9 times soaps completely rewrote their own history

Photo credit: BBC/ITV/Gettyimages/DigitalSpy/AH / Lime Pictures
Photo credit: BBC/ITV/Gettyimages/DigitalSpy/AH / Lime Pictures

From Digital Spy

Soaps rely on their loyal fans who've been watching for years and even decades, but that often doesn't stop the writers from blatantly disregarding established history just to suit a brand new storyline.

When a fresh idea is thrown into the mix at a story meeting, the teams behind our favourite shows sometimes get so excited that they're prepared to rewrite history just to help it make sense. Don't believe us? Here are nine of the most glaring (and shameless) examples.

1. "Hello princess" (EastEnders)

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

If you think of EastEnders legend Dirty Den, chances are that his iconic "Hello princess" catchphrase immediately springs to mind. "Princess" was the affectionate nickname that Den Watts had for his adopted daughter Sharon, and when he made a dramatic return from the dead in 2003, there were no prizes for guessing what his first line would be.

Fast-forward 13 years and EastEnders decided to bring in Sharon's real dad Gavin Sullivan, who dropped the bizarre bombshell that "princess" was actually his nickname for Sharon. According to him, he'd asked Den to say it to Shazza every now and again as a secret "hello" from him.

Not only was this rewriting of history totally pointless, it infuriated EastEnders' former scriptwriter Sarah Phelps, who tweeted: "Never ever piss on the memory of Den and Angie. Never. I wrote that f**king line. That was Den. Not some turd in a syrup." Leslie Grantham also piped up months later to brand it "poor writing". Ouch.

2. Betty owned The Rovers (Coronation Street)

When Corrie legend Betty Driver passed away in 2011, the scriptwriters and story team got to work on a fitting final storyline for her popular character Betty Williams. Long-serving barmaid Betty died off screen in early 2012, but in the build-up to her funeral, there was a shocking discovery.

While the cobbles lot were going through Betty's things, they found evidence that Annie Walker had left The Rovers to her in her will, but modest Betty hadn't bothered to tell anybody and had ignored her rightful status as landlady for years.

Corrie chiefs were delighted over their story twist and the touching tribute to Betty, who'd been the longest-serving landlady without anybody knowing about it. Unfortunately, some angry fans pointed out that the pub was actually owned by brewery Newton & Ridley when Annie died, meaning it didn't make much sense if you thought too much about it. Maybe it was for the best that Betty stayed quiet...

3. John wasn't Adam's father (Emmerdale)

The Barton clan were a breath of fresh air when they joined the Dales in 2009, with John and Moira's strong marriage forming the foundation of the clan's popularity. There was also a great on-screen connection between John and his son Adam, not to mention a strong resemblance too. While the Bartons were tested by life in Soapland's village of the damned, it was always made clear that they'd lived happily before moving to Butler's Farm.

When John was later killed off and Moira was left at a loose end as a result, the decision was made to bring in a whole new family of Bartons around her... and that's where the trouble started.

John's brother James and his three sons breathed new life into Butler's, but Emmerdale couldn't resist a further twist revealing that Moira had secretly cheated with James years ago, making him Adam's biological father. She'd certainly kept that one suspiciously quiet during her first five years in the show – plus it also made a mockery of Moira's horror that time that John had kissed Eve.

4. Dodger and Sienna committed twincest (Hollyoaks)

Photo credit: Lime Pictures
Photo credit: Lime Pictures

As soon as sly Sienna Blake and her fearsome father Patrick joined Hollyoaks, it was always made clear that there was something unsettling about their relationship. When we later discovered that Sienna had a long-lost teenage daughter called Nico, all signs pointed to the possibility that she'd got pregnant after being abused by her dad.

When clever Hollyoaks fans started to guess this next big storyline twist, show bosses decided to backtrack to provide a much bigger element of surprise, making Sienna's twin brother Dodger the father of Nico instead.

Not only did this require changing Dodger's age to ensure it made sense, we were also expected to believe that him and Sienna had met as teenagers, slept together and then not recognised each other when they met as adults years later. Plus, why would Patrick have moved to Hollyoaks with his daughter in the first place if he was so desperate to stop Sienna and Dodger's secret getting out?

5. The Ramsay retcon (Neighbours)

Neighbours fans got so annoyed over this particular example of rewriting history that they still complain about it eight years later. Back in 2009, the Aussie soap decided to introduce a whole new generation of Ramsay kids – Kate, Sophie and Harry, who joined Erinsborough following the death of their mum Jill in a hit-and-run accident.

Neighbours bosses were inspired by American drama series Party of Five when they decided to bring in a family of orphans, but rather than feeling sorry for the trio, viewers were more focused on the trashing of established history that was required to explain their presence.

Turned out that Jill was the illegitimate daughter of Max Ramsay and Anne Robinson (no, not that Anne Robinson). Much-loved Neighbours icon Helen Daniels had apparently known about it for years but kept it all hushed up, even adding insult to injury by cutting Jill out of her will. C'mon Neighbours, would sweet-natured Helen really have been so cruel?

6. Zoe Slater is a twin (EastEnders)

Is it possible to give birth without knowing anything about it? If you're in EastEnders and the producers have dreamed up a new storyline twist, the answer is yes. Kat and Zoe Slater's storyline has gone down in soap history thanks to that "You ain't my muvva" moment in 2001, but when show bosses revisited the plot 14 years later, they couldn't resist throwing a new shocker into the mix.

It turned out that when Kat gave birth to Zoe in 1984, she also welcomed the arrival of a baby boy, but knew nothing about it as she'd conveniently passed out by that point. With Kat oblivious, the newborn boy was handed over to nuns and adopted into an Irish family.

This storyline was created to pave the way for the search for Kat's son in spinoff drama Kat and Alfie: Redwater. Sounded good on paper, but unfortunately, only 2 million of us bothered tuning into Redwater. Now that the show has been axed, we'll possibly never find out what happened between Kat and her son Dermott, who, we found out in the spin-off show, turned out to be a serial killer priest.

7. Kirsty and Jade aren't twins (Home and Away)

Hands up if you loved watching the Sutherlands' never-ending dramas at teatime when Home and Away was going through a golden era in the early noughties? The adventures of Kirsty, Jade, Dani and their little cousin Max provided plenty of memorable storylines. The writers also had some fun with Kirsty and Jade's "psychic twin connection", which came in pretty handy for communication when the Sutherlands carelessly got themselves trapped down a mineshaft.

Hoping we'd forgotten that particular storyline, the Home and Away writers later dropped a major bombshell on us by suddenly revealing that Kirsty and Jade weren't really twins. Kirsty's real twin Laura De Groot had been switched at birth, meaning that Jade wasn't really a Sutherland. How do you explain those psychic shenanigans then? (They didn't.)

8. Denise and Kim aren't sisters (EastEnders)

The Fox sisters have one of the best sibling relationships in EastEnders, but that didn't stop the writers from introducing a mind-boggling twist at the start of this year. Fans were excited when it was announced that Denise and Kim's mother Emerald would be joining Walford, but their joy turned to horror when she was seemingly only introduced to destroy everything we thought we'd known.

Leaving with a bang after a short guest stint, Emerald spitefully told Denise and Kim that they weren't really sisters. Explaining herself before walking out of Walford in a huff, Emerald revealed that Denise was brought to her as a baby and she decided to raise her as her own.

After the initial shock value, EastEnders has barely addressed this since or explored how Denise feels about it all. Has Denise just been too busy with her other 50 storylines this year, or are EastEnders now pretending it never happened?

9. Carla's brother Darren (Coronation Street)

Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

During Carla Connor's first six years in Corrie, we often heard about her absent brother Darren, who was in jail. Fans had a feeling it was only a matter of time before he'd be introduced for a dramatic storyline and often sent in questions for the producers asking when he'd appear.

In 2012, Corrie finally announced the casting of Marc Baylis as Carla's jailed brother... Rob. For reasons best known to themselves, Corrie had changed the name of the character Carla had previously harped on about – someone in the story office clearly wasn't keen on the name Darren!

When Digital Spy later cheekily asked the show what had happened to Darren and whether Carla had two jailed brothers, we were told that Darren was Rob's middle name – although we still had our doubts when this wasn't mentioned on screen once!

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