Monday 12th August
There’s a blast from the past in Coronation Street (7.30pm, 8.30pm ITV) when Fiona Middleton is mentioned for the first time in about 20 years. Yes, those tabloid rumours suggesting perky hairdresser Emma is the secret daughter of perky ex-hairdresser Fiona (the role that launched Angela Griffin’s career) are confirmed when Emma’s dying dad reveals he is not her biological father. Devastated, Emma confides in Audrey that her mother (who now lives overseas) has spun her lifelong lie, but when Aud starts doing the maths, it all starts to add up. Could Fiona’s old flame Steve be Emma’s real dad? And could this be the most randomly convenient rewriting of history Corrie has pulled?
Bobby joins the Ahmeds for Eid in EastEnders (8pm BBC1), but the spirit of inclusion through his conversion to Islam is in stark contrast to the Maalik family’s experience in Hollyoaks (6.30pm). Their celebrations are marredby more intimidation from their far-right neighbours.
Tuesday 13th August
I’ve noticed that Holby City’s (8pm BBC1) Henrik Hanssen appears to have had a little less starch in his shirts since he started looking after little Oskar. He’s relaxed when his grandson accidentally wrecks his mobile phone. And the way he beams whenever Oskar calls him “farfar” is adorable. But a threat comes when Oskar’s mum Sara reappears on the scene and reveals that she’s taking her son home. Might Hanssen end up putting family before his duties at the hospital and leave too? Obviously, the place could crumble to dust should he hand in his security pass, but it’s surely worth the risk?
Elsewhere, we have a guest star with an interesting CV. Actress Julia Foster is the mother of TV’s Ben Fogle – and funnily enough, one of her first roles on television was playing student nurse Anne Carson on the mother of all medical dramas: Emergency – Ward 10.
Wednesday 14th August
What are our thoughts so far on Gemma and Paul’s mum Bernie in Coronation Street (7.30pm, 8.30pm ITV)? Admittedly, it can take new faces a while to bed down, but I can’t yet shake the feeling of déjà vu she elicited upon arrival. The Jackie Dobbs/Cilla Battersby-Brown useless mum template has been closely followed, and when she starts conning the neighbours for cash pretending she’s collecting for sick kiddies, when in fact it’s to pay a parking fine, her scheming and scamming still feels predictable.
My other issue with bringing in long-lost relatives for quirky characters such as Gemma is that it can end up stifling their uniqueness: chaotic Gemma being exasperated that someone is even more chaotic than she is clips her wings and arguably makes her too serious. A similar thing happened when Mary’s family were introduced and her kooky edges were curbed as she was forced to defend her eccentricities.
Thursday 15th August
The nation wept when Lisa died in Emmerdale (7pm, 8pm ITV) and it’s been heartbreaking to watch Zak grieve. Earlier this week fun-loving Faith tried to put a smile back on the widower’s face and the pair kissed, sending Zak into a spin and leading to a calamitous event that sounds typical of the soap’s penchant for broad comic set-pieces. Meeting Faith in the Woolpack cellar, guilty Zak berates himself for betraying his wife’s memory and wants to come clean to the clan about the indiscretion. But when Bear almost catches them, they’re forced to hide, after which a pipe pops off a beer barrel and they end up drenched – with much explaining to do when they emerge in the bar soaking wet. Hilarity, we’re told, ensues…
EastEnders (7.30pm BBC1) finally seems to be doing something with Iqra, whose revelation at the start of the week continues to reverberate. Her flighty sister Habiba’s love triangle with Adam and Honey is going nowhere fast, but Iqra’s own surprising plot feels full of potential.
Friday 16th August
Medical jeopardy is the backdrop to turning points for two fractious relationships in EastEnders (8pm BBC1). First, we have Jean’s sparky bond with fellow cancer patient Daniel (perfectly cast Adrian Edmondson) developing into more serious territory as she bumps into him at a chemo appointment and realises something is very wrong. Mick has collapsed for the second time in a week and his only hope of calling an ambulance and potentially saving his life is archenemy Stuart. Is this the point the Square’s own He-Man and Skeletor finally make amends?
Playing “Lame Excuse for Being Away Bingo” is the only way through Robert’s ridiculous double-life plot in Coronation Street (7.30pm, 8.30pm ITV) as he tries to keep Vicky and Michelle apart. His latest excuse is unimaginative even by the cheating chef’s low standards. But guess what? Michelle swallows it. Again. And the audience is expected to think she really is that gullible. Again.