SOAPLAND police have announced the formation of a new crime-fighting group to combat the growing crime wave - Soap Murder Unit Team, or SMUT for short. What with a double demise in EastEnders (Andy the gangster thrown off a motorway bridge and Dirty Den entombed in a concrete coffin) and now a nasty killing in Coronation Street (ITV1), something had to be done.

The cobblestones of Weatherfield run with blood again thanks to Kay-tee, the girl who has already committed numerous crimes against hair with her peculiar hair arrangements. Now she follows the example of the Street's famous serial killer Richard Hillman.

Kay-tee has an abortion after learning of older lover Mar-in the nurse's adultery with Silly Sally. Except, of course, he's not playing away with Sally. She's having an affair with her boss, Ian the car salesman. But Kay-tee gets the wrong end of the stick and ditches her lover, after her possessive father, terrible Tommy, tells her about Mar-in's alleged hanky-panky.

A visit from Gail the hamster puts her right about who's sleeping with whom. Kay-tee is distraught, so much so that she puts her hair in pigtails and visits mechanic Tommy in the garage. She accuses him of ruining her life and hits him over the head with the nearest available object - which, unluckily for Tommy, is an iron wrench.

The soap police are also needed when Tracy and daughter Amy are almost run down by a car in the street. You'll never believe who's driving. It's Ray Langton, her real father. And it just so happens that he turns up, after a 26-year absence, on the very day that her mother dreary Deirdre and Ken are getting married again. Talk about bad timing.

It would be nice to report that life is jollier in EastEnders (BBC1) but the three witches responsible for Dirty Den dying (again) are at each other's throats. Sam's got hold of the murder weapon - that repulsive dog doorstop that Pauline left conveniently lying around - and threatening Chrissie the ex-crimper because she's going back on her word to give her the Queen Vic.

Zoe is caught in the middle. She thinks she killed Dirty Den but we - and Sam - know that Chrissie struck the fatal blow with a belated apology of, "Oops, sorry, luv, I've dropped a dirty great big lump of metal on your head".

She 's trying to fool everyone into thinking that Dirty Den has left her but this is one bit of soft soap that won't wash with Sam. Before you can say, "catfight", the pair are tugging at each other's hair. Perhaps they could do it in mud and charge Vic customers for watching.

More bad news for Sam when late husband Andy the gangster's will is read. He's only left her a wedding ring.

The women of Soapland are really dominating things at present In Emmerdale (ITV1), Charity has a farewell gift for the King family. She turns up at Jimmy's 40th birthday party with a special video tribute. Unluckily for him, it shows him in bed with Charity and confessing that Sadie set her up and ruined her wedding day to Tom King.

It's all very shoc-King. Charity has a parting gift for her rival Sadie the bitch - a punch in the face. What a way to go.

Published: ??/??/2004