Keep calm and Corrie on: which is soap’s unluckiest family?

In the Guide’s weekly Solved! column, we look into a crucial pop-culture question you’ve been burning to know the answer to – and settle it

All TV soaps are driven by tragedy: it’s a well-known fact that if the Great British public don’t get at least one brutal death every Christmas Day, they’ll take to the streets and riot. But which soap family is the unluckiest? Looking at the stats, you’d think it was a family from Hollyoaks, given that the village has seen a horrifying 96 murders in just 25 years, which officially makes it more dangerous to have a pint in the Dog in the Pond than live in Tijuana. In reality, you would simply just move somewhere safer.

However, consider Emmerdale’s Dingle family: the 11 (yes, 11) generations of Dingles have seen 13 family members die – in car crashes, bus crashes, by suicide and falls from multistorey car parks. And if you can find an Emmerdale fan who didn’t cry when Lisa died of amyloidosis on her wedding day, I’ll show you a monster.

You could consider Hollyoaks’ McQueens similarly cursed. Over the years, family members have died in increasingly bizarre ways: Tina was blown up in a church, while Carmel died in a train crash and Lily got sepsis. Poor Mercedes has been stalked by a serial killer, strangled and shot – but still survived.

Coronation Street’s Platt family are particularly unfortunate. They’ve survived Richard Hillman’s murder-suicide attempt (he drove the family car into the canal); con man Lewis Archer stole Gail’s life savings just a few years after she was falsely imprisoned for the death of her husband Joe; another ex, Brian, was stabbed to death; and David’s wife Kylie died in his arms after being knifed in the street. Also, poor Sarah had postpartum psychosis; baby Bethany accidentally swallowed an ecstasy tablet; and Audrey was swindled out of £80k by her grandson Nick. After all that, a sinkhole opened up beneath their home. You couldn’t make it up! Only, of course, the scriptwriters did.

Despite such horrors, surely the most unlucky soap clan is EastEnders’ Beale family. To share a last name with Ian Beale is to sign your own death certificate. He has been married six times to five women and three of them are now dead: Mel walked into the path of a speeding lorry; Cindy died in prison giving birth; while Laura tripped over a child’s toy and broke her neck. Only his third wife Jane – after being “accidentally” shot and then trapped in a fire – managed to escape Albert Square with her life.

Ian’s mum, Kathy, has dealt with two sexual assaults, a violent marriage to Phil Mitchell, her daughter’s drug overdose, and “died” in a car crash in 2006, only to return in 2015. The one scrap of luck Kathy has had – ever – was convincing Albert Square’s residents that it’s OK to charge £6 for a coffee and a bacon roll in the caff. Ian’s kids aren’t faring much better: daughter, Lucy, was killed by her own brother, Bobby; and Ian’s adopted son, Steven, was murdered by Max Branning.

But isn’t the unluckiest part of all of this that they’re related to soap’s most miserable, whiny, sneaky weasel? Ian is a coward who would double-cross his own mum over the last biscuit in the packet. There is no worse luck for a soap character than to be related to or, even worse, have sex with Ian Beale. Honestly, you’d rather move to Hollyoaks and take your chances.

Comments are closed.