10 soap characters who refuse to die – from Jane Beale to Rita Tanner

Top soap survivors from Coronation Street, EastEnders, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks


How hard is it to kill Jane Beale on EastEnders? Answer: very. Just ask Max Branning who, last night, resorted to the old trick of trying to cut off her oxygen supply while she lay comatose in hospital. Of course, it didn’t work – you can’t get rid of a survivor like Jane so easily. But she isn’t the only character to defy the odds. Here, she joins the ranks of teflon-coated soapland staples who have proved themselves to be immortal.


1. Phil Mitchell (EastEnders)

He’s been shot twice and found himself in more car smash-ups than a crash-test dummy. And yet Phil is still in the land of the living. Not even a gas explosion in last week’s episodes could finish him off. Perhaps he has a Wolverine-style adamantium skeleton?


2. Carla Connor (Coronation Street)

If soap characters got a prize for suffering, then Carla would take home the trophy. She almost burned to death in two fires (at Underworld and her own flat), was beaten up at the Bistro, targeted in a siege and spent more time writing-off cars than driving them. She’s back for more mayhem at Christmas.


3. Ian Beale (EastEnders)

A man so beloved that his one-time wife put a hit out on him. Yes, we all remember Ian Beale taking a bullet, but he’s also attempted suicide, been held hostage by Steven and was a passenger when Phil flipped the Land Rover he was driving. Last Monday, Ian was also on the scene of the Walford gas blast, but (surprise, surprise) escaped with minor injuries.


4. Jane Beale (EastEnders)

One year ago, Jane Beale was intubated and on life support after being beaten by crazed stepson Bobby. At the moment, she’s back in intensive care after Steven (who once also shot her) set fire to Beales’ restaurant and Max abandoned her in the blaze. But still Jane survives!


5. Nick Tilsley (Coronation Street)

Nick is, of course, a member of the most cursed family on Corrie and nearly met his maker on many occasions during his years in Weatherfield. He was in the Joinery when it collapsed, got brain damage from a  van crash and infamously almost sunk in killer quicksand.


6. Lawrence White (Emmerdale)

Heart attacks, an armed robbery, crashes, shootings, a cricket ball to the testicles – nothing can keep the Home Farm patriarch down for long. Even Robert’s current attempts to drug Lawrence have merely resulted in him nodding off in various corners of the set. He’s indestructible.


7. Ste Hay (Hollyoaks)

During his decade on screen, Ste has been constantly put through the wringer: clashing with killer Cameron on a lake and surviving both a bomb attack on his flat and a minibus crash at his wedding to Doug. His latest drama? Getting shot by bonkers Kathy Barnes at the climax of Amy’s trial.


8. Paddy Kirk (Emmerdale)

Who knew veterinary work could be so dangerous? Paddy has, of course, been shot (by Robert), was almost buried in grain (thanks to Robert) and let out one of soap’s most terrifying ever screams when his and Rhona’s car spun out of control during the multi-vehicle pile-up on the Hotton bypass.


9. Warren Fox (Hollyoaks)

You can’t keep a good villain down, even when it looks as though they’ve been killed off. After a ceiling mirror collapsed on him in 2009, it seemed as though Warren was no more. But one year later, he was back from the dead in suitably dramatic style.


10. Rita Tanner (Coronation Street)


Corrie grandee Rita has a habit of tangling with trams be it in Blackpool (when being chased by Alan Bradley) or back on the Street (buried under a mountain of pick ‘n’ mix during the 50th anniversary disaster). She’s also been poisoned by carbon monoxide and looks set to be diagnosed with a brain tumour this autumn. Will she make it through this latest ordeal? (#SaveRita).

Barbara Knox