Emmerdale’s Rebecca White is secretly being held captive by her serial killer nephew Lachlan, over a week after fans began to fear for her life when she caught her roguish relative trying to gas Liv Flaherty and Robert Sugden to death. Her subsequent disappearance was swift and unexplained, with the only clues being Lucky’s blood-stained spanner and a cover story his aunt had fled to Ibiza.
But this was all a big bluff to make us think Bex had been bumped off, so as to preserve the surprise of her incarceration in a remote cabin, chained and tormented by her captor to keep her quiet about his unsavoury antics.
Except it’s not as big a surprise as Emmerdale thinks it is, as dispatching characters in mysterious circumstances with a deliberately ambiguous fate only for them to reappear as a horrified hostage while the rest of the community thinks they’re either dead or on holiday is becoming a popular twist – almost to the point where you can see it coming a mile off.
Don’t believe us? Here’s a reminder of six times soaps pulled a similar stunt as Emmerdale have just done with Rebecca – starting with the most audacious of them all…
Andy Carver (Coronation Street)
Loser Andy cottoned on early to Pat Phelan being a bad’un, but when he got too close to exposing his fraudulent crimes the bad boy builder attacked him with a weighty laptop to the head – the next thing we saw Pat was locking up his van and scooting off to the register office to marry Eileen Grimshaw with a suspicious speck of blood on his shirt making us assume he’d got rid of Andy – permanently. Fast forward eight months to August 2017 and unkempt Mr Carver was seen in a secret basement prison Phelan had been hiding him for the best part of a year. Everyone else thought he was in Bristol.
Denise Fox (EastEnders)
Back in 2010 Dee had remarried her ex Lucas Johnson, who became Walford’s first serial killing preacher (thus far). Gripped by a twisted obsession to rid the world of sinners – a mixture of Taxi Driver’s Travis Bickle and TV vigilante Dexter – Lucas’s mission got out of hand when he admitted his slaying spree to a dumbfounded Denise, then staged a freaky baptism at the canal where he forced her to atone for her sins and ended up strangling her. It appeared she’d drowned and Lucas staged a fake suicide scene, killing a prostitute and dumping the body in the canal which he falsely identified as his wife. After weeks of her family – and fans – grieving her death, Dee turned up on the doorstep – it turned out Lucas was keeping Denise prisoner in a vacant house on the Square.
Rosie Webster (Coronation Street) Before she returned in 2017 as the cobbles queen of light comedy, Rosie was something of a teenage femme fatale who had a torrid affair with her teacher John Stape. Blaming Rosie for ruining his relationship with (future wife) Fiz Brown when the fling was exposed, in 2008 John abducted his former pupil and kept her locked in his dead granny’s attic – Rosie went missing for five weeks before we knew what had happened to her, with initial suspicion pointing to future fellow serial killer Tony Gordon who she’d also become embroiled with. There was a repeat performance in 2011 when John came back after being missing for months – having notched up several victims – and kidnapped Rosie again in the hope of persuading her to fake evidence to keep Fiz out of jail, as she’d been implicated in his crimes.
Tom Cunningham (Hollyoaks)
Hollyoaks’ resident drama magnet was still a little boy and living with the Osbornes back in 2013 when sly Sienna Blake moved in and tried to destroy his surrogate family from the inside. When Tom learnt Sienna’s pregnancy by Darren was fake and she’d framed Nancy for trying to kill her kids to get her locked up in a psychiatric unit leaving the way clear to steal her husband, he was all set to expose her deceit. Then he vanished. But you don’t mess with Sienna, and we soon discovered she’d locked Tom in the basement of her mum’s old house and lied Darren was dead and he had no one left on the outside, as the village was adorned with missing posters.
Dodger Savage (Hollyoaks)
Holding people up against their will became something of an MO for Sienna, who grew so obsessed with her long-lost twin brother Dodger in 2014 she stabbed him in the leg to stop him leaving her when things started to get weird, and it later transpired she’d chained him to a radiator, dressed him in a festive jumper and mocked up the perfect ‘family Christmas’ for them and their daughter Nico (yes, the siblings committed twincest and sired a child). The Yuletide hostage situation wasn’t exactly ho ho ho.
Sienna Blake (Hollyoaks)
Finally getting a taste of her own medicine, last year someone turned the tables on queen of kidnapping Sienna and she was the one secretly imprisoned with a faked fate. Pregnant by ex-lover Warren Fox, Sienna teamed up with gangster pal Grace Black to get her out of the village and away from the bad boy before her twins were born. Worried Warren had foiled their plan, Grace breathed a sigh of relief when Sienna called from her ‘safe house’ saying she’d managed to escape – only she hadn’t, as Warren had intervened and whisked her to a remote cottage where he intended to keep her until the babies came so he could steal them and do a runner. Now there’s a unique birth plan.
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