Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Elaine, and I have a confession to make… I am addicted to soaps. Not the kind you wash yourself with, but rather the soaps we tune into from 7pm onwards every weeknight. My addiction is so bad that I have been known to throw a soap related reference into many a conversation.
So why are you reading me on The British Blacklist, you may be asking? Well, I intend to share monthly round ups on the happenstances of the Black residents of the soaps, and continuing drama on our screens. I may point out when the shows really make viewers have to suspend reality when watching, but this is all tongue in cheek, as I continue to watch and love all these shows equally.
Secrets abound in most of the soaps amongst these families – and the following contains spoilers.
First off down in Walford, Eastenders recently turned 36 years old, and unlike its previous birthdays it didn’t pass with the cliff hanger moment for this flagship episode, as no one died, but a significant character did leave (and was the recipient of the Julia’s Theme – the theme used when the episode has been emotional/ a much loved episode says goodbye to the Square forever). Anyway, I digress, as the character wasn’t Black I won’t mention him here, so if you want to find out who left in time for your ‘is such and such still in Eastenders’ conversations at Christmas – check out the episode from 19 February 2021.
Turning to the residents of Number 20 Albert Square, Isaac Baptiste (played by Steve Basuala) is taking centre stage for his first meaty storyline. Isaac has a health related secret that only his mother, Sheree Trueman (Suzette Llewellyn) knows. She clearly doesn’t want Patrick Trueman (Rudolph Walker) to know his son is unwell and has gone as far to gaslight Isaac to make him feel people will feel differently towards him if the secret is revealed. At the time of writing, the matter is weighing heavily on Isaac, as he wants to tell Lola Pearce (Danielle Howard) following Kim Fox’s (Tameka Empsom) recent matchmaking efforts.
Elsewhere under the same roof, Denise Fox (Diane Parish) has been coming to terms with three recent shocks, two of which have had me rolling my eyes at the screen and taking to social media in despair.
Denise has recently been reunited and now has custody of her 4 year old son Raymond, following the passing of his adoptive parents. This reunion led to Denise attending the church where his parents frequented. This church visit at Christmas lead to my first eyeroll that has lasted since December 25th to this day – Denise’s long lost daughter Chelsea (now played by Zaraah Abraham) and convicted serial killer (and Denise’s kidnapper ex husband) Lucas (Don Gilet) also attended this church. Why you may ask am I rolling my eyes, well this storyline, and what has ensued in 2021 requires viewers to suspend belief, as Lucas really should be in prison still, Denise should have been informed before his release and she should have told the police/ probation officially of his return as he’s clearly breaking the terms of his licence. Also, would he not be on tag, or under the supervision of his probation officer as a life sentence really isn’t resolved in 10 years, especially after he had previously escaped prison a few years ago.
Chelsea then convinced her family to allow Lucas to move back onto the Square, where he is now a tenant of Denise’s partner Jack Branning (Scott Maslen). Jack is also a police officer. Since they have returned to the Square, it has been revealed that Chelsea has been coerced to smuggle drugs from the UK to Ibiza, with her dad (using a fake passport). Denise was kidnapped by the drug dealer for a night, in a bid to ensure Chelsea makes the trip. Now Denise could tell Jack about all this mess, but instead the trio of Chelsea, Denise and Lucas have agreed to continue with the drug deal plan.
For me it’s great to see the Black characters of the Square having meatier roles, and I am blaming the pandemic for why I have to give this story line a 10/10 for being highly unbelievable.
Taking a trip up the M1 and M6, we go to Coronation Street where the Baileys have recently welcomed Ronnie (Vinta Morgan), Ed’s (Trevor Michael Georges) brother onto the cobbles. I say welcomed, but Aggie (Diana Laidlaw) was seen side eyeing Ronnie in the Rover’s Return. My gut tells me they may have had affair years ago, and that he may be the father of the off screen daughter, Dee Dee, who has been mentioned in passing, This could lead to her introduction, as she’s also due to be an aunt, as her brother Michael is due to welcome his unborn child.
On the other side of the Pennines, Emmerdale is the land where Black women don’t stay. However, hopefully we will soon see Nate’s mum Cara return to see her grandchild. During the past month we have watched Nate (Jurell Carter) reveal his discomfort at being present at the birth of his child as he fears the sight of blood, to the point he faints.
Al Chapman (Michael Wildman) recently took centre stage as his affair with Debbie Dingle, whilst engaged to Priya Sharma came to a conclusion. His lothario ways also lead to Charity Dingle hitting rock bottom and Debbie returning back to Scotland.
Finally, the new vicar Charles Anderson (Kevin Mathurin) and lawyer son, Ethan (Emile John) have been making waves since they arrived. For Charles it transpired that he was previously engaged to Manpreet Sharma, prior to him becoming a vicar. Turning to Ethan, it would seem as he though he is not really trying to make friends in the village as he ruffled feathers when he called out the unconscious bias of the police when on his entrance into the village he was stopped and searched, and found with drugs planted on him. He was also responsible for outing a character he also previously knew before his arrival.
It does seem strange that both father and son would have ties to established characters, as Emmerdale only seems to attract people with existing relationships. Is it too much to ask that they could simply have moved to the village because they liked it?
Over in Hollyoaks, the awful storyline with the fake Dr Ley (Sabina Cameron), Toby Faroe and his sister Celeste has finally been put to bed. I will spare you the pain of having to recreate the storyline for you, as it was BAD. The great takeaways for me were that Celeste has the best headscarves rocked by a Black woman on British TV, and that hopefully the conclusion of this chapter can mean Celeste and Toby can be truly integrated into the village to build meaningful relationships. It’s not to say that Toby being a murderer won’t come out (but as it is Hollyoaks this is a slim possibility) but too many people know this secret for it to realistically last long.
Felix Westwood (Richard Blackwood) is also facing up to the consequences of the death of a man who abused him as a child, and the possibility that his partner Grace has breast cancer. It will be interesting to see how both storylines develop Felix as a character.
Over at Holby, upstairs on the wards Donna Jackson (Jaye Jacobs) has fallen for Alex Duval (Miles Mitchell), the brother of her deceased partner Xavier. Their time on the ward has been spent treating the driver who is linked to Xavier’s deaths Nicky (Belinda Owusu) is pregnant with the uber toxic Cameron. As we have seen over the past year, Cameron’s behaviour has been alarming and is responsible for Xavier’s passing. Once again, it will be interesting to see how these arcs end, as Holby isn’t known for people getting away with crimes so Cameron will get his comeuppance.
Let me know what you think will happen in the next month in these soaps/ continuing dramas over the next month?
You can also catch me every Sunday on Clubhouse, at 2pm where we discuss Previously on EastCorrieDaleOaks under the club Binge TV.
Please note this article was supposed to have been published on The British Blacklist, but didn’t, so look out for my entries there in future months to come.