How many murders can there be in a village that consists of a public house, a shop, a church, and a cow or two? That will probably depend how much the locals love their cows, including those that walk on two legs and frequently lie on their backs.
(Note: This article contains spoilers for those who haven't yet seen these soaps).
A man's last word's can easily come back to haunt him. John Sedgwick, a general during the American Civil War, is supposed to have said "They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist..." According to his police escort James Leavelle, the last words of Lee Harvey Oswald were "Nobody gonna shoot at me".
Emmerdale's Carl King went one better with "...I'm industructible!" A second or so later, he was whacked over the back of the head with a rock.
Emmerdale village is less a village than a hamlet, heck, there are more shops in Sydenham Road than there are inhabitants in Emmerdale, which begs the question, how many more murders can there be before there is no one left? And no, Carl King was not the last victim, that dubious privilege belongs to the hapless farmhand to whom King's murderer confessed. Not that King was any sort of angel, he did murder his own father.
His demise was brought about by his blackmailing and then trying to rape his former mistress on the night of her wedding to someone else. She clumped him with a rock and ran off, then her lover, who had previously been bonking her niece after deserting his own wife and kids on Jersey, turned up on the scene and hits King again, finishing him off this time. Then, thinking she has killed him, Chastity Dingle blurts out a confession to the...oh, give it a rest, it isn't that long since the local vicar was being groomed for the part of a serial killer, now though he is torn between pulling pints in the local watering hole and helping out the local farm widow, but as Ashley's first wife has just reappeared, the likelihood of him - or someone - throttling her cannot be ruled out.
If murder is rather common in Emmerdale, it is not exactly unknown in the BBC soap EastEnders, either. One of the local villains is due to get his just desserts on Christmas Day, which could prove a problem for the local CID if there is no forensic evidence, because there will be plenty of suspects, including members of his own family.
With a track record of blackmail, violence - including against women - and now bedding one of the local bike rides (the married one), some would say Derek Branning had it coming.
Although there are no murders brewing over in Coronation Street, as yet, there could be in the near future, certainly there is more than a fair amount of shattered domestic bliss as the local bookmaker tries to sabotage the third marriage of his ex-wife, she is about to remarry her first husband - as so many women do. Last night though, Christmas Eve, his mistress Carla, who is still the owner of the local knicker factory, turned up from Los Angeles unable to live without him. And let's not mention reformed homosexual Marcus who is now poison to his former catamite Sean, nor grease monkey Tyrone who is being battered by his psychopathic not-so-better half and taking it like a wimp. Hasn't he considered thumping her back?
What can be the reason for all this? Three little words spring to mind: British Soap Awards. Coronation Street has been on our screens continuously for fifty-two years this month; when it started it was what Noël Coward alluded to deprecatingly as kitchen sink drama, not that soap in particular but the type of plays that began to appear in the British theatre in the 1950s. No reasonable person could accuse any of Britain's leading soaps of belonging in that category today.