4th November 2006
The most exciting event in the Christmas schedules
will be Emmerdale’s Cluedo-style whodunnit, when Tom
is bumped off during his Christmas Day wedding to
The whole storyline is going to be fully
interactive, enabling viewers through blogs, clues,
secret e-mails and voicemails, to help solve the crime
via an ITV online portal. Emmerdale is apparently
filming 10 different possible outcomes. My money’s on
Edna. Remember: you heard it here first.
It is great news that Sherrie Hewson, who has been
playing Lesley Meredith in Emmerdale, is returning to
Coronation Street nine years after her character,
Maureen Elliott, left Weatherfield. She’ll be
appearing later in the year to play a pivotal role in
Bill Webster’s romancing of Audrey Roberts.
Kevin’s estranged wife Shirley, played by ex-Bad Girls
star Linda Henry, will turn up in Albert Square
towards the end of the year. Oh, dear: more slamming
of front doors as Kevin and Denise undergo yet another
bout of domestic rows.

21st October 2006
Danny Young, who plays footballer Warren Baldwin (how
soon we forget) will be returning to Coronation Street
mid-November, as his Spanish football team have a game
in Manchester. Judging by his talents so far, let’s
hope it’s against the Rovers Return 11 and not Man U.
A new member of staff is going to be joining Tanya’s
salon, Booty’s, in EastEnders - Preeti Choraria,
played by Babita Pohoomull. That means that staff will
outnumber customers by almost two to one.
At the end of last year, Hollyoaks had become, with
its bizarre camera angles and over-direction, more of
an installation than a TV show. Now, new Executive
producer and producer Tony Wood and Bryan Kirkwood,
respectively, have thankfully turned it back into a
real drama. Top of their list to make an appearance is
Charlotte Church. I am trying to persuade them that if
it’s Welsh they want, a plump TV critic from Cardiff
would do just as well.

14th October 2006
The real reason for the hostility between EastEnders’
Jim and son Max will apparently be revealed in a
dramatic storyline in 2007. What could it be? My
money’s on Max’s resentment dating back to the day
that he discovered the genes that gave not just him,
but his son, ginger hair.
Rumours abound as to how Coronation Street’s Bill Ward
(Charlie) will leave next year. The latest is that he
will be murdered by Tracy, who plots her revenge when
she discovers he has been having an affair with Maria
– as if his getting Shelley pregnant were not bad
enough. Small wonder that site he’s been on for two
years has yet to see a completed building.
There is also a rumour that EastEnders is to kill off
Grant (Ross Kemp), as the show’s bosses are allegedly
fed up with him popping up for just the odd episode.
Any other suicide missions they can think of on which
to send the show?

7th October 2006
Hollyoaks really can’t get enough blondes – albeit
some of a rather suspect nature. This month sees
ex-Coronation Street actor Julie Goodyear (Bet
Lynch/Gilroy) turn up in a one-off episode, and let’s
hope that it stops at that. Meanwhile, it is rumoured
that Gemma Atkinson (blonde, of course), who plays
Lisa Hunter in Hollyoaks in the City, has been
approached by US TV network NBC, to appear in a number
of pilot shows. Let’s hope she gets her roots done
Michael Caine has allegedly said that he would like a
cameo role in EastEnders. Don’t tell me: as a wide-boy
Cockney. No acting lessons needed. Haven’t we just
dispensed with one Alfie?
Coronation Street’s Sally Lindsay has turned down a
chance to return to the show in the spring and will be
concentrating on new roles. I don’t blame her. By
then, Bill Ward (Charlie) will be gone, and what’s the
point in staying if there’s no chance of snogging him?

23rd September 2006
EastEnders has signed up Linda Henry, who played
Yvonne Atkins in Bad Girls. There, her character met
her end behind a locked door from where there was no
escape. It still gives me nightmares, but even that
might be preferable to the many horrors Albert Square
doubtless has in store for her – not least, being
Kevin’s ex and mother to Carly and Deano.
Emmerdale’s Andy Devine, who plays Shadrach Dingle, is
setting up an acting workshop with his business
partner, Jill Rodda. Based in Leeds and called The
Studio, it will offer advice to people hoping to make
it in TV and film. Let’s hope it doesn’t produce any
more Shadrachs.
Chris Hemsworth, who plays Home and Away’s Kim, has
signed up for the Australian version of Strictly Come
Dancing, Dancing with the Stars. The prospect of
seeing that great body gyrating to music is almost too
much for a girl to bear.

16th September 2006
Soap stars who leave their day jobs to pursue a career
in singing rarely make it (look at Coronation Street’s
Adam Rickitt), but ex-Emmerdale star Amy Nuttall is
doing rather well. For her latest album, she’s signed
up writers used by Dido and Natalie Imbruglia and is
hoping that working with “the best in the business”
will enable her music to really take off. Personally,
I’d have stuck with snogging Scott.
If you want to see some of your favourite stars posing
with their beloved pets, the animal charity PDSA has
just the calendar for you. Bradley Walsh (Coronation
Street’s Danny) and Roxanne Pallett (Emmerdale’s Jo
Stiles) are among those featured. The calendar costs
£4.99 and details can be found on www.pdsa.org.uk.
There is a new doctor heading for EastEnders in the
form of Dr May Wight (Amanda Drew), who will be taking
over where Oliver Cousins left off i.e. not doing very
much at all.

9th September 2006

The five people who die following Friday’s Hollyoaks
fire have been kept under wraps, although rumour has
it that the Lockjaw Twins, Sophie and Mel, were both
barbecued. About time. Their whingeing has been boring
us senseless for what seems like decades. The best
news of all is that the rotten pub The Dog will have
to be rebuilt.
Coronation Street has been filming in Paris with the
Webster family, in a storyline that sees the exit of
Richard Fleeshman, who plays Craig. The character and
girlfriend Rosie come to a decision that will horrify
Sally and Kevin – but then anything that doesn’t
involve half a dozen fish fingers and a tin of beans
sends them into emotional spasm.
We can all breathe a sight of relief. Despite ex-Big
Brother “star” Jade Goody begging James Alexandrou
(Martin Fowler) to get her a part in EastEnders, the
show’s bosses say there is no role for her at present.
It’s the “at present” bit that worries me.

19th August 2006
Rumours about a lesbian relationship for Coronation Street’s Joanne Jackson (played by Zaraah Abrahams) are apparently unfounded. Personally, I think that any woman in a relationship with Adam for any length of time would find herself being propelled into the arms of anyone, or anything else. Glad the lesbian bit is on hold, though. I’m only just managing to keep my dinner down following Sonia and Naomi’s fling in EastEnders.


Like most people when they leave Emmerdale, Ken Farrington’s character Tom King has been promised a “dramatic” exit when he leaves (date unconfirmed). Apparently, he might be shot, or catapulted through a church window. Couldn’t he just call a cab and go quietly?


Ex-Emmerdale star Lisa Reilly (who played Mandy Dingle) has been jollying it up in Puerto Banus on the Costa del Sol this week. I bumped into her in the excellent piano bar, Old Joy’s, where our good friend, the brilliant Andy Anderson, sings and plays. Alcohol was consumed.

12th August 2006
There are more changes at Coronation Street’s Rovers
Return next month, when Steve McDonald buys it and
puts his mum in charge. He also falls for Michelle
Connor, played by ex-Hear’Say star Kym Marsh, who
returns tomorrow for her interview as a barmaid. Don’t
they only ever ask potential employees one question -
“Will you sleep with the landlord?”? Come September,
looks like the answer’s going to be another Yes.
Also next month, there are developments in Summer Bay,
when Dan plants a kiss on Sally. Can’t that man ever
make up his mind? Wife Leah, ex-wife Amanda, now the
recently widowed Sally. The latter reckons that his
actions are the result of recently received brain
injuries. You’re telling me.
Ex-Brookside star Anna Friel has been awarded an
honorary degree from Bolton University, for her
contribution to the arts – one of those contributions
being, presumably, her famous lesbian kiss in
Brookside. I think I’d rather study for three years
for a degree.

5th August 2006
You can now buy music featured in Emmerdale via your
mobile phone. This week saw the launch of the first
song, which was played for Alice and Sam’s wedding.
Written by singer/songwriter Rob Ellis (who also
performed at Guy Ritchie’s marriage to Madonna in
2000), Easy Come Easy Go is £3 and can be accessed by
texting ALICE, followed by a space, and then your
name, address and postcode, to 78484.
There is apparently no truth to the rumour that
Coronation Street’s Charlie (Bill Ward) will be shot
dead at Christmas. No, at the rate he’s going, it’s
far more likely that he will bonk himself to death. Is
there anyone safe from that gorgeous torso? Let’s hope
A Christmas death is promised in EastEnders as Wendy
Richard, who has played Pauline Fowler for 22 years,
is leaving the show. I suppose it’s too much to hope
that someone stabs Pauline with a turkey baster?

29th July 2006
Louise Lytton, who plays Ruby Allen in EastEnders, is
leaving the show in November. Louise, who inexplicably
won the award for Sexiest Female at this year’s
British Soap Awards (How come? She is barely out of
her pram), first appeared in March 2005, and a
“dramatic” storyline is planned for her character. One
in which she learns how not to impersonate the
Hunchback of Notre Dame every time she opens her
mouth, perhaps?
Coronation Street’s Webster family will soon be making
a trip to Paris, which will see the brief return of
Kevin’s dad, Bill (played by Peter Armitage). Pity we
won’t be seeing him with Maureen, the woman he ran off
with. Sherrie Hewson, who played her, is now in
Congratulations to Emmerdale, whose ratings just get
better and better, even overtaking EastEnders. While
other soap stars continue to moan about their
workload, the Emmerdale cast and crew, who make seven
episodes a week, continue to just buckle down and
produce consistently fine goods.

22nd July 2006
The very cute Lee Otway, who played Bombhead in Hollyoaks, was a delightful surprise when ITV’s Love Island introduced its new castaways. He said that what he wants in a woman is someone “easy”. Well, despite my being twice his age, I recall pursuing him rather late into the night at this year’s British Soap Awards, and he ran a mile. Easy, but young and fit is clearly what he meant to say on Love Island.


Emmerdale’s Lorraine Chase is leaving the show to become a property developer. Given how much her character made use of the cellar at the B & B in the show, she will at least know what she is looking for in a fully utilisable basement.


Roy Hudd, who plays undertaker Archie Shuttleworth in Coronation Street, is returning later in the year to oversee another funeral. My guess is that the knives are all out for Charlie. Keep your back to the wall, mate.

15th July 2006
There is a treat in store next month when two more
hunks join the street. They are Liam and Paul Conner,
played by Rob James-Collier and Sean Gallagher,
respectively. They are brothers to Michelle, who, much
to Liz’s dismay (as always), takes a fancy to Steve
(as every new female does). Kym Marsh, who plays
Michelle, is married to ex-EastEnders actor Jack Ryder
(Jamie Mitchell), and has now adopted her married
The hunt for Josh’s killer continues all month, and on
28th there is a big question mark hanging over Tasha’s
head – could it be her? Come on: a woman who couldn’t
swot a fly without needing therapy?
Contrary to press reports, Sam Robertson, who plays
Coronation Street’s Adam Baldwin, is not leaving the
show. Not only does the character’s relationship with
Joanne flourish, there is more drama ahead when Mike’s
last will and testament is exposed. Let’s hope it
leaves Adam with enough money to get a decent haircut.

8th July 2006
Ex-Brookside star Jennifer Ellison returns to the West
End on Monday (until 12th August) to reprise her role
as Roxy Hart in Chicago. She’ll be starring alongside
ex-Emmerdale star Ian Kelsey (who played Dave Glover)
as Billy Flynn. I can reliably inform you that, having
once tried on Ian’s shoes and needed crampons to get
out, he has very big feet. I just hope the stage is
big enough to contain them.
You win some, you lose some. Ex-EastEnders and
Cliffhanger actor Craig Fairbrass has landed another
Hollywood film – as a madman who wipes out his entire
family in White Noise 2: The Light. Meanwhile, the
brilliant Alex Ferns, who played evil Trevor is
struggling and has decided to give acting just one
more year. Sometimes there is no justice in the world.
Home and Away’s Josh West is delivered a fatal bullet
on 21st July, but who is the killer? And why don’t
they take out Tasha while they’re at it?

1st July 2006
Bill Ward, who plays Charlie Stubbs in Coronation
Street, is leaving in January 2007. Unlike many soap
stars, in real life he is nothing like his character,
but the sense of menace he brings to the show is
spine-chilling. There are strong hints of even more
sinister plots before he goes. Charlie is starting to
make Richard Hillman look like the local shoplifter.
No sooner has Home and Away’s Tasha escaped from The
Believers than another drama awaits in a couple of
weeks, when she and Robbie tie the knot for real and
she faints during the wedding waltz. It’s the natural
reaction for any girl finding herself hitched to
Robbie for life, but the real reason is that she is
pregnant, having been drug-raped by Jonah.
Talking of babies . . . News comes to the East End
from the US this month that Sharon has had a baby boy.
Wonder what she’ll call him. Call me psychic, but my
money’s on Dennis.

24th June 2006
The big question “Will Sadie die?” hangs over
Emmerdale, as it prepares for the collapse of the
Kings’ showhome mid-July. The big question for me is
not whether she will be leaving in a box, but whether
the waveless ocean of her forehead will manage to show
a trace of expression as it falls through the floor.
EastEnders’ Christianne Oliveira has expressed a wish
to return to Albert Square, even though onscreen
husband Grant has departed with brat Courtney. It’s
hard to see how, without him, there is a role for her
– although those magnificent, always exposed breasts
might prove suitable stand-ins when the cardboard full
moon prop is taking a sabbatical.
Following her success on Celebrity X-Factor,
ex-Coronation Street star Nikki Sanderson (Candice) is
reportedly being offered a record deal. Judges Simon
Cowell and Louis Walsh are both (allegedly) keen to
sign her. Whatever you do, guys, don’t let her dentist
come as part of a double package.

17th June 2006
There is a big storyline planned for Emmerdale in a
one-hour special on July 13th, when the Kings’ show
home on their new development explodes and collapses.
Trapped inside are Diane, Dawn and Danny; and in the
bathroom, which drops to the ground floor, Jimmy and
Sadie. Don’t even begin to ask me what they are doing
in there at the time.
Hollyoaks’ Kevin Sacre, who plays Becca’s cuckolded,
estranged husband Jake Dean, has been struck down with
Hand Foot and Mouth disease; it isn’t
life-threatening, but serious enough to keep him off
work. Get well soon.
What a difference a year makes. Ex-EastEnders star
Lucy Benjamin (who played Phil’s long-suffering
girlfriend, Lisa, recently won X Factor: Battle of the
Stars. It was exactly a year to the day since she met
the man who has since become her husband, and they are
now expecting their first child. Congratulations on
the triple whammy.

10th June 2006
Just when you thought you thought Emmerdale’s Dingle clan could not get any bigger, along comes yet another one. Twenty one year old Joseph Gilgun is joining the cast, initially for just one month, as Marlon’s builder brother and ex-con, Eli. Viewers will remember Joseph as a fabulous young actor in Coronation Street, in which he played Jamie Armstrong from 1994-7.

Claire King, who played Emmerdale’s bitchy Kim Tate (and Larkhall’s Karen Betts in Bad Girls) is filming a Bollywood movie in August and a TV series about “strong women”, which will be out in the autumn. She is also (quelle surprise) bringing out a fitness DVD. Sorry, but I will never take fitness advice from a smoker.

Good news for Bradley Walsh fans. He is not, as has been reported, leaving Coronation Street for good - just taking a break to pursue other projects. Let’s hope that doesn’t mean what it usually does - returning to his first love, unemployment.

3rd June 2006
Another year, another great, hilarious time at the British Soap Awards. Gosh, those Hollyoaks boys are beautiful. I had to keep reminding myself that I was old enough to be their mother, although I tended to forget as the evening wore on. Fabulous to talk to Coronation Street’s Bill Ward (Charlie) and Barbara Knox (Rita), who were both charming. Terrific also, to see EastEnders’ Barbara Windsor (Peggy) and Steve McFadden (Phil). Now, about that trip to the boat in Majorca that you promised me . . .
Una Stubbs is joining the cast of EastEnders as Honey’s Aunt Sally. Maybe she will be the one to tell her niece that her ridiculous hair clips look like pins struggling to stop her skull from falling apart.
Emmerdale’s John Middleton, who plays the Reverend Ashley Thomas, is looking extremely slim and fit, following a new diet and exercise regime. Time for the vicar to start getting his kit off again, methinks.

27th May 2006
Former star of The Bill and Holby City, Stuart Laing, is joining EastEnders this summer as an account manager at a local bank. He is introduced by “businessman” (now there’s a larf!) Ian Beale, and is due to impress the ladies, owing to the fact that he is single. Two pints hanging around with Ian will be enough to send them scarpering, trust me, mate.

The gorgeous Jesse Spencer, who can currently be seen as Dr Robert Chase in the brilliant House (Five, Thursdays), is apparently keen to return to his roots – in a cameo role as Neighbours’ Bill Kennedy, a role he left in 2000. Yeah, right. And Hugh Laurie, who has achieved mega- stardom playing Dr House, is pining for those ads he used to do with Stephen Fry.

There is bad and worse news in Home and Away at the end of June: the bad, Tasha is involved in yet more life-threatening circumstances; the worse – she yet again survives.

27th May 2006
Where would life be without forgiveness? In soap, nowhere. Blame, admonishment, closely followed by forgiveness (albeit accompanied by much verbal abuse) are the means by which stories move on and serve to establish new relationships between characters.

Coronation Street Gail’s forgiveness of David, in the light of her discovery that he is behind the vicious letters (told you, told you, from the start! – but more of my smugness in the Corrie column), has been extraordinary; it has also been totally believable. Both Helen Worth and Jack P. Shepherd, as Gail and David, respectively, have delivered performances of immense depth and poignancy, and told us more about the power and nature of forgiveness than a thousand sermons could have done.

Of course, everyone has to forgive in soap, or the show just couldn’t go on. EastEnders’ Grant and Phil have forgiven each other so many times, I can’t remember which one slept with the other’s wife; nor which one owes most to the other over whichever gangland killing(s) they were last involved with.

The greatest forgiveness lies in relationships. Home and Away’s Tasha forgave Robbie his taste in rotten glasses when she slept with him (NOT TO MENTION HIS YELLING EVERYTHING EVERYTIME HE OPENED HIS MOUTH!). The Street’s Vera and Jack continue to forgive each other all for the sake of their combined history. Emmerdale’s Viv has forgiven her children for so many of their misdemeanours, she might well be in the running for Mother of the Century.

There are, however, some unforgivable sins: allowing every Emmerdale woman to get to Cain before I have.

20th May 2006
Murder in mind
Could the much-hoped-for demise of Neighbours’ Izzy
be about to happen? Natalie Bassingthwaighte (pictured), who plays her, is leaving soon, and it seems that Robert, Izzy’s lover Paul’s evil son, (posing as his identical brother, Cameron — don’t even ask!) wants to murder her. His plan is to gas her to death while she is babysitting her newborn nephew. Personally, I’d bump her off just for nicking the gorgeous Karl from Susan.

There is another weird batch of characters heading for Emmerdale next month, when Georgina Hale joins as Beryl Chugspokes (where on earth do they get these names?), who arrives with her husband, Barney. It’s a long way from the days when she starred in the film Mahler with Robert Powell.

Well wishing Great fun at the Baftas, where I talked to the lovely Helen Worth and fabulous Sally Whittaker (Gail and Sally, respectively, in Coronation Street). Good luck to Corrie and all the other soaps in tonight’s British Soap Awards. Can’t wait.

8th April 2006
Cardiff’s Creation night club was packed for the
appearance of Billy Murray, who played EastEnders’
Johnny Allen, the gangster who is heading for prison.
Great shame. The show desperately needs stars of
Murray’s calibre. I suppose a reprieve’s out of the

The search is on for Sean’s parents in Coronation
Street. His mum and dad are due to arrive on screen in
June and will be revealing secrets about Sean’s past.
Don’t tell me. When other boys wanted guns, he asked
for a Sindy doll.

Home and Away star Kip Gamblin, who plays Scott
Hunter, is set to become the latest heart-throb in
Casualty, when he arrives as paramedic Greg Fallon. He
quit Home and Away last year, although the character
is still on our screens, declaring his love for the
new Hayley. What does his departure mean for her,
then, and, more importantly, the cushion she is
carrying that Scott does not yet know is his?

1st April 2006
Contrary to rumour, Coronation Street’s Bill Ward
(Charlie), Kate Ford (Tracy) and Richard Fleeshman
(Craig) have all renewed their contracts and signed up
for another six months. Watch this space, though.
Following his success on Soapstar Superstar in
January, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see
Fleeshman leave to pursue a musical career. Any sound
has to be better than the constant whining he endured
from the Websters.

Oh, lordie, lordie. In May, EastEnders is introducing
yet another new clan - the Foxes, who will be the
first black family since the arrival of the Truemans.
I’ve only just got to grips with the latest intake of
people; any chance of introducing nametags?
Alternatively, bring on the hounds.

Next month in Sheffield, you can catch ex-soap stars
Bruno Langley (Coronation Street), and Sam Giles
(Emmerdale) in A Taste of Honey. In August, you can
also catch ex-EastEnders’ star Michelle Collins in
London’s Shaftesbury Theatre in the musical Daddy

25th March 2006
All new producers like to establish their authority by
culling the cast, and Coronation Street’s new producer
Steve Frost is no exception. First it was rumoured
that Fred, Bev and Nathan were going; now it’s Tracy,
Charlie and Craig. That’s most of the Rovers’ takings,
isn’t it?

Home and Away’s Hayley goes into labour on 11th April,
which is just as well, as that Habitat cushion
collection she has been housing under her sweater for
months must be getting rather painful. Inevitably,
Scott is at hand to deliver the baby, but there are
complications, and it looks as if he might be going to
lose Hayley for good. Fantastic. Does that mean we can
get the old Hayley back?

EastEnders’ Tamzin Outhwaite, who played Mel in
EastEnders, is coming to ITV1 soon, in Vital Signs,
for which she will be donning a white coat and
stethoscope. Right. Because TV really needs another
medical drama. 

18th March 2006
Ross Kemp returns to EastEnders this month, along with
Christanne Oliveira, who will be playing Grant’s wife,
Carla. Quelle surprise, the marriage is in trouble
(when was any Mitchell marriage ever not?).
   Kemp, who recently appeared in BBC2’s Extras, has
said he would like to do more comedy. Wait till you
get back to Albert Square and see some of the
newcomers, mate. Comic doesn’t begin to describe it.

Ex-Hear’Say singer Kym Marsh will be appearing in four
episodes of Coronation Street next month, as Michelle,
a singer who auditions for Liz McDonald’s boyfriend,
Vernon. Four episodes? That’s a longer shelf life than
Hear’Say, at any rate.

Jodi Albert, who played Hollyoaks’ Debbie Dean, will
be appearing in Five’s new comedy series, Respectable.
She will be playing a hooker who has ambitions to
appear on a reality show. EastEnders’ Tracy Ann
Oberman has also landed her first role since quitting
the soap, in BBC’s Sorted. Something she never was in
Albert Square.

11th March 2006
After splitting with her on-screen boyfriend, Kevin
Sacre (who plays Jake Dean), Ali Bastian (Becca) has
already been spotted with a tall, dark, handsome man.
However, her best mate, Sarah Dunn (Mandy) was also on
the date. Sarah split with ex-Hollyoaks actor Marcus
Patric (Ben) earlier this year. I don’t suppose that
leaves him in the market-place for me to take my
pickings, does it?

Ex-soap stars Hannah Waterman (EastEnders’ Laura) and
Angela Lonsdale (the Street’s Emma) are joining The
Bill, as DC Mickey Webb’s former girlfriend, and the
ex-wife of Terry Perkins, respectively. After their
soap men, surely anything has to be an improvement.

One of Coronation Street’s most talented writers,
Carmel Morgan (also of The Royle Family and Shameless)
has penned a comedy for BBC3. Its working title is
Teenage Supermodel, about a modest working class
family living in Runcorn. If her previous work is
anything to go by, it will be a riot.

4th March 2006
Mike Baldwin’s son Mark makes a return to Coronation
Street at the end of the month, where he looks to
cause more trouble before disappearing again. We last
saw him back in 2001, when Mike discovered he was
having an affair with his wife-to-be, Lynda Sykes. 
   Actor Paul Fox, who plays Mark, is taking a short
break from The Royal, in which he plays Dr Jeff

Ex-EastEnders star Nigel Harman, who has been wowing
West End audiences with his singing and dancing in
Guys and Dolls, has been signed up by ITV1. He’ll be
playing a James Bond-style spy in The Outsiders,
alongside The Royal’s Anna Madeley. If it’s a hit, a
series could be in the offing. Beats having to pack up
Dennis Rickman’s tiny rucksack and heading for Walford
East Tube every five minutes.

Ex-Emmerdale star Sheree Murphy is heading for The
Royal, playing a bride whose wedding ends in tragedy.
Why? Does she find another Marlon at the altar?

25th February 2006
EastEnders has confirmed that Garry Cowper (who plays
Rosie Miller), and Shana Swash (Demi Miller) will be
leaving in the summer.
   It’s a shame they’re going, because they are both
excellent actors, but rotten storylines have brought a
downbeat tone to their presence every time they appear
on screen. It’s not always the actors’ fault when
their characters don’t work.

Congratulations to Coronation Street’s Jenny Platt,
who plays Violet Wilson. It’s just emerged that she
married her actor boyfriend, Oliver Ford, in a quiet
ceremony just before Christmas. It’s great to see that
not all celebrities need the Okay! stamp of approval
to tie the knot.

Home and Away’s Sally and Flynn have had a rough time
of it, and on March 6th, Flynn’s fears about having
cancer are realised. At the end of the month he makes
a shocking decision about his treatment. As the only
doctor within a hundred mile radius, how on earth is
everyone going to cope when he’s gone?

18th February 2006
Congratulations to Coronation Street’s Jane Danson
(Leanne Battersby), who is expecting a baby with her
husband Robert Beck. Given Leanne’s state of dress
(why bother with a frock when a G-string will
suffice?), producers are wondering how to disguise her
bump. Easy: get Leanne pregnant by Danny. That should
cause more than a few more ripples in the busy Baldwin

Phil and Grant’s children are returning to EastEnders.
Nine year old Ben Mitchell, currently in South Africa
with Kathy, is returning following his mother’s death
at the beginning of March. Later in the month, he will
be joined by Courtney, 10 year old daughter of Grant
and Tiffany. Is the world really ready for any more

Also joining EastEnders is Vera Drake actor Jake Wood,
as Max Branning, father of Jim’s grandson, Bradley.
He’s moving in with Dot and Jim in May. So many new
characters, and so little new housing to accommodate
any of them.

11th February 2006
Congratulations to Coronation Street’s Jane Danson
(Leanne Battersby), who is expecting a baby with her
husband Robert Beck. Given Leanne’s state of dress
(why bother with a frock when a G-string will
suffice?), producers are wondering how to disguise her
bump. Easy: get Leanne pregnant by Danny. That should
cause more than a few more ripples in the busy Baldwin

Phil and Grant’s children are returning to EastEnders.
Nine year old Ben Mitchell, currently in South Africa
with Kathy, is returning following his mother’s death
at the beginning of March. Later in the month, he will
be joined by Courtney, 10 year old daughter of Grant
and Tiffany. Is the world really ready for any more

Also joining EastEnders is Vera Drake actor Jake Wood,
as Max Branning, father of Jim’s grandson, Bradley.
He’s moving in with Dot and Jim in May. So many new
characters, and so little new housing to accommodate
any of them.

4th February 2006
Early March sees the return of Emily Bishop’s deaf
niece, Freda, in Coronation Street. Last year, Ali
Briggs, who plays her (and who is deaf herself), won a
RADAR (Royal Association for Disability and
Rehabilitation) award for the role. The character is
coming back to help out Emily, who is going to be
facing a testing time.

Ex-EastEnders star Martin Kemp is back on our screens
this month in ITV1 drama, Love Lies Bleeding, starring
alongside Hugo Speer and Claire Goose. It’s a welcome
return for a talented actor for whom ITV has yet to
find exactly the right vehicle. Good luck on this one.

Love may be in the air in Hollyoaks on February 14th,
but it’s making the air a little foggy. Craig forgets
what day it is, Becca again succumbs to Justin’s
charms, and Steph’s gift to OCD sufferer Cameron is a
set of sterilised cutlery. Now that really is taking
devotion to extremes. 

28th January 2005
The entertainment show I’m a Celebrity . . . Get Me
Out of Here! has kick-started many a career, and
ex-EastEnders star Sid Owen (Ricky Butcher in the
soap), who appeared in the recent series, is the
latest resurrection. He will be appearing as prison
warder Donny Kimber in ITV’s Bad Girls. But remember,
Sid: for every ladder that kickstarts an I’m a Celeb
career, there is a snake waiting to send them tumbling
back down again. Apart from Jordan and Peter Andre,
where are they all now?

At last, there are hints that Neighbours’ Karl and
Susan might get back together again in 2006. Why not.
They’ve both had everyone else. It’s time for a second
spin of the wheel.

Ex-Coronation Street star Suranne Jones (who played
Karen) will appear as a forensic scientist who uses
flowers to solve crimes. The new drama is written by
ex-Corrie star Lee Boardman, who played eveil Jez
Quigley. I suppose it’s what Alan Titchmarsh would
call cross-pollenation.

21st January 2006
Coronation Street’s new executive producer, Steve
Frost (ex-Emmerdale producer), has reinstated Vicky
Entwistle in her role as Janice Battersby, following
news that she was being given the elbow. Let’s hope he
hits the wardrobe department too and gets the
character a new coat other than the one in which she
has been cemented since day one.

Ex-EastEnders star Bill Treacher (who played Arthur
Fowler) will soon be back behind bars in The Bill,
playing prisoner Morris Leatherhead. The character is
the cellmate of Sun Hill regular Sergeant Dale Smith,
falsely imprisoned for the death of his lover. It
could be worse for “Smithy”, I suppose; he could be
banged up with Pauline Fowler.

Following the news that David Essex is unable to play
Honey Edwards’ father in EastEnders, we hear that
Nicky Henson has taken the role. He is a brilliant,
clever actor and can be seen onscreen from the end of
February. Welcome!

14th January 2006

Most soap stars who leave the popular shows tend to return to their first love, unemployment. There are rare exceptions, such as Sarah Lancashire, who played Raquel in Coronation Street, and has appeared in just about everything else ever since.

Now, Nikki Sanderson, who played hairdresser
Candice in the show, has just landed her first role
since leaving. She will be making a guest appearance
in John Thompson's new series, New Street Lawyers.
Beats chopping hair and clearing up soggy towels for a

Coronation Street is going interactive, and you can now access gossip and sneak previews of the show from your mobile phone. All supposing you haven't left it in the pub after one two many Stellas, of course (or is that just me?).

Also on the interactive front, my website jacisbox.com now has a Forum, where you can share your thoughts on different soap issues. Who is soap's sexiest star, for instance? (Home and Away's Jesse, in my view). Come online and let's get talking.

31st december 2005
The New Year brings a new arrival to the Barlow family - a wire-haired terrier called Eccles. Now it won't just be Tracy doing the dirty on her own doorstep.     Another new arrival is an old flame of Fred Elliott. How many more does the man have? The Great Fire of London couldn't boast this number of flames, old or otherwise.

The Wicks clan make their way to Albert Square in 2006, with Deano arriving on Monday, little knowing that he has walked onto Boulevard de Morgue. He is looking for his Great Aunt Pat (not difficult to miss) and is closely followed by Kevin Wicks (played by Phil Daniels) and gutsy sister Carly. If in doubt, turn to the old surnames; the viewers won't even notice.

Paul and Ivan finally become an item in Emmerdale in the New Year, and Steph wins the village's My Little Pony lookalike competition. Only joking - but please, do something about that hair.

24th December 2005
My heart has been broken. David Essex will not be staying in EastEnders when his contract expires, as he has musical commitments beyond that date. Now, what would be really funny would be if the residents of Albert Square were to book a bus and go to see him in concert.

Shane O'Connor, who played Joe Scully in Neighbours, has won substantial damages from Grundy after claiming that he was unfairly dismissed from the soap. They said that he was aggressive towards other cast members and fell asleep on the set. "There is no evidence that the plaintiff went to sleep," said the court. If only the same could be said for viewers.

Emmerdale's Daniel Brocklebank, who plays bisexual Ivan Jones, is worried about what his grandmother will think about his latest role. The character has been enjoying a liaison with gay Paul (played by Matthew Bose), but next week seems to prefer women - again. Life's never simple in that village.

17th December 2005
Your favourite soap stars are all in panto. Leslie Grantham (EastEnders' Dirty Den) is Captain Hook in Peter Pan at the Alban Arena, St Albans; Steve McFadden (EastEnders' Phil) is in the same role at the Opera House, Manchester; and Emmerdale's Patsy Kensit is the Genie in Aladdin at Surrey's Richmond Theatre. I don't suppose she has it within her power to make Sadie King disappear?

I can't walk down the street without people accosting me, demanding to know who dies in EastEnders at Christmas. I really, really don't know. Heck, I've only just finished mopping up my tears following Nana Moon's death yesterday. I can confirm, however, that in the New Year, we will be hearing about the death of Kathy Beale, who was played by Gillian Taylforth. So I suppose a comeback's out of the question?

Sam Roley, from Five's Make Me a Supermodel, will have both Max and OB vying for her attention when she joins Hollyoaks. Guess who my money's on to get it.

10th December 2005
Hot on the heels of his best mate Bombhead's departure from Hollyoaks, Lee is off, too. Alex Carter, who is one of the best comic actors around, leaves this Christmas and, in the new year, will be turning up in Emmerdale. He will be playing Bob Hope's son, Jamie, who arrives to witness his father's second marriage to Viv. Can't wait.

Ex-EastEnders star Michelle Ryan, who played Zoe Slater (currently lounging in I Beef Urgh) is returning to our screens next year in ITV's Miss Marple. All we know to date is that she will be playing a vamp. Beats sleeping with aged Lotharios and going to the Vic every night, anyway.

Prepare to say goodbye to Family Affairs at Christmas. The Costellos see the return of a familiar face, Sami and Brett may yet find happiness, and Yasmin finds love "in a higher place"! Presumably, she has to look elsewhere; she's had everyone at street level.

3rd December 2005
On New Year's Eve, viewers will be able to catch Coronation Street stars in the pantomime Cinderella, as a finale to ITV's 50 year anniversary celebrations. Debra Stephenson, who plays Frankie, is in the lead, and Bradley Walsh (Danny) is her Prince Charming. Personally, I would have thought they already endure enough panto just doing the Street.

Jim Branning's teenage grandson will be arriving in Walford early next year. Played by 18 year old Charlie Clements, Bradley comes to live with Jim and Dot after landing a job in the East End. Another youngster giving up a chance on life for a spell in Purgatory.

There are rumours that Emmerdale's Claire King, who played evil Kim Tate, will be returning to Emmerdale. Last seen disappearing in a helicopter, Kim would prove more than a match for Sadie, who arrived in, er, a helicopter. That expensive prop is probably the reason Jack never manages to get anything but a checked shirt from Wardrobe.

26th November 2005
EastEnders' search for a doctor who manages to locate his surgery before reaching the Vic continues, with the arrival of Dr Oliver Cousins on screen in the New Year.   

Played by Tom Ellis, the doctor is the fifth in the show's history of medical no-hopers. Cousins has allegedly been looking for a community in which he can have a positive impact on locals' lives. Good luck, mate; you have your work cut out.

Coronation Street's Bev Callard has bought a pub. Based in Eccles, the White Horse is promising a great time for its punters, and Bev reckons that she will be pulling pints behind the bar "whenever possible." That would be hardly ever, then, if the current Street workload continues. Six episodes this week!

There are rumours that Emmerdale's Patsy Kensit is leaving, when her contract expires in August. Maybe she is just taking time off to go to Frowning School. Goodness knows, her brow could do with the tuition.