Dmitry, but as we non-listeners to Ambridge Extra haven't a clue who the hell Dmitry is, it's hard to be sympathetic). We also learn that she is staying with Zac, Dmitry's friend, but we don't know who he is either. Brenda invited Tom to the pub and, when Kirsty turns up on business, she sees the two of them sitting together and apparently getting on well, so she leaves, feeling uncomfortable. Is this the end of the fledgling Tom/Kirsty romance? I hope so, but I fear not.
It seems that we might have another budding romance on our hands, as Jamie spends a lunchtime with Rosa. Whether this is motivated by feelings of romance or the fact that she gives him half her sandwiches remains to be seen. Al least he's stopped sighing.
Joe's accident made the front page of the Echo, together with a scathing diatribe from Eddie, who keeps photographing Joe's bruises as evidence to give to his solicitor. There is much talk about how low Joe is and how all the fight has gone from him (but not the surliness and mean-spiritedness, unfortunately) and Eddie demonstrates how unobservant he is when he says that this is the first time that he's seen Joe as an old man. For God's sake – didn't the figures 9 and 2 on the birthday cake give you a hint?
Joe lays a guilt trip on Ed by talking about Bartleby standing all alone in the field, wondering where Joe has got to and feeling lonely. Personally, I reckon Bartleby is opening the champagne and thinking "Great! Another day without being pestered by that miserable old git!" However, all good things have to come to an end and Ed and George go and bring Bartleby back to see Joe. Joe is overjoyed but an annoyed Bartleby tramples him into the ground. All right, he doesn't, but I can dream, can't I?
Jolene and Lilian have planned the hen night – a pamper day at a top hotel and spa. Presumably Lilian will fill the swimming pool with gin to stop the bar staff being run off their feet. On the other hand, Jamie and Kenton aren't having much luck with organising the stag night. Abroad is out of the question, so Jamie's first suggestions (Amsterdam or Prague) are out of the window. Kenton is confident that Jamie will come up with something, but the way things are going, I reckon they'll end up at Jaxx. Either that or a quiet night in at The Bull.
At last we learned why Martyn Gibson has been so horrible to Kathy. When he rubbishes her suggestions for a short list for the vacant chef's job, it all gets too much and she tells him to stick his job and she leaves that very day. Martyn is unperturbed and, as Kathy leaves, Lee the golf professional tells her that Martyn has already offered Kathy's job to Gemma, the wife of the newly-appointed General Manager, Nicholas. "I've been stitched up!" an outraged Kathy says. Tell you what Kathy, go and have a word with Eric and tell him that it was Martyn Gibson who grassed him up to The Elms – that'll teach the smug sod a lesson.