'Street' suspense a killer

Every now and then, it becomes necessary to lock friends and family in the cellar.

God knows I've done it too many times to remember.

You keep a secret: someone finds out; they are about to tell someone else; and before you know it, the lot of them are wrapped in gaffer tape, gagged and trussed up behind the tool bench.

Nothing wrong with that.

The end result is usually a good belly laugh, and a promise not to do it again.

Once it ended in jail, but that was more of an amusing misunderstanding. Nobody died.

The same, sadly, cannot be said for the unfortunate narrative Coronation Street's John Stape (Graeme Hawley) has found himself in. Most of it, to be fair, has not been John's fault.

He had a secret, someone found out; they were about to tell someone else; and before you know it, things got out of hand.

The problems began when John, a teacher, made the mistake of kidnapping Rosie Webster (Helen Flanagan) and ended up serving time in television prison, a common holiday destination for quite a number of Coronation St residents. Then he took on the identity of former colleague Colin Fishwick (David Crellin), after finding himself on the outer with the Education Department.

Even on television, they have fairly strict rules about teachers who indulge in kidnapping girls.

When Colin confronted John, and got so upset he died of a brain haemorrhage, John felt he had to bury him under the floor of a Coronation St factory.

He did, really - there was nothing else for it.

Then there was Charlotte (Becky Hindley), who took to emotionally blackmailing John after discovering his secret. Charlotte became such an annoyance, John ended up hitting her on the head - quite fatally - with a hammer.

He was saved by the fortunate coincidence of Coronation Street's 50th birthday, which itself coincided with a train barrelling over the viaduct and covering up his crime.

But just last Friday, things started spiralling badly out of control.

John's web of lies and deceit was uncovered by his wife's brother Chesney (Sam Aston).

Chesney was, sadly, not clever enough to say ''no'' when John suggested he look in the cellar for Charlotte's parents (long story) and, before you can say ''Ena Sharples'', the three of them were locked underground.

Worse still, the long-running, strangely watchable soap that TV One now has on a Thursday and Friday night ended with the drama unresolved. It was almost as if somebody did that on purpose to make you want to watch the outcome the following Thursday.

Coincidence? There's no way of knowing.

But know this - under television soap rules, John Stapes' uppance must come.

As must next Thursday.

The suspense is unbearable.


- Charles Loughrey

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