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5 TELLY TALKING POINTS EastEnders, The Masked Singer UK and more

Here's what's got me talking this week...


It's that time of the week again when I tell you the five telly talking points of the week, and with a sneak peek at the second season of Squid Game, an emotional unmasking on The Masked Singer UK , two incredible soap moments and some news that's got everyone talking, it's been a busy week in the world of television.

Here are my 5 telly talking points of the week...

1. "I am very aware that I can never replace the iconic Paul in this wonderful series"

Alison Hammond being announced as the new presenter of For The Love of Dogs

When Paul O'Grady sadly passed away on the 28th March 2023, weeks before the launch of the 11th series of For The Love of Dogs, the future of his hit ITV1 show, in which he followed the ups & downs of life at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home was unknown.

This week, after much speculation ITV confirmed that the series will be returning, this time with presenter Alison Hammond at the helm.

With more abandoned and stray dogs in need of care than ever, the six-part series will tell the stories of some of the latest arrivals at Battersea, as Alison rolls up her sleeves and helps Battersea’s expert staff and volunteers to take care of the animals and get them ready for their potential new owners.

Speaking ahead of the new series, Alison Hammond said "I am very aware that I can never replace the iconic Paul in this wonderful series, but if I can continue to shine a light on the brilliant work done at Battersea and help to tell the stories of these beautiful dogs, then it will be an absolute privilege to give it my all. I can’t wait to share the joy of their searches for new loving forever homes and hopefully make lots of furry friends of my own along the way!"

Whilst a lot of opinions have been flying around on social media about Alison, I think it's wonderful that For The Love of Dogs is continuing as it does such a great job of highlighting the incredible work that Battersea do, and I believe that's what Paul O'Grady would have wanted.

I also believe that whilst Paul can never be replaced, Alison will bring a different tone to the show whilst maintaining some of that same warmth and charm that Paul had. To all the naysayers out there, why not wait until the series starts before judging her ability?

For The Love of Dogs will air on ITV1 and ITVX

2. "What are you doing here?"

Denise seeking help from an unlikely face in EastEnders

All soaps have their ups and downs, but one soap which has been at the top of its game for a very long time, is EastEnders.

As the fallout of what The Six did at Christmas continues, aside from Linda, someone else who's really struggling (and mourning the loss of her necklace), is Denise, played by Diane Parish who has always been one of my favourite actors in EastEnders, but is delivering some of her best performances to date at the moment.

It's rare that I watch EastEnders at 6am when it first drops on BBC iPlayer, but on Wednesday, having heard that it's a spoiler-filled episode, that's exactly what I did. And it did not disappoint.

With Denise having dreamt that Keanu buried her alive under the café floor, and a drunk Linda telling Alfie "The universe is punishing me for what I did at Christmas... ..."I want to drink myself to death for what I did to him!", Wednesday's episode was already delivering but it was the end of episode which completely took me surprise and saw my jaw hit the floor.

Following a conversation with Pastor Clayton, in which she was told to seek guidance from someone who has been where she is and might know a way out, we next see Diane in prison waiting to meet someone. But before I could make a guess as to who it might be, in walked her serial killer ex-husband Lucas, played by Don Gilet.

Thursday's episode saw Denise ask Lucas how he lives with what he did and as she breaks down in front of him, she's saved by the buzzer when Lucas notices that her necklace is missing. Was she about to confess all? Could Lucas offer her the way out she so desperately needs? One thing's for sure, I can't wait to keep watching to find out.

EastEnders continues Mondays to Thursdays at 7.30pm on BBC One with first look episodes available from 6am on BBC iPlayer

3. "I'm not leaving you, David."

David's heartbreaking death in Neighbours

In July 2022, millions came together to watch the finale of Australia’s longest-running drama, Neighbours after 37 years on our screens. But luckily, it wasn't long before the series was saved by Amazon Freevee who made the announcement in November 2022 before launching with four weekly episodes from 18th September 2023.

I'll admit that when news of Neighbours being axed broke, I hadn't watched for many many years, but for its final weeks, I got sucked back in and was genuinely gutted when it ended. So much so, that now 80 episodes into what's being described as the show's 'New Chapter', I have watched every single episode and with just the right mix of familiar new characters (Karl, Susan, Toadie, Paul Robinson etc.) and some great new additions, I'm loving it.

This week, we'd been promised an emotional story-arc involving Aaron Brennan, David Tanaka, Nicolette Stone, Leo Tanaka and Krista Sinclair going on a holiday retreat where not all goes as planned. And we knew that someone would not make it back to Erinsborough, but I was IN SHOCK as to who that character was.

The events leading up to the death began with the return of Eden who was last seen on screen in November. Now out of prison and having learnt that his ex is carrying his baby, Eden tracks Krista down during a romantic walk with Leo and confronts her near a cliffside, before Leo rushes to her rescue.

With Eden about to attack Leo with a rock, David rushes over to break the pair up but as he does so, both he and Eden plummet down the side of the cliff as everyone else watches on in total horror. Ending on a cliffhanger, we were left waiting to discover who out of Eden and David survived the fall and who didn't.

During some incredibly emotional scenes at the start of Thursday's episode, Aaron vowed not to leave David, who insisted that he take Eden to the hospital first, refusing to let someone else die as a result of his actions. Agreeing, Aaron told David "I love you." and they shared what became their final kiss as when he returned, David had already passed away and it was confirmed that he had died defending his brother

All the performances this week has been sensational, but hats off to Takaya Honda and Matt Wilson who delivered the most heartbreaking scenes this new chapter of Neighbours has scene. And if I wasn't sobbing enough already, then came the emotional slowed down theme music to end the episode.

With Ramsay Street facing the aftermath of this tragedy for weeks to come, keep an eye out for weekly Neighbours spoilers coming soon on the site.

Neighbours continues Mondays to Thursdays on Amazon Freevee

4. "I will find you. No matter what it takes."

Netflix giving us a first look at the second season of Squid Game

Squid Game is one of Netflix's most popular television series ever and quickly became a global phenomenon. It tells the story of a group of desperate contestants who risk their lives to become the final winner in a mysterious extreme survival game with a 45.6 billion won cash prize.

And after what feels like FOREVER (2 years, 4 months) and with a BRILLIANT real-life gameshow in between, Netflix have finally given us a first look at the second season of Squid Game confirming that it will return this year.

You can see the four new images here and below, as part of their 'Next on Netflix' video for 2024, Netflix included a 15 second preview (skip to 2:44) in which Seong Gi-hun, played by Lee Jung-jae, is told "You're going to regret the choice you made" before telling them "I will find you. No matter what it takes."

If you cast your minds back to the end of season one, not only did Gi-hun dye his hair red after winning the game, but he also refused to touch the prize money for an entire year and instead of boarding a plane to meet his daughter in America, he chose to stay in South Korea, with one interpretation being that he wants to get revenge on the creators of Squid Game. Could this be who Gi-hun is speaking to in that illegally short teaser?

All we do know about the highly-anticipated second season of Squid Game is that hero Gi-hun, after abandoning his plans to go to the United States, will begin a chase with an important motive.

Once again, Hwang Dong-hyuk helms the series as director, writer, and producer. Reprising their roles from season one will be Lee Jung-jae, Lee Byung-hun, Wi Ha-jun and Gong Yoo.

They'll star alongside new cast members, including Yim Si-wan, Kang Ha-neul, Park Gyu-young, Lee Jin-uk, Park Sung-hoon, Yang Dong-geun, Kang Ae-sim, Lee David, Choi Seung-hyun, Roh Jae-won, Jo Yuri, and Won Ji-an.

Squid Game returns later this year on Netflix

5. "I love this man!"

Davina McCall's emotional reaction to Dippy Egg's unmasking on The Masked Singer UK

This weekend's episode of The Masked Singer UK saw a double unmasking as Lenny Henry joined Jonathan Ross, Rita Ora, Davina McCall and Mo Gilligan on the panel and witnessed one of the most emotional unmaskings ever on the show.

Following last weekend's reveal that Owl was in fact daytime TV's Lorraine Kelly, just seven singers remained in the competition, it was up to the studio audience to decide who deserves to go through to next week's semi-final.

First to be unmasked was Dippy Egg, and Davina McCall was in complete shock as it was revealed to be radio and TV presenter Nicky Campbell who has presented alongside Davina on Long Lost Family for 13 years. Having stumped the panel for weeks, an emotional Davina couldn't believe what she was seeing and quickly ran down to join Nicky on stage when he was finally unmasked.

She told him "This is the best surprise, better than any birthday. I love this man! Nicky’s a friend, we've been working together for thirteen years and I can not believe I didn't recognise your voice, I didn’t recognise your singing voice. I know your singing voice. This is insane!"

Taking to the stage for one final time, this time unmasked, Nicky Campbell performed an emotional rendition Moon River as his emotions got the better of him as he sung to Davina, who was equally emotional and clearly moved by the whole experience.

Also unmasked this week was Maypole, who turned out to be Pussycat Doll Melody Thornton.

The Masked Singer UK continues Saturdays on ITV1 with all episodes so far available now on ITVX


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