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Soap box: Copping out ...and copping off; The week ahead by Tony Stewart.

Byline: Tony Stewart

CORONATION STREET

Even without the black cloak and sickle, that Grim Reaper Edna is likely to bring a chill to the air and strike fear into anybody who falls under her shadow. And, as Corrie marks its 5,000th episode with an hour-long special tomorrow night, Ken, Peter, Deirdre, Dev, Emma and Ryan suffer enough without the icy presence of the Rovers' cleaner.

Even the affable Fred is disturbed by this prophet of doom. He tells her, "You are the most depressing woman I've met... Madam, when you walk down the street, undertakers rub their hands with glee. Dogs roll over and howl with despair." Yet it's after Blanche encourages her to put a smile on a face that looks like a bag of threepenny bits that Edna brings a wicked element of black comedy to some poignant events. And she makes a brave start at optimism when she hears of a man who has had a leg amputated. "Look on the bright side," she says. "He'll get twice as much wear out of his socks now."

If Edna's logic is followed, the Street's own "Robocop" Emma should be chuffed that she'll be getting a new three-piece suite, hostage counselling and private medical care from doctor Matt when Ryan lays siege to her house with a three-foot tyre-iron. "What yer gonna do? Shoot me with a spanner?" she demands. No, smash the furniture to smithereens, terrorise her and guzzle all the vodka. They end up fighting and it's only the appearance of school ma'am Charlie that sees Ryan scampering out the back door. Well, if you knew of Charlie's kryptonite capacity for alcohol, would you risk sharing the last drops of a bottle with her? Even more alarming is that Sgt Emma refuses to report the incident. Now that is a bit of a cop-out.

If she is taking no prisoners, then neither are Mike and Ken when they trade insults at the court hearing for the interim residence order over Adam. The 12-year-old has to make a choice and it's no surprise that a director's box at Man U and skiing holidays have the edge over a season ticket to Weatherfield library and games on the Red Rec.

There are tearful scenes as Adam leaves Ken's but his grandad is adamant he'll fight back. Relations between him and Deirdre are further strained and they both take comfort in others. The intimacy between Dreary and Dev becomes so intense that even drunken sailor Peter notices. "Me dad's on his knees right now. He's worried sick. And you two are acting like some lovey-dovey honeymoon couple." That comes to an abrupt end when she tries to cop off with him, and Ken could be heading the same way when he goes all dewy-eyed over his old-flame and the ex-Mrs Baldwin, Alma.

Luckily, Edna is around to keep everybody's spirits up, particularly Adam's. "Look on the bright side, eh?" she catchphrases. "He'll have a dad with loads of money, step-mum who's young and attractive, sports car to ride round in, golf club to join, nice business to inherit. I mean, Ken's very nice, but..." Edna, shurrup!

EASTENDERS

Two weeks to the day that Phil was gunned down and left for dead, there is another broken body lying unconscious as a hit-and-run driver speeds away. Joe DiMarco is caught in a tug-of-love battle between his distraught mum Sandra and over-protective dad Beppe who fears she'll snatch him - and the confused little lad runs into the path of a speeding car.

As if having an unknown gunman on the loose isn't enough to have the residents battening down the hatches, there's not so much a crimewave as a monsoon in Albert Square. Kidnap, reckless driving and extortion, along with B&E, GBH, ABH and a few G&Ts...it's all very OTT. With the backdoor to the Vic swinging open, Peggy suspects foul play, but Kat in a state of undress gives the game away. "Awright, sunshine, come on out!" shouts the ferocious landlady. "Let's see the latest notch on the bedpost."

Anthony has been caught with his trousers down once again and his exposure causes a rift in this particular mismatch. "I'm the community doctor," he tells Kat. "I have my position to consider." "We'll talk about positions later," she replies with a wink. Finding herself on the subs' bench and out of the game probably isn't what she had in mind.

Then Dot stumbles across two teenage tearaways robbing her home, which pushes her ever closer towards a wrinkly romance with Jim. With smoke billowing about her like a forest fire as she nervously puffs away on ciggies, she moves into the Jacksons and the old codger's dubious protection. "'Avin' them 'ooligans pokin' abaht in yer drawers, don't bear thinkin' of, does it?" he says. And, for once, he's right.

No less serious is bumbling Barry's heinous crime. Not only has he lost his dad, his job and his home, but now he's lost his memory, too. "Natalie is convinced I've got a five-star, 24-carat, dog's doo-dah of a birthday surprise lined up for her tonight," he tells Robbie. "If I don't come up with summin' special I'm gonna end up singin' soprano in the lonely hearts' club choir." Needless to say, he reaches the high notes as his evening ends on a low.

The hardcore villains are lurking in the shadows as baby-faced Jamie steps forward as heir to Phil's "empire". Well, a greasy spoon, a few spanners in the Arches, and a scruffy snooker hall. Why this dog-earred collection of businesses needs reams of paperwork, a degree in business studies and a copy of Richard Branson's autobiography is anybody's guess. Even so, Peggy is impressed. "You're acting like a proper Mitchell," she proudly tells the tinpot tycoon.

Meaning he's a moody little toe-rag who insults Lynne, Sonia and Lisa, turns to the bottle and gives Billy a good hiding. It`s lonely at the top, and devious Dan is soon offering the hand of friendship, even if it twists Jamie's halfway up his back. But there's a price to pay for protection. "Dan," Jamie spits, "you can tell your friends to stuff their racket. 'Cos I don't need them an' I certainly don't need you." We'll see...

BROOKSIDE

What with the robbery, the conflict between Jackie and Jimmy, Bev's marriage to gay Fred, and the unlikely sexual adventures of Christy and Leanne, one touching storyline keeps Brookie grounded in reality. Diane and Marty's desperate desire to have their own baby. Of course, there's still time for her to be abducted by aliens or give birth to test-tube octuplets, but hopefully emotions will prove a stronger attraction than sensationalism to the scriptwriters.

Their latest dilemma concerns borrowing three grand for IVF now it`s clear that Di's chances of a natural pregnancy are poor. The ultra-religious Brigid turns down their request for a loan, repulsed by the process of artificial insemination. "Three tiny lives in a syringe," she says. "And what? Another waiting in a freezer like a bag of peas." Never one to think before she speaks, she makes a remarkable suggestion to Diane, who has raised another woman's three kids. "Perhaps you could consider adopting." Plates flying through the air are an appropriate answer. Say your prayers, girl. Maybe He can get through to your old mum.

A sore point is also on Clint's mind as he visits the clinic and his ex, nurse Nisha, tells him to drop his trousers. Now! Is there no holding this young lady back, particularly as she once again rag-rolls naughty Jerome's face in lipstick? But this is professional, as she needs to lance the boil on shy Clint's bum. Such a big fuss over such a little prick...

EMMERDALE

Just when Andrew thought his time in Tateville couldn't get much worse, along comes somebody who convinces him it can. Medallion Man. The stud farm manager is hanging on to his job by the skin of his teeth, those flighty fillies Virginia, Charity, Elise and Nicola have bolted, and then Nicola's dad Rodney enters on his white charger.

"There's something she wanted me to give to you, Andrew," the avenging father says. It's a right hook that puts a welcome dent in the cad's chin. And ego.

While a cheer will go up as the James Hewitt of the Dales gets his comeuppance, the rest of the week sees duplicity, deceit and dangerous talk split the village. And that's before scheming Chris makes a play for Emmerdale Farm while Jack rots in jail. At least that other bounder Pollard's scam on the not-so-merry widow Gloria is exposed. But he has another headache when he tests Cain's security cordon at the barn. Well, a three-foot long wooden club wielded by a deranged Dingle tends to have that effect.

Another person reaching for the Aspirin is Viv who should never have trusted her best friend Carol. Going bandy at the knees with the weight of her divorce settlement, the blonde's plans for a cosmopolitan revamp of tinned snails should she take over Viv's post office are less than appetising to the customers. So another venture is needed to fulfil Carol's ambitions, and gazumping Viv for the B&B seems the ideal solution.

It's unlikely Jack will be one of her first customers as he continues to experience free board at Her Majesty's pleasure, with the threat of permanent residence looming when his murder trial begins next week. Putting the lads on the stand could help, but Robert is uncertain of his father's innocence even if Andy knows the truth. He done it. And he's not beyond nobbling the prosecution's star witness, Richie. "My mum's dead and now you want to take my dad away an' all, he says. "What good will it do anyone if he goes to prison? If you give evidence, Richie, you'll be making the biggest mistake of your life" And that's saying something.

Divisions soon emerge over Jack's fate and The Woolpack becomes a kangaroo court as benevolent Bernice proposes a home-coming party while mum Diane slips the hangman's black cap over her white wig. Even outsider Rodney is outraged by the callous comments. "I wish you lot could hear yourselves. You're as bad as the gutter press - judging people on the basis of idle chat and rumour... Jack is innocent 'til he's proved guilty. If any of you can't accept that we might as well just have lynch mobs."

Viv should start stocking up on rope now. There could be a rush on it.

CAPTION(S):

HOUSE ARREST: A drunken, rampaging Ryan holds Sgt Emma hostage in her own home; PLAYING AWAY: Ken's with old flame Alma, while Deirdre makes a move on Dev; CAP THAT: Seth and Harry
COPYRIGHT 2001 MGN LTD
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

 
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 10, 2001
Words:1802
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