Next week in soapland: Bethany rejected on Coronation Street, Hollyoaks carnage, plus Mel’s misery on EastEnders

16-20 September 2019: all the big drama in the week ahead

Bethany on Coronation Street, Mel on EastEnders, Ste on Hollyoaks

Monday 16 September

Up until now, Paul Foreman from Coronation Street (7.30pm, 8.30pm ITV) has been a happy-go-lucky chancer, but give a soap character long enough and you’re bound to find past trauma somewhere in their personality.

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In Paul’s case, it’s the sexual abuse he endured as a teenager from his stepfather Kel, who has now arrived back on the scene. Now, obviously this sounds like a particularly grim turn of events, but it does have the potential to bring Paul more into the orbit of local vicar Billy (their chemistry was working, so let’s see more of it) and also make his screen sister Gemma less of a caricature.

Oh, and if you recognise Kel, it may be because actor Joseph Alessi was on EastEnders last year playing prison top dog Fraser, who made inmate Mick Carter’s life a misery for a week before the entire plot strand was abruptly abandoned. And here was I hoping that Fraser, Bob, Fingers and the rest of the lags might one day turn up in the Square.

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Tuesday 17 September

Last time on Holby City (8pm BBC1), we saw Ric Griffin typing the word “dementia” into that well-known search engine Whippet, which I’m sure we all use when we need information in a hurry.

Ric (Hugh Quarshie) hasn’t taken Whippet’s findings on board and is still lashing out, with Cameron (Nic Jackman) his new Target of the Week. Expect an already tense situation to get even more fraught when Ric’s pregnant granddaughter Darla goes into labour and he fails to put her needs first. On the basis of this episode, I doubt any mum-to-be would pick Ric as their ideal birth partner.

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Hollyoaks (6.30pm C4) has been teasing a dramatic peak for its radicalisation storyline for some time. And while I can’t reveal the exact details, it’s fair to say that there’s a crescendo tonight. Last month, we saw Yazz and Sinead discover evidence of a terror attack being planned by a far-right faction. So, might their fears now be realised?

Wednesday 18 September

Vinny and Mandy on Emmerdale (7pm ITV) are up to no good, which is news that won’t come as a surprise to anyone. I get a feeling the two of them are being fashioned into a Del-Boy-and-Rodney-style double act, so how much you enjoy this kind of thing hinges on your tolerance for dodgy get-rich-quick schemes. This one, in case you’d like to know more, involves a bag at Butler’s barn filled with a haul of stolen cash and casino chips.

Trustworthiness (or the lack of it) is also the focus of a current storyline in Doctors (1.45pm BBC1), as Al continues to fret that his mum Eve’s new boyfriend is a conman. Today, Ray (guest star Bruce Alexander, best known for playing blinkered police chief Mullett in A Touch of Frost) is still rubbing Al up the wrong way. But when Al challenges his mother about why she’s keeping Frank in the dark about her dementia diagnosis, she ends up chucking her son out of her house.

Thursday 19 September

Lisa on EastEnders (7.30pm, BBC1) has a Forrest Gump-like ability to reappear at moments of big Walford drama. And so it proved recently, when she resurfaced as an armed siege was breaking out. Now, in the aftermath, we’re set to see her go down memory lane with a fragile Mel. But can you imagine the topics of conversation? Lisa: “Do you remember when I shot Phil?” Mel: “Do you remember when Dan Sullivan held me hostage?” Ah, good times.

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If proof was needed that Neighbours (1.45pm, Channel 5) is now solely made for a UK audience, you only have to look at the guest stars booked for Paul and Terese’s London honeymoon. Denise Van Outen is playing Harlow’s mother Prudence and Richard Arnold is also turning up as a mysterious man with links to Van Outen’s character. How leftfield is that? But then Neighbours has, I guess, always gone in for eclectic cameos. I’m old enough to remember Derek Nimmo, of all people, making an appearance as a dotty peer back in 1990.

Friday 20 September

It’s unfortunate that the Bailey family was lumbered with a hackneyed introductory storyline when they arrived on Coronation Street (7.30pm ITV). Honestly, Corrie writers, how many times have we seen noisy newcomers immediately getting on the wrong side of their neighbours? Thankfully, things have settled down a bit since then and we now get a development that definitely feels fresh.

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Already this week, we’ve witnessed Bethany Platt develop a friendship with James Bailey (Nathan Graham), but when she leans in for a kiss at Ed’s surprise party, he blurts out that he’s gay. You’d have imagined that coming out wouldn’t be such a big deal for a young guy like James, but he feels that it’s impossible to be an openly gay black footballer due to the prejudice he’d face from some fans. Corrie could well be on to a winner if it handles the issue of homophobia in sport with enough nuance, so let’s hope it doesn’t miss a sitter.

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