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Twins on Soaps: When your evil doppelgänger turns up



The chances of having one’s life usurped by an evil twin probably lie somewhere between slim and none for most of us, but those odds increase dramatically if you happen to be a character on a daytime soap opera. Twins are practically a staple of the genre, and more often than not they’re up to no good and willing to do whatever it takes to reap the benefits associated with replacing their look-alikes. We’ve compiled our picks of the 10 most memorable twin scenarios in soap history. Check out the list and see how many of these dopey doppelgängers you remember.

One Life to Live’s Bo & Patrick (Robert S. Woods)
In 1988 an escaped mental patient named Patrick underwent plastic surgery to look exactly like Bo and infiltrate Bo’s family’s company, Buchanan Enterprises. Meanwhile, the real Bo, his wife Didi (Barbara Treutelaar) and his ex-wife Delilah (Shelly Burch) were remanded to a dreary dungeon while Patrick bedded Tina (Andrea Evans), drugged Asa (Phil Carey) and went full steam ahead with his diabolical plan. Patrick eventually met his demise, with Didi, via an accidental electrocution.

As the World Turns’ Frannie & Sabrina (Julianne Moore)
Imagine Frannie’s surprise when in 1986 she spotted a woman at London’s Heathrow Airport who could have passed as her double. As the mystery unfolded she learned that the woman’s name was Sabrina. Their mothers were sisters and the girls shared the same father, making them both half-sisters and first cousins. Unfortunately, Sabrina developed feelings for Frannie’s fiancé, Seth, (Steve Basset) and slept with him while masquerading as her sister.

Days of Our Lives’ Hope & Gina (Kristian Alfonso)
This one is really complicated, even by soap standards. Brainwashing made Hope believe she was a European princess named Gina. The women were the spitting image of each other even though they did not descend from the same family tree. Once Gina discovered brainwashed Hope’s chicanery she locked her up in a castle turret and then decided to try Hope’s life on for size. Gina tricked everyone in Salem into believing she was Hope. She enjoyed several bedroom romps with Bo (Peter Reckell), the love of Hope’s life, and even tried to kill Hope’s teenage son (Jason Cook) before she was stopped.

The Young and the Restless’ Katherine & Marge (Jeanne Cooper)
Katherine was the dowager empress of Genoa City and as a result was often the target of scam artists who wanted to share in her immense wealth. Such was the case with a gum-chewing, tough-talking waitress named Marge who was schooled in Katherine’s mannerisms and sought to extort millions from her company, Chancellor Industries. Katherine’s husband, Rex (Quinn Redeker), fell for the switch but her son Brock (Beau Kayser) uncovered the plot and later found his mother at the cabin in the woods where she was held prisoner.

Days of Our Lives Kristen & Susan (Eileen Davidson)
What a tangled web Kristen wove in her efforts to convince John (Drake Hogestyn) that she was pregnant. She used Susan, who looked just like her and happened to be pregnant, to stand in for her at doctor appointments and planned to pass the child off as her own once Susan delivered. However, things went horribly awry when Susan imprisoned Kristen and Marlena (Deidre Hall) in a secret room while she took over Kristen’s life. This tale later spun completely out of control with the introduction of Susan’s strange siblings, Sister Mary Moira, Thomas and Penelope — who were each portrayed by Davidson.

As the World Turns: Lily & Rose (Martha Byrne)
A decades-old photo of a woman bearing an uncanny resemblance to Lily sent Oakdale’s adopted heiress on a mission to uncover the truth about her lineage. Her search for the truth led her to Atlantic City, where she met up with a glitzy showgirl who turned out to be her long-lost twin sister, Rose. The family reunion was short-lived, and the sisters, on the run from a jewel thief (it’s a long story), were forced to trade places to save their own lives. Things got more complicated when Rose, posing as Lily, bedded and fell in love with her sister’s hubby, Holden (Jon Hensley). This trio is still trying to recover from the sordid triangle.

General Hospital’s Mac & James (John J. York)
Mac was Port Charles’ resident sleuth, but he was taken completely by surprise when a doppelgänger named James kidnapped him and took over his life in 1997 as a means to kill entrepreneur Jasper Jax (Ingo Rademacher). As Mac, James flirted shamelessly with Felicia (Kristina Wagner) and then proposed to her. Ironically, James’ preoccupation with romance is what did him in. Felicia knew that the real Mac was a little more commitment-phobic than his imposter and thus put an end to the charade.

All My Children’s Natalie & Janet (Kate Collins)
Overweight Janet grew up in her glamorous older sister Natalie’s shadow and set out to even the score in 1991. She moved to Pine Valley, learned as much about Nat’s life as she could, lost weight, dyed her hair and threw Natalie down a well to get her out of the way. She then cozied up to Trevor (James Kiberd), her sister’s beau, and basically left Natalie to rot in a damp and dingy prison. Janet was eventually caught, but by then she’d also kidnapped Hayley (Kelly Ripa), shot Brian (Matt Borlenghi) and had become pregnant with Trevor’s baby.

All My Children’s Tad & Ted (Michael E. Knight)
Tad was presumed dead in 1988 after falling off a bridge. However, unbeknownst to the residents of Pine Valley, he actually survived but with a case of amnesia. Four years later he returned to his hometown thinking he was someone named Ted. When the dust settled it was revealed that there was actually a real Ted whose life the memory-challenged Tad had stepped into. Naturally, Ted fell in love with Tad’s ex-wife, Dixie (Cady McClain). He later tried to kill Tad while on a hunting trip in Canada.



Kick-Ass TV Heroines: Xena – Warrior Princess




Xena Warrior Princess

What was not to love about Xena? As Lucy Lawless says: “Xena is a bad-ass, kick-ass, pre-Mycenaean girl.” Evildoers, clearly, must stand down, but not only bad guys (and girls) have Xena-phobia. Even heroes quake when she swings her broadsword.

Originally created as a syndicated complement to Kevin Sorbo’s Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena pretty much kicked Herc to the curb. It was like when the Bionic Woman made us lose interest in the Six Million Dollar Man–only more so.

Unlike Lindsay Wagner’s early half-woman, half-machine, Xena wasn’t prone to frailty. Nor did she need robot parts. In fact, the Warrior Princess never lost. If she’s down, it’s not for long.

Plus, she was in touch with the dark side: This big-boned bruiser had definite moments of blood lust, as well as lust of some other varieties. Garbed in a leather miniskirt and armed with her trademark razor-edged, boomerang-action chakram, we watched Xena single-leggedly kick down entire platoons of Roman soldiers.

Sure, there were murmurings about Xena and her softer female sidekick, Gabrielle (actress Renée O’Connor). So what if they liked to conserve bathwater by doubling up? And what’s wrong with close friends frenching once in a while?

Then again, maybe it was true–and there’s anything wrong with that.

Actress: Lucy Lawless
Show: Xena: Warrior Princess
Character: Xena

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Classic TV Revisited: McMillan And Wife




McMillan And Wife

Starring Rock Hudson and Susan Saint James, McMillan and Wife was a super cute crime-solving saga from the 1970s made for the NBC’s Mystery Movie series.

Who were they?
Hubby was the debonair San Francisco police commissioner Stewart McMillan.

And wifey?
Sally was a foxy, rather scatterbrained dame with a knack for finding corpses.

Worked down the morgue did she?
Hardly. Sally’s finds were usually in some glitzy mansion which the couple were frequenting for a weekend cocktail party. She also had a habit of getting her life threatened or being kidnapped.

Who was in it?
Tragic Hollywood star Rock Hudson no less. He took on Stewart McMillan in his first TV role, after years as a matinee idol with movies such as Giant.

Fans of the lantern-jawed star were dismayed when he went public about having Aids. He had long kept his homosexuality secret. He carried on working in ’80s glam drama Dynasty, but make-up could not disguise the deterioration of this once-statuesque man. He died in 1985, aged 59.

What about Sally?
That role fell to raven-locked Susan Saint James. The Ali MacGraw lookalike was previously in shows such as Alias Smith And Jones and The Name of the Game.

Other characters
A vital ingredient to McMillan And Wife was sharp-tongued housekeeper Mildred, played by Nancy Walker. Somebody needed to keep the place tidy while they gallivanted about solving crime.

Famous guest stars?
Kim Basinger

The couple’s conception?
Like Hart To Hart, the idea was borrowed from Dashiell Hammett’s Thin Man books of the ’30s.

Gritty crime drama?
Hardly. These were cosy whodunnit cases, where the brutality of murder was never portrayed. The show was more about the interplay between McMillan and Sally.

Had viewers arrested?
Certainly in the US. It was the fifth highest-rated show in 1972 and 1973.

Fate of the golden couple?
Susan Saint James quit in 1976 over a contractual dispute. Nancy Walker also packed away her duster as housekeeper Mildred.

The dame’s exit was a fatal blow?
Certainly for the character of Sally – she was killed off in a plane crash. But Rock soldiered on with new assistant Sgt Steve DiMaggio (Richard Gilliland). The show became McMillan.

A winner?
Audiences dwindled and the plug was pulled.

Distinguishing features?
Cosy pillow talk, cocktail parties, Rock Hudson, pyjamas and numerous corpses.

Do say
Let’s go to bed. Turn the light out, darling.

Don’t say
Must you eat toast in bed, darling. Apologies, but I’ve got terrible flatulence. Separate bedrooms.

Not to be confused with
My Wife Next Door, Harold Macmillan, The Merry Wives Of Windsor and Mr And Mrs.

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Classic TV Revisited: The Royal




The Royal

The Royal was an ITV drama commission and was inspired by its sister programme Heartbeat.

The lowdown: This nostalgic family drama is set in the swinging 1960s and centres on the staff of a cottage hospital in Yorkshire. Newly qualified doctor David Cheriton (Julian Ovenden) is determined to make a difference to the world and arrives at St Aidan’s Royal Free Hospital in Elinsby full of big ideas. But he clashes with the hospital’s secretary TJ Middleditch (Ian Carmichael) who is determined to run things his way. Then there is the Matron (Wendy Craig) who rules her nurses with a rod of iron and tries in vain to stop them being distracted by the handsome arrival.

Memorable moments: Watch out for former Heartbeat favourite Bill Maynard who crosses dramas and continents as Claude Jeremiah Greengrass. Greengrass has returned from a Caribbean holiday with a mystery illness but that doesn’t stop him trying to earn a fast buck. It doesn’t take long before Claude attracts Matron’s ire.

Trivia: The Royal is a family affair for real life husband and wife Robert Daws (Ormerod) and Amy Robbins (Weatherill). No fewer than seven members of their clan have appeared in the series including their daughters and stepson.

Michelle Hardwick, who played receptionist Lizzie, says her favourite moment in the whole series didn’t come on screen but in the actors’ green room. She says: “I was sitting in there with Wendy Craig and Honor Blackman and we were having a lovely conversation. I sat back and thought ‘Wow, this is great, I can’t wait to tell my gran’.”

A modern day set version called The Royal Today aired 7 January – 14 March 2008.

First broadcast: 2003

Starred: Wendy Craig, Ian Carmichael, Michael Starke, Robert Daws and Julian Ovenden

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