Soap’s most cursed families – EastEnders’ the Brannings to Emmerdale’s the Tates

The four main British soaps – EastEnders, Emmerdale, Coronation Street and Hollyoaks – have aired tragedy after tragedy over the years.

But certain families on these shows appear to be cursed, often struck by deaths and other drama more than most.

From the Beales on EastEnders, the McQueens on Hollyoaks and the Kings on Emmerdale, several of our soap favourites have been hit by their fair share of horror and heartache.

But who are the most cursed families on each show, and what exactly have they faced since their arrivals? Here's a look back…


One family who knows tragedy more than most is the Beales, who have been a central family on the BBC soap since the show began. The family were at the centre of one of the soap's biggest storylines ever on the soap that saw Ian Beale's daughter Lucy murdered and left in the woods in a whodunnit.

It was confirmed a year later that her little brother Bobby was the killer, sparking a cover up until he confessed in 2016. This wasn't the first tragedy to hit the family though, with Bobby's own mother Laura dying after falling down the stairs in 2004.

Ian's mother Kathy Beale had also been killed off-screen in a car crash back in 2006. In a shocking twist she returned from the dead in 2015, with it revealed she had faked her own death. Lucy and twin brother Peter's mother also died, with former character Cindy Beale, Ian's ex-wife, dying in prison while giving birth to her daughter Cindy Williams.

Years later and tragedy struck again, shortly after a troubled Bobby almost killed his stepmother Jane Beale. Jane, who couldn't walk unaided in the wake of the attack, was then caught up in a shocking plot that saw her stepson Steven Beale try to kill her in a fire.

He'd been manipulated by Max Branning into thinking he needed to get rid of her, but in a twist of events he was instead killed after Max attacked him when he changed his mind and tried to save Jane. In present day, Bobby is struggling with his own actions from his past.

Speaking of Max, his family are another who appear to be cursed after a string of tragedies. Max was tormented by his father Jim Branning as a child, and the events stayed with him. The first big tragedy to hit the Brannings was when Max's son Bradley died after falling off The Queen Vic roof in 2010. He was trying to escape the police who wanted him over Archie Mitchell's murder.

History repeated itself in 2017 though, when Max's daughters Lauren and Abi Branning climbed onto the same roof to stop him from taking his own life, only for them to both fall to the ground below. Lauren survived, but pregnant Abi was announced to be 'brain stem dead' and her life support machine was switched off. Her baby survived.

Max struggled to cope in the fallout, while mum Tanya couldn't get over the loss of her daughter. Lauren exited Walford as a result wanting to get away from her father. Max now looks after Abi's baby daughter Abi.

Also in the past, Lauren battled alcoholism after struggling to keep her mum's secret that she was battling cancer. The addiction almost killed her, and was something revisited on the soap when Lauren's partner Steven died in 2017.

Other tragedies include Jack Branning losing his wife Ronnie Mitchell on their wedding day, as well as the death of Derek Branning, Jack and Max's brother, who suffered a heart attack in the Square in front of son Joey.

Recently, viewers witnessed Hunter Owen be killed off after he was shot dead by armed police, moments after he took hostages in The Queen Vic and attempted to kill pregnant Louise Mitchell. Fans spotted the link to his past after the dad he never met, Steve Owen, was killed when his car crashed and exploded during a car chase with Phil Mitchell in 2002.

Hunter's mum Mel Owen is now feared to die after pictures snapped on location showed she could be caught up in a deadly car crash, again involving a Mitchell as Sharon appears to chase her on the road.

One cursed family that are no longer on the soap are the Moons, with four relatives of Alfie Moon killed off over the years – while he himself was feared dead after a showdown with Kat, Hayley and Stacey on Christmas Day 2018. After Nanna Moon passed away in 2005, Alfie was left devastated.

But just a year later, Alfie's cousin Danny Moon, who killed Dennis Rickman, was shot dead by his own brother Jake to stop him killing Phil and Grant Mitchell. Jake himself was then murdered the same year in a case of mistaken identity, as villain Johnny Allen ordered the death of Sean Slater – only for his men to believe he meant Jake.

Another Moon lost their life in 2013, when Alfie's cousin Michael Moon was stabbed to death by ex Janine Butcher who framed Alice Branning for the crime.

Coronation Street

The Connors have experienced several tragedies on the soap ever since their arrival in 2006 – Dean, the father of Ryan Connor and Ali Neeson and ex partner of Michelle, had died off screen way before their debut.

Michelle's eldest brother Paul, Carla Connor's husband, was revealed to be driving the car, causing the accident that killed Dean. He himself was killed off in 2007 when he crashed his car into a lorry while being distracted on the road.

A year later, and younger brother Liam – husband to Maria and father to a then yet to be born Liam Connor, was also killed in a car accident.

He was run over by villain, and Carla's then boyfriend, Tony Gordon who learned of Liam and Carla's affair and killed him.

Carla went on to be held hostage by Tony in the factory the family owned, and after he set the place on fire she faced a desperate battle for survival. Carla was rescued, but Tony died in the flames.

When the new Connors arrived years later, a new spell of tragedy struck when in 2018 Aidan Connor, Michelle's cousin, sadly took his own life.

Then in 2019, Kate Connor was left heartbroken once more when her wife-to-be Rana Habeeb was killed in the factory roof collapse. Carla believed she was to blame, leading to her suffering a mental breakdown.


One of the most cursed families of any soap has to be the Kings, with four members of the family being killed off over the years. Jimmy King is the last relative remaining alive in the village, and he's certainly had his share of grief.

Back in 2006, dad Tom King was pushed out of a window and killed, with son Carl later revealed as the killer. 

Carl was also linked to the death of brother Matthew two years later, who was also killed on his own wedding day in a car crash moments after trying to run his little brother over. A year earlier their sibling Max was killed in a car crash caused by Robert Sugden, who drive him and brother Andy Sugden off the road.

Then came Carl's murder, and another whodunnit on the ITV soap. By this point he was the village's latest villain, and had enemies everywhere, with brother Jimmy also turning against him.

Carl was murdered by serial killer Cameron Murray during a live episode in 2012, while his ex Chas Dingle was the believed suspect. 

Another family in the Dales who've had their fair share of tragedies are the Tates. Villain Kim Tate has caused trouble for the family, and the village, for as long as viewers can remember. 

In 1997, Frank was arrested for his wife's murder when in fact Kim faked her death. Frank ended up having a fatal heart attack later that year when she returned, during a heated showdown, and Kim left him to die.

Kim also tried to kill stepson Chris at one point before her exit from the soap, but that was the least of his problems when his and Zoe's secret half-brother arrived and took him hostage. Chris finally got through to Liam, only for Zoe to shoot him dead fearing for her brother's life.

Both Zoe and Chris went through constant drama on the show, but in 2003 Chris took his own life by poisoning himself and attempting to frame then wife Charity Dingle. After learning he had an inoperable brain tumour, the character had discovered Charity had cheated on him with Cain Dingle leading to the shocking revenge plot.

His son Joe Tate, whose mother Rachel was murdered by Graham in 1999, returned to the soap in 2017 under the name Tom Waterhouse, wanting revenge on the Dingles.

But he appeared to be killed off last year after Kim ordered former flame, and Joe's guardian, Graham Foster to kill him – only for Cain to attack him and leave him "dead". It was later revealed Joe was alive and on the run.


Over in Hollyoaks village, and there's three key families who have experienced tragedy after tragedy. The McQueens are one of the biggest families on the soap, but back in 2008 a horrifying storyline began as Myra McQueen's secret son returned and took revenge for being abandoned as a baby.

From pushing pregnant Tina down the stairs, causing teen sister Michaela to have a heroin overdose and almost killing Nana, he eventually held all the kids and Myra hostage and forced her to choose who lived and who died.

After blowing up a church, Tina sadly died while he was also believed to be dead only to return in Hollyoaks Later. He kidnapped Steph Cunningham, who he was in love with, before beating up her brother Craig Dean – it's then that he finally realised she didn't love him, so he took his own life.

Mercedes herself has had a handful of heartache, having lost four of her exes to murder – Russ Owen was recently killed by Breda McQueen, Malachy died after the restaurant fire in 2010, Joe Roscoe was killed in 2016 and Riley Costello was shot dead in 2012.

The Lomaxes/Hays have also been pretty unlucky, with Leela, Peri and Tegan's parents Sam and Danny being killed in a car crash. Danny was also the dad of Ste Hay.

Peri had actually just learned Leela was actually her mother, while it was later confirmed her biological father Cameron was the person who drove Sam and Danny off the road.

Since then Tegan has also died, after being injured during a storm when a tree collapsed on her. The grief sent Ste off the rails, with him currently caught up in a controversial radicalisation storyline.

Cameron tried to kill Leela prior to all of this, but ended up killing her ex Ziggy Roscoe – he then kidnapped her and Peri after being exposed as a serial killer, but Ste saved them and he was caught by police.

Another Hollyoaks family who appeared to be cursed were the Roscoes. Before the death of Ziggy on Christmas Eve 2015, his brother Freddie Roscoe had been murdered as the latest victim of the Gloved Hand Killer in the summer.

He and his younger brothers Jason and Robbie were in hospital after almost being killed by villain Trevor Royle, and during the scenes it was confirmed Freddie's wife Lindsey was the killer and she murdered him.

In a twist just months later it was confirmed he was alive and in witness protection, with Lindsey's killer secret eventually exposed in May 2016. After attempting to kill ex Joe Roscoe's new partner Mercedes McQueen she was herself murdered by fellow serial killer Silas Blissett.

Tragically, Joe was killed during the funfair just months later after a fire broke out, caused by Cameron.

We can almost guarantee some of the above families will have moe heartache heading their way in the months and years to come.

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