The soap experts at have decided the best storyline of the past year, looking across the entirety of the genre.


From Emmerdale, Coronation Street and EastEnders, to Hollyoaks, Holby City and Neighbours, we've found the 15 biggest and most important genre-defining moments which have been outstanding in 2022.

Read on to find out what we decided were the most impactful moments across the world of soaps in 2022 - and find out that all-important winner.

15. Emmerdale's 50th anniversary

Emmerdale: Will, Kim and Harriet (ITV)

It's always a celebration when any soap hits a milestone birthday, and Emmerdale reaching 50 was something ITV could be immensely proud of. And boy, did they celebrate. Set around an ambitious "Storm Week" theme, Emmerdale promised that by the time the dust settled, lives would be changed forever.

We started in the immediate aftermath of Faith Dingle's death, and went straight into the drama, with Harriet Finch and Liv Dingle also claimed as victims by the time the wind died down. We had cow stampedes, caravan crushes and quad bike explosions, with the Emmerdale team truly going all out to give fans a spectacle. And they were right, the village really wasn't the same ever since... Helen Daly

14. Stephen Reid claims his first victim on Coronation Street

Stephen Reid after spiking Audrey's drink in Coronation Street

We love nothing more than a camp soap villain, and we're getting it in bucket-loads with Coronation Street's Stephen. The Canadian recently returned to the cobbles with the aim of rinsing his mother, Audrey, dry of cash, but the job hasn't quite been as simple as he once thought. The broke businessman had been wrapped up in a series of convoluted lies and one thing led to another and he ended up accidentally killing Jenny's fiancé Leo!

The whole storyline was chaotic and frantic, and you genuinely didn't know what Stephen was going to do next. At the present day, his problems have got a whole lot worse - but will he kill again? We hope so for our unexpected villainous king. HD

13. Imran Habeeb dies on Coronation Street


When soaps surprise with a shock death, it needs to truly come out of nowhere and in the case of losing Imran Habeeb (Charlie de Melo) from Coronation Street in May, it truly felt like the rug was pulled out from under our feet.

At the centre of a fraught custody battle with Abi Franklin (Sally Carman) and in one of the more popular relationships on the Street with Toyah Battersby (Georgia Taylor), Imran felt like one of the modern linchpins of recent Corrie, but his shocking death in a car crash with new wife Toyah was ruthless and totally out of the blue. The story also proved a springboard for a darker new chapter in Toyah’s story, giving Georgia Taylor some of her best material in years. RIP, Imran. Lewis Knight

12. Holby City: Jac Naylor's final monologue

BBC's Holby was another huge loss to television this year - but everyone involved pulled out all the stops for the most powerful goodbye. Jac Naylor (Rosie Marcel) returned to the hospital diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour, but the sarcastic surgeon wasn't going down without a fight as she summoned a number of former colleagues to try and save her life.

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Sadly, Jac's fate was sealed just as Holby's final curtain came down. But as she was wheeled away and her organs were donated to hospitals across the country, Marcel delivered a touching last monologue in character which honoured the NHS. Viewers wept over the heartbreaking ending, but it proved a fitting tribute to all real-life doctors and nurses, as well as to Jac herself. Laura Denby

11. Silas Blissett returns to Hollyoaks

Silas (CHANNEL 4)

After years on the run, Hollyoaks’ senior serial killer, Silas Blissett (Jeff Rawle), made one final return to the village. His target was none other than failed victim Mercedes McQueen (Jennifer Metcalfe) - the mother of Silas’s great-grandchild Bobby (Jayden Fox). Poor Mercy was trapped once more, but there was much worse in store.

Chillingly, Bobby turned out to be a chip off the old block, and he proved to be Silas’s undoing when he shoved him to his electrifying death in haunting scenes. Silas's legacy lives on, as in his absence, Bobby is shaping up to be the next big Hollyoaks killer. As terrifying as this is to watch, this was the perfect example of using soap history to push the story forward, while also wrapping up a very long chapter. LD

10. Phil Mitchell's return from the dead in EastEnders

Steve McFadden as Phil Mitchell in EastEnders
BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron

One of the most wonderfully camp moments in soap this year, iconic hardman Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) appeared to be murdered by fellow cellmates in prison in August and his ex-wife Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean), partner Kat Slater (Jessie Wallace) and sister Sam Mitchell (Kim Medcalf) were all horrified by his apparent death.

However, the trio received the shock of their lives when Phil made a triumphant appearance at the grand opening of Peggy’s nightclub, soundtracked to the unlikely song choice of It Feels So Good by Sonique before proclaiming, “It’s my welcome home party!” and chuckling while everyone present gawped at his reappearance. Never change, EastEnders. LK

9. Stacey Slater rescues Jean Slater on EastEnders

EastEnders: Jean in wedding dress (BBC)

Jean Slater’s (Gillian Wright) relapse of her bipolar disorder saw her spiral into a fragile state of mind that only daughter Stacey (Lacey Turner) truly understood. Jean’s behaviour was such a cause for concern that, when she fled to Brighton dressed in a wedding outfit, Stacey rushed to track her down. As Jean walked out into the sea, Stacey followed. She finally reached her mum, and there was a heartbreaking moment when Jean acknowledged just how unwell she had become and agreed to seek help.

Showcasing the outstanding partnership between stars Wright and Turner, EastEnders dedicated time to Jean’s story and captured viewers’ hearts once more as the show worked to educate us on the need for continued treatment of mental illness. LD

8. Kelly Neelan loses her mum on Coronation Street

Millie Gibson as Kelly Neelan in Coronation Street
ITV/Danielle Baguley

As if we needed any more confirmation of Millie Gibson’s incredible acting skills then it was cemented in the devastating scenes witnessed by Corrie fans in April when her character Kelly Neelan lost her dying mother Laura. After Laura confessed to murdering Kelly’s father Rick to help protect Gary Windass, Kelly wanted nothing to do with her mother despite her loved ones pushing her to reconcile with her before she died.

Eventually, Kelly changed her mind but by the time she reached the hospital it was too late and the teen broke down in tears in a scene so gut-wrenchingly real, it was Gibson’s finest work yet. Little wonder she is going on to be a huge star as she is now the next companion in Doctor Who. Kelly will be much missed after her exit in September but we definitely have not seen the last of Gibson. LK

7. Casualty's paramedic special

Iain Dean, played by Michael Stevenson with Sah Brockner, played by Arin Smethurst in Casualty

Following a global pandemic, it's safe to say we all have a lot more respect for our NHS workers than ever before. But what emerged in 2022 amid the after-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, was the impact on an already-stretched healthcare service that was struggling to play catch-up. One part that was particularly impacted was the paramedic service, which was being pulled from pillar to post, barely managing to serve patients correctly. Long-running drama Casualty decided to shed a light on this issue, and portray – without pointing the finger at anyone – just how bad the situation was.

The BBC drama opted for a frantic improvised style to show the desperation Holby's paramedics had to get the job done. And if that wasn't enough, it centred around beloved head of the team Jan, who finally reached breaking point by the end of the episode when she realised she just couldn't improve things for her team. The powerful episode will no doubt win awards for its brutal portrayal of life as a paramedic, as well as prompting heart-felt and timely discussions about the NHS across social media. HD

6. Arthur Thomas comes out on Emmerdale

Alfie Clarke as Arthur and Amelia Flanagan as April in Emmerdale.

Held back until transmission, Arthur Thomas’s (Alfie Clarke) moving chat with Nicola King (Nicola Wheeler) was a stunning portrayal of a teen coming to terms with his sexuality. With conflicting emotions over his late father Ashley’s Christian faith, and his friendship with longtime pal April Windsor (Amelia Flanagan) suffering, Arthur found the courage to open up to Nicola.

Fans were blown away by the poignant scene, with Clarke and Wheeler delivering brilliant work together. It may have occurred late into the year, but this beautiful moment surely deserves its place among the best of this year’s soap offerings. LD.

5. Keanu Taylor returns to EastEnders

Danny Walters as Keanu Taylor in EastEnders

The best-kept secrets give the biggest shocks - and EastEnders kept this one very close to its chest. When beloved Keanu left in 2020, it looked like we might never see Danny Walters back in Walford for a long time. But, the EastEnders gods delivered when they brought the dishy Taylor boy back right after the dust settled on Dot's funeral.

The most exciting thing of all? The storyline possibilities were endless, but what we all really want to see is Keanu reignite his steamy affair with Sharon. It's what our Sharon deserves, after all. HD

4. Neighbours ends (with many reveals)

Jane, Paul, Harold, Charlene in Neighbours
Channel 5/Fremantle

Long before we learned that Neighbours would find a brand new home, fans were forced to come to terms with the demise of the beloved Australian soap. The final episode was a masterclass in bittersweet joy, with a staggering amount of former characters returning for the swansong. From Kylie Minogue’s Charlene Robinson to the ghost of Madge Bishop (Anne Charleston), Ramsay Street held the party of all parties to celebrate Toadie Rebecchi’s (Ryan Moloney) wedding day.

There were even some romantic reunions, from Chloe Brennan’s (April Rose Pengilly) kiss with Elly Conway (Jodi Gordon) to Jane Harris’s (Annie Jones) touching trip down memory lane with Mike Young (Guy Pearce), leading to a gesture that took us all by surprise. LD.

3. Marlon Dingle suffers a stroke on Emmerdale

Marlon Emmerdale

The most shocking storylines are often the ones we don't see coming, to characters you simply wouldn't expect. Comic-relief character Marlon is an Emmerdale favourite for his larger than life personality and offering light moments during dramatic storylines. But Mark Charnock proved what a superb actor he is when he took on the "daunting" (as he called it himself) challenge of portraying a stroke patient. He painted such a dreadful illness with honesty and truth, rightfully winning him a British Soap Award and a National Television Award for the gruelling scenes. More importantly than that, Emmerdale worked closely with the Stroke Association to get important messages of noticing signs of strokes early (which his daughter April did), as well as the realities of rehabilitation.

While Marlon's road to recovery is slow and ongoing, that was exactly the point, to use the soap's daily schedule and show the realities a stroke patient has to deal with, never once undermining the severity of the storyline. This is what soaps do best, highlighting health and social issues in a measured, patient, and honest way. Every TV show should look to Emmerdale for this shining example of how to perfectly portray a delicate matter. HD.

2. Dot Branning's funeral on EastEnders

Dot Branning's hearse sets off in EastEnders
BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron

Few characters in soap history are as iconic as Dot Cotton (later Branning), so it was always going to be a tall order to give her a fitting send-off following the passing of actress June Brown earlier this year. Anchored by a brilliant turn from Natalie Cassidy as Sonia Fowler, December saw old faces and current cast members gather to pay their respects to Dot, a figure who touched the lives of so many characters in the history of the soap.

Heartbreaking, witty, and full of wonderful character moments and surprises, we’re sure that June Brown would have been very proud with the tribute given to Dot, with the funeral episode itself closing with her very own theme music from composer Simon May. All in all, a class act just like the woman herself. LK.

1. Meena Jutla's reign of terror ends on Emmerdale

Emmerdale Meena

Topping our list is Emmerdale’s murderous Meena Jutla (Paige Sandhu), who unleashed so much terror in the Dales that even a guilty court verdict couldn’t stop her! Just when it seemed that she couldn’t get more shocking, Meena would wrongfoot us yet again, and the storyline’s mix of sinister with satire proved to be a total triumph - even as we watched with growing horror. Sandhu stole the show with her glorious delivery of Meena’s epic one-liners, and took sister Manpreet Sharma (Rebecca Sarker) hostage as she conducted her own trial.

As soap moments go, this was one of the most unforgettable in Emmerdale’s entire history. But of course, Meena had to be defeated in the end - and the smirk was finally wiped off her face when she was sentenced to several decades in prison. Compelling, witty and gripping to watch, Meena certainly deserves the number one spot for being the most sassy serial killer the genre has ever seen. LD.

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