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Farewells and hellos.

DEPARTURES and arrivals happen every week in soaps for a very good reason.

They can be a way to get rid of characters that did not work and introduce new ones that will.

Emmerdale has been unpleasant viewing these last few months because of the Jackson storyline.

A slow decline into depression was followed by a controversial assisted suicide.

Actor Marc Silcock did his best, but there was no future in the character after his accident and there was only one way it was going to end.

Jackson had turned into a one-story wonder, he was no fun to watch, and he had to go.

Emmerdale had become a miserable half-hour in the schedules because of the heavy concentration on a story that was full of good intentions but hard to watch.

Over to Walford, and is that a pleasant, charming character in the shape of Eddie Moon? David Essex turned up as a retired singer hoping to rejuvenate a pop career. Only joking, folks, he was actually playing an antiques dealer and the latest member of the Moon clan to make an appearance in the Square.

Within moments he had rescued a child about to be hit by a car, got injured, got bandaged, upset Kat, advised one character to move away, swapped insults with another, saw his son walk out on him and found out he was a grandfather. Not bad for half an hour. It seems as if a little bit of Essex will brighten up the East End for a while.

Fans can rest assured that the Rock On singer is still rocking on and, as far as I can tell, will be a breath of fresh air in a soap that sometimes forgets to have a laugh.

We can only hope that his big secret, when it is revealed, doesn't mean that a character who has the potential to be likeable turns out to be a mass murderer. Oops, too late.

So much for an arrival. Now to another imminent departure, and this time it's one that fans did not want to see. No more Becky McDonald in Coronation Street after the actress who plays her decided to leave.

That's a shame, because Katherine Kelly has been so good in the role of a former wild child who turned into a wild woman and has been at the centre of the best Corrie storylines for years.

Becky was hard to love when she first appeared, but has become a firm favourite. The character was flawed, yes, but endearingly so and she will be missed.

But every departure leads to an arrival, and next week fans will be introduced to new Rovers manager Stella. Now where have I seen her before? She's looking well for one of Ian Beale's ex wives who tried to arrange his execution and died in childbirth.


PLEASANT CHARACTER? David Essex as Eddie Moon
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 11, 2011
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