Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Paddy Kirk is at his comedy best and little Arthur knows how to tug on the heart strings – ouch!
I can’t remember a plot in Emmerdale which gave me as many big laughs as the Paddy and Lydia storyline this week. We met “bereavement Lydia” (as Eric likes to call her) back when Jimmy got caught up in his lies about Nicola and she was hilarious then, but even better this week. With Lydia arriving at the vet’s with her “depressed” parrot Steve and her terrible chat up lines, she seemed like a great match for the equally awkward flirt, Paddy. But as the date progressed and Lydia’s mothering of Steve, talk of urination and wild-eyed obsessive future planning (scheduled dates until Feb), Paddy started to panic. Not even a private tour of a lawnmower museum could save it and he tried to back out – with hysterical consequences. This is Paddy at his ultimate best and a fantastic use of a guest actress, whose exit and mic drop will be remembered for a good while yet!
You’d have to have a heart of steel not to be moved by darling little Arthur Thomas this week. Caught in the middle of his hugely family struggle, Arthur is doing his best to just be a happy go lucky little boy. We saw in Super Soap Week how much he adores his dad and how he’s trying his best to look after him, but as Ashley’s condition has worsened it’s beginning to really upset and worry him. This week Doug blew the secret of Ashley hitting Laurel and fearful Arthur panicked that it might happen again. By the end of the week he’d perked up a little, with a helping hand from Marlon and the pirate ship crew, but when Ashley was hospitalised again, we saw more upset piled on his little shoulders. Arthur knows and dreads what’s coming in the aftermath of Ashley’s TIA and it’s obvious the future is going to be seriously heartbreaking. Huge kudos to actor Alfie Clarke for his emotional performances in this tough story.
Moira’s grief escalated this week as the loneliness of Christmas caused her to hit the bottle. Despite Emma’s best efforts to support her enemy-turned-best-friend, Moira found her interference too much and pushed her and Pete away. While Gillian Kearney continues her brilliant portrayal of unstable Emma – lurching between a need for Moira’s friendship to ease her guilt to punishing her for rejecting her – it was Natalie J Robb really shining again this week. I loved the simplicity of Moira grieving on the floor, rebuilding the shattered pieces of Holly’s decoration and sobbing as the saccharine Christmas song played behind her. It was fun too to see the harsher and feisty side of her, especially with the drink talking, as she faced off against Cain and the Bartons, but Natalie’s portrayal means you’re always going to empathise with Moira.
Aaron had a tough week trying to put his foot down with Liv (her fragility beautifully played by Isobel Steele) and despite a rocky start, they managed a break-through, but it was Chas and Aaron’s relationship that was a real highlight for me. After a very difficult year and a long battle of their own parent-child relationship, the connection they have now is strong and touching. With Lucy Pargeter soon to be on maternity leave, losing Aaron and Chas’s relationship is going to feel tough – particularly when we’re given such heartwarming scenes between the two lately, such as her pride of him and her sage advice not to sabotage his own happiness. Lovely scenes!
Leyla was the meddler and the target this week as she began vowing to get rid of Frank and ended up being messed with herself. While I loved the friendship scheming and backtracking between Leyla and Vanessa, Tracy and Carly’s mean tricking meant Pete and Leyla’s new relationship was derailed by embarrassing miscommunication. While it was great to see Leyla so involved in the week’s drama, the farce with Pete fell a bit flat, despite some funny dialogue. There was something silly and out of character to see Pete acting so OTT and dopey and it really jarred when you compared it to his dramatic material at the start of the week (grieving son he was not!). Tracy’s frustrations at the living arrangements are understandable but it all felt quite mean spirited in the end.
On the Rob
I enjoy the sight of Aaron Dingle committing crimes just as much as his fiancé seems to, but this week’s events were tarnished by clunky plot devices. With Liv needing stability, Aaron and Robert had already decided to find the three of them a permanent home – one problem, their best option (burnt out and rotting Mill) was out of their price range. Well, apparently. Conveniently. Last we knew Robert was sitting on a tidy sum courtesy of his divorce settlement and father in law. Yet this money has disappeared with no explanation, forcing Aaron to battle with his beliefs and decide whether to use his abusive father’s money. Another plot convenience meant loaded Rebecca White talking VERY LOUDLY about her money in front of Aaron and having a cosy drink with him and Robert – so Aaron was able to hear this and want revenge for her bad taste joke – when it’s very hard to believe after her schemes to split them up, they’d ever be pally. In what was, effectively, a plot to get Aaron to come to terms with using Gordon’s money and establish a better relationship between Aaron and Rebecca (while still showing Aaron’s insecurities), I can’t help but wish there had been a more believable way to show this. Would Aaron really be as clumsy in crime when he has so much to lose these days?