Mind the Age Gap! 10 soap couples who didn't let the years get in the way of romance

(Image credit: BBC/Jack Barnes)

Here are 10 infamous soap couples who didn't think a big age gap was such a huge issue. We beg to differ!

Can you believe the age gap between some couples in soapland?! We’re currently shocked by what's happened between Michelle and her Florida toyboy Preston in EastEnders, but soaps have thrown up plenty of age mismatches in the past, which we revisit…

EastEnders - Michelle and Preston

(Image credit: BBC/Kieron McCarron)

Michelle & Preston, EastEnders Preston Cooper fell for Michelle Fowler, 47, when she worked at a Florida university. When the pair were eventually discovered she was hounded out of the country faster than she could say ‘hormonal’. She never really expected 17-year-old Preston to follow her to Walford, but there have been plenty of hitches, including him sleeping with her niece Bex. And it's just ended in the most dramatic way, with Walford finding out the sordid truth in the Vic, and Michelle ending up in a car smash after a pills and booze binge.

Michelle has past form with age gaps, but the other way around. Back when she was a teen (and played by Susan Tully) she fell pregnant to married man ‘Dirty’ Den Watts, and a few years later she was at it again with university lecturer Geoff. Michelle likes a good gap… and so does Preston!


Deirdre & Samir, Coronation Street Deirdre went all Shirley Valentine back in the 1990s when she fell for 22-year-old toyboy waiter Samir Rachid while on holiday in Morocco. Keen to prove that theirs wasn’t any old holiday fling, Samir followed Deirdre back to Weatherfield and they got hitched, much to Tracy’s disgust! But their age gap love wasn’t to last when Samir was bludgeoned with a lead pipe by a group of youths and Deirdre, 39, had to make the heartbreaking decision to turn off his life support machine!


Becca & Justin, Hollyoaks Hollyoaks has seen a lot of eyebrow-raising romances, but the affair between English teacher Becca Dean, in her mid-twenties, and her pupil Justin Burton takes the biscuit. Trapped in a loveless marriage, Becca fell for 15-year-old Justin while tutoring him for his GCSEs, culminating in an explosive Christmas Day night of passion in 2005. Needless to say she ended up in prison where she was stabbed by a cellmate during a fight, but not before she’d given birth to Justin’s son Charlie!


Cain & Amy, Emmerdale Cain Dingle, 42, wasn’t always the reformed family man he is today. Back in 2001 he seduced policewoman Angie Reynold’s teenage daughter, Ollie, before setting his sights on 16-year-old teen tearaway Amy Wyatt. As one-night stands go it was pretty shocking, particularly as Amy ended up pregnant with Cain’s son Kyle!


Charity & Tom, Emmerdale Charity has always loved a sugar daddy and it was pretty obvious from the start that she was only after OAP millionaire businessman Tom King for his cash. He was almost old enough to be her grandfather, so seeing them kiss on screen made pretty icky viewing! Not surprisingly, Tom was permanently paranoid that Charity, 30, would run off with someone her own age – and on the morning of their wedding day his worst fears came true when he was shown photos of Charity snogging Cain and subsequently ditched his younger lover at the altar!


Denise & Fatboy, EastEnders... and Kush! Denise has had plenty of men in EastEnders, but none quite as young as Fatboy, so it was quite cringe-worthy watching the pair snog on screen. Alas, this didn’t go anywhere as poor Fatboy was inadvertently killed by Ronnie soon afterwards. But Denise hasn’t let tragedy get in the way of her penchant for younger men – she’s currently carrying on with stall holder Kush Kazemi, who at 31 is 16 years younger!


Katy & Martin, Coronation Street There’s nothing more horrifying than seeing a middle-aged man kissing a girl in school uniform, but that’s what happened when nurse forty-something Martin Platt had a midlife crisis and ended up in a relationship with 16-year-old Katy Harris. Katy even became pregnant with Martin’s baby, but her scheming dad Tommy persuaded her to have an abortion by lying to her that Martin was cheating on her. Katy ended up killing her scheming dad before taking her own life. Actor Sean Wilson, who played Martin, later quit the soap after producers reportedly wanted Martin to have an affair with a girl even younger!


Peter & Tina, Coronation Street Peter Barlow has always had a weakness for women and when his self-esteem took a kicking after he lost his business and fiancée Carla ended up having to pay his way, he soothed his pride by sleeping with barmaid Tina, 22 – despite being old enough at 48 to be Tina’s father! Their seedy affair was eventually busted by David and Kylie and became the catalyst for Tina’s brutal murder at the hands of Rob Donovan.


(Image credit: BBC)

Stacey & Max, EastEnders Most people wouldn’t seduce their boyfriend’s dad, but when Bradley dumped her, Stacey Slater set her sights on Max – and given Max’s famous roving eye it didn’t take much to turn his head despite their 20-year age gap! Their sordid secret was eventually exposed on Christmas Day when Lauren showed a DVD of the pair kissing to the whole family! The pair are now ‘just good friends’ and Stacey appears happily married to Martin but, let’s be honest, there still seems to be a bubbling lust simmering just beneath the surface…


(Image credit: BBC)

Zoe & Dirty Den, EastEnders Pensioner ‘Dirty’ Den Watts seduced 20-year-old Zoe Slater purely to get her pregnant so she could stop her fella Dennis running off with his adopted sister Sharon! But Dennis ended up catching them in the act and leaving anyway! Zoe must have been so disgusted by her ‘fling’ with Den that she later joined his wife Chrissie and killed him…


(Image credit: KEN MCKAY/REX Shutterstock)

Marilyn & Donald, Home & Away Marilyn has always had a thing for older blokes. She’s currently married to older man John Palmer, who’s at least 10 years her senior, but back in the 90s she wed head teacher Donald ‘Flathead’ Fisher, even though she was 27 and he was 54! The marriage caused a massive stir, but ended after their son, Byron, was diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer.


Nicholas Cannon
TV Content Director on TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus Whattowatch.com. I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.