When our favourite soaps lose a popular character, it can often send the poor producers into a right old spin. The person in question may provide a crucial ingredient to a particular family group or familiar setting in the show, leaving behind a hole that will need to be filled sooner rather than later.
With this in mind, it's no wonder that brand new characters can often pop up who seem suspiciously similar to those who have just left. Have you ever spotted how this lot seemed like sneaky soap replacements?
1. Shona Ramsey… replaced Kylie Platt in Coronation Street
David and Kylie Platt's relationship was Corrie gold, but their time together was cruelly cut short when actress Paula Lane decided to quit the cobbles. Kylie's untimely death left David without his beloved partner-in-crime, so once his tears had dried, the writers knew they needed to bring in someone new to create a similar dynamic.
Just like Kylie, steely Shona is a rough diamond with a heart of gold and a troubled past, who's more than capable of holding her own against David. Shona also has past associations with a number of dodgy characters, who conveniently pop up to cause trouble whenever the Platts are short of a storyline. Sound familiar?
In fairness, the fantastic Julia Goulding – who plays Shona – has pointed out some key differences between the characters too. Discussing the inevitable comparisons last year, she explained: "I know that Shona and Kylie had children young and come from the same sort of place, but I think Shona has an optimism about her character that Kylie didn't and I don't think she's as brash." Fair point!
2 & 3. Hunter and Prince McQueen… replaced Jason and Robbie Roscoe in Hollyoaks
Someone at Hollyoaks clearly likes twins. One of the show's most successful families in recent years was the Roscoe clan, who included teen heart-throbs Robbie and Jason. Robbie was the bad lad with a roguish charm, while his twin Jason was the more strait-laced and sensitive brother, whose big heart and desire to do the right thing often saw him at odds with his family.
When Robbie and Jason waved goodbye in March 2016, it was just eight months before the show brought in Prince and Hunter as new members of the ever-expanding McQueen family. Prince is the bad lad with a roguish charm, while his twin Hunter is the more strait-laced and sensitive brother whose big heart… well, you get the idea.
4 & 5. Ted and Joyce Murray… replaced Les and Pam Coker in EastEnders
When Coker couple Les and Pam were axed from EastEnders in 2016, fans seemed bitterly disappointed to see them leave. The pair had one of the most heartwarming and genuine relationships in Soapland and our affection for them had grown as we'd seen them explore some big storylines, such as Les's cross-dressing and the homophobic murder of the Cokers' grandson Paul.
EastEnders seemed to be taking fans' feelings on board when they kept bringing Pam back for guest appearances, but rather than swallowing their pride and writing the Cokers back in for good, the producers instead brought in Ted and Joyce Murray as replacement golden oldies.
Some critics on Twitter have struggled to accept the pair as new characters in their own right ever since, even nicknaming them Fake Pam and Fake Les. Too harsh? You decide!
6. Paul Coker… replaced the first Johnny Carter in EastEnders
Speaking of the Cokers, it always seemed slightly suspicious that Les and Pam's gay grandson Paul made his first appearance in EastEnders just a short time after the departure of Mick and Linda Carter's son Johnny. EastEnders had often hinted at a romantic spark between Johnny and Ben Mitchell, but this planned storyline came to nothing when Sam Strike suddenly quit his Carter role after just a year.
With Ben left at a loose end once his future love interest had scarpered, it was left to Paul to join Walford and help to bring him out of the closet instead.
Harry Reid, who played Ben, hinted at the storyline change when he told Digital Spy in 2015: "What will be interesting for Ben – quite like what would have happened with Johnny Carter – is that Paul is an outlet for his true feelings. He can express what he really feels with Paul."
7. Trevor Royle… replaced Warren Fox in Hollyoaks
Hollyoaks fans often commented on the similarities between the show's legendary villain Warren Fox and fellow bad boy Trevor Royle. After Warren's second stint in the village came to an end in 2011, the show was lacking a big alpha-male antagonist to stir things up… so along came Trevor.
Just like Warren, fearsome Trevor found himself in charge of local club The Loft, providing a focal point for the show's gangster storylines. Trevor also followed in his predecessor's footsteps by ticking a few more boxes on the 'Warren checklist' – having a complicated relationship with his son, a very messy love life, and striking just the right balance between dangerous villain and troubled soap anti-hero.
Comparisons between the two characters were drawn again when Trevor left the show in May 2016 and Warren was conveniently brought back within minutes. Would the Hollyoaks-verse have imploded if these two were ever both in the show at the same time?
8. Sylvia Goodwin… replaced Blanche Hunt in Coronation Street
Whenever you ask Corrie about the kind of character the soap is missing, they nearly always make reference to a Blanche Hunt-type battleaxe. Blanche became iconic for her acerbic put-downs when she starred in the show from 1974 until 2009, when soap legend Maggie Jones sadly passed away.
In 2010, it was announced that Doc Martin star Stephanie Cole had been cast in the role of Roy Cropper's mum Sylvia, who turned out to be nearly as outspoken as her predecessor. Show insiders tipped Sylvia to follow in the footsteps of the Corrie icon, giving the writers a chance to bring some "infamous Blanche dialogue" back into the scripts. Sadly, it was all cut short when Stephanie quit the cobbles for good in 2013, wanting to move onto other projects.
9. Dennis Savage… replaced Lee Hunter in Hollyoaks
Whenever comedy hi-jinks were needed in Hollyoaks in 2010 and 2011, the writers could call on Lee Hunter to make them happen. From becoming an unlikely drama director to forming his own boyband in the village, Lee was the king of the daft storylines during his second stint in the show and had us chuckling every teatime.
Alex Carter quit the role of Lee for a second time in 2011, but just one month later, fellow funnyman Joe Tracini arrived in the role of joker Dennis Savage. This ensured we still had a few laughs in between Hollyoaks' regular dose of kidnaps and murders.
Making no secret of what the writers were up to, a Hollyoaks insider admitted at the time: "Joe will play Dennis, a comedy character who will fill the shoes of Alex Carter, who's leaving. He's a great comedy actor."
10. Ashley Davidson… replaced Trudy Ryan in Hollyoaks
Danniella Westbrook may be best known for EastEnders, but let's not forget that she was in Hollyoaks too. Danniella played dangerous criminal Trudy Ryan in 2013, and Hollyoaks later made headlines by announcing that she'd be returning for another exciting stint in autumn 2015.
When Hollyoaks later revealed that Danniella's return had been abruptly cancelled due to "breach of contract", fans were left scratching their heads over what that would mean for the big autumn storyline the writers had planned for her.
All became clear when fellow EastEnders alumnus Kierston Wareing was hastily drafted in as venomous vixen Ashley Davidson, a blonde bombshell who was an obvious Trudy replacement.
Digital Spy Soap Scoop video – hit play below for all the latest Coronation Street spoilers, as Anna Windass goes on trial and Bethany's lap-dancing secret is revealed.
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