Jaci Stephen: The ultimate insight into this week's soaps

There is generally little time for eating in soapland, or it is always interrupted by the phone ringing/someone at the door/suddenly fancying your dining companion so much that you have to hurry home (or go to the restaurant toilets, if you can’t wait).

Eating takes up too much time and stops characters talking.

That’s why so many cakes are bought at Roy’s Rolls in Coronation Street, but never consumed. And when you hear the noises made over a cooked breakfast, it’s easy to see why such activities are avoided.

Heather's life hangs in the balance on Thursday

Heather's life hangs in the balance on Thursday

Jason, for example, never eats with his mouth shut and attacks his food like a deranged Flintstone trying to kill a boar for supper.

There has been a lot of eating in the Street this week.

Three episodes began with Leanne and Peter at breakfast (an opener as tedious as watching eggs boil – there is just no room for a toaster, Leanne’s gargantuan dressing gown and a pair of crutches in that kitchen) and Sally had dinner, lunch and another planned lunch with her new beau.

EastEnders’ Argee Bhajee was enjoying more attention than a Slumdog Millionaire on Oscars’ night, and in Emmerdale, Val cooked a meal for Doug. So good was it, however, that she didn’t get a chance to reveal her feelings for him.

There is never as much eating in the Australian soaps, but that may have more to do with the fact that, down under, customers seem to outnumber chairs by about six to one. Small wonder most people are so skinny.



Coronation Street had a laugh-aloud moment this week, when Kevin was stunned that Rosie had taken Jack on a modelling shoot and returned with the wrong baby.


‘You dirty, devious little tramp.’

Tracy Barlow, to Leanne Barlow, Coronation Street


‘You’re a fit bird.’

Cain Dingle, to Faye Lamb, Emmerdale 

It was a much quicker baby-swap story than the one in Walford, and we are facing another week when the truth is almost revealed – but isn’t.

It’s all taking its toll on Ronnie (although not on her make-up, which is still being applied meticulously), who on Monday regrets claiming that Michael came on to her. Jack’s response is to punch the man, but he’s left curious when he finds the photo that Michael claims Ronnie carries.

On Thursday, Ronnie finally admits she needs proper help – yer don’t say – and on Friday she attends her first counselling session.

Let’s hope, while she’s there, she addresses more than her agitation: issues such as her pathological obsession with Ibiza, her rotten taste in lingerie and, most significantly, the reason why, being married to Jack, she even bothers to get out of bed in the morning. No chance, though, because when she gets there she sees a magazine article about babies, leaves before the session, and then lies to Jack about attending.

I’ve never been a fan of poverty stories, and on Monday we have Janine and Whitney desperate for money, and Heather struggling to pay her Council Tax.

On Tuesday, Heather has to resort to bathing George in the launderette – let’s hope she doesn’t shove him in the drier afterwards. The situation takes a tragic turn on Thursday when Heather’s life hangs in the balance.

The big question of the week is whether Alfie and Kat will get back together when he returns from Brighton on Monday and after Friday’s Coroner’s report.

Time for that proverbial full moon again, methinks.



Sally was a bed of contradictions this week, one minute claimingthat she mis-spent her youth snogging boys ‘with skirts up to ’ere’ (I presume she meant herself, not the boys), and the next displaying shock that you could buy Champagne by the glass.

She was out with Jeff, who hadhit on her in the Rovers when she was out with Gail. When he revealed he was in marketing, Gail’s response was: ‘I’ve always been interested in marketing.’

Really? Since when? Buying cod for a family of four at the fish market really isn’t the same thing. At that point, Sally had it in the bag.

Peter and Leanne's big day is a total disaster

Peter and Leanne's big day is a total disaster

On Monday, as the couple enjoy a candlelit meal (I swear Sally has eaten more in a week than in herentire lifetime), the evening is scuppered by an argumentative Kevin, arriving to show Lloyd and Cheryl around the house.

After Sophie is thrown out of college on Friday, however, Sallyhas to enlist Kevin’s help to deal with the surly teen. I can’t help feeling that if Sophie came out from under that woollen beret once in a while, she might be a bit more cheerful. I swear she’s getting Seasonal Affective Disorder under it.

Peter and Leanne’s big day arrives on Monday, with Leanne blissfully unaware of what her husband has planned. When the blessing gets to the renewal of vows, Peter takes revenge for her affair and on Thursday a terrified Nick faces his rival’s wrath in the Joinery. On Friday, with Leanne intent on leaving, is it the end for the couple, or will they give it another go?

I’m not sure that they should, not least because if I were Leanne, I’d want to get away not only from Peter, but from that interminable pneumatic drilling that was going on throughout every episode this week. What were they doing?

Building a spaceship in Granada Studios? It’s at times like these you feel for the sound engineer.



‘I could ’ave ’alf the men in this village!’ yelled Charity to Cain, when she discovered his infidelity.

Could have? There was a time when she did have, and even now, the only thing that stops her doing the other half is the high mortality rate of blokes in the village.

On Monday, Cain makes it clear to Faye that he will always choose Charity over her, but that doesn’t stop Faye bedding him again. But Cain’s anger is piqued again on Thursday, when he sees Charity and Noah moving into Jai’s.

There is high drama at Henshall¿s on Tuesday, after girlfriend Katie discovers that the copper¿s first wife died in an arson attack

There is high drama at Henshall¿s on Tuesday, after girlfriend Katie discovers that the copper¿s first wife died in an arson attack

There is high drama at Henshall’s house on Tuesday, after girlfriend Katie discovers that the copper’s first wife died in an arson attack.

When Henshall realises that Katie knows all about his suspicious past, it becomes clear that he has no intention of letting her leave quietly, and on Thursday, as police and locals, including Andy, gather outside the house, Henshall reaches for a gun.

But who is on the receiving end of the shot that rings out? Can I volunteer some people, please?



There are many things the McQueens have turned to in times of trouble, and most have involved getting their kit off.

But there is a new diversion on Monday when, after Angel starts to deteriorate, Carmel turns to God. On Tuesday, her prayers are answered when Calvin’s ghost appears and assures her that the baby will be fine.

After Angel starts to deteriorate, Carmel turns to God

After Angel starts to deteriorate, Carmel turns to God

Hurray! It’s great to see the gorgeous Calvin back, albeit as an untouchable spirit (what a waste). Perhaps his ghost could become a regular character – or they could just have Carmel emerge from the shower to discover that he is alive after all, just like Dallas’s Pam once did with Bobby.

The only problem there is, seeing as Calvin spent most of his life in the shower, when would Carmel stand a snowball’s chance of getting in there?

So pleased is she by God’s intervention, on Wednesday Carmel decides to become a nun. It’s one celestial body, after another.



Will's disappearance proves problematic for Morag

Will's disappearance proves problematic for Morag

Australia’s most incompetent solicitor finds herself dumped on the road by Will on Monday (best place for her, if you ask me), so with Will’s disappearance, Morag faces an even tougher task trying to prove Alf’s innocence.

Robertson is reluctant to believe Morag’s defence claims (there’s a surprise), but there is a surprise when a new piece of evidence comes to light.

Er, Morag never actually qualified? Actually, that wouldn’t be a surprise.



Has there ever been a more troubled designer as Donna?

On Monday, the poor girl’s misery continues as she struggles to create a fashion portfolio for New York. Everyone says her work is great, except Nick, who admits that he doesn’t like it.

On Friday, after a brush with her past (not hard – it’s a hefty past), Donna must decide whether to pursue her American dream or re-enrol at university.

Paul is still trying to win back Rebecca on Tuesday and he even resorts to blackmailing his ex-wife Lyn to help him succeed, but Rebecca is wise to the plot and offers to help Lyn.

Paul never learns, does he?

From tending the wounded in Holby City to lashing out with his fists in Coronation Street

Coronation Street’s Chris Gray is as successful at anger management as Liz Taylor is at marriage, and with a lap dancer for a wife, it was only a question of time before his violent jealousy destroyed their relationship.

Will Thorpe
will thorp

Serial offender: Will Thorp

After following his ex, Cheryl, to the cobbles, Chris became a thorn in the side of her new boyfriend Lloyd. How long before this love triangle reaches its inevitably nasty end?

The character of the thuggish builder is in contrast to actor Will’s previous role as flirty paramedic Paul Joyner in Holby City.