Soapwatch: JACI STEPHEN'S ultimate insight into this week's soaps

  • Louise is inspired to throw Bex a surprise party in the Vic in EastEnders 
  • Chesney orders Bernie to leave after a victim shows up in Coronation Street
  • Jai is reunited with his distant son, after Dan turns up with Archie in Emmerdale

There’s a lot of death in the air at present. In May, Emmerdale’s Lisa died, followed by Frank in a fire (bringing the show’s running total to 177, should you care). 

EastEnders’ Mel is traumatised after the death of Hunter, and Corrie’s Sinead has learned she has four months to live.

Deaths are an inevitable part of life in soapland, where they outnumber the national average per square foot by many dozens; they are also generally strategically placed to coincide with Christmas/New Year, hence the very specific timing of Sinead’s demise (don’t expect many laughs around the Barlow table this year).

Pregnancies and secrets are usually similarly timed, so EastEnders’ Sharon’s secret (the father of her child) and Corrie’s Robert’s secret (two fiancées, one of whom is pregnant) also look set to be exposed during the annual festivities. 

I’m not optimistic about Corrie’s Gemma, who, in addition to expecting quads, I suspect will have to endure a selective pregnancy, combining pregnancy and heartbreaking death in one fell swoop. 

Just another Christmas cracker for the box.

EASTENDERS: UNI CYCLE STRESS

Bex (Jasmine Armfield), pictured right, with Louise (Tilly Keeper) attempts to distract herself from university stress by working on Martin's stall in this week's EastEnders

Bex (Jasmine Armfield), pictured right, with Louise (Tilly Keeper) attempts to distract herself from university stress by working on Martin's stall in this week's EastEnders

Poor Bex. In all the talks about Oxford, no one thought to explain to her how many colleges there are, which specialises in what, and which might be most suitable. 

Small wonder she’s now stressed and trying to distract herself by working on Martin’s stall (a big enough stress in itself; I give it a week before someone takes two oranges off her hands).

Dressing like a student circa 1972 can’t be helping her, either. 

Just when she’s at her lowest, who comes along with several mad ideas but Louise, inspired to throw Bex a surprise party in the Vic. 

DEMANDING ROMANTIC

‘Wish I ’ad someone to make me butties.’ 

Kevin to Tyrone, Corrie 

If there are three things you really don’t need when life is stressing you, it’s those three words. 

Surprise. Party. Vic. 

All you need now to have you reaching for the bottle is Robbie thrown into the mix and sure enough, there he is, but alas too drunk to realise Bex is trying to open up to him (something along the lines of, ‘Please, please, tell me which college I’m in... I still haven’t found the Porter’s Lodge’, I reckon).

You can expect more anxiety on Friday with Hunter’s funeral, where Sharon tries to smooth things over with Mel. 

Fat chance: think ‘Brillo Pad applied to an open wound’.

CORONATION STREET: A STICK IN TIME

Chesney (Sam Aston) orders Bernie (Jane Hazlegrove) to pack her bags after an angry scam victim turns up in Coronation Street (pictured).

Chesney (Sam Aston) orders Bernie (Jane Hazlegrove) to pack her bags after an angry scam victim turns up in Coronation Street (pictured).

Call me squeamish, but the pregnancy test storyline has me running for the cushions to cover not only my eyes but my ears. 

There are some bodily functions I don’t want to hear about and as for the idea of dipping testing kits in buckets of Gemma’s... No, I’m not going there; it’s too much.

Anyway, on Monday an angry victim of the scam turns up and threatens to call the police, so Chesney orders Bernie to pack her bags. 

GROUNDHOG DAY 

‘I’ve been such an idiot.’ 

Maria to Ali, Corrie

(What does anyone ever have in these bags, by the way? Have you seen the ease with which everyone carries them?)

The incident brings Bernie’s ex Kel back into their lives, and so begins another harrowing storyline about sexual abuse. 

Thank goodness they’ve given Paul something to do other than make goo-goo eyes at Billy, and when Billy starts to stick his nose in, tensions increase.

How long before Billy and James become an item, especially after James gives Bethany the brush-off and admits he’s gay? He claims that as an openly gay black footballer, he would not be accepted by some fans. 

It’s not his coming out as gay that should bother anyone, but when’s he going to come out as the footballer he claims to be?

On the evidence so far, the man wouldn’t know a football if he swallowed it – a task that might be a lot easier than getting viewers to swallow his sporting prowess.

EMMERDALE: ANOTHER SON RISING

Jai (Chris Bisson) is reunited with his distant son Archie (Kai Assi) after Dan (Liam Fox) turns up with him

Jai (Chris Bisson) is reunited with his distant son Archie (Kai Assi) after Dan (Liam Fox) turns up with him

When you want to up the ante in a character’s story, a sure way of doing it is to introduce a child – one a character barely knows, one they gave away, or one that lands on their doorstep because the other parent has died. 

They are all Moses in the bulrushes kinds of stories, but without the water.

It’s the position Jai finds himself in when Dan turns up with Archie, whose mother Rachel has died. 

Will Jai get through to his distant son? Not with his social skills he won’t. 

Just leave the kid with Rishi, dabbling in homemade sweets – that’ll put a smile on his face.

Soapwatch: JACI STEPHEN'S ultimate insight into this week's soaps

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