From red weddings to funeral fights, we highlight 10 of those storylines that turn up as regularly as a love rat in your favourite soaps

Have you heard the soap storyline about the girl who got pregnant while fighting at a funeral, before being killed by a helicopter through the church roof, only to reappear alive and well 10 years later? Well, if you’re a soap fan, you most certainly have… on numerous occasions too.

Here is our list of the top 10 clichéd plots that keep us all gripped and glued to our sofa seats every week.

1 | Just forget it…

We all know soap stars have exceedingly fragile skulls. Any trip, stumble or fall near a table edge, kerb or stairs will inevitably lead to a long drawn out coma (complete with hand wringing bedside vigils from family members), and – upon finally waking – amnesia. Cue a couple of weeks of some desperate family member or neighbourhood foe thinking they’re in the clear, before the inevitable return of memory… and dire consequences dished up and dealt out.

CORONATION STREET | Just how long would it take before Ken’s memory returned?

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Ladies – Never EVER EVER get drunk!

If an innocent soap teen is involved in any boozy bedroom business, there simply must be CONSEQUENCES, especially if it’s for the first time. Beware! Instant pregnancy inevitably awaits these innocent souls. Thankfully, real life is not so fertile! Also there is generally some uncertainty as to the identity of the father… This means eight months or so of exquisite mental torture leading to the inevitable DNA test.

EMMERDALE |Vanessa thought her baby Johnny was Adam’s, but he turned out to be Kirin’s.

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3 | Secret love child

For guys, any fumble in the barn or the ginnel in their formative years will come back to haunt them in the shape of a fully formed teenager turning up, often with their bags, on the doorstep. How many times this can happen is a pretty much unlimited storyline. Sometimes, even looking at a lady in a loving way can lead to disaster. It is a great way to introduce fully formed and connected characters to the fold though, so consequently it will remain a firm staple for any soap in need of a fresh face.

EASTENDERS | Grant found out that Michelle’s son Mark was his.

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4 | Who’s the Daddy?

It always happens, that within any close-knit soap family (none of whom ever resemble each other) one will turn out to be adopted, or have a different father. What happens next, is a traumatic journey full of recriminations, angst and turmoil as family members come to terms with being lied to for decades!

HOLLYOAKS | Dodger Savage finding out Dirk wasn’t his dad –  it was Patrick.

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5 | Now you see them…

Not all soap stars want to play a single role for their entire acting career. Some choose to leave the show. Bags are packed, a taxi pulls up at their home, a wave and a tear, and they are gone to New Zealand, South Africa, Spain or Watford. It’s a handy get-out for other characters, who disappear to visit them, and when events demand the presence of these expats (weddings, death bed vigils, funerals, etc) unconvincing excuses are proffered as to why they cannot attend.

CORRIE | Steve’s brother Andy returned only once, for Steve and Becky’s wedding.

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6 | Return of the Living Dead…

Someone is presumed dead, but there is no body. A car has crashed and exploded, clothes are found on the beach, or an avalanche has occurred on a skiing trip, etc. Family and friends unite in grief, and a memorial complete with tears and heartfelt speeches ensues. Suddenly the door opens, and in strides the ‘deceased’ For some, it is a joyful moment, while others, usually will recipients, secretly curse.

NEIGHBOURS | Harold returned to  the soap after a five-year absence.

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7 | The Red Wedding

What bride doesn’t look forward to their wedding, hoping it will be the happiest day of their lives. What could go wrong? Well, pretty much everything in a soap wedding. Infidelities are exposed, love rats come forward, natural disasters strike… In soap land, there are only two things guaranteed on a wedding day – chaos and misery!

EMMERDALE | Rhona and Pierce before their marriage disaster.

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8 |  Fireworks at the Funeral

Funerals are solemn events, right? Tears, sorrow and heartfelt eulogies from friends and family. Not in soap land, they’re not! Cue a cat fight over the casket, or a  punch up in the pulpit, while the priest and mourners look on open-mouthed. The funeral is a clichéd setting for soap struggles to be sorted out.

CORRIE | Peter punching Rob at Tina’s funeral?

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9/ Local jobs for local people

Just how far would you go to get a job? Well, the rule in soap land is…around two streets from your home max. Everyone, but everyone, ends up employed in either the pub across the road, the cafe, garage or coffee house – and often in all of them at some point in their fictional working life.

CORRIE | The Underworld Factory – employing residents of the Street since 1990.

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10/ Never leave soap land!

A holiday is planned, or day trip, or indeed anything outside the normal soap environment, and what will follow is generally death and disaster. Clifftop falls, snakes on a plane, quicksand, a motorway pile-up, you name it and a soap has generally featured it. The more detailed a holiday or getaway is planned, the greater will be the disaster.

CORRIE | Nick should have known better than to leave the safety of the street for the deadly beaches of Morecambe Bay!

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