Monday 14 October
Fans of Coronation Street and Emmerdale are being short changed at the moment, with both shows making way for football. We lost out last Friday and do so again tonight — at this rate, I’ll have forgotten what everyone looks like. Thankfully, EastEnders (8.00pm BBC1) keeps the Soapland flag flying, with a decent storyline for Whitney.
In recent years, Whit’s thankless role has been to be dumped by men. But the writers have finally remembered how to write for her, by going back to Whitney’s roots — in particular, her abuse by stepmum Bianca’s then boyfriend Tony. It’ll be interesting to see how she reacts once the truth comes out (as it surely must) that new love interest Leo is the son of the man who groomed and exploited her. Clearly, it’s a contrived set-up, but it has potential. Will Whitney revert to how she was as an innocent 13-year-old, manipulated by a monster to believe she was in love? Or will she handle herself with the maturity gained by painful experience?
Tuesday 15 October
On the first day of a new job, the priorities are usually locating the loos, getting a computer password and making sure you don’t use someone’s treasured novelty mug. Not if you’re a high-flying consultant neurosurgeon in Holby City (8pm BBC1). Just check out Max McGerry (Jo Martin), who turns up wanting to do a risky operation on Ric that Serena (Catherine Russell) thinks is “tantamount to suicide”. She then puts some sass into surgery by saying, “Needle — big as you can get me. Ladies, prepare for your jaws to hit the floor.” I rather like her.
Emmerdale (7pm ITV) fans will be bereft as Robert (Ryan Hawley) and Aaron (Danny Miller) go on the run. With so many characters having legged it over the years rather than face justice, the show could rush-release a straight-to-DVD spin-off for the Christmas market. Emmerdale: Lags at Large could see Robert and Aaron meeting up with Adam and Andy for a festive caper in sunny Spain.
Wednesday 16 October
It seems odd that Coronation Street (7.30pm, 8.30pm ITV) is revisiting the Callum Logan saga by bringing back his mum, Marion. That whole 2015 body-under-the-floorboards imbroglio became so convoluted that even now, I’m still clueless as to who knows what about Evil Callum’s untimely demise. Doesn’t the world at large still believe that Jason Grimshaw’s entirely innocent dad Tony was guilty of the murder?
Anyway, Marion is now returning, with a new face: actress Kerry Peers has taken the role because Susan Cookson is now playing Evil Lee’s mum in Emmerdale. (Talk about typecasting — who will she play next? Violet Kray?) As to why the character has resurfaced, it seems that Marion thinks Shona (Julia Goulding) is buckling under the pressure and has decided to fight for custody of her grandchildren. Sounds as though someone has been listening to what happened to The Archers’ Will Grundy in the wake of his wife Nic’s tragic death…
Thursday 17 October
I swear that sinister factotum Graham Foster (Andrew Scarborough) in Emmerdale (7.00, 8.00pm ITV) wakes up each morning, looks in the mirror while shaving and sees Liam Neeson staring back at him. How else to explain the menacing growl he employs to deliver even the most benign line of dialogue? Even when he’s saying, “I have a meeting”, it sounds as though he wants to be saying, “I’ll stop your heart beating.” I laughed so hard the other week, when he started to suspect that he might be young Millie’s biological father. Imagine him reading We’re Going on a Bear Hunt at bedtime? He’d turn it into The Revenant.
Mind you, the whole “unhinged, borderline psychopath” vibe seems to be working out for Graham, what with both Rhona and Kim wanting to see what his three-piece suit would look like on their bedroom floor. They must like a man who can make pillow talk sound like a gangster ordering a hit.
Friday 18 October
Why do characters in Coronation Street (7.30, 8.30pm ITV) always bump into people they know in prison? Jail seems to have become some kind of social club: just look at the way Peter crossed paths with Jim, or Abi became an ally for Sally, or Tracy and Gail happened to meet up. Surely the governor must look at lists of the newest inmates and despair: “Not another one from Coronation Street? Imagine having to live there!” Tonight, David heads over to the medical wing to get his medication, only to find that his rapist Josh is there awaiting treatment. What are the chances? Well, pretty high, as it turns out…
In Hollyoaks (6.30pm C4) we have the usually quippy, quick-witted James at a possible crossroads. After he lashed out at Romeo, his family have turned their backs on him. Up until this point, he’s been Alexis Colby with a beard, but could this be the moment he morphs into his worst nightmare: a full-on villain like his daddy Mad Mac?