Next week in soapland: EastEnders terror for Chantelle, Emmerdale's Mandy returns, Sinead's tragic Coronation Street news
All the biggest stories and spoilers from the world of soap
Monday 9 September
EastEnders (8pm BBC1) could easily have made Chantelle all blingy and had her lording it over the rest of the Taylors. But instead, the writers are depicting her as both aspirational and relatable. You can see why — Chantelle and lawyer husband Gray must appear engaging and successful on the surface, so that the behind-closed-doors violence packs an even greater punch.
My only issue is that because soaps always tell us that domestic abuse is committed by the person we least expect, we now immediately suspect the well-tailored professional man with the seemingly perfect family life of having low moral fibre. And so it’s turned out with Gray (Toby Alexander Smith), who this evening sabotages Chantelle’s work-related celebrations.
Maybe I’m too cynical: after all, actress Jessica Plummer has fitted in very well and I care more about Chantelle than I do some characters who have been on screen three times longer than she has.
Tuesday 10 September
Holby City (8pm BBC1) has gone a bit This is Your Life in its 20th anniversary year, with former staff members and now even ex-patients making guest returns. Tonight’s comeback kids are the Tan twins, the conjoined siblings whom Ric (Hugh Quarshie) separated way back in 2008. But they might just notice a few changes when it comes to Mr Griffin’s demeanour, seeing as he’s now losing his rag with everyone in sight and making far too many diagnostic mistakes. Is he just overstretched because of Serena’s continued absence, or might there be a deeper reason for his errors?
Fletch is in Ange’s bad books because he’s naively given creepy Evan the benefit of the doubt. Deciding that he needs to get the measure of the man, Fletch arranges to meet Evan in the pub, little realising that when he says he’s checking the football results on his phone, Evan is really looking at the secret cameras he’s installed at Chloe’s flat. What a louse!
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Wednesday 11 September
At the recent Edinburgh TV Festival, writer Russell T Davies noted that Coronation Street (7.30pm, 8.30pm ITV) does have a habit of killing off its young female characters, commenting that it’s become “slightly out of control”. Now it seems as though there might be another one to add to the tally, what with Sinead being told her cancer has spread to her lymph nodes and liver and that she has just three or four months left to live.
With actress Katie McGlynn having already announced that she was leaving the show, this diagnosis won’t really surprise fans. But what strikes me as being cynical is the news about Sinead’s life expectancy. Three to four months? Why, by my reckoning, that handily coincides with Christmas. So what’s the betting we get those deathbed scenes as a heartstring-pulling not-so-festive plotline? Oh well, better make space in that Weatherfield graveyard so Sinead can join the likes of Rana, Kylie, Tina and all the other fallen Corrie heroines.
Thursday 12 September
It may not be as headline-making as the Queen Vic shooting storyline, but Bobby’s (Clay Milner Russell) psychosis on EastEnders (7.30pm BBC1) has been a slow-burn success, particularly the scenes where the troubled teen has seen visions of his very-much-dead sister Lucy. I can’t be the only one who gets a chill whenever she reappears in shadow, even though it’s now hard to recall the actual reason why Bobby killed her (was his motive ever really explained?). Tonight, he takes drastic action in an attempt to confront his past.
There’s adolescent angst on Hollyoaks (6.30pm, C4), too, as pregnant autistic teenager Brooke (Talia Grant) heads to the hospital, where she bumps into Mercedes (Jennifer Metcalfe), who’s currently wrestling with a “who’s the daddy?” dilemma. Seeing the queen of the show giving advice to its rising star may leave us craving a new career path for Mercedes. Youth club owner, maybe?
Friday 13 September
I’ve mixed feelings about Mandy (Lisa Riley, righ) returning to Emmerdale (7pm ITV) for a fresh stint. What with this and Kim Tate’s recent comeback, it seems as though the show is rewinding to the mid-1990s. Plus, the thought of Mandy trying to pull off lots of tedious scams by hoodwinking her fellow villagers fills me with feelings of dread.
But, following the recent death of Lisa, it does feel as though the Dingles have been missing a courageous matriarch, a role that Mandy could certainly step up to perform. And I was left heartened after discovering that she won’t be scheming to wreck Paddy and Chas’s relationship and will instead be acting as a confidante for her ex-husband.
Oh, and as for how long she’ll be sticking around, we can expect Mandy to be on screen for longer than she was during that cameo at the start of 2019. “Mandy’s got her Christmas knickers,” Riley reveals. Well, at least it won’t be a quiet December at Wishing Well Cottage this year.