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CORRIE STREETS AHEAD; BATTLE OF THE SOAPS: BUSHELL'S BIG VERDICT Why it's beating tired EastEnders.

Byline: GARRY BUSHELL

EASTENDERS was crowned Britain's top soap at a recent awards ceremony - baffling millions of soap fans.

BBC1's flagship show has never been in a more perilous state. Its viewing figures are under pressure, Coronation Street and Emmerdale are credited with having better storylines, and its two senior bosses have quit in the last couple of weeks.

With the air thick with claims of vote-rigging, Britain's top TV critic, The People's GARRY BUSHELL, pits EastEnders against ITV's Corrie and gives his expert view on how the rival soaps shape up measured by the quality of their bitches, villains, love-rats and the rest...

QUEEN BITCH

CORRIE: Tracy Barlow, bad girl getting worse. The Cruella De Vil of Corrie conned Roy into thinking he'd fathered her baby and persecutes "barren Karen" on a daily basis. It's bitch city, UK.

ENDERS: Janine is out of the picture so Sharon Watts, good girl going bad, is the only bitch they've got as she gets her claws into Zoe. Strictly small-time.

CORRIE...10 ENDERS...3

THE LOVE RAT

CORRIE: Charlie, builder with a fixation for older women. He's dating Shelley but he has bedded her mum and made a play for Liz McDonald. No woman with a pension book is safe! A granny magnet.

ENDERS: Dirty Den, ageing lothario who betrayed Angie with a string of conquests. Back from the dead, he is still pulling but it's hard to see why. Time to put him out to stud.

CORRIE...8 ENDERS...5

TOP TOTTY

CORRIE: How long have you got? The famous cobbles are crawling with hot young cuties: there's man-melting Maria, sexy Sarah, lust-on-legs Leanne, and curvy Candice (Nikki Sanderson). On top of that there's the soap's uber-babe Karen McDonald - the Elsie Tanner of our times. Wall-to-wall babes.

ENDERS: Zoe Slater (Michelle Ryan), gorgeous market trader with an unlikely love life. In four years, the girl with the model looks had one serious relationship before Dennis - Dr Trueman - the briefest of flings with Jamie and Ronny Ferreira, and a quick snog with Kelly. But how long before two-timing Dennis breaks her heart? Best- looking woman east of Tubby Isaacs' eel stall.

CORRIE...10 ENDERS...9

COMIC TURNS

CORRIE: Kirk & Tyrone, Norris & Rita, Les & Cilla, Kevin & his 'tache - the Street has long relied on quality double acts. Other chuckles courtesy of Fred, I said, Fred Elliott. Still great, but bring back Peter Kay.

ENDERS: They've been cranking up the fun with Keith Miller - and Jim remains a joy. Signs of improvement.

CORRIE...9 ENDERS...6

MATRIARCH

CORRIE: Strong women still make grown men tremble from Rita "Listen, lady" Sullivan to Queen of the Proles Vera Duckworth. They're not Ena Sharples but you'd think twice about crossing them.

ENDERS: Peggy Mitchell is the Queen of Walford but she isn't back again until next year. Hurry home, Peggy.

CORRIE...9 ENDERS...8

No1 SLAPPER

CORRIE: Leanne Battersby, street-brawler with the morals of a vixen on heat. Came on to Dev and ex-husband Nicky, wraps Jamie round her little finger. An insatiable strumpet. It would be rude not to!

ENDERS: None but pole dancer Sasha might be a slapper in the making. It's been a long time since Cindy Beale.

CORRIE...10 ENDERS...1

MALE STUD

CORRIE: Jason Grimshaw, stud-muffin builder, and Jamie Baldwin, mop-haired new-boy. Young Corrie blokes tend to be gay or comic but this randy pair are resolutely red-blooded. No woman is safe.

ENDERS: Dennis Rickman, bad boy pin-up, has had a string of conquests from Kat to step sister Sharon. He's Dirty Den's son all right.

CORRIE...9 ENDERS...10

VILLAIN

CORRIE: Mad Maya, sexy shoplifting lawyer and borderline psychopath. Dumped by Dev for saintly (boring) Sunita, Maya trashed his flat and egged on Leanne to hit him with a sexual harassment case. Biggest bunny boiler since BB's Michelle.

ENDERS: Andy Hunter. As menacing as the Man at C&A but more credible than Dirty Den.

CORRIE...7 ENDERS...5

GARRY'S GRAND TOTAL:

CORONATION STREET 72

EASTENDERS 47

CAPTION(S):

GLAM RIVALS: Sexy Nikki (left) just pips Michelle
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Oct 10, 2004
Words:676
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