22 Jul 19
Hollyoaks viewers were left in shock following tonight’s E4 episode, as fan-favourite character Harry Thompson (Parry Glasspool) met his demise at the hands of the villainous Breda McQueen (Moya Brady). Whilst the death in itself is a hard enough pill for viewers to swallow — especially given just how much they adored the cheeky chap — it’s the fact that Harry’s death — and Parry’s departure — had been kept under wraps that makes this one so unexpected.
Yes, it’s safe to say that Harry’s death has left us all in a state of shock. Mind you, you’d think we’d be used to it by now, given that deaths are as common an occurrence in soaps as family fallouts, steamy affairs and sausage surprises.
The young lad’s demise is far from the the first unpredictable death to have occurred in soapland — or even in Hollyoaks, for that matter.
Speaking of soapland’s unpredictable deaths, let’s have a butchers at a few of the biggest and best from years gone by. Much like the Hollyoaks fave, these deadly departures well and truly left our jaws on the floor.
Danielle Jones (EastEnders)
When it was revealed that Ronnie Mitchell (Samantha Womack) had given birth to a secret daughter in the years prior to her arrival in Albert Square, it was only a matter of time before the child showed up. However, viewers were genuinely shocked when Walford resident Danielle Jones (Lauren Crace) — Stacey’s (Lacey Turner) bestie who was initially introduced as a love interest for Callum Monks (Elliot Jordan) — turned out to be the daughter in question.
Mere moments after Ronnie learned the truth, she shared a tearful look with Danielle and, as the two women prepared to embrace — for the first time as mother and daughter — disaster struck, as Danielle collided with Janine’s (Charlie Brooks) car. An incredibly powerful — and somewhat Shakespearean — end to one of soap’s greatest ever storylines.
Undoubtedly one of EastEnders‘ most genuinely shocking moments, Danielle’s death was instrumental in cementing Ronnie as one of soap’s most tragic characters.
Holly Barton (Emmerdale)
Emmerdale has been home to quite a few shocking deaths over the years, and none were more upsetting than that of Holly Barton (Sophie Powles), who died in her sleep following a drug overdose back in 2016.
Although rumours had begun circulating that Sophie was departing from Emmerdale, nothing had been confirmed and — prior to its airing, nothing indicated that anything as significant as a central character’s death would occur in this particular episode.
The scene in which Moira (Natalie J Robb) discovered her daughter’s lifeless body really hit home for viewers, and it will no doubt be etched into our minds for years to come.
Lynsey Nolan (Hollyoaks)
Lynsey Nolan’s (Karen Hassan) demise is quite possibly the most shocking to have ever occurred in a soap. Prior to her on-screen death, viewers had no reason to believe that Lynsey would be killed — and Karen hadn’t made any announcement about leaving the show.
What made it all the more shocking was the circumstances in which the character was killed, considering the death itself never actually happened on-screen, as Brendan Brady (Emmet J. Scanlan) simply discovered her dead body on the sofa.
What’s more, due to Lynsey having clashed with several characters in the build-up to her death, a compelling whodunit storyline ensued — none of which had been revealed beforehand.
Tess Harris (Emmerdale)
Tess Harris wasn’t in Emmerdale for all that long, but her steamy affair with Paddy Kirk (Dominic Brunt) was far from forgettable. The character met her demise in shocking scenes back in 2016, when — after arranging to meet Rhona (Zoe Henry) to spill the beans about her affair with the Emmerdale vet — she was run down by Kirin Kotecha (Adam Fielding), who had been drink driving.
In typical Emmerdale fashion, it was something that viewers never saw coming. What’s more, it was the catalyst in bringing Tess’ villainous husband Pierce (Jonathan Wrather) to the village.
Maxine Peacock (Coronation Street)
Richard Hillman’s (Brain Capron) reign of terror in Coronation Street claimed quite a few of the cobble’s finest, but it was the horrifying death of hairdresser Maxine Peacock (Tracy Shaw) that left viewers on the edge of their seats.
Whilst it was known that Richard would claim another life in the build up the episode, viewers were unaware of which resident would fall victim to his iconic crowbar, and the graphic scenes in which Maxine was killed off was watched a whopping 15.6 million viewers.
Maxine’s demise remains a key moment not only in soap history, but also in British television history as a whole, and it’s a moment that we still talk about to this day.
Trevor Royle (Hollyoaks)
Devastating scenes unfolded in Hollyoaks back in 2016, when Trevor Royle (Greg Wood) was stabbed by Nico Blake (Persephone Swales-Dawson) on his wedding day to Grace Black (Tamara Wall), after the young woman had discovered he’d been having an affair with Sienna (Anna Passey).
What made the whole thing all the more tragic was that Trevor died in Grace’s arms — in the middle of the church — not long after saying ‘I do’.
Interestingly, this isn’t the latest time actor Greg was killed off in a soap, as his character Rick Neelan was recently disposed of in Coronation Street.
Joanie Dingle (Emmerdale)
After serving time in prison for assaulting a police officer, Joanie (Denise Black) was driven back to the village by former friend Lisa Dingle (Jane Cox). Whilst sat in the van, Joanie reflected on the good times she’d shared with Lisa, and told the Dingle matriarch how she wished she could go back to a time before all of the heartache with Zak (Steve Halliwell) had unfolded.
Lisa responded by telling her adversary that going back is simply not an option, but — as she did so — Joanie suffered a swift heart-attack and died instantly. Much like Holly’s, Joanie’s death was previously unannounced, and viewers were left shocked by how quickly it all transpired.
Donna Ludlow (EastEnders)
EastEnders is no stranger to leaving viewers’ jaws on the floor following a shocking ‘Doof Doof’ cliffhanger, but Donna Ludlow’s (Matilda Ziegler) death back in 1989 was one of the first times the soap truly did so. In horrifyingly graphic scenes — even by today’s standards — Dot Cotton (June Brown) returned home to find lodger Donna dead on her living room floor, after choking on her own vomit as the result of an overdose.
In addition to highlighting the harsh reality of drug abuse, Donna’s death was all the more tragic because of the circumstances which ultimately led to it. Much like Danielle nearly 20 years later, the young woman had turned up in the Square looking for her long-lost mum.
However, Donna’s fondness for making up stories resulted in her becoming disliked rather quickly, and — with mum Kathy (Gillian Taylforth) unable to show her affection due to the harrowing circumstances in which she was conceived — Donna turned to drugs.
Lisa Dingle (Emmerdale)
Emmerdale viewers were well aware that Lisa Dingle was going to die following her amyloidosis diagnosis — which was revealed during the special International Women’s Day episode last year — but the scenes in which the character ultimately passed away came as a shock to us all, as viewers had been under the impression that Lisa still had a couple of months left in her yet.
Earlier this year, the Dingle matriarch married Zak once more, and returned home to get changed for the celebrations in The Woolpack. However, she never showed up at the pub, so Zak went up to the farm to check on his wife, and was devastated to discover she’d slipped away on the sofa.
The death in itself was shocking, but it was the suddenness that allowed for both viewers and the Dingle clan to realise that things would never be the same again.
No, you’re crying.