I WAS pleased to see one of the longest long-serving characters on the cobbles is to discover she is expecting a baby.

But my heart also sank because nothing happens on any of the soaps unless there is also a healthy dose of misery alongside.

Sinead is having a baby - but she also has cancer.

Leanne had baby Oliver after years of yearning to be a mum - but he was born following an ill-advised one night stand with another character whose wife was also pregnant.

Hayley on the other side in Eastenders had a baby she wasn't sure she could look after because it turns out her father is uncomfortably close to home.

You get the idea.

Surely though, into every life a bit of sunshine eventually comes ?

Most people get to have just a little bit of joy in their lives, to mix in with the bad times.

Not so for the women who live in soapland.

Theirs is a gruelling life of disappointment after disappointment - I am sure it has not always been so.

When Kevin and Sally married, I'm showing my age here, in Weatherfield in the early 90's, their wasn't much drama apart from over what they would be called.

If I recall, Sophie was originally named something else before they changed it to her current title.

But being a mother brings nothing but angst and misery for the current cohort.

Returning to poor Michelle, who already had a teenaged son when she arrived, her alter ego Kym Marsh seeking a new career after middling success in the pop world.

It turned out said son had been swapped at birth and the son she had raised wasn't actually her biological child.

Both sons, Ali and Ryan, now lives on the Street and Michelle did eventually fall pregnant, whilst married to Steve.

But their son was born too early and did not survive - although she then had to endure watching her husband have a baby he had simultaneously conceived whilst married to her, with Leanne.

Was it not enough, when planning the storylines, just to have her suffer the agony of a still born child ?

An equally grim path was the fate of Ronnie on Eastenders who was forced to give up the daughter she conceived, through abuse, aged just 14, only to be re-united with her years later and run her over.

Like Michelle, she was to be given another shot at motherhood only to lose her newborn baby to cot death and then swap him with Kat's equally newborn baby. A plotline we had to endure for a full ten months before the truth was revealed.

She was never to be mother and a year ago but her younger sister did have that pleasure - a daughter fathered by Ronnie's husband, Jack.

So, when you feel like life really is kicking you in the proverbials, it probably isn't as bad as it is for those living in E17 or Coronation Street.

And while I am initially thrilled for Michelle at the current turn of events there is bound to be a nasty sting in the tale which will leave us miserably reaching for the tin of Quality Street come Boxing Day.

But maybe it is what keeps everyone watching.

Not festive, but certainly gripping.