Baby Oleg & more: Wednesday 12th February 2014

IMG 2489 Baby Oleg & more: Wednesday 12th February 2014Here's one of the amazing views I've been able to capture from the living room of my flat for my Sunset Over Swindon feature recently. This weather's certainly been providing some spectacular sights.

Apart from staring out of the window, I've also been busy. Watching the Sochi Olympics is very time-consuming …

I've also been busy on my new 'fit for life' regime, so have been at the gym every day – walking miles on the treadmill. It's not even boring, because this new gym I've joined has treadmills fitted with tablet-type screens, so while I walk I can do Sudoko, Mahjong and other excellent brain-teasers.

An hour flies by before I know it, and – after a month at it now – I'm finally starting to see some results, as I'm back into my jeans for the first time in a year!

Eating smaller portions (and cutting back on my 'core' diet of pasta, red wine and good bread!) has helped tremendously, and helps offset the huge amount of time I spend sitting at my Mac.

I've not been doing much actual WORK lately though. I just can't see the wood for the trees at the moment, so am mostly metaphorically 'sitting deep in the middle of the forest', trying to work out which direction to go in to be able to find my way out.

Oh, it's such a dilemma …

Seeing double? And not just from one too many in the Rovers!

 Baby Oleg & more: Wednesday 12th February 2014Coronation Street spoilers   Andrea does fancy Steve    Hayley Tamaddon interview Baby Oleg & more: Wednesday 12th February 2014In the meantime; soap-wise, I'm transfixed by Coronation Street's Andrea. I reckon she's the spit of a young Betty Turpin. Do you agree?

Andrea's got the hots for Steve, and I – for one – would LOVE them to get together as they've got real chemistry.

That's not to say I don't love Michelle. She's got such a great rapport with both Steve and Liz (and even beats Rat-eyed-Rita on the dirty looks front!), but most soap couples inevitably run their course, and I feel that (storyline-wise) Steve and Michelle are pretty much at the end of the line.

I'm also lining my ducks in a row on the #Carchelle front. With Peter and Carla's marriage inevitably doomed to failure (he's leaving the show later this year), Carla's going to be sideswiped and will surely feel she's 'had it' with men? If Steve has an affair with Andrea, then Michelle will feel the same, and their loving (and already extremely tactile) relationship will – over time – turn into something more …

Talking of falling in love:

Baby Oleg Baby Oleg & more: Wednesday 12th February 2014Who hasn't fallen in love with those Corrie meerkats, and the arrival of baby Oleg has given us an even bigger 'Aah' factor. Such a cute little chap, and you can exclusively see the new baby Oleg trailers right here before they're broadcast on Coronation Street tonight. Just click here for some ultra cuteness!

 Baby Oleg & more: Wednesday 12th February 2014I've even got a baby Oleg toy to give away to one lucky reader of this blog – courtesy of ComparetheMarket.com, who sponsor Coronation Street and produce the wonderful (and very clever) little videos which precede each episode. All you have to do is retweet the tweet you clicked on to read this post and you'll go into the hat (UK only, I'm afraid). I'll announce the winner a week today – Wednesday 19th February on Twitter.

Where you can read/hear me:

Here's my latest Yahoo!TV post: 'The best of the week's one-liners', which features all the best/funniest lines from last week's Coronation Street, Emmerdale and EastEnders. There's some great stuff in there! 

You can also hear my live half hour of Soapy chat on The Big Mid-Morning Show between 10.30-11.00 am on Thursday mornings on Swindon 105.5 FM  – or via Tunein Radio if you're not lucky enough to live in Sunny Swindon (!).

PS As soon as I can drag myself away from the Olympics I'll make that last big push to get my site relaunch finished!

Review of Coronation Street Hayley's death

Corrie roof logo e1341149395169 Review of Coronation Street Hayleys death

And breathe …

It's over, and the #Corrie #Coronation Street timelines on Twitter prior to last night's epsiodes were basically saying either: 'I don't want to watch', or 'I'm going to cry my eyes out'.

 Review of Coronation Street Hayleys deathIt was clear that we'd have to wait until the end of the second episode for the actual suicide, and it seems that there's some disagreement (and a lot of disappointment) this morning about what we saw.

Many people were surprised that the second episode wasn't done as a 'two-hander' (so favoured by EastEnders when covering important issues), and I've read some comments which said that there shouldn't have been the normal mix of drama and humour as it detracted from the storyline.

That thought DID flash through my mind at one point, but – remember – this is what Corrie excels at, and why it's consistently voted the UK's favourite soap. Coronation Street is always careful never to take itself too seriously, and it's a relief NOT to have scenes which you feel have been written with the specific aim of dragging every last little bit of emotion out of you – and then some.

The Final Scene:

It's that thought which I'm trying to keep in my mind as I think about the very last scene, where Carla (like a spoiled child) demanded to be let into the Cropper's flat, and subsequently ruined the episode for a number of people (according to much of the feedback I've read since).

I felt as if the last scene should perhaps have just been a shot of either Roy and Hayley lying together, or of Anna sat downstairs in the darkness (with the theme tune fading-in quietly in the background), but what we haven't seen yet – of course – is what's going to happen NEXT.

Carla and Anna witnessing the aftermath of the act will probably be very pivotal to the storyline going forward, and for everyone who felt as if it ruined the whole thing for them: maybe it was better to feel anger after watching that last scene than to have been reduced to a complete, blubbering wreck?

 Review of Coronation Street Hayleys death

As for the actors: Roy and Hayley have played the whole thing perfectly from beginning to end. Neither of them ever 'milked' it or acted in a way that felt 'out of character'. People who deride soaps don't normally watch soaps, so are unaware of the incredible standard and quality of acting that cast members produce week-in, week-out.

I think we all feel relieved that last night is over though (although the humour helped it from being as traumatic as we'd feared – thankfully), but I suspect that what's to come is going to be equally heartbreaking as we see Roy attempt to come to terms with both the loss of his wife and the legal minefield ahead.

This is why we need a law on Assisted Suicide …

Hayley's death from cancer: 20th January 2014

Corrie roof logo e1341149395169 Hayleys death from cancer: 20th January 2014

Coronation Street's pancreatic cancer storyline comes to its heartbreaking climax on Monday 20th January as Hayley Cropper takes her own life.

Never before has there been a night when devoted Corrie fans won't be looking forward to watching their favourite soap (and there probably never will be again), but watch we will, and cry we will.

 Hayleys death from cancer: 20th January 2014As with any major soap storyline, the world and his wife have jumped on the bandwagon of discussion as to the rights and wrongs of the subject matter, with articles and broadcasts over the last couple of weeks from a host of so-called 'experts' – many of whom have clearly either never watched an episode of Coronation Street in their lives or (at the very least) have very little clue as to WHY Hayley is insisting on taking such a drastic course of action.

I've watched almost every episode of Coronation Street since childhood (although under much sufferance in the early days, it has to be said), and was lucky enough to be one of the team of journalists who attended the Press Day in Blackpool last October (go to 'Corrie Corner' on the right sidebar then scroll down to the post 'A Corrie Day Out at the Seaside: 11th October 2013' to read my report), so feel as if I'm possibly 'better qualified' to write about this matter than some of the folk I've heard pontificating on the subject over the last couple of weeks.

Stuart Blackburn Hayleys death from cancer: 20th January 2014When Coronation Street's producer Stuart Blackburn (who was also the producer of Emmerdale's assisted suicide storyline in 2011) revealed to us that Hayley's character would be taking her own life, you could hear the emotion in his voice as he spoke movingly of the enormous sense of responsibility the soap felt over tackling such a controversial subject.

By the time they'd then screened the 'Blackpool' episode there was barely a dry eye in the house, and it was clear during the interviews we did with Julie Hesmondhalgh and David Neilson that they were both very aware of the challenge ahead and were determined to play it as realistically as possible – hard as that would be for the audience to have to watch.

We came away feeling privileged to have been given an insight into the passion the team had over this storyline, and I don't think anyone would disagree that it's been pitched 'just right ' every step of the way since then and has never once crossed the line into mawkishness or self-pitying cliche.

One of the 'experts' I heard talking on the radio last week would have had us believe that – in reality – most cancer patients don't actually want to die but simply want better pain relief.

Why I profoundly disagree with that statement:

IMG 0997 Hayleys death from cancer: 20th January 2014At this time last year I was nursing my father through the final stages of terminal cancer. Each morning as I went in to him, the first words he'd say to me were that he just wanted to die. (This is him just before Christmas 2012 when he first became bedbound but still had a bit of life left in him. He was pulling a funny face to make me laugh.)

He would explain to the local Swindon Prospect Hospice nurses and his lovely team of carers (who visited him four times a day during the last couple of months) that he'd had a great life – with no regrets – but that at aged 84 (and with his quality of life diminishing by the hour) he now just wanted it over and done with.

Unless you've had to watch one of your loved ones lying helpless in a hospital bed (we were able to care for him at home, luckily), lose all their bodily functions, not even be able to keep a few mouthfuls of watery porridge down, and turn into a skeleton before your eyes, then I don't believe you are qualified to tell anyone what you think cancer patients want.

My father had tears in his eyes every morning when he realised he'd woken up (and not simply passed away during the night as he'd hoped), and the day he took hold of my hand as I gave him his morphine and begged me to give him enough to just 'send him to sleep' for good was one of the worst moments of my life.

If I thought I could have granted him his wish without the worry of having to face the legal ramifications I would have done it in a heartbeat (as would the poor nurses who had to hold his hand and trot out endless platitudes about how there was 'always something to live for' etc). We put a sick animal out of its misery, yet there are people out there who feel that it's perfectly acceptable to keep people alive when they're terminally ill and ASKING to die.

HOW can those be the actions of a 'civilised' society?

From the moment my father knew his cancer was terminal he just wanted it to be over with. He'd been extremely fit and active almost up to the end and didn't want to have to literally just lie there in that bed, waiting to die.

Hayley Cropper Hayleys death from cancer: 20th January 2014This is why we need to remove the current 'grey area' over assisted suicide. Someone like my father should have been able (with his Oncologist and GP's approval) to have simply had a nurse quietly give him an injection (he couldn't even drink from a babies' beaker by this point) with us – his children – at his side, and for his suffering to end.

Hayley Cropper insists on taking the dose herself in the hope of sparing her husband from possible arrest for her 'murder', and we're yet to see how it all progresses, but let's just hope that this storyline encourages the Government to debate this awful issue and finally bring in legislation to spare anyone who will be involved in a similar situation in the future from the fear of prosecution.

Jane Reynolds's blog: Sunday 19th January 2014

IMG 2688 Jane Reynoldss blog: Sunday 19th January 2014I'm back!

'Who cares?' you yawn, but it's (relatively) exciting news this end, as I'm happy to declare that … yes, it's done.

That dastardly tax return (which has been hanging round my neck like a dastardly tax return necklace) is finished, and next week I'm going to do this year's too, so that I can get back into my proper routine of spending half an hour a week updating it and thereby ensure that I NEVER get so far behind again!

For the first time in over a year I feel as if I can see daylight, and if you're a regular reader of this blog you'll know that they traditionally start with a 'Sunset Over Swindon' (which used to be Sunrise Over Swindon when I had my office), and this one is a fabulous red sunset which I took outside the gym just before Christmas but haven't had time to post yet.

Anyway, enough of all that.

Now that the tax return's out of the way I'm buzzing with excitement at the thought of starting writing again. After much agonising though, I've made the difficult decision to give my Soapy Corners a bit of a rest (for a few weeks initially) so that I can spend time working on a lot of the ideas that I've had to shelve over the last year or so.

The first one is this website. The revamp was pretty much done before Christmas, and my trusty (and excellent) new web man is poised and ready to go live with it as soon as I've rewritten some of the pages. It'll feel like a great new start for both the site and me.

My 'Soapy Corners Live' on Tellyspy are also off-air temporarily, but they'll be back soon in a brand new format which I hope you'll enjoy – apart from having to see my face on-screen, but I'm sure you'll get used to it after a couple of weeks (or a stiff drink)!

IMG 2897x Jane Reynoldss blog: Sunday 19th January 2014Lastly for now, I must just tell you about the exciting tweet I had on New Year's Eve from the lovely Michelle Hardwick ('Vanessa the Vet' in Emmerdale) who was on holiday and had not only been planning to propose to her girlfriend but had also been reading my book 'Just Good Friends?'!

To say that this tweet 'brightened my mood' (on what is traditionally the worst night of the year for me) is an understatement, and it gave me a very unexpected glimmer of hope and expectation that 2014 might just turn out to be a good year for me after – let's face it – an awful lot of rubbish ones!

Where you can read/hear me:

Here's my latest Yahoo!TV post: 'The best of the week's one-liners'(If this link isn't showing the most recent/last week's episodes it'll just be because it hasn't yet been published by YahooTV, but as soon as they upload the page on their site then I'll update the link.)

You can also hear my live half hour of Soapy chat on The Big Mid-Morning Show between 10.30-11.00 am on Thursday mornings on Swindon 105.5 FM  – or via Tunein Radio if you're not lucky enough to live in Sunny Swindon (!).

A new year, and here we are again …

The end of a year is always a sobering time, and at this time in 2012 I was facing my father's impending death from terminal cancer and then having to sell the family home and our family's 'past/life'.

It was a 'challenging' year, and this Christmas was also a challenge, but as I sat alone on New Year's Eve, the saddest thing for me was knowing that my father died without having seen me make a success (i.e. 'earn a living') from my writing.

Life gives and it takes away – mostly the second for me

He'd always thought I was foolish to have finally given up work to become a writer (after having wanted to do so right from being a child), and made no bones about it. Having thought I'd 'got' an Agent almost immediately after having started submitting my debut novel seemed to be the culmination of a lifetime's ambition for me, but – like everything in my life – it turned out to be another bitter disappointment, and hit me very hard.

I started blogging to help publicise my book (because that's what you're meant to do, apparently) and – as these things so often do – it somehow evolved into a Soap blog for our top three UK Soaps, and from there has led to my regular radio broadcasts and my live weekly internet radio show.

I've recently started writing for YahooTV (for which I get paid), but – as some of you will know – the time it takes to watch the shows then write each section and upload the photos for my 'Soapy Corners' and my Yahoo posts leaves me with little time to do anything else.

The only money I earn is from the one little office-cleaning and two weekly ironing jobs I do, but – in effect – that's another two days gone, and I am at a point now where I feel as if I'm drowning in it all, but for what?

I LOVE writing my Soap stuff. I LOVE broadcasting, and would love nothing more than to get a regular weekly job on TV and/or the radio/online etc talking Soaps (or writing for one of the Soaps in ANY way, shape or form), but I HAVE to start earning some money from it somehow, otherwise I'm just going to have to give it all up.

I've sat here in tears this morning at the prospect of not only starting another year knowing that I'd not only earned barely anything from the more than two thousand hours I'd spent writing in 2013, but that it's my 55th Birthday next week and that my dream of earning a living as a writer seems as far away as ever.

And then there's my book …

The Emmerdale Actress Michelle Hardwick (@ChelleHardwick) has just finished reading 'Just Good Friends?' and said that she, 'Couldn't put it down'. WHAT a thrill for me – to know that a lesbian actress has enjoyed it so much, but where do I go from here?

It's selling steadily on all the online book sales outlets, but as I've spent the best part of 2.5 years building my Soap 'career' (which wasn't meant to happen, don't forget) I've missed out on 2.5 years I maybe should have spent writing the sequel and working on publicising it.

This is typical of my life, you see.

I didn't MEAN to get into Soap writing. I only started it to publicise my book, but now I've spent all this time and got almost nothing to show from EITHER. I got a bit tearful talking to my friend about it all yesterday and she told me bluntly that I've been spreading myself too thinly and should focus on one or the other.

That's easier said than done though. There's a powerful paragraph in 'The Traveller's Gift' by Andy Andrews about a man on a journey of discovery who's shown around a huge warehouse by an Angel.  It's stuffed full of riches, but the Angel tells him that they're the riches that people ALMOST succeeded in achieving but who all gave up at the very moment before they were about to achieve success.

My fear is of giving up the Soap stuff (which I love doing) because I sense that I'm on the verge of achieving success (i.e. earning a living) from it, but how long do you give it? I simply can't be sat here in another twelve months pondering the same question.

I'm keenly aware that my health is starting to suffer from the stress of working a seven day week (but earning less than I would if I was on the dole and laying in bed all day). How can that be right? I'm the hardest working person I know, but what's the point in that?

I've worked myself to the verge of exhaustion almost every day of my life, but at least I used to get paid for it. I live like a pauper, and in 2013 only went out for coffee around half a dozen times. This was something I used to do ALL the time, but now don't HAVE the time to do, yet I don't earn any money from it. How stupid is that? I have no life (because I've put everything else to one side to write – as if you want something enough you HAVE to give it your all), but I have no money either, so what on earth am I doing?

Why am I writing this?

I don't know. I hadn't intended to, but regular readers (of what used to be a short page of comment accompanying my weekly Soap/TV review posts) will know that I have always been completely honest about what's happening so that if and when something good DID happen I'd be able to share it with you all and you'd all know what it had taken to get to that point.

Anyone clicking onto this page will have probably clicked away by now, but something's making me spill all this stuff out, and I no longer question 'The Universe' when it seems to be making me do things because if I'd trusted The Universe I'd have won £6 million on the Lottery so I just do as it bids me now.

What has 2014 got in store for me?

God only knows, but one thing I DO know is that by 4th January 2015 I'll either be earning a living as a writer or be back as a wage slave again (if anyone'll have me), as – although I live like a pauper – I can't continue to afford to live at all without an income, so need to earn at least £1000 a month to pay my rent/bills and food.

Being single doesn't come cheap. It still costs the same amount of money to heat a flat – no matter how many people live in it – so if you're reading this and need some sort of a writer, or are a literary Agent who'd like to take me on (my book has been optioned to be made into an Independent Film @JGFFilm - still unfinanced at present, unfortunately), then 'Every little helps', and if I can find a way of earning at least enough to live from my writing, then I'll be thrilled.

I see myself as the 'Harry Hill TV Burp' of Soap-writing (as I pick out exactly the same sort of things that he used to on his wonderful show), and with my love of one-liners I always aim to put a bit of a humorous twist to my work.

I've also got a number of other writing ideas that I'd love to pursue, but I'm putting this post out now without even proofreading it (because if I do I know I'll end up deleting it or rewriting it so it's less honest – which will defeat what I'm doing by writing it in the first place) and without any pictures, because if I upload any photos I'll just end up re-reading it, and I daren't do that or I'll start editing it etc.

Right. Here goes nothing … or something?

PS This site is in the middle of a revamp which has had to be put back because I HAVE to get my tax return done. It's now 'critical' (due to not having done anything on it for a year because of my father/the house etc) and I'm not going to be able to write any 'Soapy Corners' in January (much as I'd love to and am gutted to not be able to) as the little free time I've got HAS to be spent on that. Wish me luck. It's a lot of work ahead!

Where you can read/hear me:

My latest Yahoo!TV posts:  'What we learned from the Soaps this week' and 'The best of the week's one-liners''What we learned from the Soaps' is original content and is unrelated to my Soapy Corners, so if you'd like to learn a few (completely UN) important (and humorous) handy hints and tips, go and take a look! (If the link isn't showing the most recent post it'll be because it hasn't yet been published by YahooTV. As soon as it is I'll update the links.)

My live, lighthearted weekly internet Soap reviews are on Tellyspy (Twitter: @Tellyspy) from 6.00-6.45 pm every Monday, and you can hear my live half hour of Soapy chat on The Big Mid-Morning Show between 10.30-11.00 am on Thursday mornings on Swindon 105.5 FM.

Christmas in Emmerdale

Emmerdale Christmas logo Christmas in EmmerdaleYou can hear me talking Soaps 10.30-11.00 am every Thursday on Swindon 1055.com (or simply use the tunein Radio App) and on my LIVE internet Soap Show 6.00-6.45 every Monday on Tellyspy (also available as podcasts on iTunes. Just key in 'Soapy Corners'. Monday 30th December's is No. 12 – Series 2 Ep 5.)

Congratulations; Christmas; cowboys, comas and comb-overs. 

IMG 2795 Christmas in EmmerdaleChristmas in Emmerdale, and everyone's getting on like a house on fire. Oops … Yes, Declan's latest bright idea was to burn Home Farm down and pocket the insurance money. Ah, and it was all going so well too, until the whole thing 'went up in smoke'.

I love a soap fire, don't you? They always burn 'just right', so that people can sit around and wander in and out until – finally – someone rescues someone, and that person ends up in a coma in hospital.

'Forever' is forever – except in soapland

IMG 2799 Christmas in EmmerdaleThis time, it's the lovely Megan resting-up (and looking better than I do!) while Declan and Charity conspire to frame Sam. Well, from the moment Sam told the family his feelings for Rachel were forever, "And so are we," you could almost hear the bell toll, couldn't you? I wouldn't bother with a ring, mate; you'll be needing that money for a solicitor.

IMG 2796 Christmas in EmmerdaleStill, at least we've seen the back of that hideous 1960s wallpaper and those giant shark teeth. Let's hope that whoever chooses the new decor isn't hallucinating at the time, and let's hope Gil buys it, as if Declan pulls this off and remains at Home Farm it'll be a joke, as surely even the incompetent, idiotic Skipdale police ought to be able to work out that this is merely an Insurance job?

"If you could jot down the names of anyone who works there as they'll need to be questioned," one of the coppers asked Deccers.

IMG 2805 Christmas in EmmerdaleBlimey, that's a tough one. Well, there's Sam, and …

Apart from what he squandered on that hideous decor and those 'artefacts', it's a wonder Declan's not still rolling in it. He's hardly got a large wage bill to pay out every month, has he? As you might know, I feel that Declan's character has run its course, and reckon it's definitely time for the village to get a new Lord of the Manor.

Alicia had more than a skeleton in her cupboard

IMG 2784 Christmas in EmmerdaleBut enough of that, as romance was in the air (and a sister in the cupboard) as David and Alicia got married, but it was Val who outshone the bride for me (especially in that hat, which suited her so well). In fact, it pretty-much felt like 'The Val Show' all week, as she was in so many scenes – and managed to steal every one of them!

Hilarious? I should say so. Her comic timing's a joy to watch, and she and Kerry had me rolling 'up the aisle' during the whole of the wedding stuff (Eric and Hairy David both trying to go through the arch together was dead funny!), and Kerry's 'tracksuit envy' was hilarious: "Where did you get your tracksuit? It's mint. Oh, I love it. It's dead classy." Brilliant!

IMG 2785 Christmas in EmmerdaleI'm so glad to see Dan and Kerry still together. They're a perfect pairing and complement each other so well (as do Val and Eric) and I hope they get to stay together in 2014.

Ride 'em Cowboy

IMG 2800 Christmas in EmmerdaleTalking of chemistry though; I'm still not 'feeling it' for James Barton (although Moira clearly is). I just can't take to him, and the more I see him, the more I reckon that all he needs is a hat and a holster and they'll be able to start calling him 'Big JB'.

Screen Shot 2013 12 31 at 14.49.29 Christmas in EmmerdaleHave you noticed how he even stands with his hands in his pockets like a cowboy, and when he said, "It's a one-pub town" on Thursday I thought I must have nodded off and woken up watching a third-rate spaghetti western!

All that pales into insignificance when I see him with Moira though. The man's practically undressing her with his eyes every time he looks at her, and – I'm sorry to say – she appears to be doing the same. Someone needs to throw a bucket of cold water over the pair of them!

Screen Shot 2013 12 31 at 14.45.37 Christmas in EmmerdaleIt's Cain I feel sorry for though, because (for the first time ever) he's properly 'in love', and yet suddenly this long-lost, never-before-heard-of cowboy and his mismatch of sons (one of whom looks older than his dad) has just rolled into town from God-knows where and is about to take it all from him.

On the other hand, it looks as if Big JB's 'cow girl' Vanessa the Vet has conveniently forgotten that she's meant to be gay/in love with Rhona and has suddenly become one of the Barton posse. She'll need to dye her hair if she wants to join The Black-Haired-Bartons though (and when's James going to turn them into a proper matching set?).

Ooh, I do take it to heart, don't I? Ha ha. It's only because it's all such good stuff that we believe in it though, isn't it? Anyway, let's have a laugh. I could pretty-much have just transcribed all Val's lines and had done with it this week, but here's some of them, and the rest of our Grins of The Week:

Marlon: “Aah, the traditional blood-curdling scream of the bride getting ready.”

Bernice: “What is Auntie Val doing to her?”

Diane: “Burning her hair off, mostly.”

Alicia: “Washing it won’t make it grow back.”

Bernice: “We could poof up the rest with a blow-dry and sort-of create a comb-over effect.”

IMG 2773 Christmas in EmmerdaleAlicia: “Bernice. I am NOT getting married with a comb-over.”

Alicia: “What are you doing here?”

Leyla: “She locked me in.”

Alicia: “Not in there!”

Val: “Oi. I saw you in the pub earlier.”

Priya: “Well, I do work there.”

Sandy: “Check again. He (Santa) always delivers.”

Gabby: “He didn’t deliver me a pony.”

Jai: “Archie’s a very lucky boy, cos Santa’s dropped off a load of presents at Daddy’s house.”

Zak: “I’m surprised that didn’t cripple the reindeer.”

IMG 2771 Christmas in Emmerdale

Val: “I’ll pin it up. I don’t think she’ll be able to tell.”

Diane: “She will when she takes it down.”

Val: “But by then she’ll be married and wasted.”

Alicia: “I forgot my moisturiser. I’ll borrow some of Chas’s.”

Val: “You don’t wanna use her cheap rubbish. It’ll bring you out in hives.”

Harriet: “Why don’t you just jump to the bit where you snog his face off? I’ll give you a demo if you like.”

David: “Er, no. You’re alright.”

Val: “Oi. ‘Little Miss Jilted’. I thought I told you to stay away?”

Priya: “You slurred a few words at me. To be honest, it didn’t make much sense.”

PS

IMG 2788 Christmas in Emmerdale* Apparently David and Jake decorated the church for the wedding. Yeah, right. It looked absolutely stunning, and there's no way on earth 'one man and his boy' could have ever created something so beautiful!

* Oh, how many young boys have been given a version of these words: 'Touch that again; you won’t have any fingers. I mean … be careful with the organ, please' (although not by a vicar while actually sitting at one)!

* I loved Samson's line as he stuck his nose in the caviar: 'Smells like Hamish'!

IMG 2783 Christmas in Emmerdale* I was a bit scared to see the shot of a full moon in one scene. I thought I'd nodded off again and woken up in EastEnders.

* You'd think Leyla would have got the hang of present giving by now, wouldn't you? When you give someone a gift you're not meant to tell them what it is as you hand it to them. Dur!

* HOW cute was Arthur when he saw the kitten?

* Ashley and Harriet? There's a few 'looks' passing between them, and she's man-mad, so it's only a matter of time, surely?

* Lisa said, "What goes around, comes around." Oh, if ONLY that were true in real life!

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE ITV EMMERDALE HOMEPAGE

YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY MY RECENT YAHOO!TV ONE-LINER POSTS: 23RD-27TH DEC; 16TH-20TH DEC; AND MY 'WHAT WE 'LEARNT' FROM THE SOAPS' POSTS (ORIGINAL CONTENT NOT ASSOCIATED WITH THIS BLOG): 9TH-13TH DEC.

Christmas can be murder. Janine's certainly was

 Christmas can be murder. Janines certainly wasYou can hear me talking Soaps 10.30-11.00 am every Thursday on Swindon 1055.com (or simply use the tunein Radio App) and on my LIVE internet Soap Show 6.00-6.45 every Monday on Tellyspy (also available as podcasts on iTunes. Just key in 'Soapy Corners'. Monday 30th Dec's is No. 12 – Series 2 Ep 5 and has a LOT about EastEnders!)

One tiny new life; new beginnings; doors (and closets) opening and cell doors slamming shut.

Screen Shot 2013 12 31 at 15.10.17 Christmas can be murder. Janines certainly wasIt's a big post. I've got A LOT to say …

Christmas can be murder. Janine's certainly was. It might take a while, but (like with Emmerdale's Carl) Soap 'baddies' will always get their comeuppance in the end. Janine's performance over the last few weeks has been gripping, and Charlie Brooks is definitely going out on a high.

I'd written of my concerns that in a year when we'd already lost two of the show's finest cast (Tanya and Zainab), would the departure of one of the show's remaining few truly good actors be enough to seal EastEnders' fate?

I'd stopped watching for the best part of 2013 as I simply couldn't continue to sit through what had turned into – let's face it – absolute drivel.

Happy days are here again – hopefully

EastEnders appeared to be in terminal decline. Ratings were plummeting (a fact even finally conceded by the Soap Awards), but – boy – WHAT a difference the new producer and his team have made.

I've slated Kat Slater and moaned about Alfie Moon, but – incredibly – I'm now officially 'back in love' with the show, and have to admit that over this Christmas week, EastEnders has absolutely nailed it (although not having Dexter in it's been a factor. PLEASE get rid of this character … oh, and no more East End gangsta stuff, ok?) and has been 'top of the Soaps' for me.

Screen Shot 2013 12 31 at 13.55.26 Christmas can be murder. Janines certainly wasAfter all I've said in this blog about Kat and Alfie having lost credibility as a couple; seeing them over this last month or so has felt genuinely uplifting, and the joyous look on both their faces over the pregnancy test had me filling-up. It couldn't have looked more real. Glorious acting.

I loved the way Kat delivered the line: "It might be a little speck of dust," (a brilliant impersonation of 'Little Britain's' Marjorie Dawes there!). A new baby and finally getting them out of the pub is a master stroke.

Out with the old and in with the new!

There's two words I often have to use in this blog: 'realistic' and 'credible'. Storylines are often stretched WAY beyond levels of realism and credibility you'd encounter in even your wildest dreams, and Mick and Linda's arrival at the Queen Vic is a case in point.

IMG 2838 Christmas can be murder. Janines certainly wasLast week we saw them running a pub in Watford. How could they just walk out of there at the busiest time of year (wouldn't they have had to work their notice?) and rock up in Walford – on Boxing Day – with no possessions (apart from a dog), and with Mick only having had a fifteen-minute-warning from Phil, and getting the keys (no paperwork?!) after handing over a big bag of cash only a few hours earlier?

AS IF … but I'll let that one go, as I think they're great! Mick and Linda seem to have real chemistry and – to me – have already made the Vic their own. Linda looks like Roxy and Bianca's love child, and I can't wait to see her stamp her mark on the place.

IMG 2828 Christmas can be murder. Janines certainly wasThis 'long-lost' family's come out of nowhere. Anything that gets Shirley back on our screens is alright by me though, but Linda's right: "You put her behind the bar; people'll run a mile."

I've always loved Shirley, but this double act with Tina works like a dream. A big 'Gold Star' to the casting person who put this family together. Even the dog suits them. Loving it!

Shortest reconciliaton in history?

IMG 2876 Christmas can be murder. Janines certainly wasCarol and David are also riveting to watch, but I was gutted to see their touching reconciliation over faster than you could shout, 'Don't put that phone there, you fool'!

I'll say it again: Lindsay Coulson's a fine actress, and even though it's another Soap cancer storyline I'll be glued to my screen for this one.

Screen Shot 2013 12 31 at 13.50.28 Christmas can be murder. Janines certainly was"I'd like my mum and dad and everyone I love to be in the same house to open all our presents together," 'Spud' had asked. Be careful what you wish for, young Rosie.

Her wish came true, but probably NOT in the way she'd have imagined! It was all hugely entertaining, and it was as if Peggy Mitchell herself was in the room when Bianca cried: "Get 'aht of my 'ahhse."

'Spud' is a good little actress. She and Tiffany are great together, and Bianca's impression of Nikki was hilarious ("I'd like to show her the nearest exit."), as was her outfit. Did she get dressed in the dark, or had she had one too many sherbets by then? I do hope she's going to take Terry back …

The other bits:

Yet again, there was SO much Appropriate/Inappropriate Music in the Background in this week's episodes that it could have had a post to itself, but I just haven't had the time to be able to list them as I've been far too busy scribbling down the one-liners.

Just LOOK how many Grins of the Week: we've got! Did you ever think you'd see the day when EastEnders would give us anything more than a couple of feeble offerings? Let's just hope that this new-found hilarity is here to stay. Daisy Coulson's episodes have helped breathe new life into the show, and the humour seems to be rubbing off on the other writers too (excluding Sharon Marshall, of course – whose occasional episodes always provide us with wall-to-wall belly laughs!).

I've even had to miss a few out or I'd still be writing by this time next week! Enjoy:

ian Christmas can be murder. Janines certainly wasPeter: “All I’m saying is maybe it’s time you buried the hatchet.”

Ian: “What, in Phil Mitchell’s head?”

Ian: Behold. I bring you tidings of great joy.”

Phil: “You about to tell me you’re up the duff or something?”

Mo: “I bet you a fiver there’s tears before midnight.”

Alfie: “Shut up, you dopey cow. Last time I cried was when West Ham was relegated back in May 2011. Why don’t you choke on a pickled onion or something?”

IMG 2837 Christmas can be murder. Janines certainly wasRonnie: “Where are you going?”

Roxy: “Sales.”

Ronnie: “And you have to tiptoe to those, do you?”

Tiffany: "How come they get to open their presents and we don't?"

Whitney: "Because they are what you call 'The product of a broken home'."

Tiffany: "So are we."

Denise Christmas can be murder. Janines certainly wasDenise: “You’re freaking me out now.”

Patrick: “You know what you need?”

Denise: “A stiff drink?”

Mick: “If you’re going to be mad, be mad at me.”

Linda: “I am mad at you.”

Mick: “I mean like, ‘chucking cups and plates’ mad.”

Linda: “Well, how about a frying pan round the head?”

IMG 2831 Christmas can be murder. Janines certainly wasShirley: “It’s going to be a gay bar.”

Billy: “Yeah, right (!)”

Shirley: “I’ve seen the plans. There’s lots of little rainbow flags, they’re going to paint it pink and there’s loads of drawings of these oiled-up men suspended in cages.”

Billy: “But that’s my local.”

Shirley: “It’ll still be your local. You’ll just have to ‘oil up’, Billy.”

Billy: “Gays are taking over.”

Billy Christmas can be murder. Janines certainly wasAlfie: “What? The world?”

Billy: “No. Here. The Vic.”

Denise: “I wonder if he’s gone for platinum or gold?”

Patrick: “This is Ian we’re talking about, you know?”

Denise: “Fair play. Be lucky if it ain’t an onion ring.”

Billy: “Don’t look like a gay bar, does it?”

Terry: “How many you been in, then?”

IMG 2835 e1388505280137 Christmas can be murder. Janines certainly was

Whitney: “Nothing says ‘Christmas’ like burning stuff in a bucket, does it?”

Shirley: “I brought a little something for us to celebrate with.”

Mick: “Ah, that’s lovely, that is.”

Linda: “Shall we open it now, before it goes stale?”

Mo: “I got a surprise too.”

Kat: “No you ain’t.”

Sharon: “You want to get in there now, do you?” You should have thought of that.”

Shirley: “How about I use your head to open that door?”

PS

* Remember Alfie saying 'he didn't give drinks on the house' a couple of weeks ago? Yeah, well he was at it again this week. Honestly; it'd be more of a shock if someone actually PAID for a drink in that place.

IMG 2829 Christmas can be murder. Janines certainly was* Mo said to Peter, "Ain't you got big! When you're done, son, I'll give you a little rub down." She'll have to get in line!

* Max coming the moral highground with Jake's a bit rich, innit? Forgotten about Stacey then, 'av 'ya?

* Five rolls of wrapping paper for £5? On an East End market stall? You're 'avin a larff, ain't ya? That's way too much, Kat!

* Joey asked Lauren to leave with him (and his one small holdall). "I'll be at the station in ten minutes," he told her. Who on earth could pack in ten minutes? She'd barely have had time to run home for her coat in that time. He should have given her an hour at the VERY least. 'Realism' and 'credibility'

* Speaking of which: how did they get the new name plate up so fast? Mick only bought the place on Christmas Day night, and even that was only on a fifteen minute warning from Phil, so hadn't even been guaranteed to get it. Which sign maker is open on Christmas Day night? (Realism … Credibility … )

Screen Shot 2013 12 31 at 14.10.04 Christmas can be murder. Janines certainly was* Notice how Bianca said she was about to 'dish up' but was still peeling carrots?

* HOW many lights? Is Walford Borough Council made of money?

* Talking of lights: want to take a light off the wall but don't have a screwdriver? Just get Janine in. She'll rip it out for you in a flash. Don't worry about the wiring/electrics. She's clearly fully insulated!

* Sharon said she wouldn't let Cousin ITT go in the Army. Don't worry love; they wouldn't want anything to do with that barnet.

* "That little girl is the only person in the world who doesn't hate you," David told Janine. Give her time.

IMG 2843 Christmas can be murder. Janines certainly was* I see Amy's back to her 'mute' self. Saying three words in a row ('Mummy, mummy, mummy') last month clearly took it out of her.

Mick Christmas can be murder. Janines certainly was

* How did Kat and Alfie manage to go from not having even started packing to being packed and moving out in the space of only a couple of hours?

* I've read a bit of criticism of Danny Dyer online over the last few days. He's known for playing 'ard men, apparently, but as I don't watch stuff like that I've never seen him in anything before so – luckily – I'm starting with a blank page, and (on the evidence so far) I'd say he's definitely exploring his feminine side!

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE BBC EASTENDERS' HOMEPAGE

PPS

Since I started writing this post I've read that Charlie Brooks has been criticised for dismissing the Christmas Day ratings as 'irrelevant' (after EastEnders was beaten by Coronation Street). She pointed out that each soap, 'Goes up and down'.

Many have dismissed her comments as 'sour grapes' but she's right. Nobody's been a bigger critic of EastEnders than me over the last 12-18 months. It's been on one hell of a 'down', but is on the 'up' again and – in my opinion – the Christmas Day episode knocked the spots off Corrie's, but its recent history is what led to its disappointing viewing figures, and I hope that everybody who DIDN'T watch it will now go straight onto iPlayer for a catch up or they'll have missed a treat.

YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY MY RECENT YAHOO!TV ONE-LINER POSTS: 23RD-27TH DEC16TH-20TH DEC; AND MY 'WHAT WE 'LEARNT' FROM THE SOAPS' POSTS (ORIGINAL CONTENT NOT ASSOCIATED WITH THIS BLOG): 9TH-13TH DEC.

Christmas on Coronation Street

Corrie Christmas logo Christmas on Coronation StreetYou can hear me talking Soaps 10.30-11.00 am every Thursday on Swindon 1055.com (or simply use the tunein Radio App) and on my LIVE internet Soap Show 6.00-6.45 every Monday on Tellyspy (also available as podcasts on iTunes. Just key in 'Soapy Corners'Monday 30th December's is No. 12 – Series 2 Ep 5.)

'Rat-eyes', secrets and lies, 'an eye on the prize' and impending goodbyes.

IMG 28721 Christmas on Coronation StreetI'm a bit scared to admit it, but I didn't really enjoy the Christmas week episodes …

According to the media we'd been promised 'laughter all the way', but Christmas on Coronation Street just fell a little bit short on the old 'Ho, ho, ho' for me.

"What on earth makes you say this, Jane?" you gasp.

Well, I'm glad you asked me that. To me, there seemed to be way too much focus on Nick, Kylie and the 'Bistro Bunch' (too many surnames to list them all individually!); Peter and Tina made me seethe; Hayley and Roy just made me feel desperately sad, oh, and I cannot BEAR it when soaps have a sing-song, but other than that, it was great!

Roll out the 'rat-eyes'

IMG 2855 Christmas on Coronation StreetAnyone agree? It just didn't quite 'do it' for me, but I thought Leanne put in a sterling performance and there were – luckily – many fine Corrie comedy moments to enjoy inbetween all the despair.

A drunken Deirdre is always a joy to behold (as are any scenes between her and Tracy), and you'll never see a finer pair of 'rolling, rat-eyes' anywhere on the planet than those of Michelle and Liz when they've got Steve in their sights!

My 2014 storyline 'wish list'

IMG 2856 Christmas on Coronation StreetThe way they lay into Steve is always laugh-out-loud funny, and – to be honest – he deserves every bit of the flak he gets, especially now that his College mate Andrea's turned up and clearly has designs on him! What a fantastic character, and she's the spit of a young Betty. Just look at the pair of them here (it's the best photo I could get on my phone off my TV!).

I loved Hayley Tammadon in Emmerdale, and I'm hoping that she'll become a permanent fixture in Coronation Street too. My wish is for her and Steve to have an affair, Michelle to leave him and for the pair of them to run the Rovers together (with a furious and frosty Liz trying to stir up trouble every step of the way – having got on so well with Michelle, and blaming Andrea for splitting them up).

Carla leaves Peter when she finds out about Tina (is anybody believing this storyline? Why any young woman would even look twice at that ageing, smoking, alcoholic, just-married waste of space is beyond me), and she and Michelle console each other and slowly realise that not only can they not trust men, but that neither of them will ever love a man the way they love each other and – hey presto – we have '#Carchelle', as their close friendship deepens into something more.

Like that? It certainly beats Sophie's up-coming new love interest – a homeless, petty criminal …

Sophie's got more than soup on her mind

IMG 2865 Christmas on Coronation StreetI'm really not looking forward to this one. I can imagine the storyline now, as 'Saint' Sophie tries to show this girl the error of her ways and set her on 'the path of righteousness' (yawn), but at least it'll give us lots of 'disapproving' Sally scenes, so that'll help with the tedium of it all!

Why does Tim put up with her, and why does she put up with him? She's SUCH a nag! Still, once Kevin gets back it'll soon be 'all change' at the Websters', and it's all going to change for Roy very soon too, as Hayley's suddenly deteriorating and we're all going to have to brace ourselves for what's surely going to be one of soaps' most tear-jerking exits ever?

But in the meantime …

IMG 2869 Christmas on Coronation StreetLet's try and keep cheerful, shall we? Michelle and Liz's 'rat-eyes' are laugh-out-loud funny, and Steve's expressions are just exquisite to watch. Mary is just plain bonkers, Norris is always great with the 'looks', and Deirdre's face-pulling would give Les Dawson a run for his money, but as for the one-liners … well here's a festive feast of Grins of the Week (including one of THE lines of the year!):

Gail: “You’ll have to write a letter of apology to that school.”

David: “Saying what?”

Gail: “‘My wife’s a lunatic?’.”

Kal: “They eat this in America, where they have the highest levels of obesity in the world.”

Dev: “Yeah, and they also produced Usain Bolt.”

Kal: “ … He’s Jamaican.”

Steve: “She wants to know which kind of whiskey she should get her dad for Christmas.”

IMG 2845 Christmas on Coronation StreetMichelle: “Why’s she asking you?”

Steve: “Because I’m a publican.”

Michelle: “You’re a schoolboy, you are.”

Leanne: “And remember to smile, will you?”

Kylie: “I have been smiling.”

Leanne: “No you’ve not. You’ve been scowling.”

Sally: “I had a Christmas card from Kevin this morning.”

Tim: “Oh, aye? What did it say?”

Sally: “Well, I presume it said, ‘Happy Christmas’, but it was in German.”

IMG 2847 Christmas on Coronation StreetMichelle: “Do you like parsnips Amy?”

Amy: “Never heard of them.”

David: “They’re keeping her in.”

Gail: “How long?”

David: “Overnight.”

Gail: “Can we ask for longer?”

IMG 2857 Christmas on Coronation StreetDavid: “You’re embarrassing yourself.”

Kylie: “Do you mind? I’m at work.”

David: “Sorry. She’s trying to make a point, only she’s forgotten what it is.”

Sophie: “I’ve volunteered to help out at the soup kitchen.”

Sally: “You what? Where’s your Christmas spirit?” (Brilliant, brilliant line!)

Steve: “This is my mother, Liz.”

Andrea: “Hello. You must be so proud.”

Liz: “Is she … joking?”

IMG 2863 Christmas on Coronation Street

Deirdre: “She’s had the turkey out the bag and right across the kitchen.”

Tracy: “What are we going to eat? … Oh, mam, no. Not stuffed marrow?”

Deirdre: “No. It’ll be fine. Heat kills germs. Just watch out for the teeth marks.”

Gail: “Goodness knows what the parents will think of us. They’ll avoid us like the plague next year. We’ll be ‘that family’.”

David: “We’ve always been ‘that family’.”

Kylie: “I get off in half an hour.”

Kal: “I’ve got to pick up my son.”

Kylie: “Can’t his mother do it?”

Kal: “She’s dead.”

IMG 2868 Christmas on Coronation StreetKylie: “Oh, my lucky day!”

Mary: “Is your request open to women?”

Deirdre: “Why not? I’ve already all but swapped saliva with a border terrier today.”

Andrea: “So, was he a difficult child?”

Liz: “He’s a difficult adult.”

David: “But you’re family.”

Kylie: “Lily’s the one that’s family. I’m just the horrible wrapper that she came in.”

IMG 2861 Christmas on Coronation Street

Gail (bought a 'slanket'): “It’ll save you a fortune in heating bills.”

Audrey: “Oh, yes. And I bet there’s a pocket for my bus pass and one for my teeth.”

Sally: “The police will be here in a minute.”

Tim: “You can’t arrest an oven.”

Gail: “Do you want to know what I think?”

David: “No … ” (How many of us would love to say THAT aye?!)

Carla: "It's Christmas. Let's all have a drink together – except you." (Peter.)

Peter (to Tina): "I've already got a wife. I don't need you being in a mood with me too."

PS

IMG 2864 Christmas on Coronation Street* Those jumpers David and Kylie were wearing this week definitely didn't come from Primark/Tesco etc. (Soap characters regularly wear clothes that in 'real life' would be completely unaffordable on their characters' incomes.)

* Carla had put the bread in the fridge. Never store bread in a fridge. Basically, the cool temperature makes the starch molecules dry out and that causes mould to form. *handyhint*

* Re the Platts' names. Even Gloria asked: "Remind me, Gail – where are you with your surname these days?"!

* Liz has been wearing her zig-zag necklace again. I own hardly any jewellery (and rarely wear anything other than small earrings), but I just LOVE that necklace and would wear it all the time if it were mine!

YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY MY RECENT YAHOO!TV ONE-LINER POSTS: 23RD-27TH DEC16TH-20TH DEC; AND MY 'WHAT WE 'LEARNT' FROM THE SOAPS' POSTS (ORIGINAL CONTENT NOT ASSOCIATED WITH THIS BLOG): 9TH-13TH DEC.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE CORONATION STREET HOMEPAGE

And now … it's Competition Time!

IMG 2622 Christmas on Coronation StreetTo celebrate the first anniversary of its sponsorship of ITV’s Coronation Street, comparethemarket.com has partnered with Gary Barlow, who has done a very special performance on the cobbles with help from Aleksandr and the meerkats.

I've still got two ‘Specials Edition’ copies of Gary’s first album in 14 years, ‘Since I Saw You Last’ to give away, and all you need to do is retweet one of my Corrie tweets (UK only, I'm afraid) to be in with a chance of winning one of these special CDs.

Unknown Christmas on Coronation StreetClick HERE to watch the video:

I'll announce the winner in next week's post and on Twitter.

 

 

Jane Reynolds's Weekly Blog – 16th December 2013

IMG 2695 Jane Reynoldss Weekly Blog   16th December 2013Despite my very best endeavours I haven't been able to find the time to write this post over the last couple of weeks, and haven't even had time to write any Soapy Corners this week either.

I feel really bad about this (and extremely guilty), but they take 2-3 days' work and with Christmas approaching I simply haven't had that amount of time available. I'm already getting up at 6.00 am every morning (seven days a week) in order to try and fit everything in as it is!

My paid work has to come first and so my YahooTV posts got done, my radio show got done and my clients got their clothes ironed (ah, my gorgeous life!).

I managed to get the Christmas decorations up, write a lot of lists, and I even forced myself to go and do some Christmas shopping – although I DID do it in Bath, so was able to pick up a loaf of Carluccio's wonderful fennel (seed) and raisin bread, some Hobb's House organic wholemeal from the bread shop and nip into Waitrose while I was there!

IMG 2701 Jane Reynoldss Weekly Blog   16th December 2013The pretty tree (above right) was outside one of the Hotels and it had a large wooden alpine ski-chalet-type bar set up outside too. It looked so warm and inviting inside, but I had far too much to do to imbibe!

I loathe shopping for anything not food-related, and it was only being able to look at the pretty Christmas market and the Abbey as I trudged up and down that helped with the pain of it all (and the pain in my hands from carrying heavy bags)!

It was pretty poignant too – as I stood for a moment after taking this picture of the Abbey. My father had been a choirboy there, and as he died this March and it'll be our first Christmas without him I did have more than a few tears in my eyes (and will no doubt have a lot more over the next couple of weeks!) as I looked at that beautiful building in awe (as I do every time I see it).

This week is manic too so I'm going to have to dash, but at least it's a few words! Hope you have a good week, and I'll write another post on Sunday. There won't be any Soapy Corners this week either, as I've got a lot of food shopping and baking to do this weekend, have to work next Monday AND have to write my YahooTV posts!

Where you can read/hear me:

I'm very pleased to be writing for Yahoo!TV, and here's my latest posts with them: 'What we learned from the Soaps this week' and 'The best of the week's one-liners''What we learned from the Soaps' is original content and is unrelated to my Soapy Corners, so if you'd like to learn a few (completely UN) important (and humorous) handy hints and tips, go and take a look! (If the link isn't showing the most recent post it'll be because it hasn't yet been published by YahooTV. As soon as it is I'll update the links.)

My live, lighthearted internet Soap review will be on Tellyspy (Twitter: @Tellyspy) between 6.00 and 6.30 pm this Thursday, and I'll be doing my usual half hour Soapy chat on The Big Mid-Morning Show on Thursday morning on Swindon 105.5 FM too, but will be there for the whole two hours (as it's Christmas!) between 10.00-12.00.

PS The site update is almost complete, but I'm putting the launch back until the end of January as I HAVE to get my tax return done as soon as Christmas is over. Aargh. Stress!

Peter and Carla got married

Corrie Christmas logo Peter and Carla got married  You can hear me talking Soaps 10.30-11.00 am every Thursday on Swindon 1055.com (or simply use the tunein Radio App) and on my internet Soap Show 6.00-6.30 every Thursday on Tellyspy.

Connor? Barlow? Little does she know, he's just a cheating 'ho'!

So. Peter and Carla got married …

IMG 2653 Peter and Carla got married  It's not Mrs Connor now, is it? It's Mrs Barlow. No. It doesn't suit her at all, but not to worry; she'll be back to Connor again before too long, as before he'd even consumated the marriage Peter was already kissing someone else. That man doesn't know when he's well off (literally). Fool.

IMG 2647 Peter and Carla got married  The venue looked gorgeous (as did Fiz), and that 'do' must have cost a fortune. Carla doesn't know it yet, but she's going to be paying for a lot more than the cost of that crate of champagne she necked!

It seems that I'm not alone in feeling that seeing her passed out drunk on the floor was both unlikely and out of character – even for a seasoned quaffer like Mrs Connor, as well as 'completely unprofessional and unbecoming for a businesswoman of her standing'.

How much more realistic would it have been to have had her just go off and take an urgent work-related phone call? Far more believable, surely?

Ooh, 'Awkward', Michelle

Michelle's words at the ceremony were a bit unfortunate: all about death and 'The moment of their last parting' etc. It was a heart wrenching  moment to see Roy and Hayley reach for each other's hands as they listened, but thankfully Peter and Carla's 'last parting' will be a lot sooner than anyone's expecting!

IMG 2656 Peter and Carla got married  Rob had a great line in the Rovers: "You look a bit worried. Have you got another one lined up? He does like to marry two at a time," he teased.

He seemed to have left it rather late to start making childcare arrangements too, but his face when Carla walked in to the Rovers had guilt written all over it. Blind Freddie would have known he was up to something, yet Carla (blinded by love, presumably?) didn't clock Tina's angst-ridden and Liz's disapproving faces.

It hadn't taken Liz long to work out what was happening under her nose, and her expressions over the last couple of weeks whenever she's seen them together have been hilarious. Sally's had me laughing this week too. She's at her comedy best when she's in full 'Hyacinth Bouquet' mode, and Tim rolling up with that van and – shock, horror – becoming a window cleaner have almost had her reaching for the smelling salts!

Loving Dev's new fitness flop (sorry, routine!) storyline so far too ("I'm only doing it for the kids. If it wasn't for them I'd be half man, half sofa,"). Very funny, and it was a great week all round for humour, with Beth on fine form and Rob trading insults with Peter, which gives us lots of lovely Grins of the Week:

IMG 2641 Peter and Carla got married

Tracy: "I don't want to upstage the bride."

Liz: "I think you'll be alright (!)"

Fiz: "Why would you care?"

Christian: "Because she - he's my dad … mum. Delete as applicable."

Eva: "I don't think they're suited."

Jenna: "It's a shame, if you ask me. Another one bites the dust."

Eva: "Eh? He's a good looking bloke, but I wouldn't swap."

Jenna: "I was talking about her."

Tim: "I think you're being a snob."

Sally: "How am I being a snob for not wanting to travel in a van advertising drains?"

Jenna: "I don't know why people get married these days."

David: "Because they love each other (!)"

Sally Peter and Carla got married  Beth: "Sal. Where's Bali?"

Sally (clueless): " … In the Southern Hemisphere."

Beth: "Well, that's pinned it down (!)"

Fiz: "What is he playing at?"

Ches: "No use asking me."

Fiz: "Yeah, well, I know that."

IMG 2660 Peter and Carla got married  Peter: "You promised to love, honour and obey."

Carla: "No, I didn't. Not obey."

Peter: "Ah, well, you do remember then?"

Carla: "I remember THAT."

Tim (about Eva): "She put the 'chest' in Manchester."

Sally: "Sophie just doesn't like change."

Tim: "She doesn't like me."

Dev: "It's important to warm up the muscles."

Sophie: "Yes, if you were sprinting. You're doing a jog. That's like a 'warm up'."

Dev: "A word of advice, Sophie: never, ever offer to coach anybody at anything – ever."

PS

IMG 2644 Peter and Carla got married  Dress Peter and Carla got married  * Why wasn't Tyrone at the wedding? It was a +1, so why was he not only not there, but his absence not even mentioned?*

* Sally was mortified to turn up in that van (why couldn't he have just parked round the back or dropped her off?) but she'd have been even more distraught to learn that only a few miles away in Emmerdale, one of Rodney's women had the exact-same one!

* How would Sally have known exactly what size suit Tim needed, and fancy paying £250 for one!*

* Beth's prediction that the Barlow's marriage wouldn't last twelve months is bang-on!

* You could SO believe Audrey's line about Gail: "She has got very difficult hair, actually," couldn't you?

IMG 2657 Peter and Carla got married  * HOW cute were Christian's children? When the little girl asked her brother if he wanted a chocolate milkshake and he (or someone!) squeaked, 'Yeah', it was both funny and beyond sweet, and had me reaching for the tissues. I'm such a cry-baby!

* I ran out of time last week so didn't manage to write a 'Carchelle Corner' post. It's not looking good for this week either, but I'll get it done at some point. There's SO much to discuss!

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And now … it's Competition Time!

IMG 2622 Peter and Carla got married  To celebrate the first anniversary of its sponsorship of ITV’s Coronation Street, comparethemarket.com has partnered with Gary Barlow, who has done a very special performance on the cobbles with help from Aleksandr and the meerkats.

For the next two weeks I'll be giving away a ‘Specials Edition’ copy of Gary’s first album in 14 years, ‘Since I Saw You Last’.

All you need to do is retweet one of my Corrie tweets (UK only, I'm afraid) to be in with a chance of winning one of these special CDs. A great Christmas gift for a loved one (or keep it all to yourself!).

Unknown Peter and Carla got married  Click HERE to watch the video:

I'll announce the winner in next week's post and on Twitter.

THIS week's winner is: Hannah Parry (@hanparry92). Congratulations!

 

The best Christmas ever?

 The best Christmas ever?You can hear me talking Soaps 10.30-11.00 am every Thursday on Swindon 1055.com (or simply use the tunein Radio App) and on my internet Soap Show 6.00-6.30 every Thursday on Tellyspy.

Mr Moon spoke too soon …

Ronnie EastEnders The best Christmas ever?Didn't you just know that the second Alfie starting spouting-on to Kat about having "The best Christmas ever. Just you, me and Tommy upstairs at the Vic," you'd barely have time to shout 'no chance' before some disaster occurred, and – sure enough – Ronnie appeared like a wicked pantomime fairy to tell them that Phil was selling up and that they'd have to leave.

I can see it now: they'll be turfed out on Christmas Eve and end up walking the streets with all their possessions in one (empty) suitcase, under the light of the (Alfie) moon like Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus, before someone eventually takes pity on them and invites them in to spend Christmas at their (already overcrowded) house.

Sounds about right? Almost as believable as new landlords taking over a pub on Christmas Day, innit? Don't even get me started on that one, or that Jake character walking in for the first day of his trial and within five minutes (alone, and without any advice from Ian) was cooking every dish on the menu.

Duracell Cabbie

Terry The best Christmas ever?I'm really loving Terry. He's settling in nicely and is totally believable as a cheery cabbie, but I'm finding it a real stretch to believe that he'd have been married to Nikki or that they'd have produced those two children (who don't seem to look anything like either of them)!

Nikki The best Christmas ever?It was only when she opened her gob that she sounded like an East End gel. I know it's been a long time since I was on a plane, but I don't ever remember an air hostess with a cockney accent, and she has that annoying habit of emphasising the wrong words when delivering her lines too (mostly something done only by not-very-good child actors).

Terry does well to stay so cheerful. Not only does he go out and work all night, but then come home and spend the whole day doing jobs around the house and running errands for Bianca. When's the poor guy meant to get any sleep, and – more importantly – what's he on?

The other bits:

More lean pickings for our Grins of the Week:

Jake: "If my trial shift doesn't work out, I've still got my cab licence, right?"

Sadie: "Yeah. That might be a problem, seeing as I sold your car last night."

Terrry Rosie TJ The best Christmas ever?Rosie: "Can I tidy the kitchen?"

Terry: "Yeah, you can. TJ, you can help her … and if you don't know how to do it, get on the internet and find out."

Bianca: "What am I going to talk about if you're not here?"

Terry: "Don't worry; she'll do all the talking."

PS

* Please get Sam to send Dexter a one-way ticket to go and be with him (in Spain, presumably?). I don't know of anyone who rates this character. He should have been the one to leave, not Ava.

* How did Lauren manage to get into Scarlett's kitchen from outside? It's one of those doors with a bar that can only be opened from the inside.

* Lauren told Jake that she wasn't a 'needy' person. Yeah, and I'm a supermodel.

* Jake told Bella to go upstairs and wash her hands when she was stood next to the sink in the kitchen.

* Carol asked Alice if she needed any toothpaste. She certainly doesn't need the sort with 'whitener'.

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Charity tried SO hard

Emmerdale Christmas logo Charity tried SO hardYou can hear me talking Soaps 10.30-11.00 am every Thursday on Swindon 1055.com (or simply use the tunein Radio App) and on my internet Soap Show 6.00-6.30 every Thursday on Tellyspy.

Charity's blue; Amelia's orange, there's black-haired brothers and Declan's colour-blind.

IMG 2682 Charity tried SO hardCharity tried SO hard (for a few hours) to accept baby Archie, but I think the thought of him in his special Christmas outfit was the thing that finally tipped her over the edge.

She's never been (or professed to be) an 'earth mother'. It's a wonder Noah's survived as long as he has! He was in danger of getting run over last week, but this week it was Gobby's turn to fall victim to 'death road' when she ran off in a strop because she couldn't have a horse.

Miraculously, the new local villain, Ross, just happened to be lurking in the bushes and managed to fling himself in front of Diane's car to save her. Nicola wasn't convinced about his heroics: "He was probably trying to nick Diane's car when she ran him over; using Gobby as a shield," she commented in her usual deadpan manner. Great line, great delivery!

It's the Black-Haired-Barton-Boys

We met the remaining Black-Haired Bartons on Friday, when Moira went to visit James. How close does he live to Moira, then? Far enough away to have made visiting impossible, presumably, as James's two sons didn't know who she was.

She's their auntie; their dead father's brother's wife. They clearly couldn't make the arduous trip to attend John's funeral, but surely they'd have at least ONE photo of her somewhere? Maybe they just couldn't find the album amongst all the mess, aye?

IMG 2679 Charity tried SO hardI can already feel Moira being drawn to him, but I still just can't see him as John's brother because they just don't look even remotely alike.

As I've mentioned already: he should at least have had to dye his hair black, and as for those his two other sons; they don't look anything like either James OR Ross (who couldn't look more different to James if he tried).

It's not like Emmerdale to cast families who don't resemble each other. Call me picky, but I just find it hard to 'bond' with new characters if they don't look as if they've at least dipped a toe in their family's gene pool. Maybe they're going to turn out to only be half brothers. That'd explain it!

Oh, I'll get over it though, I'm sure, because there's so much other great stuff going on (especially when Charity's in it) to help me cope while they 'bed in'. Which one of them will be the first one to 'bed' Katie though? It's been a couple of weeks since she's had a feller so she's way overdue!

Come on Megan; seal the deal

IMG 2681 Charity tried SO hardI'm desperate for Megan to get together with Gil. She just needs to stop being so stubbornly loyal to Deccers.

"I truly believe that Home Farm has a great future as a hotel," she urged him this week. As long as he redecorates it (to something less '60s drug-addled flashback') she's right. Like I've said: it's a huge opportunity to bring in some new characters and give the locals somewhere other than the Woolie or Bob's to go to!

IMG 2666 Charity tried SO hardAmelia would have blended right in with Declan's walls once Kerry had given her that makeover for the 'Little Miss Yorkshire' show. That girl's a fine little actress, and her and Kerry's scenes together were very funny. More please, and I wish we could have Val in every episode every week too.

IMG 2676 Charity tried SO hardHer ranting about Eric's 'perving' this week has been hilarious, and as for Rodders being 'gay'; he totally looked the part. Laugh-out-loud funny stuff! Lots of great (over) acting, facial expressions and brilliant banter all week, and here's our Grins of The Week:

Val: "Please don't leave me with him."

Vic: "He's your husband."

Val: "Exactly. It's not like I only have to see him at work."

Charity: "If Jai calls, tell him I'm dead."

Amelia: "My life is over."

Dan: "What, again?"

Jai: "I might bring you something to cheer you up."

Charity: "Right. Well, tell us when you're coming and I'll make sure we're out."

IMG 2664 Charity tried SO hardCain: "Fancy a bacon butty?"

Moira: "Don't tell me you've worked out where the oven is?"

Cain: "I wasn't planning on making it myself."

Dan: "Well, you know. Less is sometimes more, isn't it?"

Kerrie: "No."

Jai: "You're not going to offer me a coffee then?"

Charity: "There's a cafe up the road if you're thirsty."

Bernice (about the pony): "Well, I'm not sure that Santa's going to be able to manage it this year."

IMG 2673 Charity tried SO hardGobby: "I'm not asking Santa, I'm asking you."

Lauren: "She could have been snatched at the school gate."

Bernice: "With the face on her when she left; I doubt it."

Debbie: "Got a date with Jai's wallet, have we?"

Gobby: "Arthur's saying mean things about 'One Direction' again."

Arthur: "That's cos they're rubbish."

Kerry (about Amelia): "It was a radiant, golden glow. It's not like I dipped the kid in wood stain."

Jai: "They're running a sweepstake to see how long it is before I end up with a horse's head in the bed."

Charity: "I wouldn't do that to a horse. I'd just kill you in your sleep."

PS

* 'Ash Pash'? What's that all about? I'm disliking this vicar-woman more with every episode!

IMG 2665 Charity tried SO hard* Val said, "The 'Hunter' becomes the hunted." I used that line on this very blog a few weeks ago too!

* Little Arthur's always itching to say his lines. Let's hope he'll be staying in the village long-term as I'll really look forward to seeing him grow up and start getting some storylines of his own. He'll have all the girls after him before long, that's for sure!

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YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY MY YAHOO!TV SOAP ARTICLE: 'WHAT WE LEARNT FROM LAST WEEK'S SOAPS'. (Original material, not duplicated from this post.) A humorous look at this week's money/time-saving tips and hints from Soapland!