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Soap watch; An old favourite returns to haunt the Close.

WELL, well, is Brookside about to get better again or what?

Apparently, the creator of the Channel 4 soap, Phil Redmond, has a few tricks up his sleeve, with lots of new characters appearing in the next year or so.

But has he pulled off a masterstroke this week with the return of cranky OAP Harry Cross.

Last seen in a Brookie spin-off video, 78-year-old Bill Dean, who plays the cantankerous old get, returns to the Close this week, and is caught trying to break into his old bungalow, now home of the Shadwicks.

It transpires that poor old Harry is suffering from Alzheimer's Disease, but his temper hasn't mellowed at all, and even though he's only back for a three- episode run, it looks like being a fun time for all.

Elsewhere on Brookside, someone is sabotaging the newly opened Millennium Club, and poor old Jimmy Corkhill's (Dean Sullivan) chequered past becomes common knowledge.

It's not Jimmy I really feel sorry for though, it's his poor long-suffering wife Jackie (Sue Jenkins).

Down under in Home and Away, Marilyn (Emily Symons) finally has her baby this week, but then realises that motherhood is not all it's cracked up to be. Oh dear.

And elsewhere Chloe (Kristy Wright) is still depressed and Gypsy (Kimberley Cooper) is still drinking. Just another ordinary day in Summer Bay then.

Ruth (Terri Dwyer) had enough hassle with Kurt to last her a lifetime and this week in Hollyoaks she tells Lewis (Ben Hull) that she doesn't want to get too involved, too quickly.

Tony's (Nick Pickard) obviously worried that Jas (Elly Fairman) doesn't want to be involved at all any more and so he's decided to woo her with his new image. Mmmm. I can hardly wait to see that.

I can hardly wait to see Tracey Preston, ne Barlow (Dawn Acton) who returns to Coronation Street this week, either. Well, I can actually. What an annoying character she is. Let's hope her return is a fleeting one.

Leanne (Jane Danson) is delighted with the news that she is pregnant, but although hubby Nick seems all smiles on the surface, is he really happy or not? And is this the beginning of the end for the young lovers? Adam Rickitt, who plays Nick, has already announced he is leaving the soap in a few months to pursue a music career (I can hardly wait for another soap star pop record, can you?).

So, will Leanne be a tad miffed if and when she finds out that Nick has been confiding in art teacher Miranda? You bet she will. She might even be as mad as his mum Gail ... well, maybe not.

Curly (Kevin Kennedy) manages to get some of his possessions back from No 7, but with the Dobbses in there, it won't be easy. Although Margi Clarke's Jackie Dobbs is highly annoying, the son Tyrone, ably played by Alan Halsall, is actually a great character.

A right cheeky monkey if there ever was one, he's not about to let anyone get the better of him and he's up to all sorts of mischief this week.

First off he warns new hairdresser Tom (Tom Wisdom) off Toyah (Georgia Taylor) - who he fancies - and then he double-crosses Spider (Martin Hancock) who is trying to help Curly. Er, sorry, did I say I thought he was OK? Take that back. Double-cross Spider? I'll have him for that.

Poor Simon's (Andrew Lynford) having a rotten time down in EastEnders - so much so that he's now ended up in hospital as well. God, you wouldn't want to be a member of that family, would you?

Anyway, as the departure of many of the Albert Square residents - including Simon - becomes more imminent, some new characters are appearing, namely Luca di Marco (Graham McGrath - what a con!) and his friend Roberto Massi (Martino Lazzeri - well that's a bit more like it). Nice. Very nice. Poor Peggy (Barbara Windsor) goes into hospital for her mastectomy and feels guilty that she didn't tell Grant (Ross Kemp). Oops.

Up in High Road, Kitty, Sandy and Morag put their heads together and plan a party for Mairi and Lachie. Little do they know, it won't be as appreciated as they thought it would be. In Sunset Beach, it's still the Maria/Ben/Meg amnesia love triangle that's dominating. I love this show - they make no excuses whatsoever for running a storyline for MONTHS.

Have the makers of Brookside been watching a bit too much of this?
COPYRIGHT 1999 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
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Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Brown, Merle
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 13, 1999
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