Review: Improbable odds and plots in the UK’s leading soaps

Heard the one about the punter who put £500 on a four horse accumulator and cleaned out the bookie? That could never happen for real, could it?

If you want the answer to that question, you could try Casino.Org, which has now been around for 18 years, so must be doing something right. Last month, its correspondent Katie Barlowe published an article called Being a Professional Gambler: Image vs. Reality in which she pointed out that: “In real life, people lose as well as win; relationships can go bust over things like bankrolls lost and insanely late hours kept; and the world’s most powerful mistress, Lady Luck, can prove to be a daunting adversary for any spouse or significant other.”

She must be psychic - unlike Colin Fry! - because last night her almost namesake Coronation Street’s Peter Barlow discovered not only that people lose but that at times people includes the bookmaker.

How unlucky can anyone get? The man who put on the bet, the brother of his lover Carla saw his money disappearing down the tubes, then what happens? You guessed, a stewards’ inquiry. Lady Luck may indeed be a powerful mistress, but so is Carla; the big question is will she cut her losses by dumping her dark horse, or will she back another loser like she did with her previous lover, the one who raped her?

Unlucky though the bookie may have been, he may be more fortunate than one of the women who runs the local caff, because if she loses, its curtains, as she is about to be diagnosed with cancer.

Over in the non-existent village of Emmerdale, one of the local vets has got herself hooked on painkillers after injuring her back. Soap fans with long memories may recall this is exactly what happened to one of the characters in Coronation Street awhile back. Hopefully, lady vet Rhona won’t suffer the same fate, but don’t count on it, because like the ill-fated Joe she has just committed a burglary to feed her addiction, but unlike him she has not been found out, at least not by the police.

Finally, in EastEnders over on the other channel, sleazy businessman Ian Beale is under pressure; having found £10,000 hidden away in a cash box and used this to finance his new restaurant, the owner turns up. After a painful lesson he has paid new arrival Carl £3,000 which means he owes him only £7,000 now, right? Unfortunately, things are not that simple, although his daughter appears to be, because she has just allowed Ian to swindle her out of her inheritance. With a father like that, who wouldn’t rather be an orphan? Just don’t ask Peter Barlow to make a book on it.

[The above review was first published July 20, 2013; the original wasn’t archived. The Katie Barlowe article alluded to herein was originally linked, but when I checked the relevant link on June 29, 2021, it had been replaced by a different article. That page was first archived July 20, 2018, and appears to be a column authored by various people who tell the reader how to become a professional gambler. I cannot find the original article on-line, but my advice is do NOT become a gambler, period!]

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