Sunday, 14 April 2013

Charlie Brooks – Before And After

Charlie Brooks is the actress who plays Janine Butcher in Eastenders and shouldn’t be confused with Charlie Brooker, the TV Columnist and Black mirror writer.

Charlie Brooks workout regime contains a warm-up session, disco, combat and high intensity workout section and a Pilates cool down. Whereas Charlie Brooker’s would no doubt consist of gruelling allegory in a dystopian alternative reality. With knob jokes.

The Charlie Brooker Workout
Brooks is joined by Dee Thresher, the go-to Fitness coach for Eastenders actors. Dee has also appeared in a fitness-guru capacity on GMTV and Daybreak and is according to the internets, currently in a relationship with TV Doctor Nice, Dr Hilary Jones. At least, she has a link to his website from hers which I believe is how declares one’s intentions these days.

Da daaa! It's Dee.

Dee has also appeared in workout DVDs for Eastenders’ Natalie Cassidy and Letitia Dean although Brooks was the first so this is evidently where Dee got the taste for it. When I say first, I mean Charlie was the first to work with this particular trainer, not first to release a workout DVD , obviously. She was preceded by Patsy Palmer, Lucy Benjamin, Zoe Lucker and Barbara Windsor.

You know what would be handy? If someone were to produce a  handy visual guide to all the actors in Eastenders who have released workout DVDs including the date of release and the years in which they were part of the Eastenders cast.

Heh. I say ‘somebody’. I mean me, obviously. It’s not like I have anything more productive to do with my life. So here you go, world premier of CLCW’s official Workout-releasing Eastenders Actors Knowledge Sheet. Or WEAKS for short. You’re welcome, World.

Please click here for the larger version. Please. Don’t make me have put this together for nothing

This workout starts with a bit of background and Charlie’s early sessions which are shot documentary-style. We see her weigh herself for the first time and then cut to footage of her working out.

Original unsuccessful version of that John Lewis advert

“Doing the workout for the first time is the fun bit” intones the voiceover lady seriously. “But will it ever work?”

Well you see, Voiceover Lady, there’s not much point in the ramping up the tension because we already know that it’s going to work. New-look slim Charlie just told us so. Plus there’s a massive spoiler on the front of the DVD box itself. The bit where it says “This works! “

Warning: Contains Spoilers

Difficulty Level
Most of the routines were needlessly complicated. Dee seemed to under the impression we were learning a dance routine even when we just doing squats and lunges.  “And now lets put it all together and go from the top!” she’d shout enthusiastically. We’re not performing  a cabaret act here, Dee.

Charlie’s face was furrowed in concentration for most of the workouts and this is a girl who had supposedly done these routines dozens of times before.

Weirdest Bit
This isn’t specific to this workout but I was reading the warning bit that pops up at the beginning telling you not to do the workout if you’ve just eaten a heavy meal or are drunk or have taken lots of drugs and stuff. There is a line in it which says “Before consulting this or any other fitness regime, consult your doctor” Do people ever do that, do you think. Make an appointment with their GP so they can say “I’ve just bought this legs, bums and tums workout at Asda. What do you reckon, doc? Is it safe?” They shift millions of these things, surely. No wonder I can never get an appointment at the doctor’s surgery in under 3 weeks.

Worst Bit
The camera seems to be squarely trained on Charlie’s crotch for the first half of the workout. I had to pause the DVD a couple of times and both times, the TV screen just showed a close-up of her pelvis. Which was disconcerting.

For the second half the camera starts zooming in, zooming out and changing angles in a concentrated effort to give the viewer motion sickness. I think the cameraman was really bored.

Oh not again.

Would I do this workout again?
No point really. I know the ending now.

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