Soap Watch

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - NEWS - JACI STEPHEN’S ul­ti­mate in­sight into the week’s soaps

N ever has an act­ing per­for­mance wrung me out as much as that of Cor­rie’s Kym Marsh, as her char­ac­ter Michelle deals with the death of her still­born son. In real life, Kym suf­fered the death of her own son af­ter he was born pre­ma­turely at 21 weeks in 2009, so the plot­line has added poignancy. But this is also a per­for­mance of such bril­liance, my guess is there’ll be no-one to hold a can­dle to it, come awards sea­son.

From the ini­tial fear of los­ing her child, to the pain of giv­ing birth, know­ing he might not sur­vive, to the over­whelm­ing soli­tude of grief… I can’t get it out of my head and have no doubt it will be of enor­mous help to peo­ple who have un­der­gone the same ex­pe­ri­ence. Soaps may be en­ter­tain­ment, but it’s easy to for­get the power they have when deal­ing with is­sues that af­fect peo­ple. Emmerdale’s sto­ry­line about Ash­ley’s de­men­tia is an­other mas­ter­piece, and Eas­tEn­ders has also de­liv­ered big time with Phil’s bat­tle with al­co­holism.

All three of these sto­ry­lines have moved me in dif­fer­ent ways and this re­ally is drama at its ab­so­lute best.

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