EastEnders, Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks; It’s time to remember THE most dramatic Christmas storylines ever

Eastenders, Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks; It's time to remember THE most dramatic Christmas storylines ever

by Kayleigh Dray |
Published on

Are you ready to look back over the most depressing, explosive and dramatic Christmas soap story lines ever? Tissues at the ready Closerettes, as we round up the most biggest ever Christmas shockers...

22. Max and Stacy's affair revealed (Eastenders 2007)

The Branning family had settled down for a lovely Christmas together when, all of a sudden, the family video they were watching flickered over to a shot of Stacey Slater getting down and dirty with Max Branning. Too bad she was a) married to his son Bradley and b) he was married to Tanya.

It's so awkward and so very tense because we, the viewers, know exactly what's about to happen. And all those shots of the family laughing over Max's feet or smiling over Stacey and Tanya having a hug… well, they're just the prelude to something far more dramatic.

SEX WITH YOUR FATHER-IN-LAW ON THE DAY OF YOUR WEDDING, STACEY? Not cool. And Max? We just.. we just don't understand why you manage to get away with this stuff all the time. We really don't.

21. Richard Hillman attempts to smother Emily with a pillow (Coronation Street 2002)

Richard Hillman was, as Gail famously described him "Norman Bates with a briefcase". Remember how, on Christmas Day, he attempted to smother poor Emily with a pillow?

Thank goodness Audrey came back when she did - we love Emily, after all. But Richard wasn't deterred; just a few weeks later he went after Em with a crowbar - but ended up beating poor Maxine Peacock to death instead.

We're never really sure what Maxine is looking at when she screams like that, but it's still seriously dramatic stuff. There'll never be a villain quite like the Hillman again.

20. Clare tries to kill Max (Hollyoaks 2006)

Clare was probably one of the most evil soap villains of all time - particularly because it came out of the blue. She was so NICE before, friendly and likeable and a loyal girlfriend to Max. But then she found out about his £500,000 life insurance policy, so she obviously decided to kill him and claim the money for herself.

She tampered with his medication, isolated him from his friends and family and took him and his little brother, Tom, away to a trip near an icy lake. See where this is going?

Poor Max became sicker and sicker, slowly realising exactly what Clare's up to - but not before she tosses his little brother in the lake. He jumps in to save Tom - only to discover that Tom is safe and well and he's actually risked his life for one of his bro's red jackets.

Too bad he's too sick to swim to safety, huh?

We love how OB, at the very last minute, ruses up, punches Clare heartily in the face and rescues Max from a watery grave. Thank goodness someone had her number, eh?

19. Archie Mitchell is murdered (Eastenders 2009)

It was only a matter of time until someone used the iconic bust of Queen Victoria to bonk a soap villain over the head and kill them dead, wasn't it?

So many potential suspects, all in the right place at the tight time. It was basically a case of Who Shot Mr Burns all over again, for fans of non-animated TV shows.

Hint: It was Stacey who did it. She'd been raped by Archie Mitchell and wound up murdering him - but hubby Bradley - yup, still loved her after she slept with Max - took the blame for her a few weeks later. They were chased down by police, he led them away from his one true love and, after screaming a warning to Stacey, he fell from some scaffolding and died.

Fancy a reminder of how that all went down?

Eastenders never stops giving the public what they want.

18. Dawn Cunningham’s death (Hollyoaks 1997)

Dawn Cunningham’s BFF Jambo had always been in love with her but, as is the way of these things, found himself firmly in The Friend Zone for a very long time.

But, after he helped Dawn find a kidney donor for her daughter Beth, Dawn suddenly realised that she loved him, completely and utterly. Cue the pair getting together and living happily ever after - until, that is, Dawn was diagnosed with Leukaemia.

It was horribly inevitable that, on Christmas Day of that same year, Jambo would take Dawn out on a hired rowing boat to propose to her. And, rather than the happy ever after we were all hoping for, the girl of his dreams lost her cancer fight and died right there in his arms.

17. Pauline dies in the snow (Eastenders 2006)

Remember the heart wrenching moment an embittered Pauline Fowler, played expertly by the late Wendy Richards, died alone and suddenly in Albert Square? Snowball fights and jollity went on all around her as she lay in the snow, to be found by her estranged son Mark and Dot Cotton.

Oh Pauline. We miss you - we hope that the big Square in the sky is treating you right.

16. The plane crash (Emmerdale 1993)

Emmerdale Plane Crash 1993
©ITV

Emmerdale decided to one-up EVERYONE in the depressing stakes when they dropped a plane on Beckindale in December 1993. Because why not, eh?

We first got wind that something was up when Frank Tate noticed a ball of fire hit the stables. And it all kicked off from there; Nick Bates and Archie Brooks were blinded by fluid, leaving Archie engulfed in flames, the horses frantically attempted to escape their stable (it was awful to listen to), Mark's arm was spotted sticking out of some rubble and Elizabeth… well, we're pretty sure Eric murdered her, but she was declared a victim of the crash too.

Four villagers dead, bodies strew everywhere, buildings destroyed and horses left to burn to death. Worst Christmas ever? Almost definitely.

15. Trevor serves Little Mo a Christmas dinner (Eastenders 2001)

Trevor was just… he was just so horribly, horribly evil. He beat and tormented his poor wife Little Mo, even raping her as punishment for attending her own sister's wedding.

But it all came to a head on Christmas day when Little Mo arrives home late for lunch. Trevor seems sweet as pie for a few minutes, before pouring an entire jug of gravy onto her plate. As she begs him to stop, he violently grabs her face and shoves it into her plate, before hurling the food to the floor and forcing her to eat the remains from the carpet.

In any other situation, a face covered in gravy would get a laugh on Christmas day. But this was just harrowing to watch.

14. Bianca's abortion (Eastenders 1997)

Ricky and Bianca were left heartbroken when they decided to abort their unborn daughter Natasha, whom doctors had diagnosed as having spina bifida and hydrocephalus. As the telly favourite came to terms with the trauma, vicar Alex gives a speech on the subject of hope before switching on the Square’s Christmas tree lights

Finally, a ray of hope from Eastenders on Christmas Day.

13. Kevin attacks John Stape (Coronation Street 2007)

Teacher John Stape was just.. he was just ridiculous at covering his tracks when it came to his affair with student Rosie. He only went and mixed up her and wife Fiz's presents on Christmas day, exposing the whole sorry affair.

Most awkward family dinner ever? We think so. John DEFINITELY deserved that smack in the face!

12. Sally reveals she has cancer (Coronation Street 2009)

Kevin isn't exactly squeaky-clean himself when it comes to affairs; remember when he was doing the dirty with Molly, his best mate Tyrone's wife? Mmhmm. He was all set to run off with her into the sunset too, but his wife Sally revealed to him that she was suffering from breast cancer - and, all of a sudden, Kevin realised where his priorities lay.

11. The Storm (Emmerdale 2003)

Note the capital letter.

Done with dropping planes onto the unfortunate villagers, the soap producers decided a terrifying storm would shake things up some - and they weren't wrong. Tricia discovered that Marlon had slept with his cousin Charity whilst she was in India, so she decided to leave the Dales and get away from him forever.

But then she found a list of she soon found a list of 101 reasons why Marlon loved her and decided that she wanted to stay with him after all. Cue a bolt of lightning striking an oak tree, knocking Tricia to the floor, and the Woolpack's chimney falling down on top of her. Poor Marlon heartbreakingly had to decide to turn off Tricia's life support when it was revealed she would never recover, putting an end to one of soap land's best couples ever.

At least the horses were okay this time. That's… that's something.

10. Tiffany's death (Eastenders 1998)

We're cheating a little bit, because this one happened on new Year's Eve, but, y'know, same festive atmosphere. Martine McCutcheon's Tiffany was one of the soap's most popular characters so, when she decided to leave the show and pursue a musical career (which went really well, obviously), the producers decided to give her a dramatic finale.

It was a slow-burner; Tiffany, annoyed that Grant had slept with her mum (well, you would), grabbed her baby, Courtney, and said she was leaving Albert Square forever. However, as she rushed off, she slipped down the stairs and wound up in hospital, leaving Grant to be arrested by Beppe, Tiffany’s new policeman boyfriend, who attempted to frame the Mitchell hardpan for Tiffany’s attempted murder. DRAMA-RAMA!

Tiffany left the hospital on New Year’s Eve and once again tried to leave the Square with Courtney (she never learns, does she?), but Grant grabbed his daughter and rushed off, leaving Tiffany in hot pursuit. Cue her running into the path of a car driven by Frank Butcher and dying right there in the street.

Saddest Christmas moment ever? We think so. Especially when Grant, eyes filled with tears, grabs little Court's head to shield her from seeing her mother's final breath…

Poor Frank.

9. Den serves Angie with divorce papers (Eastenders 1986)

An oldie but a goodie; nobody can forget the moment Den presented wife Angie with an extra-special Christmas present back in the 80s...

OHGODSOMUCHDRAMA!!!

8. Chastity Dingle jilts Carl at altar (Emmerdale 2010)

Chastity (AKA Chas) and Carl's relationship was… well, fraught with problems, to say the least. But it all came to a head when she discovered he'd had an affair with his COUSIN. As you'd expect.

However, rather than dumping him there and there, Chas decided to fake a pregnancy, convince him to marry her, steal the money meant for the wedding and then ditch him at the altar on Christmas Day.

Classic.

7. Explosion At The B+B (Eastenders 2011)

Remember Yusef? He was evil. Really, really evil. It was soon made clear that he was the ex-husband of Zainab, before she had an affair with Masood and he set her on fire, an act he later blamed on his family.

So you know he's going to be bad news, right? Right.

Yusef slowly works on destroying Zainab and Masood's marriage, before promising to return to Pakistan with Zainab and her baby Kamil. Presumably to finish what he'd started with her all those years ago.

When Zainab eventually stood up to Yusef, he started a fire at the Bed and Breakfast and left Masood to die, along with hapless B+B visitors Phil and Denise. Heartbreakingly, when Zainab lies to Yusef and tells him his daughter Afia is trapped inside, he AND her son Tamwar run in to save her.

Yusef was eventually consumed by the flames, realising that Zainab had lied and Afia was safely outside all along. Tamwar was left with serious psychological and physical scars… and the Masood family were never quite the same again.

6. The Tram Crash (Coronation Street 2010)

On the 9th December, there was (you guessed it!) a large explosion at The Joinery bar during Peter Barlow’s stag party, which subsequently destroyed a section of the viaduct, which sent a tram crashing into the street. Molly Dobbs, bless her, was killed when the tram plummeted into her home, and Ashley Peacock lost his life when he held up the ceiling of The Joinery so the others could escape.

Sure, it took place at the beginning of December - but the longterm effects lasted right through Christmas. Peter married Leanne in hospital shortly before suffering a massive cardiac arrest (he lived, don't worry), Joh Stape covered up his murder of Charlotte by tossing her body into the wreckage (smart work) and Fizz went into premature labour.

Thank goodness, then, that we were also treated to show favourite Rita singing A Winter's Tale, over a montage of folk coming to terms with the horror of that night…

God bless you, Rita!

5. Jamie dies after being hit by a car driven by Martin Fowler (EastEnders 2002)

One of the show’s most well-remembered exits is that of Jamie Mitchell, Albert Square's version of Leonardo DiCaprio. The poor lad's spleen was left damaged following a run-in with Martin Fowler’s car and he died in hospital with Sonia at his side, poor Phil looking on in horror and disbelief.

Billy getting married to Little Mo was the perfect foil to Jamie's death, wasn't it?

4. Becky's suicide attempt (Coronation Street 2011)

Another year, another not-so-merry Christmas in Coronation Street. Becky MacDonald, upon hearing Steve had proposed to Tracy Barlow, tried to commit suicide by setting her home on fire…

… but, thankfully, she was rescued by Nick. Yay for Nick!

3. Nick leaves Leanne at the altar (Coronation Street 2012)

Speaking of Nick, remember when he left Leanne at the altar after finding out she'd been visiting ex-husband Peter behind his back?

Lesson learned; never try to get married on Christmas Day. It's never going to work.

2. Sean Slater reads those paternity results (Eastenders 2009)

Christmas dinner in Albert Square is never… well, it's never a jolly affair. Especially when Archie Mitchell has slipped some controversial paternity results into a Christmas cracker (at least he's getting into the festive spirit, we suppose!).

Sean, as you can imagine, wasn't too happy to discover that his and Roxy's daughter Amy was actually Jack's...

Now you see why nobody was too upset when Archie died...

1. Ronnie Mitchell's tragedy (Eastenders 2011)

This one was genuinely heartbreaking; Ronnie Mitchell wakes up to discover her baby son has died and, in her grief, wanders Albert Square clutching the infant to her chest.

Until she hears the cries of Kat Moon's son coming from the open window of The Queen Vic.

Cue the most explosive and controversial storyline ever…

It was, without a doubt, the most upsetting episode of Eastenders ever. Our hearts broke for Ronnie, as she realises the enormity of what she's done, for Kat, as she walks into the Vic to uncover a tragedy and for Alfie, who comes across a lifeless baby in its crib as people party downstairs.

We've changed our minds - this is 100% the worst Christmas episode ever. Ever.

What do you think of the list? What's your most memorable Christmas soap storyline? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

READ MORE

RANKED: EastEnders' most SHOCKING Christmas Day episodes

EastEnders: 20 surprising facts you didn't know about the soap

Hollyoaks: 30 surprising facts you never knew!

Check out: 17 of the STEAMIEST soap kisses in TV history

Gallery

17 of the STEAMIEST soap kisses in TV history - SLIDER with cover pic

Coronation Street1 of 37
CREDIT: ITV

Coronation Street

Emmerdale2 of 37
CREDIT: ITV

Jimmy King and Kelly Windsor, Emmerdale

Kelly Windsor had a VERY tumultuous life in the Dales. Her relationship with Jimmy King began as a brief fling, but it ended after he discovered she was working as a glamour model and didn't like it. They eventually got married,

Emmerdale3 of 37
CREDIT: ITV

Kelly Windsor and Jimmy King

Sadly, Kelly and Jimmy's relationship fell apart after she had a secret abortion and he couldn't forgive her for it, but what a steamy passion they had together!

EastEnders4 of 37
CREDIT: BBC

Sharon Mitchell and Phil Mitchell, EastEnders

Blimey, don't EastEnders writers LOVE pitting siblings against each other in a love triangle?! And why is it always the Mitchells?! Anyway. Sharon married her abusive boyfriend Grant - but falls for his sensitive brother, Phil.

EastEnders5 of 37
CREDIT: BBC

Sharon Watts and Phil Mitchell

And we all remember how that one turned out, don't we? Shaz's friend Michelle accidentally recorded them talking about how she had feelings for Phil, leaving Grant to find it and, of course, play it to the ENTIRE population of Walford in the Queen Vic at Phil and Kathy's engagement party.

Hollyoaks6 of 37
CREDIT: E4

Sienna Blake and Dodger Savage, Hollyoaks

Ok, we know this one isn't so much steamy as ABSOLUTELY GROSS, but it's pretty controversial so we simply couldn't ignore it. Dodger and Sienna conceived a baby when they were 13 after a brief encounter, but Sienna's father Patrick gave her away.

Hollyoaks7 of 37
CREDIT: E4

Sienna Blake and Dodger Savage, Hollyoaks

Fast forward however many years and they meet again - but they soon realise that despite sleeping together and having a baby, they're actually LONG LOST TWIN SIBLINGS. NOOOOO.

Emmerdale8 of 37
CREDIT: Getty Images

Kim Tate and Dave Glover, Emmerdale

Kim Tate is one of the most loved/hated characters in soap history. She is best remembered for seeming utterly evil, and her failed relationships were the stuff of legend.

Emmerdale9 of 37
CREDIT: ITV

Kim Tate and Dave Glover, Emmerdale

Despite her many passionate kisses, Kim rolling around in hay in a barn is just too classic Emmerdale to leave out.

Hollyoaks10 of 37
CREDIT: E4

Sinead O'Connor and Tony Hutchinson, Hollyoaks

Don't the soaps just LOVE an incestuous affair?! Sinead O'Connor (lol) embarked on an illicit affair with her stepfather Tony Hutchinson, who was married to her mum Diane.

Hollyoaks11 of 37
CREDIT: E4

Hollyoaks

Initially, Sinead only seduced Tony to get back at her mum, but then the pair fall in love for real and have a full-blown affair. She even thinks she's pregnant by him at one stage, before discovering he's infertile and Ste was actually the father.

Coronation Street12 of 37
CREDIT: ITV

Peter Barlow and Tina McIntyre, Coronation Street

Tina McIntyre had a very troubled life on the Street - what with her dad being killed, being a surrogate mother and having abortion. Oh, and then being killed herself. Her relationship with Peter, a much older man, began as an illicit affair as he was at that point engaged to marry Carla Connor.

Coronation Street13 of 37
CREDIT: ITV

Coronation Street

But they're not bothered about that, and have their first passionate snog on Peter's actual wedding day to Carla after she's passed out drunk. They then embark on an affair - before Carla's brother Rob murders her.

Coronation Street14 of 37
CREDIT: ITV

Coronation Street

Linda and Mark basically couldn't keep their hands off of each other. She married Mike anyway, but continued sleeping with his son. Of course! What else would she do?!

Coronation Street15 of 37
CREDIT: ITV

Linda Baldwin and Mark Redman, Coronation Street

This was yet ANOTHER incestuous affair - Underworld machinist Linda embarked on an affair with her boss Mike Baldwin, but when his son Mark Redman re-entered his life after years away, things got spicy...

Coronation Street16 of 37
CREDIT: ITV

Kate Connor and Rana Nazir, Coronation Street

Along a similar vein, Kate and Rana are currently caught up in an illicit affair - which is a bit awkward for Muslim Rana who is married to Zeedan.

Coronation Street17 of 37
CREDIT: ITV

Coronation Street

After initially writing off her jealousy at Kate's relationship, Rana slowly began to realise that it was more than just over-protectiveness of her friend. They soon began an affair - what will happen next? We wonder...

Coronation Street18 of 37
CREDIT: ITV

Deirdre Barlow and Dev Alahan, Coronation Street

Now these two were the most unlikely couple EVER. You'd would never have put them together - yet there they were, getting down and dirty on Deirdre's carpet.

Coronation Street19 of 37
CREDIT: ITV

Coronation Street

In the weirdest twist of events, Dev started going out with Deirdre's daughter Tracy - but that soon ends after their one-night stand is inevitably found out.

Emmerdale20 of 37
CREDIT: ITV

Moira Barton and Cain Dingle, Emmerdale

Moira has only been in Emmerdale for seven years, but she's achieved a LOT in that time. During her stint on the show, she and nemesis Cain have been rather entangled as they enjoyed an affair whilst she was married to her childhood sweetheart John, before they actually got married themselves.

Emmerdale21 of 37
CREDIT: ITV

Emmerdale

More recently, Moira fell pregnant - but wasn't sure who the father was. But of course, it was Cain's!

Emmerdale22 of 37
CREDIT: ITV

Robert Sugden and Aaron Barton, Emmerdale

Aaron and Robert were initially just friends, and Robert was engaged to Chrissie White. But things all changed when Aaron confessed that he was gay to Robert, triggering him to realise his own feelings...

Emmerdale23 of 37
CREDIT: ITV

Emmerdale

After luring Aaron to a random side of the road pretending that his car has broken down, the pair eventually acted on their secret desires and have a good old snog.

Emmerdale24 of 37
CREDIT: ITV

Bernice Blackstock and Carlos Diaz, Emmerdale

Bernice was married to the lovely, gentle Ashley Thomas (RIP), but in Soapland that's never enough is it! She started an affair with her sister Nicola's fiancé, Carlos Diaz.

Emmerdale25 of 37
CREDIT: ITV

Emmerdale

And obviously, Bernice fell pregnant - not knowing who the father was. She gave birth to a baby girl named Gabrielle, and after much to-ing and fro-ing, discovered that it was Ashley who was her father. Phew!

EastEnders26 of 37
CREDIT: BBC

Max Branning and Stacey Slater, EastEnders

Stacey Slater and Bradley Branning were literally the cutest couple to ever appear on EastEnders. Despite the fact that they were complete opposites, their relationship was the stuff of DREAMS.

EastEnders27 of 37
CREDIT: BBC

EastEnders

...That is, until Stacey started sleeping with his dad, Max. People across the country will ALWAYS remember the moment that Lauren revealed Max and Stacey's affair to the world with a home video that accidentally filmed Max and Stacey snogging on her wedding day to Bradley. Awks.

EastEnders28 of 37
CREDIT: BBc

Roxy Mitchell and Jack Branning, EastEnders

Now this was the ULTIMATE betrayal. Ronnie and Jack were in love with each other for the longest time, and were in this sort of weird on-off thing for ages. They FINALLY were able to put their past aside and get married, but we all know how that ended...

EastEnders29 of 37
CREDIT: BBC

EastEnders

In the midst of all this, Roxy and Jack had a passionate one-night stand - despite the fact that Ronnie knew full well that her sister was in love with Jack, Roxy slept with him and became pregnant.

EastEnders30 of 37
CREDIT: BBC

EastEnders

Tragically, Jamie was killed by none other than Martin himself, and Sonia stayed with him until his death in the hospital on Christmas Day 2002.

EastEnders31 of 37
CREDIT: BBC

Sonia Jackson and Jamie Mitchell, EastEnders

Sonia and Jamie were just two messed up kids who found happiness with each other - that is, until Sonia found out she was pregnant by Martin Fowler after a one-night stand. Despite this, they put their trouble behind them and got married.

EastEnders32 of 37
CREDIT: BBC

Christian Clarke and Syed Massood, EastEnders

Now THIS was a forbidden love if ever we've seen one. Syed and Christian slowly fell in love over time - but Syed's Muslim background meant that it was utterly prohibited. And so much more tantalising...

EastEnders33 of 37
CREDIT: BBC

EastEnders

Of course, they couldn't stay away from each other for long, and ended up in a steamy lip-locking sesh. After MANY ups and downs, they tied the knot and moved to American to start a new life together. Naww.

Hollyoaks34 of 37
CREDIT: E4

Brendan Brady and Ste Hay, Hollyoaks

Despite this being one of the weirdest soap couples ever, we all found ourselves kind of rooting for poor little Ste and abusive Brendan.

Hollyoaks35 of 37
CREDIT: E4

Hollyoaks

They did have a relationship together, but it was short-lived - and Brendan's near-death experience at the hands of police was truly heart-wrenching. He was then carted off to prison to live out his days... But could he one day return?

Brookside36 of 37
CREDIT: Channel 4

Beth Jordache and Margaret Clemence, Brookside

We couldn't have a gallery of steamy soap kisses without including one of the most iconic snogs of them all. The first pre-watershed lesbian kiss aired in the UK happened in 1994 was acted out by Anna Friel and Nicola Stephenson, who played Beth and Margaret.

Brookside37 of 37
CREDIT: Channel 4

Brookside

It was also included in the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, which was broadcast live and uncensored in 76 countries where homosexuality is illegal, meaning that it became the first homosexual kiss to be broadcast in those countries.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us