Week in TV Soaps (w/e 12/08)
With the Olympics being more addictive than any of us could ever have imagined, it's been easy to forget that the people of Soapland have been carrying on with their lives as (ahem) normal.. But fear not, as The Yorker's soaps team have been keeping up with them so you don't have to...
Coronation Street (written by Jacob Martin)
This week, Roy’s sex life was on the up. With Hayley away, Mary progressed with her plan to seduce him, ensnaring him into going to a concert which, she said, they would of course have to stay overnight for. “I’ll have my electric toothbrush packed and at the ready,” said Roy (the tease!). Mary’s plans were scuppered, however, as Hayley returned, and got her claws back into her man: “I can’t wait to get back into our bed,” she intoned… Luckily for Mary, Hayley had a dancing contest on the night of the concert, so she motor(hom)ed ahead. Naturally, though, Roy wasn’t having any (even when she promised him a freshly sprung mattress!), instead wanting to get back to Hayley. What followed were some lovely scenes that proved that R&H are Soap’s No.1 Couple; even Mary was touched. Chin up, love, you’ve still got Norris…
In other news, Tyrone encouraged Kirsty to see Dr Carter about her “anger issues”. However, faced with an anxious wait at the surgery (Dr Carter had just nipped out to search for a storyline of his own), and having to discuss how to get oil stains out of overalls with Deirdre (not that I could work out why she was asking; Ken’s hardly the Michelin man…), she bottled it. Chaos thus ensued, and, cutting a long story short, Kirsty decided that Tyrone was better off without her and left for good (she’s coming back a week on Monday). Oh yeah, and Deirdre suspects Tyrone’s a wife-beater!
Further tests for Deirdre’s neck came as Tracy was rushed to hospital. After calling Norris “a slaphead hoover Nazi”, and committing various crimes against shoes, Emily kicked Tracy out, despite protestations of being unwell. Fast forward half a dozen scenes with flashing neon ‘TRACY REALLY IS UNWELL!’ signs, and she’s in hospital with kidney failure. And she’s only got one kidney. Duh duh duh! While I’m sure we all wish her a speedy recovery, Steve might not, as, courtesy of some misguided words of comfort, she now thinks he wants to get back with her. Run Steve, run!
EastEnders (written by Lois Cameron)
Oh dear, EastEnders. Oh dear, oh dear. You’re expecting us to buy this? Really? Ian Beale the tramp, his mental state broken by the revelation that he’s rubbish at picking wives and his brother Ben is a murderer? The same Ben who spent time in a young offender’s institute and came back with a more thuggish head? The Ben who is Phil’s son? Oh, EastEnders.
Seriously, the whole thing was ridiculous. Ian Beale, practically mute, wandering around the Square with his straggly beard and gross hat, as Phil and Ben try to manipulate him to preserve their secret. And when Shirley mentioned Heather, the resulting shot of Ian, eyes widening as thunder roared in the background and the camera slowly panned in to his frightened face, was so bizarre I was sure I’d imagined it in some sort of Olympic-induced hysteria. I had not.
Lucy continued her quest for independence and dominance in the world of East End business (yes, I know she hasn’t shown any interest in it before, but just go with it) by screaming at Ian and then winning the cook-off. And after spending the first few weeks in the relative safety of hospital, poor baby Scarlett was introduced to Albert Square for the first time. Of course, she’s really little more than a pawn in the weird relationship between Michael and Janine, but we can’t hold that against her. Janine did briefly decide to stop this game playing, but was at it again by the start of the next episode.
Kat’s affair continues, as it surely will until the end of all time. We were led to believe for a while that her mystery man was Ray, but those clever people over at EastEnders pulled a fast one and it turned out not to be him. Oh, very sneaky indeed.
And look, there’s no-one who has Olympic fever more than me, but that hastily slotted in scene with random characters rejoicing in the recent success of Team GB was honestly excruciating. Please, EastEnders, don’t.
Emmerdale (written by Catherine Munn)
Oh, I do love an Emmerdale wedding, if only because there’s a tiny, tiny chance that Edna will have one too many sherries and lead a rendition of ‘Dancing Queen’ atop the Woolpack tables - hat an’ all. It could happen. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be on Paddy and Rhona’s big day, although we nearly saw a tipsy Chas take Marlon’s place as best man, which would have been equally fantastic. This week, Marlon finally grew a backbone, applied for a court order to stop Paddy and Rhona taking off with baby Leo, and broke the news to the happy couple at their reception. Most people usually buy toasters or food processors as wedding gifts, but you have to give Marlon points for originality there.
Meanwhile, Edna was busy giving Charity the mother of all death glares in the haulage office. After weeks of scheming and dealing with her father-in-law, Rishi, Charity’s wish finally came true: yes, that’s right, she snagged a whopping 20% business stake in Emmerdale Haulage. Not exactly what every girl dreams of, but it’s so very entertaining to watch Mr Carl throw a tantrum in the office. He’s had plenty of practice over the years, but it just never gets old.
And while Charity played trucks with the King brothers, Jai planned for Rachel to be his “kept woman”, promising to buy her and the baby a posh flat in Leeds in exchange for her keeping the baby a secret from Charity. I don't really understand how Jai can afford this just from the profits of Emmerdale's only sweet factory, but sure, we'll go with it. Rachel isn’t the only one who thinks it’s a ridiculous idea – the trackie bottoms don’t exactly scream “elusive mistress” after all – and as the sweetest, loveliest character in Emmerdale, she deserves a lot better. Still, I hope she’s not too lovely to squeeze every penny out of Jai while she still can. Or at the very least, some free chocolate.