16th December 2006
We all know that lies are the cornerstone of soap, but some lies are much greater than others. There are the white lies to protect onself, such as the one EastEnders’ Rob told this week when he claimed to be going out for a bottle of wine, when he was really off to see Dawn (not to mention the whacking great ones he told when he was seeing her). There are the more transparent lies of young people – Home and Away’s Drew and Belle, lying about having spent the night together. And then there are less important lies, such as the Street’s Roy’s Rolls offering a fish and chip special on its board that is clearly never available, judging by the fact that no-one ever orders it.
The worst lie, however, is undoubtedly the one a character tells when pretending to be seriously ill, or pretending that a member of the family is seriously ill. EastEnders’ Ian lost Mel on their wedding day, when she discovered that he had lied about daughter Lucy having cancer because he thought it was his only means of holding on to his fiancée.
His Auntie Pauline has just done the same, claiming to have a brain tumour in the hope that it would keep Martin close and apart from from Sonia. And tomorrow, when the Street’s Cilla is given the all-clear on her biopsy, she decides to lie about her results when she discovers that Les and Yana betrayed her by sleeping together.
It’s these lies that are undoubtedly the most shocking: the ones that set out to punish, but serve only to devastate innocent loved ones and destroy trust. The greatest mystery is why the lies are not uncovered earlier. Pauline Fowler with a brain tumour? The woman doesn’t even have a brain, for goodness’ sake.
9th December 2006
Women used to be the ones holding it all together.
EastEnders’ Peggy believed her boys to be angels and
jumped to their defence in the face of all evidence
against them. Likewise, Dot, who was all for son Nick
– until he tried to murder her. And Coronation
Street’s Vera defended her Terry until he, too, was
exposed for lying and cheating.
All of these women gave unconditional love, but
there is a new breed of woman out there for whom
loyalty above all else means absolutely nothing.
Hollyoaks’ Clare is in the process of trying to
bump off husband Max by means of psychological torture
and, it seems, an overdose. Not marrying him in the
first place would have been the easier option, but
she’s not the sharpest tool in the box; heck, she’s
not even the most rectangular box in the tool shed.
Over on Coronation Street, Tracy appears to be in
the process of doing away with Charlie, albeit by
slightly subtler means. It could be argued that she
has more cause, given Charlie’s predilection for
sleeping with local wildlife (there are ways and ways
of contributing to the fund), but it still adds to the
list of psycho women.
Home and Away has Mumma Rose, and Neighbours has
Izzie; Emmerdale had Steph. Don’t you just long for
the days when women just lay back and thought of
2nd December 2006
The desperate attempts to pursue the normal life by
those whose lives are anything but, is a regular
feature of soap. EastEnders’ Ruby has been trying to
get back to a life of normality in the light of her
gangster/murderer father dying in jail and her
boyfriend Sean cheating on her. You have to question
whether she ever had anything remotely approaching a
normal life in the first place – heck, she can’t ever
manage a normal haircut, despite all the money she
allegedly has. I swear you could hide an entire army
in that fringe and still have room to perform The
Sound of Music.
The residents of Summer Bay fare no better and have
been trying to get back to normal ever since Jack and
Martha’s wedding, which took place in the middle of a
gas explosion. This week, Ric assured Belle that
everything would be back to “normal” when they were
back at school the following day. And you know what?
It wasn’t, because, lo and behold, then there was a
suspected pyromaniac on the premises in the form of
And let’s not forget Matilda: “Can we just try and
be normal now?” she begged her family. Then, later:
“We did talk about everything going back to normal.”
With murder, kidnappings, robberies, adultery,
sexual abuse, alcoholism etc. etc. in every soap,
maybe we’ve all lost sight of what normality is.
25th November 2006
You can always rely on sex and death to boost ratings,
but there is rather a lot of the latter around at the
moment. In Neighbours this week, Cameron was left at
death’s door after being run over by Max, who thought
he was Robert. In Home and Away, Sally lost yet
another of her nine lives in a fire (yes, another
one!). In Coronation Street, Danny and Jamie nearly
killed each other in the canal, and Charlie is set to
go six feet under at Christmas. Over on EastEnders,
Pauline will be popping her clogs during the festive
season, too, as will Emmerdale’s Tom on Christmas Day.
Whatever happened to the days when the most anyone
had to worry about at this time of year was whether
they were going to find a turkey in the middle of
their table on Christmas Day or Phil Mitchell and his
latest floozie. Remember the year when he took Mel
over the table, knocking over a bottle of wine in the
process? Now, people spend Boxing Day ordering wood
The strangest thing about Christmas in soapland is
that nobody does what the rest of us do – ie watch
soaps. Maybe they should try it one year: Martin
Fowler watching his mum die in a TV programme and dead
beside him at the same time. Now that’s what I call a