It was another huge year for Emmerdale as they swept award show after award show. In 2017 some big storylines dominated, such as Ashley’s death and Emma’s demise, but here is my own look back at Emmerdale’s Best Bits of the year, starting with numbers 20 to 11. Come back tomorrow to see my Top 10 and a countdown of the year’s lowlights too. I’d love to know what you think so feel free to comment below!
20. Marlon’s Fun Factor
Marlon Dingle, one of the most GIFable, most quotable villagers and just sneaking into my Top 20 Emmerdale highlights this year. It’s been a varied year for Marlon as he coped with losing Carly from his life, being a support for Laurel when she was at her most vulnerable and for Rhona after her rape ordeal. But despite all the hard times, Marlon was also a constant source of joy. The iconic bromance with Paddy was back in full physical comedy force providing us with plenty to smile about in what has been another intense year for the villagers. Marlon’s bizarre escape from Lydia’s bedroom was certainly a memorable moment. At the end of 2017 Marlon was single and ready to mingle, perhaps with Leo’s new headteacher Jessie and I reckon that might lead to good things in 2018!
19. Doug’s Comedic Touch
In amongst the tragedy of Ashley’s death and beyond, Doug Potts proved a surprising highlight of 2017. It isn’t really a shock that Duncan Preston’s got such great comedic timing considering his performance background, but Doug’s role as grumpy old man in the village has proven a great foil for others this year. Whether it’s mayhem at the BnB, the kids messing with his vegetable honesty box, dancing lessons with Lydia or getting sloshed with Robert – Doug gave us lots of little fun moments this year. Additions like Doug’s “musical carrot” during the Thomas talent contest helped the balance of light and shade during the Ashley story, making its heartbreak all the more effective too.
18. Unhinged Lachlan
My issues with the White family are endless (and pretty much the same as last year) however there was one glimmer of something watchable this year in the shape of unhinged Lachlan, played brilliantly by Thomas Atkinson. At his best this year, Lachlan was cold, remorseless and spiteful and it’s where he excels. From purposely getting beaten up in prison, to hiding in his own attic lair – I only wish Emmerdale would have gone a lot darker a lot sooner with him.
17. Bob’s Bigger Role
If you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ll know I’m always wishing for Bob to get out and about a bit more, and stop being tied to that café! Well this year I got my wish and we’ve seen a lot more of Bob as he managed to get heavily involved in some of Emmerdale’s biggest storylines – it wasn’t all stripping and singing you know! From visiting Ashley in the care home, to Carly’s exit, to investigating Emma’s evil deeds, Bob got about a bit. And literally too – as we found out at the end of 2017 that he had a one night stand with Laurel. Despite us all being angry at Bob for what he’s done to Brenda, it’s been a welcome change to see him at the heart of a story rather than simply serving coffee!
16. Vanessa’s Sexuality Exploration
I’ve always had a soft spot for resident vet, Vanessa Woodfield, and I was pleased to see her get an interesting story this year as she explored her sexuality. It wasn’t long ago she had troubled and mixed up feelings for best friend Rhona during Rhona’s drug addiction, but Emmerdale never really explored what this meant for Vanessa’s sexuality. But after a surprising hook up with Charity in the pub cellar, Vanessa began questioning her identity. So far we’ve had some nicely played scenes of her getting advice from friends and embracing her new feelings and it’s been refreshing to watch this gradual and honest story unfold with minimal angst. Will Ness find love in 2018?
15. Leyla Harding
Leyla had a quiet start to 2017, giving us the snark and glam outfits we know and love, but by the summer she was front and centre of the show. Despite Pete and Priya’s affair being a real low point of Emmerdale, Leyla’s big heart and kooky bad luck with love endeared her to us even more this year. The double jilting at the wedding was as ridiculous as it sounds but genuinely very funny, but there were softer, sadder moments too as Leyla’s confidence took a real kicking. The betrayal gave her some really strong material as she fought it out with Priya, but frankly she’s too good for both her and Pete. With actress Roxy Shahidi off on maternity leave very soon, it’s a good thing we had a lot of Leyla this year to make up for the lack of her in the next one!
14. Jai’s Redemption
It’s hard to believe that someone like Jai, who spent much of 2015 and some of 2016 being incredibly unlikeable, could turn it around and become one of my favourites this year. Since Holly’s death Jai has tried to make himself a better person and we saw plenty of opportunity to see his softer side as a family man this year. Midway through the year Jai dated Nell (Holly’s doppelganger) in what was quite a weird and initially unengaging story, but the twists and turns in the final act of this story were jawdroppingly brilliant and a time where we were all firmly on Jai’s side. Who can forget that shocking moment in the department store when Jai saw Nell’s dead baby photo were in fact a stock image? Sadly Nell’s last episode was a let down and it hasn’t had any real impact on Jai long term, but I hope 2018 can keep up this new and improved Jai.
13. Gerry Roberts
Who could predict that one of Lachlan White’s cellmates would become one of the best new additions to Emmerdale in 2017? Cheeky Gerry Roberts made a big impression this year as his puppy-dog enthusiasm gave some much needed levity to the show. After perking up life at Home Farm, Gerry made a pitstop at the BnB to rile Doug, before becoming firm friends with Liv and blagging himself a way in with the Dingles and a job at the scrapyard. Gerry is a newbie done right – lots of interactions all across the village and plenty of fun. Now that he seems here to stay I can’t wait to see what Gerry gets up to next year!
12. Moira’s Difficult Year
Moira never really has an easy time of it. Last year her marriage shattered and her beloved daughter Holly died, but it wasn’t that much brighter this year either. Moira kicked off the year rebuffing Cain’s hopes for a reunion (having slept with him and Pete around Christmas time last year) and fighting for her farm. And then things went quiet, aside from an exhaustion collapse and we were all left wondering whether there was more to it. Come October, when Super Soap Week 2.0 rolled into town, Moira was thrust into the spotlight, giving birth to a shock baby after escaping a barn inferno and a face-off with nemesis Emma. It was one big moment after the next, followed by a harrowing PND story and then the mother of all reveals as we learnt Moira was the culprit behind Emma’s murder. It was a huge and unexpected turn of events for Moira’s character but actress Natalie J Robb has relished each opportunity to wring every emotion out of Moira. Moira’s been everything this year – badass and fierce, to vulnerable and broken. She’s a character that works on all levels. And of course, always bubbling under the surface is the winning partnership with Cain. Will 2018 see them reunite?
11. Eric and Faith’s Budding Romance
A real highlight of Emmerdale 2017 was the development of Eric and Faith’s relationship and I already feel like they have the makings of a true soap power couple. When Faith arrived there were already sparks, so much so Doug kept calling her Eric’s girlfriend, but it took a little while for them to grow close. Faith brought fun to Eric’s life, helping him to loosen up and he gave her the affection and confidence to feel attractive again after her mastectomy. They’ve had their misunderstandings and strife like any soap couple but they’re a ying-and-yang match with great chemistry and an irresistible, engaging dynamic. I hope 2018 brings them back together, for good!