THERE'S nothing the residents of Soapland like better than an excuse, no matter how flimsy, for a good old knees-up - unless, of course, it's a punch-up or a cock-up. Regulars at the Queen Vic know how to throw a party (as well as a punch) and let their hair down in EastEnders (BBC1) at a party for St George's Day.

Pauline swaps her cardie for Britannia's garb, Big Pat gets dolled up as Diana Dors and gormless Garry poses as Henry VIII, although I think Ruby and Stacey are a bit too young to play his wives. Behind the bar is Chrissie, dressed up as Cleopatra and proving that she really doesn't know her asp from her elbow.

There's even a knight in shining armour coming to the rescue of damsel in distress Little Mo. Raise his visor and you'll be Moon-struck, for it's Alfie Moon.

All this jollity doesn't get in the way of the usual romance, accusations and recriminations. Young Ruby flirts with Danny the Moon brother and is devastated when he rejects her advances, presumably because he doesn't want to risk a jail sentence.

Ruby's also the subject of talk between her dad Johnny the gangster and his mistress Tina. They have a cosy dinner, although it's doubtful if dad will come clean to his daughter about his bit on the side.

Pauline is beastly to Sonia which, considering the way the girl is behaving these days, is perfectly justified. The old boot's angry that Sonia hasn't confided in her about young Chloe, the child she gave away.

The women of Walford had better stay indoors as Garry, Minty and Alfie go speed-dating. The word "speed" is not one normally associated with the first two in the light of the snail's pace at which they work in the garage.

With Phil Mitchell's brief return to Soapland ended, you might think the place would be more peaceful. But no, violence breaks out in the post office in Emmerdale (ITV1). The unlikely vandal is none other than meek and mild Emily, who wouldn't say boo to a goose without asking it politely first if it was all right.

She's livid that husband Paddy the vet has been fooling around with postmistress Viv. Pensioner Len asking for a tin of peaches is the final straw. Emily snaps faster than the elastic on a pair of cheap knickers. She launches a barrage of tins like there were weapons of mass destruction. She wrecks the place. Paddy doesn't escape - he gets thumped by both Zak Dingle and Bob Hope (no, not that one!).

Elsewhere in the village, Louise the landlady finds she can fight her feelings for Matthew King any longer. This is hard cheese on her patient partner Terry Woods. Matthew has been pursuing Louise, confident she'd give in eventually - probably because she always does.

Poor Martin Platt. He's become the Weatherfield punchbag in Coronation Street (ITV1). The Harris family take it in turns to thump him. Last time it was grieving son Craig. Now mother Angela lets rip at daughter Kay-ee's funeral. She blames Mar-in the nurse for her daughter/his lover's death. Never mind that she helped trick Kay-ee into aborting Martin's child and then covered up when Kay-ee killed her dad, terrible Tommy. Martin, like most of us, will be glad that Kay-ee is dead and buried now.

Trouble for silly Sally after her boss and lover Ian confesses to his wife that he's having an affair, but without naming names. Then he tells Sally that if she doesn't continue the affair, he'll fire her. I can't wait to hear the juicy details of the unfair dismissal case that would surely follow.

Published: 21/04/2005