Monday 2 September
There’s a temptation on soaps to have returning characters make a comeback looking unbelievably preened and tooth-whitened (and that’s just Alfie Moon). But I love the fact that Patsy Palmer, despite now living the LA dream in real life, has remained true to Bianca’s roots.
As we see on EastEnders (8pm BBC1), she’s still a short-fused, loud-mouthed scrapper with claws to match her lurid animal-print tracky tops. Should Whitney and Callum’s wedding go awry (as we suspect it might), Queen B will no doubt be in the thick of the action.
Corrie’s Andy McDonald hasn’t been seen on the Street for a decade and is now only ever mentioned when brother Steve or mum Liz goes on holiday to Spain. But actor Nick Cochrane makes a guest appearance on Doctors (1.45pm BBC1), which is returning after its summer break. He plays Dean, who gets into trouble for dealing drugs from his pizza business after getting in debt to a local gangster.
Tuesday 3 September
Holby City (8pm BBC1) is overdoing it with the portentous imagery: a storm is brewing, thunder is rumbling, rain is lashing the windows… honestly, the writers may as well have just spelled things out completely and called it Hurricane Kensit. Because, yes, “Patsy Comeback Week” (my term, not the BBC’s) continues.
Yesterday, it was Bianca in Walford, now it’s Faye in the hospital as a patient, but still possessing the energy to spar with old rival Jac Naylor like they’re Krystle and Alexis. There’s even a Blake Carrington-style man to argue over, what with Faye having reunited with Joseph (Luke Roberts also doing a guest turn).
The trouble is, though, that the outlook for Faye isn’t all that rosy. In her years away, she’s been knocking back the alcohol and is now in need of a transplant. Not that Jac is very sympathetic – “booze-addled tramp” being one of the nicer things she says prior to Faye having her life-or-death operation.
Wednesday 4 September
Robert on Emmerdale (7pm ITV) is getting irritable, because his solicitor is telling him to plead guilty. He’s adamant he won’t, because Victoria’s testimony will turn his case around. But she’s wrestling with something we’ve often feared Robert lacks: a conscience.
Secretly, what we all know is that Robert (Ryan Hawley) wasn’t acting in self-defence when Lee was injured. He was actually a one-man sword (or shovel) of Damocles, opting to lamp Lee across the head with a spade while the horrible rapist had his back turned. As the court date looms, Victoria frets that should she lie on the stand, it’d make her no better than the man who denies sexually assaulting her.
Sean on Coronation Street (7.30pm, 8.30pm ITV) is horrified that Eileen is planning to run away with Jan and has a go at him for endangering her. Because, of course, Eileen has always been so safe living at No 11. I mean, it’s not like she was once married to a serial killer or anything.
Thursday 5 September
EastEnders (7.30pm BBC1) must have thought it was a bit of a gamble to have escaped criminal Hunter Owen (Charlie Winter) orchestrate an armed siege in the Queen Vic, seeing as the guy wasn’t exactly Mr Charisma when he was first in the show.
But, do you know what? He’s actually pretty menacing during this showdown. Maybe it’s because the actor has finally been given some decent material to work with? Or perhaps he’s got one eye on a showreel for casting agents? But whatever the reason, he’s certainly coming up with the goods.
In fact, the whole show has improved of late. These past few years, I’d been worried that EastEnders would never be able to recover its edge. But suddenly, there’s a proper sense of jeopardy and tension, as well as characters in who we can emotionally invest. So, when Hunter’s gun goes off (as all loaded guns in drama must), I guarantee that you’ll be anxious to discover who has taken the bullet.
Friday 6 September
I don’t know what Daniel (Rob Mallard) has done to annoy the writers on Coronation Street (7.30pm, 8.30pm ITV), but they currently have him caught between two women who are both set to leave the show. Tonight, we see him gazing lovingly at Bethany, while his fiancée Sinead plans a surprise wedding. Enjoy the attention while it lasts, Daniel. It might prove to be fleeting.
Neighbours (1.45pm, 5.30pm Channel 5) is making a virtue out of Paul Robinson’s (Stefan Dennis) crazy history by having his ex-wives resurface to gang up on him. Today, it’s the turn of his most famous ex: Christina Alessi, who will soon be joined by her twin sister Caroline — played by twin sisters, Gayle and Gillian Blakeney.
But don’t expect their comeback to be long term: the actress twins now live in America. “I don’t think they’ve got a desire to tread the boards again,” says Dennis. “Gill’s next-door neighbour in Los Angeles is Tom Hanks!”