WEEK after week soap dramas keep us coming back – and there’s nothing fans love more than a cliffhanger.
But every now and then a potentially explosive storyline fizzles in a puff of smoke and is bizarrely never mentioned again.
Whether it’s secret affairs, wedding traumas or murders that never get found out, the forgotten dramas can leave baffled viewers scratching their heads.
Here we look at some of the abandoned soap storylines that got lost in the mist of time – from a secret kid in Albert Square to a surprising fling in the Dales that was a bit too close to home.
Ken and Audrey romance – Coronation Street
Soon after the death of wife Deirdre, in 2015, the cobbles’ OAP lothario Ken Barlow (Bill Roache) looked set to embark on a romance with old friend Audrey (Sue Nicholls).
Then Corrie boss Stuart Blackburn said the late life love story would be a “bit like Ross and Rachel” from Friends – but that’s not quite how it panned out.
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Whatever spark there was soon fizzled out and the pair remained pals and nothing more, leaving many viewers disappointed.
Having said that, it's never too late…
Jacob’s OCD – Emmerdale
When dad David (Matthew Wolfenden) was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2016, Jacob (Joe Warren-Plant) developed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) which manifested in a fixation with cleaning.
A year later, when David discovered another lump, there was another flash of OCD when Jacob frantically searched the bins for a “lucky coin” that had accidentally been thrown away.
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Since then the debilitating condition doesn't seem to have made a return despite the lad facing endless stressful situations.
These have included being groomed by his teacher Maya, losing his fiancee Leanna to a serial killer, dealing with mum Leyla’s drug addiction, and surviving a stabbing.
Kat Slater’s secret son – EastEnders
In the 2017 EastEnders spin-off – Kat & Alfie: Redwater – the Moons went to Ireland when Kat tracked down long-lost son Luke, now called Dermott Dolan, played by Oisín Stack.
Dermott, who had become and priest, and twin sister Zoe were the result of Kat being raped by her uncle Harry Slater when she was 13.
Zoe (Michelle Ryan) was brought up as Kat's sister while Luke was adopted.
But after their meeting him in Ireland and returning to Albert Square, Kat (Jessie Wallace) seems to have put her estranged son to the back of her mind, and he’s not been mentioned since.
Alfie’s brain tumour – EastEnders
Alfie learned the devastating news that he had a brain tumour in 2015 but kept the news from Kat until their trip to Ireland.
At the time, actor Shane Ritchie revealed fans would see a change in Alfie as he battled the illness, saying: “It does get worse… and you see Alfie, through the series, slowly deteriorate and question his own mortality. And that’s where it becomes, at times, a little bit dark and somewhat religious as well.”
Alfie left the square in 2016 and, somewhere along the line, it seems he was told the tumour was non-malignant.
But when he made an explosive comeback in 2022, as Kat prepared to marry Phil, fans were confused about the seemingly forgotten storyline.
One fan tweeted: “What happened to Alfie's inoperable brain tumour story?”
Another added: “So once upon a time, Alfie left the Square having recently found out he had a brain tumour… what happened to that?"
Marlon and Charity fling – Emmerdale
The Dingles have had their fair share of kissing cousins, and Charity (Emma Atkins) even produced daughter Debbie from a hook-up with Cain (Jeff Hordley).
But few will remember the one-night stand between Charity and Marlon (Mark Charnock) in 2003.
They slept together when Charity was staying with Marlon while still under suspicion for husband Chris's supposed "murder".
When Charity fell pregnant with Noah, the unlikely pairing led to the hapless chef becoming a suspect in the "who's the daddy?" mystery.
Beth’s Bigamy – Coronation Street
Former Emmerdale actor Paul Loughran cropped up in Corrie in 2016, as Craig’s criminal dad Daryl.
By this time Beth (Lisa George) was happily married to Kirk (Andy Whyment).
But on a prison visit Darryl told Craig (Colson Smith) that he had never divorced Beth, making her a bigamist.
Craig and Kirk were shocked by the revelation and Beth was arrested, but that was pretty much the end of the matter.
Kathy and Buster’s affair – EastEnders
In 2016, a year after she was brought back from the dead, Walford legend Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth) fell into the arms of convict Buster Briggs, played by Karl Howman.
Buster was the longtime partner of Shirley Carter and the passionate affair, conducted behind her back, was expected to blow up into one almighty row.
Instead, only Buster and Shirley’s son Mick (Danny Dyer) found out and confronted his dad, leading to a hasty departure from the square for the love cheat.
Before he left, he begged Kathy to join him, but she refused for the sake of her family, and Buster didn’t even stop to say goodbye to Shirley before exiting with a broken heart.
But fans were left baffled when the expected showdown between the two women never arrived, and Shirley remains in the dark about the affair to this day.
Alex Browning revenge plot – Hollyoaks
When Dr Browning’s son Alex (Ojan Genc) met stepmum Mercedes McQueen (Jennifer Metcalfe) fireworks were expected to fly.
Months earlier, Mercedes, Lindsey and Cindy had murdered Alex’s dad, double-murderer Dr Paul Browning, after he kidnapped and attacked his new wife.
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The soap teased that Alex would be after revenge for his father's death upon his arrival.
Instead, Alex ended up giving Cindy's son Hilton (his half-brother) a life-saving transplant, becoming his godfather, and leaving the village soon after.
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