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Soapwatch: JACI STEPHEN’s ultimate insight into the week’s soaps 

Soapland’s would-be entrepreneurs are forever seeking to establish businesses or take over others. EastEnders’ Peter has had no choice but to take on Beale Enterprises since the disappearance of Ian, and he’s turning out to be not so much a chip off the old block as a veritable Everest of chippings.

When Ian approached any new venture, it was in the belief that it could be ‘a right little gold mine’, but then that’s what every potential owner thinks. Sharon thought the gym was going to be a big earner, but so far there are more clipboards than members.

In Corrie, Natasha is buying Audrey’s salon, even though the place is less of a gold mine than a blue-rinse rivulet. Debbie is so busy playing Boadicea at the Bistro that she hasn’t yet noticed the cobwebs on the till; and as for the garage, Kevin and Tyrone have been working on one MOT for five years.

At least Emmerdale has a hugely successful businesswoman in Kim, and maybe Al buying into The Woolpack will inject new life into the place. But they should beware the ‘sleeping partner’ bit; Al sleeps around more than is good for any business.

Abi and Corey (pictured) find themselves trapped in a Victorian sewer with only a gun and gushing water between them in Coronation Street

CORONATION STREET: GOING UNDERGROUND

This is a week when you’ll be wishing you were sitting in the Rovers nursing a sweet sherry and a hotpot. The chaos that Harvey’s prison escape causes is far reaching – Dev’s crash, Harvey gagging Leanne (Nick’s probably thinking if only I’d thought of that), the sinkhole… well, sinking; and, to top it all, Abi and Corey trapped in a Victorian sewer with only a gun and gushing water between them. 

What could possibly go wrong? Apart from the fact that it does, of course. Why would Jenny be stunned when, while all this is happening, Carla tells her that Johnny’s moving to Bali? Even Walford is paradise compared to this.

Someone dies, but who? There are so many contenders – Aadi, trapped in the car wreckage; the Bonnie and Clyde of the sewers, Abi and Corey? 

And what about Johnny, who enters the sinkhole to rescue Jenny, who has somehow managed to find herself there (don’t ask; you have to see it, really)? 

Then there’s Shona, who disappears down a manhole to try to rescue them. Don’t bother going to see the new Bond movie. This week has pretty much every character screaming it’s No Time To Die. But it is for one of them.

EASTENDERS: SILENCE IS GOLDEN

Gray kisses Whitney (pictured) after sharing some childhood memories, following the death of his father in EastEnders

Gray kisses Whitney (pictured) after sharing some childhood memories, following the death of his father in EastEnders

The one – the only – good thing about Whitney singing is that it’s a rare chance for us not to be subjected to her talking. Blimey. 

Doesn’t she bang on? Now, she’s pushing Chelsea to tell Gray she’s pregnant, not wanting to begin something with him if she’s harbouring this huge secret (Trust me: he has a bigger one Whit, and it goes by the name of Killer Dishwasher). 

When Gray learns that his father has died, he shares some childhood memories with Whitney and kisses her. A rare tender moment, or just another means of keeping her quiet for two minutes? Whichever, let’s all just be grateful for this moment of peace.

New bad boy on the block Liam is up to no good (although his unintentional impressions of Corrie’s Gary are pretty convincing) and he quickly finds a cohort in Janine, who has a plan. 

Doesn’t she always? Alas, this one doesn’t involve her handcuffing Jack to a radiator as she did in 2009 (anyone else still fantasising about that? Okay, just me).

The absurd idea that certain kinds of racism are ‘just a joke’ is being addressed, as Dana warns Harvey to be careful about causing upset with his racial slurs, in addition to much else. Let’s not forget that pretty much every time a character in this show opens their mouth, they upset someone. 

Maybe a local lady could take a leaf out of Gray’s book and give Harvey a kiss; a smacker on the chops is all that shuts anyone up there.

EMMERDALE: SURVIVAL OF THE UNFITTEST?

Victoria, David (both pictured), Manpreet and Charles are left fighting for their lives in Emmerdale

Victoria, David (both pictured), Manpreet and Charles are left fighting for their lives in Emmerdale 

Oh, the irony of the ‘survival’ challenge, when every week is just that. Kidnappings, robberies, shootings – the locals are grateful just to get to the end of the day in one piece.

Initially enthusiastic, the teams set off happily in their rafts, until the day takes an unexpected turn and Victoria, David, Manpreet and Charles are left fighting for their lives. Poor David. 

He’s still recovering from a gunshot wound and is blissfully unaware that he’s living with a serial killer. Why does he even bother getting out of bed in the morning, knowing that it’s all going to be downhill from thereon?


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