The best soap moments of 2021: From 'Coronation Street' and 'Emmerdale' to 'EastEnders' and 'Casualty'

·7-min read
It's been a drama-filled 2021 in soap land (ITV/BBC)
It's been a drama-filled 2021 in soap land (ITV/BBC)

We’ve had a sinkhole disaster in Weatherfied, death by Tube train in Walford and an outdoor challenge on Emmerdale that went horribly wrong.

As ever, it’s been a dramatic year in soapland, so here’s a rundown of the most impactful moments:

Nina remembers the attack - Coronation Street

Nina Lucas and Seb Franklin are set to be attacked on Coronation Street. (ITV/Danielle Baguley)
Nina Lucas and Seb Franklin were tragically attacked on Coronation Street. (ITV/Danielle Baguley)

Her memory of the assault on her and Seb having been lost, Nina retraced her steps along the canal and finally recalled the moment of the fatal showdown.

Read more: The best TV of 2021

In a specially filmed and emotive flashback, viewers got confirmation that Corey had been the sadistic culprit, while actor Harry Visinoni returned to shoot Seb’s dying moments as he crawled across the ground to be with an injured Nina.

The bridge collapse - Emmerdale


FROM ITV

STRICT EMBARGO - No Use Before Tuesday 19th October 2021

Emmerdale - Week 42

Monday 18th Friday 22nd October 2021

Behind the scenes of Emmerdale's Big Week!

The rope bridge collapses


Picture desk contact - David.crook@itv.com

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FROM ITV

STRICT EMBARGO - No Use Before Tuesday 19th October 2021

Emmerdale - Week 42

Monday 18th Friday 22nd October 2021

Behind the scenes of Emmerdale's Big Week!

The rope bridge collapses


Picture desk contact - David.crook@itv.com

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FROM ITV

STRICT EMBARGO - No Use Before Tuesday 19th October 2021

Coronation Street - Ep 10464

Monday 25th October 2021 - 1st ep

Roy Cropper’s [DAVID NEILSON] conscience starts to cause him problems

Picture desk contact - David.crook@itv.com

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Behind the scenes of Emmerdale's Big Week as the rope bridge collapses (ITV)

An outdoor pursuits event became the day out from hell when disaster struck. Some participants almost drowned and Andrea was murdered by Meena in a maize maze. But as far as stunts go, it was the initial collapsing of the bridge that proved to be the most spectacular. In a scene reminiscent of the climax to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, the likes of David and Victoria tried to cling on while dangling vertiginously high up.

The big soap crossover for climate change

Some may have deemed it to be a gimmicky profile-boosting exercise, but there were definite good intentions behind the soaps uniting on screen to highlight the issue of climate change. Plus, we now know that our continuing dramas do exist in a shared universe, with the likes of Corrie’s Maria and Tracy known to those in Walford, and Emmerdale’s Liam having once been best buddies with Casualty’s Dylan.

Mick confronts abuser Katy - EastEnders

Danny Dyer is up for another gong. (BBC/Kieron McCarron)
Danny Dyer is up for another gong. (BBC/Kieron McCarron)

After the buried memories of the sexual abuse he’d endured as a youngster resurfaced, Mick decided to confront the person responsible: manipulative Katy Lewis. In a confrontation screened on New Year’s Day, Mick had a showdown with Katy, who tried to make out that what had happened between them was consensual. But he was having none of it and Katy ended up being prosecuted and later jailed.

The end of Paul - Emmerdale

FROM ITV

STRICT EMBARGO 
Print media - No Use Before Tuesday 23rd March 2021
Online Media - No Use Before 0700hrs  Tuesday 23rd March 2021

Emmerdale - Ep 901011

Thursday 1st April 2021

Liv Flaherty [ISOBEL STEELE] confronts Paul Ashdale [REECE DINSDALE]. in the wedding barn but has she put herself in grave danger? How will Paul react when heÕs confronted? 

Picture contact David.crook@itv.com 

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Liv (Isobel Steele) confronted Paul Ashdale (Reece Dinsdale) in the wedding barn (ITV)

Nobody should ever get married on a soap, as terrible things always happen on the day of the ceremony. So violent groom-to-be Paul discovered when a truck Jimmy was driving ploughed into the wedding barn and ignited a gas canister.

Read more: The most controversial TV moments of 2021

Paul ended up dying from injuries sustained in the blast that followed, while bride Mandy was left weeping into her frock before discovering that her fella had been an abusive fiend.

Covid in the emergency department - Casualty

Tony Marshall played Noel Garcia on Casualty (BBC)
Tony Marshall played Noel Garcia on Casualty (BBC)

Like the other soaps, Casualty had to go on a production break in 2020 due to the pandemic, but it returned in January 2021 with a memorable episode that saw the ED staff dealing with the harrowing effects of Covid on the ward. As pressures mounted, many of the medics found themselves buckling under the pressure, especially when beloved receptionist Noel ended up losing his life to the virus.

Keegan is attacked by racists - EastEnders

Zack Morris as Keegan Baker in EastEnders (BBC/Kieron McCarron)
Zack Morris as Keegan Baker in EastEnders (BBC/Kieron McCarron)

It’s been a somewhat aimless year in Albert Square with the BBC1 soap being far from its best. But some of that much-needed EastEnders edginess was recovered in December when Keegan found himself the victim of a far-right group who counted newcomer Aaron among their number. In a bid to highlight the racial bigotry that still exists in this country, the writers had Keegan set-upon by the gang who beat him up and left him for dead.

Sinkhole mayhem - Coronation Street

FROM ITV

STRICT EMBARGO - No Use Before Tuesday 19th October 2021

Coronation Street - Ep 10464

Monday 25th October 2021 - 1st ep

¥	The residents reel from the traumatic events whilst Leo [JOE FROST] breaks the news to David Platt [JACK P SHPHERD] and Shona Platt [JULIA GOULDING] that had they had the sinkhole repaired sooner, the catastrophe of the previous evening would never have happened.

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A sinkhole caused chaos on the cobbles this year (ITV)

The Platt clan rued their failure to fix the sinkhole in their back garden when it became suddenly unstable, yawned open and swallowed up half the neighbourhood. By the end of a dramatic week, two people were dead, with Johnny drowning in the Victorian sewers beneath the Street and Natasha having been shot by Harvey, whose escape from prison just happened to have coincided with this local catastrophe.

Black to Front - Hollyoaks

Back on the 10th of September, Channel 4 showcased black talent in a special day of programming. And that day’s Hollyoaks became a notable part of the overall event with a triumphant episode written, directed and acted by the show’s cast and production team.

Read more: Your guide to streaming this Christmas

In it, the Devereaux family was seen celebrating the birthday of patriarch Walter, an occasion that also featured the debut of a number of new regular characters.

Rocky is revealed to be an impostor - EastEnders

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 16/11/2021 - Programme Name: EastEnders - October-December 2021 - TX: 23/11/2021 - Episode: EastEnders - October-December 2021 - 6382 (No. 6382) - Picture Shows: ***EMBARGOED TILL TUESDAY 16TH NOVEMBER 2021*** Kathy Beale (GILLIAN TAYLFORTH), Sonia Fowler (NATALIE CASSIDY), Rocky (BRIAN CONLEY) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Kieron McCarron/Jack Barnes
Rocky came to the square laden with secrets (BBC/Kieron McCarron/Jack Barnes)

Brian Conley made his Walford debut in May as Terry “Rocky” Cant, who revealed himself to be Sonia’s long-lost dad. But it was all too good to be true and, by September, viewers had learned that Rocky was actually Tom Cotton (the brother of Nasty Nick) and was actually plotting with Dotty to fleece Sonia of the money that Dot had entrusted her to manage. Events look set to come to a head at Christmas…

Sam’s “black hole” eulogy - Coronation Street

FROM ITV

STRICT EMBARGO - No Use Before Tuesday Tuesday 2nd November 2021

Coronation Street - Ep 10477

Monday 8th November 2021 - 2nd Ep

Sam Blakeman [JUDE RIORDAN] silently hands Nick Tilsley [BEN PRICE] a piece of paper on which heÕs written a eulogy to his Mum. As Nick reads out SamÕs eulogy, he struggles to contain his emotions.

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Nick read out Sam's eulogy on his behalf (ITV)

Jude Riordan has been Corrie’s stand-out star this year, winning an NTA for his performance and breaking hearts with stargazer Sam’s reaction to mum Natasha’s death. With the youngster unable to speak following the tragedy, it was left to dad Nick to read Sam’s eulogy, in which he described how he’d fallen into a black hole and didn’t know how to get out. Often, child roles are recast when the teen years hit – there’s no chance of this happening with Sam.

Hit and run tragedy for Brody - Hollyoaks

Just when it looked as though Sienna and Brody were to get their happy ever after, viewers saw fate intervene in the cruellest way possible. A hit-and-run collision did for Brody and ended actor Adam Woodward’s three-year stint on the soap, with the fallout from the death having seen villainous Warren Fox trying deserpately to cover up the fact that he was the one responsible.

Meena kills Leanna - Emmerdale

FROM ITV

STRICT EMBARGO 
Print media - No Use Before Tuesday 29th June 2021
Online Media - No Use Before 0700hrs  Tuesday 29th June 2021

Emmerdale - Ep 909293

TBC - Tuesday 6th July 2021 OR Wednesday 7th July

 Leanna Cavanagh [MIMI SLINGER] is in her bedroom and is creeped out when Meena [PAIGE SANDHU] enters and asks for the rucksack.

Picture contact David.crook@itv.com 

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Leanna was creeped out when Meena entered her room and asked for the rucksack. (ITV)

The village’s answer to Villanelle from Killing Eve struck back in July when, in order to cover up a deadly secret, the sociopathic Meena hunted down her prey Leanna and tipped her over a bridge and onto some rocks below. Since then, Meena has been blithely dispatching victims left, right and centre, with some viewers now praying for her to be caught while others revel in the over-the-top camp appeal of her killing spree.

Gray pushes Kush - EastEnders

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 06/04/2021 - Programme Name: EastEnders - Portraits 2021 - TX: 12/04/2021 - Episode: EastEnders - Whitney, Kush and Gray iconic (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: ***EMBARGOED TILL TUESDAY 6TH APRIL 2021*** Whitney Dean (SHONA MCGARTY), Kush Kazemi (DAVOOD GHADAMI), Gray Atkins (TOBY-ALEXANDER SMITH) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Jack Barnes
Whitney, Kush, and Gray provided drama on EastEnders this year (BBC/Jack Barnes)

It was the Square’s most notable (and, at the same time, ridiculous) death of the year as psychopathic solicitor Gray pushed lovable Kush under a Tube train. Many fans cried foul, complaining that a powerful storyline about domestic abuse had morphed into a credulity-straining serial killer melodrama. And fans’ patience was tested further when it transpired that the Underground’s CCTV was on the blink and had failed to capture Kush’s demise.

Norris’s funeral - Coronation Street

FROM ITV

STRICT EMBARGO - No Use Before  Tuesday 14th September  2021

Coronation Street - Ep 10438

Friday 24th September 2021 - 1st Ep 

Rita Tanner [BARBARA KNOX] delivers a heartwarming eulogy about her best friend

Picture contact David.crook@itv.com 


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Rita Tanner delivered a heartwarming eulogy about Norris (ITV)

A funeral wouldn’t ordinarily be the go-to place for comedy, but Corrie gave Norris a very appropriate send-off, complete with Mary in a Princess Leia costume, Audrey swigging from a hip flask and Rita left aghast by claims made by the resident busybody in a speech penned prior to his demise. This triumphant farce then climaxed in the paperboy statue outside the Kabin being chain-sawed as Norris’s nearest and dearest tried to uncover his final secret.

Watch the stars of Coronation Street talk to Yahoo about Super Soap Week