JACI STEPHEN’S ul­ti­mate in­sight into the week’s soaps

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - SEVEN DAYS -

oa­p­land is not the most re­li­gious place at the best of times. Dot is the to­ken Christian in EastEn­ders, and Emily in Corona­tion Street. In hav­ing a vicar – and, re­cently, two – plus a one- time cu­rate and a Bishop, Em­merdale wins hands down in the Christian depart­ment. Out­side of Chris­tian­ity, Corona­tion Street has its first Mus­lim fam­ily in the Nazirs, who cel­e­brate their own fes­ti­vals.

At Christ­mas, iron­i­cally, Chris­tian­ity takes a back seat in soa­p­land. We see chil­dren in na­tiv­ity plays, but rarely does any­one visit a church. In EastEn­ders, for some never quite ex­plained rea­son, ev­ery­one de­cides to wan­der into the Square to stand, un­der­dressed, in a flurry of ar­ti­fi­cial snow, lis­ten­ing to the Wal­ford Com­mu­nity Choir (yes, we can, er, look for­ward to their high notes again on Christ­mas Eve). There’ll be no Mid­night Mass in Corona­tion Street, and there are stag and hen nights for Andy and Katie in Em­merdale.

Christ­mas in soa­p­land has barely any­thing to do with the baby Je­sus; it’s sex and al­co­hol that top the agenda, with ev­ery­one jumping into bed with their neigh­bours, usu­ally after a few drinks. In this, it’s the one time of year when the soapss most re­flect real life.

I am now in se­ri­ous ‘Whad­de­ver’ mode e when it comes to any­thing about Lucy.y. This week, DI Kee­ble tells Emma there e was sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity on Lucy’s so­ciall me­dia ac­counts fol­low­ing her death, and d asks Emma to re­trieve the lap­top of the e per­son un­der sus­pi­cion, who is hor­ri­fied to learn it has been handed over. When the con­tents of the lap­top come to light, sus­pi­cion points in another di­rec­tion. Like I said. Whad­de­ver.

It’s Christ­mas time, so that’s the key for Al­fie to mess up again, and when the boiler breaks down, Kat (right, with Al­fie) finds out another of his mas­ter­plans has spec­tac­u­larly failed. Yer don’t say. Kat’s pleas to their land­lord to let the fam­ily stay in the flat fall on deaf ears and they’re told to be out by lunchtime. Mick and Linda, how­ever, of­fer them a bed for the night at the Vic. I’d call that just shift­ing cab­ins on the Ti­tanic. They’re told the wait­ing list for a coun­cil il househ ini Wal­fordlf d isi very l long ( Re­ally? Who’d want to move to that dump?), but there are some houses avail­able in Hull ( I’m say­ing zilch). Noth­ing, though, pre­pares Kat for the mo­ment she fi­nally dis­cov­ers the truth about Al­fie. What knock- on ef­fect will this have on their re­la­tion­ship? Some­thing tells me it won’t be a very merry Christ­mas.

Linda tries to hide her nerves about the baby from Mick. They de­cide to tell the fam­ily the news, but Linda bot­tles it. Stacey, though, can read the fear in Linda’s eyes. That’s the first thing she ever has been able to read. Let’s just say things get messy in McCoy’s tonight. There’s an at­tempt of sorts at an armistice but Yvonne’s plans for re­venge end in dev­as­ta­tion for Dan and Carol and later on Yvonne is crushed by Rob­bie’s frank words.

Rachel de­cides to stay over with Ni­amh but Paul is taken aback to hear that Rachel wants to stay there so of­ten. He con­fides in Orla that he is not happy with Rachel stay­ing over when Michael is there be­cause of the crush she had on him. Orla de­cides to tell Ni­amh about the crush. Ni­amh con­fronts Rachel about her feel­ings and can tell straight away it’s true by how up­set Rachel. The teenager de­clares she has had enough of both Ni­amh and Paul.

With Pete and Dolores, it’s a week of mixed-up mes­sages. There’s a ro­man­tic note as Jackie and Bob start to work well to­gether, and we find Alma (Donna Anita Niko­laisen, be­low) spurred into giv­ing Doug a lit­tle fes­tive kiss.

Charlie strug­gles when he gets a card ad­dressed to him and Es­ther. He later re­ceives a call for Es­ther at the com­mu­nity cen­tre. Cass tries to cheer him up but Charlie dis­misses him, leav­ing g Cass hurt byy the abruptp be­hav­iour.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT, AL­FIE? MORE OF THE USUAL, ALAS

FIOTRWYHOM NO THE WED­DING BELL TOLLS

DAVID’S AU­DI­TION FOR A SWEENEY TODD ROLE

LOVE’S YOUNG DREAMS

Pa­trick and Yolande True­man de­cide to make their fam­ily com­plete by be­com­ing foster par­ents. The cou­ple are de­lighted when they’re cho­sen to look after a girl named Katie – but it’s a wrench for them when she’s re­turned to her mother.

Kelly Wind­sor’s be­trayal of her hus­band Roy Glover has ter­ri­ble reper­cus­sions. Hav­ing slept with her step­brother Scott while Roy was in prison for a crime that she com­mit­ted, Kelly sinks into de­pres­sion and starts drink­ing heav­ily. Weather­field’s res­i­dents are thrilled that Curly Watts and Raquel Wol­sten­hulme are get­ting mar­ried, but you can have too much of a good thing – the bar­maid’s non-stop wed­ding plan­ning be­gins to grate on her work­mates.

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