“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” That was Tolstoy, evidently a big soap fan, since in Walford, Weatherfield and the Woolpack, variations on the theme of the dischuffed and dysfunctional are in endless supply.
Over in Albert Square, Tanya and Jack are trying their best to play happy families, planning to leave the East End to start a new life in France. Only it’s all getting a bit fractious as Tanya frets about coming clean to Max. “Do I look like I’m in the mood for fun?” she is constantly snapping at Jack who, for his part, seems to be pondering the sense of spending the rest of his life with a woman who is looking increasingly like a cod, when he could be over at the club with other fish to fry.Like Ronnie (played by Samantha Janus) who is turning into a Sharon for the noughties, all blonde fringe and alcoholism. Presumably she would be having a rampant affair with Grant and/or Phil Mitchell by now if they weren’t “faaaaahhmly.” Mind you, that didn’t stop Sharon and Dennis, so let’s not rule it out.
It turns out that Ronnie had a daughter at 14 but gave her up to be adopted. Said daughter is currently manning a stall in the market, only Ronnie doesn’t know it yet. It’s all a bit “Oliver”, with long lost daughter Danielle clutching a locket featuring Ronnie’s picture and being taken in by that gang of loveable thieves, the Slaters. To celebrate their new addition, Mo popped some Bulgarian champagne. Well, not so much popped as whimpered. “The Bulgarians don’t like it fizzy like the French,” explained Mo. “They’ve got less to celebrate.”
Also, what’s going on with Roxy and Ronnie’s dad? So far Archie seems to be playing some sort of Derren Brown-esque mind games on everyone. Not content with having turned Peggy into Mrs Slocombe from Are You Being Served, he’s now working on Sean to undermine his potential parenting capabilities. Shouldn’t think he’ll have to work up much of a sweat there.
And sadly, Bradley and Stacey’s plans to start a happy family have failed, as the couple have split. Again. Keep up. Dot is now seriously worried about Bradley as he’s very depressed and going off the rails. Which, for Bradley, means he’s staying in sipping Shandy Bass with the big light off.
Over on Coronation Street, the booze is also getting a battering Chez Webster, with Rosie still missing (clue – John hasn’t really got a cat) and Kevin worried after receiving a note saying “Sophie’s next.” The police advise him to keep a close eye on his youngest. “’Cos she could be next? Is that a possibility?” asks Kev, never one to be quick on the uptake. Could you spell it out a little more, next time, Mr Kidnapper? Possibly draw him a diagram?
Anyway, in response to all the stress and with Sally away, Kev is hitting the bottle, declaring himself an unfit parent and, more alarming still, singing the lyrics to eighties power ballads to himself. Come home soon Rosie, or it’ll be neat tequila and The Final Countdown.
Then Liam got mowed down by a car.
In happier news Tyrone and Molly are getting married, and the thought of celebrating their nuptials cheek by jowl with Betty’s hot pot has sent Tyrone into a life of crime.Well, of selling his Auntie Pam’s dodgy shirts round the pubs. Apparently, he’s a natural: “An honest face, it’s something you can’t buy in this game!” Pam chortled. Well, I suppose looking like Churchill the dog had to come in handy one day.
And then there was Liam and Carla. After months of deception, on her hen Do Carla made the decision that she was going to tell Liam she wanted to be with him. This after taking advice from Leanne Battersby, a slightly dubious choice since Leanne and morality have not so much parted ways as never actually met.
Alas, after learning that Maria was pregnant again, Carla changed her mind, raced over in a cab to her fiancé’s stag party to lie to Liam that she didn’t really love him, raced back to The Rovers, tidied up her mascara and sat half-heartedly fondling a stripper, looking very much like The Corpse Bride.
Gutted. And so, once again, Michelle loses another family member to a car accident. To lose one’s husband in this way is unfortunate. To lose a brother the same way is careless. Lose another brother in a vehicular-related tragedy and you’ve surely got to start asking yourself whether you’re tipping enough at Streetcars.
But of course, it was that evil Tony that did it. We know this because he went skulking by the canal afterwards and no-one who ever went near a canal in Manchester was ever up to any good.
I think Tony might turn out to have a string of murders to his name, with all sorts of bodies and bodies of evidence floating around in that canal. Corrie writers - I’d like to see him go mental over the next few months, haunted by the victims of his evil crimes. Or at least for Carla to find out and exact her revenge which, let’s face it, will be nastier than anything Tony could dream up in that mean little mind of his.Also, just time to mention Emmerdale, where the ever optimistic Bob is pulling out all the stops to see his beloved Viv, who is currently serving 3 years for crimes against fashion. Oh, sorry, I mean fraud.
After failing to break her out of the clink, Bob does the next sensible thing and gets a job as a prison drama teacher so he can see the woman he loves. Despite being about as feasible as a file in a cake, the plan works. But Viv falls apart when Bob tells her he loves her and flees the room crying, so Bob’s cover is blown. Next up, expect Bob to have his entire body tattooed with a map of the Leeds sewerage system, get banged up for cow tipping and enact a Yorkshire version of the Great Escape, tunnelling out with one of Viv’s ear rings. Sigh. You can’t put walls between true love.