Don’t ask me how I fell into this. I think I was bored, or I wanted to see whether Harold Bishop is still in Neighbours and still plays the tuba.
It turns out that soap star Wikipedia pages are some of the most depressing pages on the internet and are, for some reason, so extensively written.
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You think you’re having a rubbish day? Trust me, you’re having the best day of your life compared to some of these people.
Let’s start with Susan Kennedy, one of the show’s most well-known characters. Susan once slipped on spilt milk, banged her head, got amnesia and, as a result, thought it was 1972 and that she was 15. This was a storyline that lasted about six months.
Next, there’s Harold. Harold famously was swept out to sea and came back five years later not remembering why. The love of his life, Madge, then died, then came back in an episode as a ghost.
Still, could have been worse.
Toadfish accidentally drove his car off a cliff into the sea with his partner Dee on their wedding night, only for Dee to turn up at his house 14 years later. Only for it not to be Dee, but a lookalike pretending to be Dee, even though both characters were played by the same actor.
All of this is nothing compared to Neighbours baddie Paul Robinson.
Known for his evil schemes, he once found it impossible to be evil because of a brain tumour. This was after he had his leg amputated after falling off a cliff. He was then held hostage in a mineshaft by his estranged son, who was responsible for a plane crash that killed half of his neighbours.
I asked people for their favourite WTF soap storylines and this one came up. It was very dramatic.
Then some good news: Paul gets married! Oh, wait... he gets shot at the wedding. When I eventually scrolled down to a section of his Wikipedia about him being pushed off a balcony at a hotel, I realised that all of these things took place within a five-year period.
Still. Could have been worse.
In a spin-off Neighbours Halloween YouTube series, Paul Robinson... inadvertently causes the zombie apocalypse.
Just before everyone is eaten alive, Susan Kennedy tells him: “Why am I not surprised? Paul Robinson, responsible for the end of mankind.”
To be honest, after reading his Wikipedia page, I am not surprised either.
Of course, no Neighbours review would be a review without Bounce, the show’s most famous dog. In addition to us seeing one of Bounce’s dreams, do you remember that Bounce once saved Madge from a chip pan fire? All true. There’s also this:
There’s a lot of death in Hollyoaks, so much so there’s even an entire Wikipedia dedicated to the deaths in Hollyoaks. In 2018 alone there were 14. That’s one death every three-and-a-half weeks.
Still, it doesn’t mean that there aren't some lighthearted twists in the show, like this short story on Ste Hay’s page without any explanation: “Harry discovers that Ste slept with John Paul and they fight, knocking a glass of wine over Amy's dress. Furious, she decides to move to America.”
I spent a lot of time on Mercedes’ Wikipedia:
- During her first wedding she admits having an affair
- after her second wedding she is kidnapped
- she walks out after admitting an affair with her fiancé's Dad on her third
- during her fourth her fiancé says, “I’ll love you until I die” (which is ironic because he then dies)
- the groom doesn’t even bother turning up to the fifth.
And the sixth? I don’t want to spoil it for you in case you haven’t caught up yet, but needless to say it doesn’t go that well...
Mercedes is due to have her seventh wedding next month (best of luck!).
And yet, we can top that. And I am not taking anything out of context when I say this.
In one Hollyoaks storyline, someone befriends an alien called Kevin.
The alien raises more questions than answers, but mostly: Kevin? Really?
Then there’s this:
There was also the storyline where Carmel is convinced that she can see Jesus in a jacket potato.
When your show is best known for having a dramatic plane crash that is hardly mentioned ever again, where do you go next?
Turns out, Jai.
Jai’s son Archie goes missing. Someone approaches him saying that if he pays him lots of money he could get him back. The twist? It is someone else’s child, but Jai doesn’t realise that the child he bought back isn’t actually his:
“On learning that he has bought someone else's child, Jai calls Social Services, giving "Archie" to them and later learns that Josh sold his own son.”
Then in 2017, Charity tries to defraud a bank manager out of £50,000 by pretending to be someone else at a branch, taking a tranquilliser in case she is caught out. Unfortunately, she accidentally fires it at herself shortly after taking it out of her hand bag.
Happens to me all the time.
My word, EastEnders is dark: “With Sean's help, Tanya drugs Max and puts him in a coffin before burying him alive in the woods, knowing that a similar thing happened to him when he was 13.”
Then there’s the infamous Kat Slater baby swap storyline, and Denise Fox turning up not long after everyone assumed that she had drowned in a canal.
Ian Beale’s life is little better: “Ian attempts to move on by filling an urn with cigarette ash, pretending that he is a widower and that the ashes are Jane in order to gain attention from women. However his ruse is soon uncovered.” Same, mate. Same.
As for Pat? “While the Butchers and Evanses are holidaying in Spain, Frank seduces Pat. Pat tries to end the affair but when Frank turns up on her doorstep naked (apart from a comedy bow-tie), she realises that she had never stopped loving him either.”
I am not a typical EastEnders viewer. When I ask around, it appears the most ridiculous storyline in recent years was one where they changed bin collections on the Square from fortnightly to weekly. That seems to have traumatised just about everybody.
Then there’s this:
As the show has existed for more than 60 years, I am anxious in case I missed any, but highlights include Joe McIntyre, who tried to fake his own death but then, um… accidentally drowned.
There’s also this, from Cilla’s Wikipedia: “Les buys them a large bathtub, but when Chesney's dog Schmeichel decides to join them, it crashes through the floor, due to the extra weight.”
Also John Staples, who stole someone’s identity, but then the real person dies, so he buries him in the hole underneath a factory. When someone else finds him doing this, he kills them, then he accidentally kills someone else, then he disappears after jumping off a hotel room after being cornered by police, then he dies in a car crash.
Note to self: don’t steal somebody else’s identity.
Suggestions from Twitter included:
To be honest, it's hard to keep up when this happened just two weeks ago:
If you thought these were wild, let’s compare them to some of the most notorious storylines from American sitcoms, starting with the Wikipedia of the short-lived US soap Sunset Beach. It gained a dedicated following in the UK when Channel 5 aired it, with storylines such as:
“Virginia drugged Vanessa and, using a turkey baster and some stolen sperm, impregnated her with the child of Tyus Robinson, to make it appear Vanessa had been unfaithful to Michael.”
“The show took a supernatural turn for a while with some cursed jewels, stolen from a religious icon, that turned those who'd touched them into shrivelled mummies.”
I needed more clarity with the second one. Luckily, Twitter provided.
In conclusion, who has the worst life in a soap? Turns out: EVERYBODY.