SOAP WATCH: The ultimate insight into the week's soaps

I have always been susceptible to characters getting inside my head, but this week my dreams were particularly exhausting: First, I was trying to speak at a seminar, when Coronation Street’s Lewis kept interrupting and being vile to me.

Now, I know Nigel Havers, who plays him, to be a charming man. Lewis, too, is charm personified, even if he is a reformed fraudster. So goodness only knows from where my psyche dragged up the monster.

The next night, I was in hot pursuit of Peter Barlow, who, for some never explained reason in the dream, was hot-footing it to Scotland.

In EastEnders, Ben continues to threaten to reveal Jay's bloodstained hoodie

In EastEnders, Ben continues to threaten to reveal Jay's bloodstained hoodie

The stress of not having a ticket and trying to make the train woke me at 4am. Then it was Emmerdale’s turn. With Sandy refusing to confide in anyone about Ashley’s appalling treatment of him, it was left to me to try.

I suspect that the reason for the increase in nocturnal action is that I have been trying my hand at TV and film scriptwriting and thinking long and hard about character development.

In soap, in particular, every scene must advance the character in some way, no matter how small, and we must know something about them at the end of that scene that we didn’t know at the start. It’s an immense skill. I just wish I were as good at it during working hours as I am asleep.



‘EVV, EVV!’ screamed Shirley, as the horror of Evver’s murder sank in. Once Phil had discovered that Evver was not breavin’, chaos ensued, as Phil tried to calm the situation and save his son from life imprisonment.

The make-up department did a great job in making terrified Jay look like a Shaun of the Dead extra, and an equally good job in finding a mascara for Shirley that stayed on throughout her geysers of tears. If she’d been on The X Factor, there would have been black streams around her waist.

On Monday, she is still trying to cope with the loss of her friend and desperate to find out if the police have charged Andrew. I’m just desperate to find out why Evver’s pink cardigan, a veritable mountain of marshmallow, didn’t cushion her fall.


‘It’s like ET, innit?’

Ben Mitchell, EastEnders


‘Heather’s dead, orright?’

Phil Mitchell, to locals, EastEnders

Meanwhile, psycho Ben continues to threaten to give the police Jay’s bloodstained hoodie. Shirley is unhappy that Phil insists on Ben living with them, and when Phil praises his evil son for being a real Mitchell after all, you can’t help feeling that the house just needs Norman Bates to complete the set-up.

The burning of the incriminating evidence was always going to be a mistake, and on Tuesday, when Patrick visits the allotments, he discovers burnt clothing and calls the police. It’s crunch time for DS Crisp, who on Tuesday asks for Jay’s jumper. Phil fobs him off, and the big question on Tuesday is whether Jay is going to crack. I predict that he’s going to crack even more easily than Evver’s skull, and that’s saying something.

Will Andrew be released by the end of the week, or will he be incarcerated for Evver’s murder? At any rate, we have lost a great character in Evver, always so brilliantly played by Cheryl Fergison. She will be greatly missed. Unlike Evver’s cardigans.



How on Earth was Stella’s till down by £50 when the Rovers’ hasn’t even taken £50 all week? All month, come to that. I don’t believe that the Santa sack of dosh that Karl took the money from contained anything but Monopoly notes. Still, it provided an opportunity for him and Sunita to get closer, and on Monday the air is rife with sexual tension following their kiss. When they are forced to work together, will there be nookie? Of course. Where there’s furniture, there’s a relationship in Weatherfield: why bother with a bedroom when there are tables and chairs to save you the trouble of climbing stairs.

Trouble at the Platts: Audrey

Trouble at the Platts: Audrey

There is great comedy brewing, also on Monday, when, following a row with Deirdre, Ken takes Steve up on his drunken offer of accommodation. On Thursday, Ken offers to make a meal for Steve – he’s never done that at home – and on Friday makes himself even more at home by cleaning the flat. What a transformation for Armchair Ken, who wouldn’t know a

Hoover from his elbow. He also offers to help out at Streetcars, and Steve realises that his new flatmate is not going to be easily dispensed. At least Ken’s lungs are enjoying a break from Deidre’s cigarette smoke.

There is trouble at the Platts on Monday and a battle ensues when David tries to stop Audrey taking money out of the salon to pay for a cruise with Lewis. Are the members of this family ever out of each other’s pockets? The bigger mystery is how there is any money in the salon to take out. How many customers have there been since New Year? Three? There is also tension in the Grimshaw household on Friday, when Jason tries to make his mother see that life with Lesley is no picnic in the park – especially in the aftermath of Lesley making off with Amy to said park. Come on, Eileen.

Ed and Aaron have a heart-to-heart

Ed and Aaron have a heart-to-heart



It was only a matter of time before Ashley lost it and caused his father an injury, and on Tuesday, after Ashley vents his fury, Sandy falls and hurts his wrist. This continues to be one of the most powerful and moving stories ever covered by soap, and on Wednesday the situation escalates when Adult Services come to check on Sandy. On Friday, however, it seems as if Ashley is off the hook. Where will it all end? Very badly for poor Sandy, I feel.On Tuesday Aaron decides against going to France with Ed. Big mistake. All those strapping rugby lads at Ed’s new club, compared to... well, Marlon and Paddy back at home? Aaron wants to stay for Adam’s sake, and on Friday Ed leaves. Fair play to Aaron, he’s always been there for his friends, albeit in a dispatching them off to see their Maker kind of way.

Nancy clutches her stomach in pain

Nancy clutches her stomach in pain



One of the problems with The Dog is that it’s always been... well, going to the dogs, so a refurbishment was well overdue. Now that it’s come around, it’s proving a strain, and on Monday Darren tells Mitzeee that he fears Nancy can’t cope. On Wednesday, Nancy collapses, and there are fears for the baby. There is tension over a different kind of dog on Monday, when Jacqui finds Phoebe begging with her mutt Terry. On Wednesday Jacqui takes Phoebe to work with her so that she can pay back all the money she stole. It seems that the girl might be melting her heart – something not normally possible without resorting to use of a blowtorch. In the middle of this cheery week, on Tuesday Ash collapses. It transpires that it’s meningitis, and on Wednesday she is left fighting for her life. Happy days!

Sid has the idea of recruiting Morag

Sid has the idea of recruiting Morag



Having already admitted to killing Stu, on Monday Sasha is relieved when Sid promises to protect her. Then he has the idea of recruiting Morag to defend her – a woman who couldn’t defend a bat accused of holding up Specsavers. It’s hard to get Leah to keep her nose out of anything – she’s Summer Bay’s very own Nellie the Elephant. On Friday, Elijah tells her to stay out of Brax’s problems. Fat chance.



Toadie is out to prove his masculinity

Toadie is out to prove his masculinity

The light of his fertility problems, Toadie is out to prove his masculinity on Tuesday by repairing a wall. Unfortunately, he takes his frustration out on it and does his back in, which means he won’t even be able to make it up the stairs, let alone make babies when he gets there.

Now that Paul is Sophie’s official guardian (Heaven help her), he decides to enrol her at Eden Hills Grammar. When she refuses, he has to try to get Priya to reinstate her at Erinsborough High. She will, but not without an apology. Actually, Heaven help Paul.

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