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article imageOp-Ed: Soap opera women never learn

By Alexander Baron     Sep 12, 2011 in Entertainment
Infidelity with a husband’s best friend, and a former spouse, a vicar’s wife lusting after a twice married chef – it could only happen in a soap opera. Or could it? Note: This article may contain spoilers of Coronation Street, Eastenders & Emmerdale
The Yorkshire village of Emmerdale may be both diminutive and pastoral, but over the years it has had more than its fair share of murder and mayhem, not to mention infidelity. One of the many current plots sees the vicar’s wife lusting after the chef of the local public house; they’ve known each other for years - not in the biblical sense, of course – but suddenly Laurel realises what a fine figure of a man he is. The big question though is will she remember the 7th Commandment?
If she does, she will be one of a kind; the very blonde and very attractive but very sluttish ex-wife of the local entrepreneur has just flown the coup after a showdown in which it was revealed that she had been double crossing her daughter, having had a fling with her farmhand boyfriend. Daughter responded by disowning her mother and directing her knee towards ex-boyfriend’s groin in the local public house.
The final blow though was delivered to her ex-husband as she was about to drive off, telling him his daughter Mia was not his, but the offspring of an illicit liaison twenty years ago with his best friend. As this best friend – who now runs the local chocolate factory – is Asian, and blonde genes are recessive, one can only ask why he hadn’t managed to work that out long before they all arrived in the village. Perhaps the scriptwriters are colour blind?
A similar drama played out some time ago in EastEnders, when new arrival on Albert Square, the blonde and sluttish Vanessa directed a similar parting shot at her husband, having dumped him for Max. It remains to be seen what she ever saw in this lecher who arrived in Albert Square 5 years ago. Prematurely thinning if not bald, Max is a smoker, a small time con man, and can’t keep it inside his trousers. When he first showed his face, he had a beautiful, independent-minded second wife who used to be his babysitter – join up the dots – a son from his previous marriage, and two lovely young daughters.
Then he had an illicit liaison with his son’s manic depressive and sluttish girlfriend turned wife, Stacey, was found out, and thrown out. There was also the little matter of his wife Tanya drugging him and burying him alive in a coffin aided and abetted by Stacey’s psycho older brother, but fortunately for Max she relented and “unburied” him.
Alas, Bradley is now dead, after having fallen from a roof during a police chase after having been accused of murdering another sleazy character. No, it wasn’t Bradley who murdered him but Stacey. She is gone too now, having fled the country with her baby daughter – who was not sired by Bradley.
Having got rid of Max - legally – Tanya marries Greg a hunky builder, who is everything Max is not, including faithful, then what does she do? She starts an affair with her ex-husband who by this time has hooked up with Vanessa. The reward of greed is that people who want everything often end up with nothing, which is where Vanessa is now, as dumped by Max, she falls into the clutches of the evil Michael, who wants to use her as a pawn in the game of revenge he is playing against his father. Things could be worse though, unlike Tanya, she hasn’t been told she has cervical cancer.
At least Tanya’s problems are only make-believe, and can be brushed away with a scriptwriter’s pen; in real life, one EastEnders actress is having more than her share of heartache. The sluttish landlady of the local public house, Kat Moon, is played by Jessie Wallace, who studied at The Poor School. Four years ago she played Marie Lloyd in a special TV adaptation. Although she was known as the Queen of the Music Hall, Marie Lloyd is not that well known today, which is no great loss to the world of music. Even allowing for the quality of early 20th Century recordings, Marie Lloyd’s singing voice left much to be desired. And although Wallace is not a singer, any objective critic who had to choose between her and the original can only but wonder why Lloyd was such a big star and Wallace isn’t. Which begs the question, why does she waste her talents in this demented soap opera?
Alas, she has also been wasting her talents on men. The September 3 edition of the Daily Mirror gave the break up of her relationship with fiance Vince Morse the front page treatment. She was said to be on the verge of a breakdown after calling off their wedding at the last moment when she realised the prince she had kissed was really a frog. Later, she jetted off on her honeymoon alone.
Which brings us to Coronation Street. Some people have more than their share of bad karma, or perhaps they just have bad judgment, none more so than Carla, part owner of the local knicker factory, because after marrying the man who murdered her lover then developing a crush on the local bookmaker and fellow alcoholic, she sets about trying to wreck his marriage. When that doesn’t work, she seeks solace in the arms of her new business partner, in spite of being warned by local hairdresser Maria that he had tried to rape her. Maria has had more than her fair share of bad luck, her husband was the illicit lover murdered by Carla’s husband, who also tried to murder Carla after escaping from prison.
After ignoring Maria’s warning, Carla agrees to marry the new man in her life, who has just proved how deep is his devotion to her by taking the rap for a potentially fatal motor accident in which she ran down the mother of her former best friend. Carla, you see, is disqualified for driving while over the limit. Unfortunately, while Frank is debonair, handsome and charismatic, so was Dr Jekyll, and Carla is shortly to meet Mr Hyde when the penny drops that she still has eyes only for the bookmaker. As this is a family show, the rape scene will undoubtedly be played down, but there could be worse to come for the wife of absentee John Stape, who has now been charged with all three murders of which he stands accused. Ironically, he is totally innocent of one of these; he killed the elderly Joy Fishwick by accident, and his battering Charlotte to death might be considered justifiable homicide by some considering what she put the poor man through.
The big question is, will Mr Stape return to exonerate Mrs Stape, who is currently detained at Her Majesty’s Pleasure with her young baby? Or will publican Steve McDonald’s mercurial estranged wife Becky murder Tracy Barlow when she reveals she is pregnant by him – again? But that’s another story.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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