EastEnders' boat crash to Corrie's 10,000th: 19 unforgettable 2020 soap moments

No matter what is going on in the real world, we can always rely on the soaps to provide us with the escapism we need.

That is perhaps truer this year than ever before, and it’s safe to say our favourite serial dramas didn’t disappoint.

The whodunits were in full flow, and the anniversaries were aplenty. EastEnders was forced to go off the air for the first time in history, and Coronation Street wrappws up the compelling Geoff and Yasmeen story.

Yes, it’s a year that will, quite frankly, live in our minds for quite some time to come, but before we bid farewell to 2020 once and for all, let’s take a look back at the most memorable moments that the soaps have brought us.

Did your favourite make the list?

Tragedy on the Thames as EastEnders turns 35

Nobody does an anniversary quite like EastEnders, and the 35th certainly lived up to the hype, with a week of special episodes that saw the residents of Walford celebrate onboard a party boat — on the Thames!

Disaster was inevitable, eh?

Yes, the boat crashed, trapping our favourite mainstays, and ultimately Dennis Rickman lost his life — an incident which became the catalyst in Sharon Watts’ recent moral descent.

With several stories having been expertly woven together — and some superb direction too — the anniversary week was nothing short of spectacular.

Yasmeen fights back in Coronation Street

Geoff continued to bully and abuse Yasmeen for much of this year, but in a superb and extremely harrowing episode broadcast on May 1, she ultimately had enough, and thus fought back — stabbing her husband in the neck with a broken bottle.

Hollyoaks goes to the seaside

Juliet Nightingale and Sid Sumner’s first drugs run for Jordan Price saw the youths head to the seaside with pals Ollie Morgan and Imran Maalik in a gripping hour-long special.

The tense instalment not only boasted beautiful visuals, but it set the scene for one of soap’s greatest 2020 moments, as Juliet opened up to Sid about her sexuality in a scene which ultimately strengthened their friendship.

Emmerdale’s gripping ‘Who Killed Graham?’ saga

There have been quite a few whodunits in soap this year, and Emmerdale’s offering certainly boasted something different, as Graham Foster was brutally murdered by a mystery assailant.

Told over a week, the suspects’ secrets about the night in which Kim Tate’s former lover perished were exposed, before viewers learned that the killer was none other than rapist Pierce Harris.

The storyline employed unusual narrative techniques, and interesting filming choices, which aided in making it an incredibly memorable one.

Neighbours turns 35 with thrilling late-night specials

Like EastEnders, Neighbours’ celebrated its 35th anniversary in an explosive fashion, with a series of late-night offerings.

With Finn Kelly’s memories having returned, he was hellbent on eliminating all those who posed a threat, and therefore exacted his masterplan on a secluded island.

The darker — and somewhat steamy! — instalments juxtaposed the lighter daytime episodes beautifully, crafting an anniversary week that was fit for the iconic long-running serial drama.

Casualty’s ‘missing’ episode

The nation was left somewhat divided back in May when — in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic — an episode of Casualty was scrapped as it was deemed ‘inappropriate’.

The decision was met with criticism from some fans, many who called for the ‘missing’ instalment to be made available on BBC iPlayer.

The episode — entitled ‘Code Red’ — was eventually broadcast in September, after the remaining pre-lockdown episodes had run out, and it was certainly worth the wait.

Chantelle’s tragic death in EastEnders

EastEnders fans were left in shock when the BBC One soap revealed that Chantelle Atkins would tragically die at the hands of abuser Gray.

The devastating scenes ultimately aired in September, and were met with acclaim, with many praising actress Jessica Plummer, as well as how the soap managed to pull off such a harrowing and effective episode with strict social distancing measures in place.

Holby City deals with coronavirus

BBC’s Head of Continuing Drama Kate Oates told The Guardian that Holby’s pre-coronavirus material had to be scrapped, as it would no longer ‘feel relevant’ given what’s going on, and therefore, the soap’s return episode centred on the coronavirus pandemic.

Max McGerry struggled to maintain control as coronavirus took hold, and the mainstays of the hospital adjusted due to the outbreak.

Home and Away’s hospital siege

The Northern Districts hospital came under siege in tense scenes, and ultimately mainstay Mason Morgan — who was caught in the crossfire — died as a result.

The gripping episode in question aired in March on Channel 5, but it was actually Australia’s final offering of the previous year.

Oliver’s story in Coronation Street

One of soap’s most tragic ever stories saw Leanne Battersby and Steve McDonald say goodbye to their little boy Oliver, following his diagnosis with mitochondrial disease.

After months of searching for a miracle cure, and going to court in an effort to prolong his life, Leanne ultimately agreed to let Oliver go, and — in devastating scenes broadcast in November — they switched off his life support.

Hollyoaks turns 25 — and Kurt returns

While Hollyoaks usually reserves October for devastating blockbuster stunts, 2020 was all about one thing: the Channel 4 soap’s 25th anniversary!

Marking such a milestone in a pandemic was no easy feat, but Hollyoaks pulled off one of the best weeks in recent memory with a series of huge returns — Kurt Benson, Theresa McQueen and Silas Blissett — strong stories, and shocks aplenty.

With drama this good, who needs stunts anyway?

Malone meets a brutal end in Emmerdale

DI Malone was quite possibly the most hated soap character of 2020 — which means actor Mark Womack did his job well.

The bent copper made several residents of the eponymous village’s lives a living hell, but he ultimately paid for his sins when lover Harriet Finch attacked him with a kettle, before Dawn Taylor shot him repeatedly.

Hollyoaks gives Breda a late-night demise

The return of Hollyoaks Later was something we’ve been waiting a long time for, and it certainly didn’t disappoint!

Breda McQueen had been wreaking havoc on all those she deemed to be bad dads, but she ultimately paid the price when her plan backfired, and son Sylver stabbed her through the skull with her own knitting needles!

Brutal, but brilliant.

Coronation Street celebrates 10,000 episodes

Reaching 10,000 episodes is certainly something to celebrate, and Coronation Street did so in the best way imaginable.

No, there were no big explosions or over-the-top stunts, but rather viewers were treated to an hour of well-written kitchen-sink drama and comedy — paying tribute to soap’s heydays.

The instalment was riddled with Easter Eggs and throwbacks, and it was the feel-good tonic that we needed in such an unusual year.

EastEnders’ clever nod to the past

It’s not just Corrie that paid tribute to its past, as EastEnders cleverly recreated its most iconic ever moment ahead of its 35th anniversary.

With her marriage to Mick at breaking point, alcoholic Linda issued her beloved husband with divorce papers — in the exact same spot that Den did to Angie 34 years earlier.

The little nod was subtle enough to not impact upon the magnitude of a moment such as Linda asking Mick for a divorce, but it certainly didn’t go unnoticed by those of us who love little throwbacks such as this one.

Hollyoaks reveals the body bag victim

The biggest soap mystery of the year came in the form of Hollyoaks’ body bag — and viewers had certainly been attempting to guess which mainstay was in said body bag ever since it was previewed in last year’s flash forward episode.

After a whole year of guess work, the Channel 4 soap revealed Jordan Price as the unfortunate victim, and while we’re sorry to see him go, the pay-off was certainly worth waiting 12 months for!

Coronation Street turns 60 — and Yasmeen gets justice

Yasmeen’s imprisonment for retaliating against Geoff further solidified the audiences desire to see justice prevail, and that’s exactly what happened when the trial arrived.

Yes, after Imran Habeeb proved that he is a king among men in the courtroom, Yasmeen was freed from captivity, and Geoff lost everything — including his life in an epic rooftop showdown during the soap’s 60th anniversary week.

EastEnders goes off the air

2020 took a lot of things from us, and one of those things was EastEnders. Well, for a short time, anyway.

Yes, due to the production break as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the BBC One soap was forced to go off the air for the first time in history.

Doof Doof…

The final pre-lockdown episode aired on June 16, and it inadvertently proved to be the perfect ‘Series 1’ finale, as Sharon Watts reclaimed control of the Queen Vic, after Mick and Linda Carter decided to sell up.

Emmerdale’s lockdown episodes

Emmerdale made history by being one of the first shows to resume production amid the pandemic, and it did so with a series of lockdown episodes, which reverted the soap back to basics.

The instalments in question are proof that — in spite of all the bells and whistles that come with stunts, whodunits, and narrative twists — soaps often work best when simple character-driven stories are at the forefront.

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