Emmerdale murder and EastEnders Mitchell brothers’ revenge: Soaps 20 years ago

British soaps – including EastEnders, Emmerdale, Coronation Street and Hollyoaks – never seem to run out of huge, gripping storylines.

Even 20 years ago there was so much going on, including murders, new villains, affairs and general family drama.

Hollyoaks was just starting out after launching in 1995, but it went head-to-head with the main three soaps with some huge plots.

So what was happening in soap land 20 years ago? Let's take a look back to 1999…


Over in Walford and the Mitchell brothers, Grant and Phil, reigned the Square.

Grant was trying to turn things around months on from the death of his wife Tiffany, who was killed after being run over by Frank Butcher.

Residents blamed Grant for her death, and he was constantly in trouble with the law around this time in 1999, while also drowning his sorrows.

Amid fears social services would take his daughter Courtney away, he teamed up with Phil and vowed to take back Walford like the good old days.

Amongst their targets were Ian Beale, Steve Owen and the Di Marco family. It was around this time that Phil had his hilarious feud with Ian, that often ended in him sticking his head down the toilet.

Elsewhere, villain Dan Sullivan made his debut on the BBC soap – the character would go on to be involved in huge plots including Mel Owen's kidnap, and his affair with partner Carol Jackson's daughter Bianca.

Coronation Street

Weatherfield saw one couple file for divorce in June 1999, as other romances blossomed.

Alma was distraught when husband Mike Baldwin cheated on her, and despite initial hopes to reconcile he then asked for a divorce.

She was comforted by pal Curly Watts, while it wasn't long before Mike was jumping into bed with newcomer, and future wife, Linda.

Meanwhile, Ashley decided he wanted to propose to Maxine amid his father Fred Elliott not approving of her.

Fred himself was enjoying his romance with Audrey Roberts, and things got awkward when he proposed to her the same day son Ashley popped the question.

Meanwhile, Jim McDonald was fearing son Steve was getting himself into all kinds of trouble selling tobacco and breaking the law.

There was also woes for Vik Desai as he was forced to run dad Ravi's shop alone, as sister Nita started a new job in Frescho.

Elsewhere, Sally Webster faced a shock when daughter Rosie was revealed to be bullying children at school amid her ongoing feud with ex Kevin Webster.


Hollyoaks had a whole load of faces on the show back in 1999 that are no longer on the soap, but have been referenced from time to time.

June saw the arrival of the Morgans in Hollyoaks village, with Zara starting at the college.

She was joined by her parents Andy and Sue, with her brothers Adam and Luke arriving too.

Luke recently returned to the series with former flame Mandy Richardson.

Also in June 1999, Sol Patrick, played by Paul Danan, began his sentence in a Young Offenders Institute after going off the rails and almost killing his mum Jill in a car accident.

The stepson of Jack Osborne often found himself in trouble thanks to his temper, but he is still in touch with Jack now having been mentioned on screen.

Something major that went down in Hollyoaks, not in June but still in 1999, was the death of villain Rob Hawthorne amid his dramatic feud with Kurt Benson.

He drugged and almost killed Kurt's sister Lucy who he was dating, as he vowed to get back at him.

But Rob wasn't actually dead, and later in the year he returned and took revenge, kidnapping Lucy and vowing to kill her.

His attempts to drown her were thwarted though by Kurt and his pal Tony Hutchinson, and Rob ended up dying in in a bus fire later on.


Over in the Dales, and there was a murder secret threatening to tear one villager apart.

Graham Clark killed fiancée Rachel Hughes, the mother of Joe Tate, in May 1999 when he pushed her off a cliff after she discovered he’d killed his first wife.

While he managed to get away with it, suspicions grew a month later and Graham himself was struggling with his actions.

Kathy Glover, who was dating Biff Fowler at the time, was supporting him over his fiancée’s death, seeing him struggling but not knowing the truth.

Around this time on the soap in 1999, Kathy was horrified when she found Graham after he’d attempted to take his own life.

Graham ended up coming between her and Biff, and after Kathy rejected hiss proposal she ended up dating Graham.

Elsewhere, it was the beginning of Emily and Butch Dingle’s romance, but she wasn’t so sure she was keen at first.

There was also marriage trouble for Sarah and Jack Sugden, while there was a new family in the Dales – the Reynolds clan.

Finally, Zoe Tate and brother Chris Tate hit trouble with their business, as money issues led to them facing a decision between sacking their staff or reducing their wages.

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