Soap watch

by JACI STEPHEN, Mail on Sunday

Last updated at 14:39 16 September 2006

Pregnancy is never a straightforward affair in soapland. First there is the depression at the surprise of the conception (virtually nobody knows about contraception); then there is the issue of: 'Shall I have a termination?'

If the answer to the latter is yes, there are repercussions not only for the would-be mother, but for the various men who are invariably lined up claiming paternity.

If the woman chooses not to have a termination, you can guarantee that either the birth will be a traumatic event, or that the post natal experience will involve great suffering for mother and/or baby until the child reaches 18, or until he/she is mowed down by one of the ubiquitous dangerous drivers on the road.

In recent weeks, EastEnders' Honey's joy at getting married and giving birth was shortlived when she discovered that her baby has Down's syndrome; and Coronation Street's Claire is suffering from such severe post natal depression, she shoved her baby in front of a car - you see what I mean about those drivers?

In her case, however, the psychiatric ward needs to do a thorough assessment: being married to Ashley probably pushed her further down the path to depression than any baby ever could.

The Australians, for the most part, enjoy happier and, significantly, better planned births than their British counterparts. They have a lot to teach us about the birds and the bees.

Coronation Street

Is Sean's time as the only gay in the village coming to an end? As Jamie's relationship with Violet starts to hit the rocks, Eileen becomes suspicious tomorrow when she sees him and Sean acting like more than just good friends. On Friday they plan a boys' night out, when Sean promises Violet he will question her lover over his strange behaviour. He succeeds in getting him drunk (never hard in Weatherfield), but will Jamie spill the beans? Of course he's not gay; he's just in love with Frankie, as his annoyance tomorrow over her growing relationship with Liam testifies.

With Danny back from Spain tomorrow, there is yet another love triangle in the air; and on Monday, when Danny arrives for his first day back at the factory to find Liam ensconced, there can only be fireworks. At least it lays the groundwork for us to be rid of Adam, whose hair could not have caused more controversy had a yeti on acid moved into the street. His hairdo is second only in vileness to his smugness, and the idea that he even had the ability to write his name when signing the factory contract is simply laughable. Poor old Claire

is in hospital, and although it must give her welcome relief from Ashley's verbosity - is it me, or does he form his sentences from a 36-letter alphabet? I swear there are at least a dozen sounds

I've never heard before - it is a sad state of affairs. On Monday Fred sides with Ashley and tells Claire that she is there for her own good, but Ashley is at breaking point.

Fred has other things on his mind and on Wednesday decides to sell the pub to Liz and Steve. This is a great move, as Beverley Callard and Simon Gregson play two of the show's strongest characters.

Their immaculate comic timing will doubtless bring great entertainment to the bar, not to mention a new wardrobe of skimpy tops for Liz. Something tells me we won't be missing Fred's cleavage for very long.


"There's loadsa cool bars and clubs round 'ere," Ruby told Sean on Tuesday. If that's the case, how come everyone still only goes to the Vic and the wasteland that is Scarlet?

Ruby's pursuit of Sean looked doomed, until he discovered she was loaded, and now he can't get enough of her. He had better be quick, though.

This week, her shoulders were so raised, they looked in danger of swallowing her head whole.

Sean would be well advised to get a kiss in while he still has the chance. On Tuesday there is scope for yet more shoulder acting when Stacey tells Ruby that she is moving in with Bradley.

Stacey, whose nose and teeth were again performing their famous double act this week, dreads telling her friend, whose response is predictable.

Max is none too impressed either and suggests Bradley might be rushing things to cover the real problem. Which one? Bradley's spontaneous combustion? His girlfriend's rabbit impressions?

The fact that he works in the City and goes for a slapper like Stacey? On Thursday Stacey can't help boasting about the flat to Ruby, but it is clear the landlord does not want Stacey living there. How come, if Bradley is such a high-flyer, he doesn't buy his own place?

The Denise/Kevin fiasco is back in full swing, now that Owen is back on the scene (hurray!), and on Friday they are back in the bedroom.

But guess what? When Denise discovers a message from Chelsea on her mobile, she bolts out of the door - again.

Honestly, Kev, there are easier women out there, and ones who don't require you to partake of so much exercise chasing them out of doors.


The dishonest means by which the Dingles try to boost their coffers must exhaust them far more than any job would ever do.

Cain's latest scam is the kidnapping of Tom, but tomorrow, in light of Sadie's involvement with Jasmine's termination, he decides to kidnap her, too.

Grabbing her by the hair, he hits her across the face with his gun - which is one way to try to get an expression out of her.

On Monday Sadie is forced to make a call to the Kings, who on Tuesday phone the police to inform them of Cain's ransom demand. Big mistake.

Emmerdale's police are infamous for their incompetency, all they do is use a crime scene as an excuse to don a beige mac.

On Thursday, in an hour-long special, the police start to close in on Cain, but they do not reach him before the car sails off the quarry edge.

When the divers go in, however, there is a shock in store. Don't tell me: the cops didn't catch the baddie again. Quelle surprise.


Well, that was one way to shut the Lockjaw Twins up, although personally, I think that barbecuing was too good for them. It's the funeral on Monday, when Justin's grief and anger boil over as he discovers where Russ was when Sophie was dying.

It causes tension on Tuesday between him and Becca, who tries to tell him that violence is not the answer, but he has no regrets over lashing out at Russ.

It doesn't take long for life to get back to normal, and on Tuesday Nancy tells Foz that she loves him. It takes him until Thursday to tell her exactly how he feels - let's hope he puts a few home truths about her dreadful choice of hair colour in there.

The secret of Gilly and Kathy's affair is out on Thursday, when Neville acts as a mediator to try to save Gilly's friendship with Rhys.

Unfortunately, Rhys ends up punching his dad, which puts yet another strain on their relationship. I'm still not comfortable with Rhys's personality transplant, but Sarah is well rid.

Home And Away

"These last eight weeks have been torture to me," said Barry. You and me both. I was starting to wonder whether we would ever discover the identity of Josh's killer, and not in a million years did I imagine it would turn out to be Barry.

But it was down to Morag, she of the stale ginger nut complexion, to nail him in return for the police agreeing not to charge her for messing up their enquiry.

On Monday it's Barry's bail hearing, and Irene is still adamant that she wants nothing more to do with him. Heaven help the poor guy - Morag has decided to take his case, so we can assume he'll be awarded at least two life sentences.

She puts up the money for his bail and on Wednesday he calls Irene, begging for a second chance.

The hunt for Zoe continues on Monday, when she starts messing with Peter's head - not an easy thing to do, with that Taj Mahal of a quiff on his head.

He finds a note saying, 'You're dead', on his windscreen, and narrowly escapes being shot.

On Tuesday Zoe ups the ante and places a bomb in Peter's apartment - and there are just two-and-a-half minutes on the clock.

But is the bomb real? And, if it is, will Peter's quiff protect his brains from being blown away?


At last. The only story viewers are really interested in has turned the corner: divorced husband and wife, Karl and Susan, have kissed.

On Wednesday they begin a clandestine affair, and it takes just until Friday for questions to be asked, when Zeke has his suspicions.

They both have issues that will need to be addressed if they are to get back together - the Kinski children, Jenny - but there is an inevitability about their relationship that warms the heartstrings.

On Tuesday Harold reacts badly to the news of Sky's pregnancy and finally snaps as Rachel and Stingray continue their romance.

Friday sees the 5,000th episode of the show, when Rob drugs Paul and leaves him in a mine shaft.

We've come a long way since the days of Kylie and Jason.

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