It’s been an eventful few weeks in soapland of late; with the return of gobby Cilla to Coronation Street, the return of slimeball Robert Sugden to Emmerdale, the return of sinister panto-villain Nick Cotton to Walford and the return of the grumpy Dylan to Casualty but nobody can say that the soaps rely on old faces to bring in the viewers. Oh, no, there has been much, much more going on besides. Unfortunately not all of it has been good. Here’s my every-so-often roundup of what’s hot and what’s not in the world of soaps…
What I’ve LOVED…
More screentime for Gaynor Faye AKA Megan Macey (Emmerdale)
If there ever was a soap actress who was criminally underrated then it is the Dales’ Gaynor. She has proven over the last few weeks that, when given the material, she can consistently deliver some of soap’s strongest performances. Megan’s anguish in the wake of Robbie’s demise, her bitterness against Leyla upon discovering her business partner’s trysts with Jai and her viper-sharp cattiness towards Charity have all been sublime to watch. Megan is a character whose layers are only truly starting to be noticed and, the more I discover about her, the more I enjoy watching her. The tough exterior has long hidden a likeable vulnerability and I hope Gaynor and Megan both stick around for a long time to come. She’s the only one who can keep the Macey name alive!
Steve McDonald’s depression story (Coronation Street)
Could there have been a better candidate for such an important story than Steve McDonald, played by the fantastically versatile Simon Gregson? Taking a character who is often perceived as a joke and who has a tendency to mess around and be light hearted and show that they, as much as anyone else, can be susceptible to the demons of depression has been a worthwhile writing decision. The story is honest and non-sensational; it shows a man reaching his midlife crisis in a very difficult way; finally succumbing to the stress he is constantly under. It accurately captures the mistakes and misconceptions those around someone with depression can make and Simon himself is making a heartbreakingly perfect job of portraying a man at the end of his tether. While it’s sad to see Steve in this way, it’s providing incredible drama and it is important for viewers to go along on this journey with such an established character as, at some time in our lives, almost all of us will have brushes with depression in some way. Well played on this one, Corrie.
What has been the most awkward party that you have ever been to? In my yoof (not very many years ago, I may add) I went to a house party, given that I was such a cool kid. Apparently my friend’s parents had not been informed of this impromptu shindig and, when we started pouring ourselves refreshments (lemonade, of course) they came downstairs to investigate in full bondage gear.
Oh how we all laughed. A few years on, I’m not laughing anymore as I have learned just how uncomfortable those leather straps and shackles can be so I have nothing but sympathy for Mr and Mrs (CENSORED) but my point is, no matter how awkward a party you think you have attended, nothing could quite top the sheer cringe factor of the Carter get together in last night’s EastEnders.
Well meaning but sadly clueless Mick decided that the stunning Stacey needed some help in securing a bloke as it’s not like she has other things on her mind at the moment. Thinking that she and Dean are destined to be (again), Mick planned a drinks party upstairs and brought them together, a situation which poor Linda was shoehorned into. I could barely watch as the weasel like Dean plonked himself comfortably beside Linda on the sofa, causing her to understandably recoil in horror.
Stealing looks at her and warning Linda that they have to be careful, Dean really does seem to have deluded himself that Linda was a willing participant in their recent vile encounter. Things couldn’t be further from the truth, and the fact of the matter was that Linda faced the agony of being left alone in a room with her rapist for a prolonged period of time.
Anyone who is anyone in the UK British soap magazine world knows that today, the results of the Inside Soap Awards 2014 are revealed, about half a year since they were launched. I call them the Inside Soap Awards 2014, but I prefer to know them as ‘The ‘Which Soap has the most dedicated multi-voting fans awards 2014.’
Either way, it’s got me thinking (dangerous stuff, I know) about the last year in the world of soap. Here, I reflect on a year of underwater escapades, murders of beautiful young women, collapsing attic floors, rooftop death dramas, dramatic house fires and Steve McDonald.
I know, given the fact that I write here about all soaps, that I should display some degree of impartiality, but I’ll openly declare that I have mostly voted Emmerdale this year. So, that’s as good a place to start as any. It’s been a blockbuster year in Britain’s most eventful village and not a leek show in sight. Instead of village fetes and sheep shearing, we’ve seen armed sieges, rooftop plunges and Charity Macey getting slapped about the chops with her husband’s meat tenderiser. Continue reading
Things were heating up in EastEnders last night. No, I’m not talking about that pesky fire but the prospect of Walford hunk Phil Mitchell stripping at his bride-to-be’s hen party.
Yes, believe it or not, the inexplicable Philip Mitchell aura had the ladies of the Queen Vic screaming for him to take his clothes off and reveal the perspiring joys beneath. However, while many ogling eyes were on an unimpressed Phil, there were no eyes on Sharon, who hadn’t turned up to her own hen night.
Sharon was over on the staircase at the stag party, not because of gender confusion but because she needed to confide in someone that she was getting colder feet than a nervous penguin. Of course, her confidante was none other than everyone’s good pal, Danny Dyer, who gave her the pep talk of her life.
Mick was a do-gooder in demand too, as he also had to contend with talking Alfie out of his foolproof plan of torching his own home. Turned out it was a little late for that, and the living room was already engulfed in flames as an oblivious Kat snoozed upstairs. With Kat’s level of make-up and aerosols both on her body and off, it was inevitable that the whole place would explode, and, when it did, Alfie’s tortured agony at the thought he had killed his own wife was played hauntingly well by Shane Richie. Continue reading
WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS. Please do not read further if you prefer to avoid them.
The aroma of plump sausages sizzling on the barbie, the feel of sand trickling between your toes (and the crunch of it in your sandwiches) and the blazing heat of the one solitary warm day we had are all distant memories. Our thoughts are turning from foreign holidays and ice bucket challenges to how we are going to occupy the slowly darkening evenings.
Cue the ambitious soap producer, determined to reel their temporarily errant, sun worshipping fans back in with an action packed autumn of drama. And Coronation Street and EastEnders are both really going for it this year. Continue reading
THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS. THE BRITISH SOAP AWARDS AREN’T SHOWN UNTIL WEDNESDAY. IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW THE RESULTS, DON’T READ THIS ARTICLE!
It’s the night that recognises those shows which have been a constant on our screens for up to half a century; a chance for the casts of the soaps to mingle and show that there really is no rivalry (unless their name is Danny Miller, of course!), an opportunity to relive all of those precious and heartwarming moments we’ve seen with our families such as swapping dead babies, seeing a tram slaughter half a community or a fire subtly wipe out two long running residents and also a time for the teenage fans of Hollyoaks and EastEnders to set up multiple accounts in order to ensure the fittest star of their chosen show gets the recognition their pecs deserve.
A total of 17 gongs were handed out to celebrate the over-the-top carnage tearing apart fictional communities and it was a successful night for both EastEnders and Coronation Street in particular. Hollyoaks also fared well thanks to the one man saviour that is Emmet J Scanlan and Emmerdale didn’t go away empty handed either after a mostly gripping year. Even the cast of Doctors, bless them, turned up for a night out and to fill the extra seats that the caretaker on work experience accidentally left out.
So where did the prizes go? The night arguably belonged to Coronation Street which took away an impressive 9 prizes for its dramatic fiftieth year. But, despite taking away over half of the available prizes, Coronation Street was beaten to the main gong by BBC flagship soap, EastEnders, which was crowned Best Soap. Continue reading