MONDAY 24 JUNE
I can’t believe that Ian (Adam Woodyatt) would choose to stay away from his Walford business empire for four whole months. Most of his marriages haven’t even lasted that long. But yes, EastEnders’s (8.00pm, BBC1) longest-standing character has been off screen since February, when he departed to pay Peter a visit in New Zealand. But, while Ian has been away, his other boy, Bobby, has been released from Young Offenders’ with a brand-new face. So it’s no wonder that things are extremely awkward between father and son when Ian returns tonight.
And speaking of homicidal offspring, we also have Mel preparing for Hunter’s sentencing. Remember Hunter? He was the one who shot Ray dead at New Year. Maybe he’ll end up getting Bobby’s old cell? And what is it with all these kids on Albert Square who morph into murderers? I mean, all the father figures in the neighbourhood are so principled. Oh, apart from Phil. And Max. And Ben, come to think of it. OK, so suddenly I can see a pattern emerging…
TUESDAY 25 JUNE
‘Terror at Tall Trees’ sounds like it should be the name of an early Wes Craven film, but it’s how Emmerdale (7.00pm, ITV) are hyping an armed siege involving April, Jessie, Marlon, Billy, Ellis and gangster Max. As is the way with this type of cliffhanger, we get a tussle over a loaded gun before the sound of a shot reverberates around the village. (Basically, it’s an exact replay of what happened to Debbie, Joe and Ross this time last year.)
There must be a bespoke job bulletin board for psychopaths somewhere at the hospital, for how else do you explain the roster of maniacs on Holby City (8.00pm, BBC1)? It wasn’t so long ago that John Gaskell’s God Complex was driving the drama. Then we had Isaac coming back for more manipulative mind games. Now, Evan seems to be picking up where Isaac left off, with his current target being poor Cameron. His head is in a total mess because Evan is being publicly supportive, but privately undermining. How long before Cameron realises that Evan is merely filling the vacancy for villain on the wards?
WEDNESDAY 26 JUNE
The character of Geoff on Coronation Street (7.30, 8.30pm, ITV) is becoming increasingly sinister. For months, he was just this amiable tortoise-resembling amateur magician who merely wanted to win the affections of Yasmeen Nazir. Now, though, he’s traded magic tricks for mind games as he attempts to keep Yasmeen in line. The issue of coercive control has been making its way around all the soaps of late: first, it was Helen and Rob on The Archers, next we had Pierce and Rhona on Emmerdale, and now it looks as though Corrie will be exploring similar territory as Geoff tightens his grip.
Tonight, in the wake of him tearing a strip off Yasmeen for missing the dinner party in Monday’s double bill, Geoff spills water on Ryan’s mixing desk at Speed Daal – and let’s Yasmeen think she did it. By the end of the day, Yasmeen is mugged and robbed of the day’s takings. And there are no prizes for guessing who takes advantage of the situation by stepping in to be her protector…
THURSDAY 27 JUNE
EastEnders (7.30pm, BBC1) has finally found something for Jack Branning to do that doesn’t involve him catching the eye of every available Walford woman with long blonde hair. Instead, the writers have given him a kind of saviour’s complex as he tries to get justice for niece Tiffany by confronting her rapist. You can see why Jack would be acting this way. He did, after all, lose wife Ronnie in tragic circumstances on their wedding day. And if you probe Jack’s backstory further, there’s a lot of murk in there about him turning a blind eye as a child while dad Jim treated Max badly.
So, it makes sense for Jack to now be seeking vengeance on this criminal gang member Fraser. Though it doesn’t look this evening’s confrontation is going to end well – anyone who watched the recent EastEnders summer trailer will have glimpsed a fleet of police cars descending on the Square to take Jack away, with the beleaguered Mr Branning being warned that “prison is no place for an ex-copper.”
FRIDAY 28 JUNE
Maria Connor (Samia Longchambon) is down in the dumps on Coronation Street (7.30, 8.30pm, ITV) because she feels as though her life is getting boring. Granted, she’s having a foot spa with Audrey and Gail at the time, which admittedly doesn’t sound like a banging Friday night. And Gail is commenting that she and Maria are now more like sisters. But you’d have thought Maria would be craving a bit of mundanity. She has, after all, managed to fit two lifetimes’ worth of drama into her 36 years on earth.
In case you’ve forgotten, she’s the grim reaper of relationships (RIP Liam Connor, Tony Gordon, Charlie Stubbs and Aidan Connor). We also had that sham marriage to gay Argentinian Pablo that resulted in her getting a three-month prison sentence. And then there was that odd plotline twist in 2014 that saw her unmasked as Tyrone’s crazed stalker (everyone now pretends this never happened). So cheer up, Maria, love. At least you’ve got something to tell the grandkids.