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Soap watch with JACI STEPHEN: Wedding Belle’s big day ends in tears

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EMMERDALE 

Soapland is not progressive when it comes to women choosing not to take their husbands’ surnames. 

Barely has the confetti had time to land outside the church than the credits roll, revealing the female’s new name. 

So you can imagine how thrown Tom is when Belle says she has no intention of becoming Mrs King. Despite offering a reasonable explanation (most people called King end up dead, perhaps?), her decision clearly upsets Tom, and eventually she relents.

There’s an even bigger sulk on Tom’s part when he storms off after Belle bemoans the absence of her parents, pointing out that his won’t be there, either. Aww, diddums. 

There is trouble ahead at Belle's big day on Emmerdale

There is trouble ahead at Belle’s big day on Emmerdale

On the big day, Belle still hasn’t heard from her beloved so has no idea if the wedding is still on. Didn’t I tell you last week she’d have been better off sticking to the cardboard cut-out?

Anyway, Tom finally confirms that the wedding will go ahead (so magnanimous. Not. Arranging a board meeting couldn’t be less inspiring), but then there’s another spanner in the works. 

Tom the dreamboat 

Emmerdale’s Belle should go to Specsavers if she hasn’t seen the red flags. 

‘Belle is just so in love,’ says Eden Taylor Draper (Belle).

‘And of course, on paper, Tom is such a dream man.’

Well, the entire spanner shelf at B&Q, to be precise. What’s his issue now? He’s not happy about the oddities in the behaviour of the Dingles. Duh! Seriously? You’ve only just noticed the entire Dingle clan makes Fraggle Rock look like Bridgerton

The happy(ish) event goes ahead, but Tom’s not satisfied yet again when the Dingles continue with their rowdy antics at the reception and he’s furious they’ve ruined the day. 

Belle – you need to get out of there. Fast. I’d stay well away from that cake-cutting knife if I were you; the engravers are probably already chatting to local masons about your headstone.

By far the greatest excitement of the wedding reception, though, is Ruby, who interrupts in order to tell everyone that Caleb and Tracy have been at it. Blimey. Talk about upstaging the bride.

Meanwhile, in the cottage, the cops show up and arrest Rhona for kidnapping. If only they’d been as diligent when there was a serial killer on the loose.

CORONATION STREET 

School bullying is an important issue for the younger generation, but give it a break, Corrie. We already have Paul’s Motor Neurone Disease, Simon’s drink problem, Joseph’s Lyme Disease, Ed’s gambling addiction – please, lighten the load! Give us more scenes with Brian (where has he gone?), George, Todd, Mary, Tim, Sally – not only the best characters but the best actors.

School bullying is the latest trouble on Coronation Street, when Maria finds out Liam (pictured) has been researching ways to kill himself

School bullying is the latest trouble on Coronation Street, when Maria finds out Liam (pictured) has been researching ways to kill himself

Alas, the misery is relentless when Maria finds out Liam has been researching ways to kill himself. Somebody needs to get a grip here. I’ve had more laughs watching Hamlet. And pity poor Mrs Crawshaw, who appears to be the only member of staff in the school.

Maybe we will continue to get some light relief from Tommy who, I suspect, will end up servicing all the local ladies, resulting in one big bust-up when they discover he’s been sowing more wild oats than a Quaker factory. I’m just not buying the Tracy affair, though; her marital dissatisfaction needed more substance before convincing us she’d hop into bed with Orpie Overall.

What’s going on in Lauren’s head? 

Corrie’s Lauren may be getting closer to Bobby, but given her history, what’s really going on in her head? ‘I think Lauren’s very confused,’ says Cait Fitton, who plays her. ‘There’s this so-called boyfriend no one knows about, but you’ve also got Bobby, who brings excitement to her life.’ Hmm. He’s got the gift of the gab, but excitement? ‘Bobby accepts her for who she is and looks for positives rather than negatives.’ 

EASTENDERS

Johnny and Dean come to blows over Linda 

OK, we’re in need of a recap, not least because Johnny has been recast and is now being played by Charlie Suff. He’s been away for five years and, should you need reminding, he’s the son of Mick and Linda, brother of Lee, Nancy and Ollie, half-brother of Frankie and Annie Carter and grandson to others too numerous to mention. Oh, yes, and he’s gay.

In EastEnders, Johnny and Dean come to blows over Linda

In EastEnders, Johnny and Dean come to blows over Linda

So, he’s horrified to discover the state of Linda and, hearing that Dean is back, rushes over to confront him. Despite Ben managing to drag Johnny off Dean at Beale’s Eels, at closing time Johnny punches Dean (both above) and tells him to leave Linda alone. Be grateful, Dean. Anything that puts your mouth out of eel-eating action has to be welcomed.

Life is not plain sailing for George, who discovers the only reason his adoptive father came back into his life is because he needs him as a character witness in his trial for a racially motivated murder. George also discovers the truth about his childhood.

Denise’s misery drags on and, unsurprisingly on Valentine’s Day, Jack would rather be with Stacey. Jack – forget her, too. Your life would be so much simpler with me!

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