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John Bardon


There was a period here in the U. S. of A. when we got the EastEnders. I don't think it lasted, or rather, it didn't take off like that Downton Abbey show. Maybe you had to be there, week in, week out, in good times and bad, to really get it. From the beginning, to see those actors age in their roles. John Bardon was one of those actors. He was beloved as Jim Branning, and when he suffered a stroke in real life, goddamn it if he didn't suffer one on the show. He came back, disabled, and left again, and when he died in real life, condolences were paid to his real wife by his TV wife. See what I mean? It was an institution and institutions have rules that must be adhered to. He did other things, One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing standing out among his films away from EastEnders. But really, once an EastEnder, always an EastEnder.

He had a backstory.

Jim was born in Walford in 1933. He dated his first wife, Reenie, in the 1960s, with her giving birth to their oldest child, Derek, out of wedlock. When Reenie became pregnant again with eldest daughter April, Jim settled in a loveless marriage to Reenie, having four more children with her. A heavy drinker, Jim treated his children unfairly, favoring some, neglecting others. When his son Max was blamed for stealing and losing a medal that Jim's mother was given during World War II in honor of his late father for bravery, Jim severed all ties with him and oldest son Derek locked Max in a coffin. He was an amateur boxer, using the nickname "Basher" Branning, but according to Kate Lock's book Who's Who, he had been a "semi-invalid" for much of his working life following a drunken fall from a bedroom window, though he managed to maintain a job collecting supermarket trolleys until he was forced to retire.

And when he came back after his stroke? His second wife (Reenie died) had to care for him.

Dot subsequently struggles to cope with Jim and is stressed out by the constant noise of his buzzer. She tells Jim that she cannot cope and later asks Carol why she had to meet Jim "so near the end." Carol and Max help Dot to make the decision to put Jim into permanent care, and he is taken away in an ambulance. Dot continues to visit Jim regularly. In April 2012, Dot goes to tell Jim that Heather Trott was murdered, but cannot break the news as Heather was Jim's friend. In December 2012, Max, Jack, and Carol visit Jim to tell him that Derek has died of a heart attack. In January 2014, Carol and Max go to visit Jim to tell him that Carol had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Jim's hands are briefly seen, but he otherwise does not appear.

John Bardon's hands and body disappeared for good in September, and Drunkasaskunk, over there where they watch EastEnders, knew it, for the solo and 13 points. For my shameless cutting and pasting, I thank Wikipedia.


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