With a welcome change in the weather and a grand stretch in the evenings, winter is behind us and we’ve a spring in our step, but in Soap Land it’s business as usual and there’s still drama a plenty. With my posts having been few and far between as of late, I’ve opted to cram as much as possible into this one, so here’s a countdown of my top 10 favourite stories currently going down in the world of Soap…
10. The Dodgy Dealings of Dennis Dimato (Neighbours)
Nothing beats a good Soap Villain, and all the better when they wear a suit and try to blend in as an upstanding member of the community. The arrival of sinister Dennis Dimato in Erinsborough has been a breath of fresh air as Neighbours begins its 30th Anniversary celebrations. Having already made enemies of Naomi Canning and Mark Brennan, Dimato has managed to manipulate respectable law enforcer and family man, Matt Turner, and the newly arrived younger brother of the aforementioned Mark, Tyler Brennan, into his employ. Having a cop on his books and the brother of another cop working for him, makes Dimato almost untouchable and all the more entertaining to watch. And I thought Paul Robinson was dodgy…
9. Gloved Hand Killer Zones In On Victim Number 3 (Hollyoaks)
Hollyoaks has been a bit hit and miss for me recently, but you can always rely on a good serial killer storyline to keep things interesting. We caught our first glimpse of the “Gloved Hand” on New Year’s Day when Rick Spencer was administered a lethal injection, and then again at the beginning of February when Will Savage finally met his maker. Rick and Will were no angels, and many would argue they deserved to die so perhaps the killer had some method to their madness, but now the Gloved Hand has attempted to kill Diane O’Connor (who certainly hasn’t done anything so bad as to warrant her dead), so what exactly is this killer’s angle? And more importantly, who owns that hand behind that glove?
8. Can The Real Gavin Rodwell Please Stand Up (Coronation Street)
Finally a storyline involving Michael Rodwell that makes the character played by Les Dennis almost bearable to watch (remember when he had that Ice Cream Van last summer and finally wooed Gail McIntyre with a 99? Pass the sick bucket)… Anyway, since the arrival of his long lost son ‘Gavin’, whose actually an imposter by the name of Andy Carver, Michael has become more likeable as he has bonded with ‘Gavin’/Andy. Andy wanted to come clean to Michael about who he really is after the two got to know each other, but because of Michael’s dodgy ticker he has had to keep up the facade. However, now that the real Gavin has shown up and is trying to blackmail money out of Andy, his girlfriend Steph Britton, and Michael’s soon to be wife Gail, surely it’s only a matter of time before the truth comes out – nothing stays secret forever in Soap afterall.
7. The Comeback Kids (Fair City)
While a fair few of the Soaps have had a lot of returnees already this year, Fair City seems to have a revolving door of familiar faces coming in and out of Carrigstown as old favourites have been making their way back as part of this 25th landmark year, which kicked off in September. First up was a permanent return for Renee, followed by visits from Hughie Phelan, Doug Ferguson and Nicola Prendergast. Even John Deegan made a re-appearance (although technically he never went away, he just disappeared for years without explanation, but was supposedly lurking in the shadows). In recent weeks, we’ve seen even more returns with fan favourite Dean Dowling coming back with a new look and a secret bigger than his hair colour. We’ve also had Charlotte Bishop return to cause trouble for her brother Decco, and Rachel Brennan’s tormentor Amanda Ryan has reappeared to stock shelves in Spar. I wonder who’ll come back next… They sure have been mentioning Tommy Dillon a lot!
6. The Norman Bates of the Gaeltacht (Ros na Rún)
Eoin Farren has been nothing but trouble since he rocked up in Ros na Rún back in September with the news that he was yet another illegitamte child of local landlord Tadhg Ó Direáin. First impressions of Eoin made him seem fairly harmless and if anything painted him as a bit of a hero, but it wasn’t long before the do-gooder routine became transparent (to the audience at least) and we got to see the real Eoin, a twisted individual hell-bent on revenge. Eoin wants to ruin Tadhg through using those Tadhg loves most, and has already attempted to poison Jason and tried to split up Tadhg and Frances. We know though that Tadhg has a tendency to come out on top of whatever predicament he finds himself in, so I’m not too worried about the head of the Ó’Direáin clan, but now that Eoin is romantically involved with Eimear O’Connor, I fear for her safety… Mostly because Eoin is incredibly creepy and has too strange a relationship with his equally twisted mother, hence the Psycho comparison.
5. Until Death Us Do Part… And Then Some (Neighbours)
Madge and Harold Bishop are one of the most iconic couples in Soap History and it broke our hearts when Harold just disappeared in 1991 and was believed to be dead. But then we rejoiced when he re-appeared five years later and his mysterious disappearance explained away by amnesia, and we all thought Harold and Madge would live happily ever after, until our hearts were broken once again in 2001, when Madge lost her battle with cancer and passed away… Now, as Neighbours celebrates 30 years on the air, everyone’s favourite couple has been re-united one final time as Harold has returned to Ramsay Street and Madge has started to appear to him as a figment of his imagination. The reunion may be only temporary, but to have these two bickering lovingly again one last time, is a joy to watch (even if the storyline is a little bit silly)…
4. You’ve Got To Fight, For Your Rights… (Fair City)
Ray O’Connell, the voice of the working man, is easily my favourite character in Fair City and I’ve been waiting patiently for him to get a decent storyline for over a year now. Thankfully they’ve finally delivered with a storyline close to the character’s heart – he’s fighting for worker’s rights for all the underappreciated and mistreated employees of Carrigstown. If there’s one thing Ray knows more about than a car engine, it’s Employee Rights and he’ll always be the first to get out and support his comrades when necessary. Ray’s been putting the pressure on Renee Phelan this week as she’s been abusing her power over youngs employees Katy O’Brien and Amanda Ryan in the shop. While the girls don’t seem that interested in his assistance or his cause, Ray won’t stand down without a fight. Not only is he locking horns with Renee, but he’s also had enough of his own boss, Paul Brennan, and has been putting pressure on Paul to improve working conditions at the Garage… G’wan Ray, ya legend!
3. Love Is In The Square (Eastenders)
Usually it’s all doom and gloom over in Albert Square, so it’s nice this week to see that some romances are blossoming and things are looking up for once, for at least a handful of the Walford residents anyway. While Shabnam Masood and Kush Kazemi are finally moving their relationship forward and preparing to go public, an unexpected romance seems to be on the cards for EastEnders favourites Billy Mitchell and Carol Jackson who shared some chips and a kiss after discussing Harry Potter and the Bay City Rollers over a few drinks in the Queen Vic. It also looks like Tamwar Masood is finally going to make his move on Nancy Carter this week when he invites her around for lunch – we’ve been waiting so long for these two to get their act together, so fingers crossed it will all work out for them.
2. Good Cop, Bad Cop (Red Rock)
Red Rock has only been on our screens for two months, but it has already made quite the impression, and we’re slowly but surely growing attached to this whole host of new characters, especially loveable rogues Paudge Brennan and Sean Holden who have provided us with much needed comedy in an otherwise dark and gritty drama series. It’s the showdown between Gardaí Sharon Cleere and Brian McGonigle however, that has really captured our attention. McGonigle has been on the force for a long time, but there’s no doubt he’s a bad egg, and with rookie Sharon knowing that McGonigle has been having a sordid affair with fifteen year old Rachel Reid, a battle of wits is afoot between the two. With very little evidence to prove McGonigle’s guilt, Sharon was advised by Paudge to keep quiet about what she knows and not to stir the pot. Sharon however, couldn’t help but let McGonigle know she’s wise to his ways and the dastardly fella responded by staging an attack, leaving Sharon battered and bruised in a hospital bed…
1. We’ll Take Your Word For It (Emmerdale)
It has been obvious since his arrival in Emmerdale, that Lachlan White is an incredibly creepy individual, but to think the fourteen year old would sexually assault Alicia Metcalfe came as somewhat of a shock, even though we already knew he had an unhealthy obsession with her. Even though Alicia went straight to the police after the assault and co-operated in every possible way, Lachlan made a counter claim that he had been in a consensual relationship with Alicia, and with insufficient evidence on either side it became a case of her word against his. While the majority of the village never doubted Alicia for a second, the fact that Lachlan has essentially gotten away with the assault (in the eyes of the law in any case) will make for interesting viewing to see how both them and their families cope as the aftermath continues. While Thomas Atkinson has done an amazing job nailing the creepy teenager vibe as Lachlan, Natalie Anderson’s performace as Alicia has just been outstanding, as have those of Alicia’s on-screen family, Matthew Wolfenden, Roxy Shahidi and Joe Warren-Planet who play David Metcalfe, Leyla Harding and Jacob Gallagher respectively.