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Soap watch: Can Karen escape Joe's criminal grip?; Coronation Street.

Byline: DAVID ALEXANDER

DID you really think Les was going to jail after being stitched up by Mick and Emma? No, honestly...

OK, but did you really think Kirk's lame-brained scheme to put up posters appealing for witnesses would do the trick? And wait until you see who it unearths - and here's a hint, it's not Albert Tatlock.

Meanwhile, Karen falls further in to the web of Weatherfield's own Scarface, Joe, as his plans to build a criminal empire take off. Well, alright, maybe not a criminal empire as such, but he does want to take over Underworld which, if you don't know what it is, sounds a little cool.

And it does involve Karen being seduced by (and in) a showflat penthouse the bad lad suggests might be hers. Time will tell is she can go through with forging Mike's signature on a cheque.

Meanwhile, look out for signs of marital strife between Emma and Curly. Who could possibly get sick of waking up to Curly's pumpkin- lantern face every morning? There's no pleasing some folk.

And Gail, having failed in her attempts to get Sarah to stay, tries a revolutionary new approach, being nice. Uh- oh.

Emmerdale WHERE'S the last place Louise and Ronnie should be seen out together? The other last place ... right, the Woolpack.

Expect some fun when Frances guesses - it could only have been more obvious if some had come up and written the word's "IT'S LOUISE, YOU IDIOT!" on her forehead. Back to front, of course, so even she could work it out with a mirror.

So, Frances shouts at Louise, who gets mad at Diane, and then Frances shouts at Diane, which all seems a little unfair. Ronnie, unfazed, suggests he and Frances go on holiday on their own.

You can't imagine she'd be dumb enough to go.

Will anything less than a fortnight at a Franciscan monks' retreat not mean he goes astray again?

Elsewhere, rumours that Stephen might be gay seem to have convinced the entire village.

When he invites Andy for a chat, and jokes are made about a cosy night, Andy takes fright.

Just to keep the levels of realism up, Pollard's culture clash with the powerful visiting Japanese businessman is ongoing and it falls to Sam to look after Mr Tashiro's daughter, Tomiko.

Stranger things happen in Emmerdale every day ... and there's a joke that's not so much lame as turning up in an invalid car, involving Lisa's dilemma and a surprise when a delivery comes in to the factory. But telling any more would spoil the hilarity.

Oh, and Cain's causing trouble as usual - how long before Chris punches him? Taking bets now...

EastEnders IT would be a good idea for The Square to add a bank to its set. Given that half the population of the place turns to crime at some point, it'd be endless fun - and a surefire way of seeing an end to potato-head Phil.

When he eventually kills Ian, he would naturally hold up the bank for cash to finance his getaway.

Anyway, the point is Martin and Vicki graduate from general badness to shoplifting (yawn) and further their life of crime by robbing the Minute Mart.

Elsewhere, Dennis does an unintentional Tom Jones - finding himself in the pub getting knickers thrown at him by distraught women.

Oh, and poor Gus looks set to take the rap for the crime of the day. Where would we be if not for miscarriages of justice?

Thankfully, things mostly come out right in the end in soapland.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 10, 2003
Words:592
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