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This Week's British Soaps

Thu 22/10/99, BBC1

Mystery Bag

While all manner of heroes and villains drift in and out of Phil's hospital ward, Irene irons for toy-boy Troy. She's trying her best to resist poor woman... but with Terry back to his old chauvinist attitude I doubt she'll resist much longer... and neither may Dr Fred Fonseca who has just asked flat-mate Mick McFarlane to a halloween party in Brighton. Are we going to see his secret nature at last? Meanwhile Teresa visits an increasingly panicky Matthew in prison while Jackie (whose little black worm-like eyebrows are seriously distracting me) complains to Steve that she can't take much more of the treatment she's getting from everyone for helping to get him off the murder charge. I can't take much more of her petted lip... But it's the farcical scenes around Phil's hospital bed that are taking centre stage. First the police, then the loan-sharks and then half of Walford turn up... But when a bag of money is mysteriously delivered, Phil jumps to the only plausible conclusion - Grant is still alive... ****

Coronation Street
Mon 26/10/99, ITV

Jim comforts Natalie

A year to the day since Natalie's marriage to Des finds the landlady quietly mourning while Vinnie, Leanne and Betty bitch about her apparent lack of memory. However trusty old Jim discovers Nat bubbling outside Des' house and takes her for a drink at the Flying Horse. Quite touching scenes between the two. Meanwhile Tyrone finds a stray greyhound while Spider starts his new job at the Claims office and is appalled at fellow eco-warrior Tim's, who looks uncannily like a young Elton John, hardline dealings with a Scots claimant. (Why was this part Scottish by the way? Doesn't anyone in the North of England claim benefit?) Melanie and Tom wonder about their relationship while Ian and Sharon do the same. And once again the programme finishes on Sharon, this time kissing Ian after telling him that he hasn't blown any chance of them getting married. How come she's getting all the closing scenes these days? ****

Thu 22/10/99, ITV

Pollard Out!

The Dingles picket Eric Pollard's latest money-making scheme, a gym in the village hall, to try and force Eric to drop his charges of assault by Mandy. She meanwhile is out spending Paddy's money on designer furnishings with Kelly, who incidently is staying with Roy in the house they are supposed to be just cleaning... What I can't understand is why anyone would employ Roy as a cleaner in the first place - he is easily the dirtiest looking bloke in UK Soaps... Prodigal mother Elsa puts her case to the social workers and then has a screaming row with Kathy in front of Alice... Zoe tells the kidnapper that she won't co-operate with his demands unless she gets proof that Chris is still alive... While Liam continues to torture Chris with the knowledge that Zoe is beginning to confide in him. And he threatens to continue seeing her - "She'll need a good friend. When they find your body." Nasty. ****

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1999 Alan J. Stuart All rights reserved