Television Top Trumps: Daisy Steiner vs Eva from Black Books

Before this week’s Top Trumps, it’s time for a confession. When I was 15, I wanted nothing more than to be Daisy Steiner from Spaced. Now I’m 30, I still want nothing more than to be Daisy Steiner from Spaced, even though I am now far too old to pull it off. Instead, I may call my as-yet-non-existent firstborn daughter Daisy, and show my husband just why he should’ve let me give the name to one of our cats.

For Jessica Hynes’s Daisy is a work of sitcom genius, a character who makes being by all conventional definitions a great big failure seem like the greatest win of all. And so, it’s not possible that she could be beaten by any other character, meaning that anyone even vaguely decent that Hynes has ever played has been excluded from the competition. Which leaves us with Eva, her character from season two of the also-brilliant Black Books. Because Eva is terrible. So very, very terrible. Let us count the ways….

HOBBIES

Eva: Yoga. Judging people. Being sanctimonious. Eating horrendous food. Wearing questionable shrugs, although in fairness to her, everyone wore questionable shrugs in the early 2000s. But we just really don’t like her, so let’s make a thing of the shrugs. 2/10

Daisy: Procrastination. Making disco boils out of bacofoil. Narrating her own cooking. Putting on one-woman modern art shows on the theme of “Rabbit in the headlights”. Daisy’s nothing if not varied. 9/10

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APPROACH TO EXERCISE

Eva: Great, so long as it’s yoga. But yoga isn’t just exercise, it’s a spiritual belief system with some accompanying exercises which will free you from all the stresses of your middle-class London life. So long as you give up everything else that’s vaguely fun, that is. 2/10

Daisy: Exercise is to be avoided at all costs, for Daisy is allergic to endorphins. It’s a brilliant excuse, really. If only we’d thought of it back when our PE teacher insisted on making us run the 1500m. We had to settle for a faked asthma attack instead. 10/10

LIVING SITUATION

Eva: We don’t see much of her house, but what we do see is a terribly brightly painted, wooden-floored, very Changing Rooms kitchen with some childrens’ toys knocking about. Which you’d think would really get in the way of all that yoga. And we’re not sure orange is that soothing a colour, really. 3/10

Daisy: Shares a flat with graphic artist/comic store employee Tim Bisley, and his collection of toys which aren’t really toys but are actually collectibles. And all for £90pw! God, we miss the late 90s when such things were actually possible. 10/10

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BELIEF SYSTEM

Eva: Wheat is poison. Chakras are a real thing. Drinking and smoking are terrible vices. Basically, Eva is out to KILL ALL JOY. 1/10

Daisy: Mice and spiders are evil. Dragging a cardboard box around on a piece of string is absolutely the same as walking a dog. Drinking and smoking are brilliant things. We don’t know a huge amount about Daisy’s beliefs, but what we do know seems solid. 9/10

GREATEST VICE

Eva: Some naughty rice cakes. Presumably she doesn’t mean rice cakes laced with crack, but you can never quite be sure. 2/10

Daisy: Drinking til she a) falls over, b) pukes or c) falls over and pukes. So basically the same vice as every other 20 something in London. But just because it’s unimaginative doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining. 8/10

FRIENDS

Eva: Presumably none except Fran, because who else would put up with her? But Fran’s excellent, so we have to award some points here. 3/10

Daisy: They say the family of the 21st century is made up of friends, and Daisy is part of a family that simultaneously goes to collect her on a Robot Wars robot while stealing a tank to apologise to their landlady. And that seems like a damn good family. 10/10

THE VERDICT

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In the most shocking result of the series so far, Daisy wins it with 56 to Eva’s 13. Which was not in any way a foregone conclusion. Not at all.

Last updated: 30/05/2018 17:53:18

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