Well, here we are again, time to cast a beady eye over the lathered remains of the most recent goings on. Out of the debris of crashed minibuses, Ronnie Mitchell’s coma and numerous attempts at coital endeavours from Jimmy and Nicola in Emmerdale, I’ve passed my judgements. Being that my opinions count for everything, here is the official (not really) lowdown of what’s set soapland on fire and what’s left it in the January cold…
What I’ve LOVED
We all love a good spoiler or two and I was sitting at a recent Coronation Street press event rubbing my hands together with glee as the episode previews rolled but as you watch the drama unfold live, you end up feeling pretty empty when everything that has been promised will happen comes to pass. On one hand, you’re pleased that the soap producers haven’t lied to you. That’s always nice. On the other, though, you’re hoping to be caught off guard with a curveball that you weren’t expecting. So thank heavens for recent Emmerdale (and to a large extent, EastEnders too) for throwing in viewer surprises into their episodes and keeping the buzz of live soap viewing alive. Rachel Breckle rocking up to the trial of Charity and getting her sent down was a stroke of genius, especially as Emma Atkins had gone to the effort of concealing her pregnancy so no one knew she’d be going on maternity leave. Now there’s dedication to the secret. Then came the revelation that baby Archie is in fact a fake (he would’ve gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those pesky Spencers) and Megan’s subsequent snatching of the fraud baby. Next week, the surprises keep coming in the form of an exploding caravan, a shock exit and some really delicious stuff that I’m sworn to secrecy over. Keep it up Emmerdale!
Carter Chaos, Cacophony and Catastrophes!
When it’s time for one of those Carter showdowns, you just know that EastEnders are going to fire it at you with both barrels. I’m still reeling a bit from all of the drama around Christmas but it was time for soap’s most complex and dysfunctional clan (an accolade previously held by the Barlows) to implode all over again, as Linda told her kids about her rape ordeal, Shirley revealed her abusive childhood at the hands of sinister Sylvie and Stan collapsed before asking his kids if they wouldn’t mind finishing him off when the time comes. In amongst all of this, we had ticking timebomb Lee knocking several more lumps out of the grotesque punchbag that is Dean, Aunt Babe launched out into the cold (again) for her scheming (…again!) and a truly heartbreaking performance from the NTA Best Newcomer Maddy Hill as Linda’s daughter Nancy as she reacted to her mum’s bombshell. If ever an award can be justified by one scene then this was it. Okay, time for a chill before it all kicks off again for their 30th anniversary.
Michelle and Steve
You could have been fooled into thinking that the bus toppling over a cliff after unlikely hero Tracy pulled Carla to safety was the main event of recent Corrie but you are wrong (honestly, just accept it). The progression of the beautifully handled depression storyline centring on one time clown Steve McDonald overshadowed even the impressive and atmospheric stunt itself. The scene of Steve sobbing in the woods after finally opening up to Michelle was heartbreaking and what a boost it has given viewers rooting for Steve to see Michelle firmly on his side. The character of Michelle, for anyone who wasn’t keen before, has been utterly defined by this story and there are some stunning scenes ahead between Kym Marsh and Simon Gregson as Steve slowly, but surely, battles his demons. The Street is so far relatively unsympathetic towards Steve following the crash so it has been heartening to see Michelle leap to her partner’s defence so fiercely and righteously. Oh and Hamish, soz pal but bye.
What I’ve LOATHED
EastEnders had a real coup in bringing Lacey Turner back as Stacey but, up until now, she has just hung around on the periphery of other people’s storylines and it is starting to get frankly unbelievable how many people are now confiding in Walford’s new agony aunt. From Lauren confiding her fears that Max may have killed Lucy to Stacey’s involvement in Tina and Tosh’s abuse storyline and from her pivotal role in the Kat and Alfie yawnfest to Linda confessing her rape secret, Stacey has been just about everywhere… except in her own plotline. Now, as this week gets underway, Shabnam has a secret to tell. And guess who she breaks it to? Yep, Stacey, who has inexplicably become her best friend in the last 2 weeks. Now, I’m all for seeking relationship, family and moral advice from a murdering jailbird known for infidelity but it’s a wonder that Stacey has a life of her own what with dealing with everybody else’s issues. Oh, that’s right, she doesn’t.
Searching for Kylie
An ongoing bugbear of mine is David Platt complaining that Kylie has abandoned her family when, Mr Amnesia, it was you who kicked her out in the first place. Much was made of Kylie being exiled from House Platt on Christmas Day and we all knew why. So we all know that no matter how many twists or turns or found letters, stolen handbags or spending on credit card clues we get, that she is not going to reappear for another few months yet. So can we just can it please? Let’s focus on the Callum custody strand and just accept that Kylie won’t be a part of Corrie for a while. Kicking her out was a legitimate way of removing her, so let’s keep it at that. There is zero tension for the viewer when we know full well that the circumstances surrounding the actress’ break mean that there is no possible way when we break for the end of episode one that the brunette David has spotted will be Kylie. She’s a bit busy right now.
James and Pete Barton
I liked Charlie Stubbs so it can’t be Bill Ward’s acting as such that puts me off but, no matter what is thrown at them, be it Debbie Dingle, Adam wielding a bottle or a falling pallet, I can not warm to James or Pete Barton. They amble onto the screen to a nationwide groan and, in a show that is on fire right now, they create an unwelcome sense of boredom. I love Finn and Ross and the new Dales fruit loop Emma is an absolute delight but, whether its their monotonous tones or their sheer lack of any real personality, James and Pete just leave me cold. Granted, it’s not easy to be charismatic when you have to be compared to Cain Dingle (James, mate, why would Moira have tinned spam when she’s got gammon hock at home?) but I think it’s time to give up on these two dullards and focus on the Bartons that actually do have potential. I hear Holly Barton has a room to spare, wherever she is.
What are you enjoying in the soaps right now and what is leaving you bored? Let us know in the usual way and you can always tweet your thoughts to me by following @Our_ManPLA
My further soaps musings, interviews and spoilers here: http://metro.co.uk/author/duncan-lindsay/
Written By Our Man In The North