Fave or Fail? (25-29 Dec 2017)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! From Monday’s Christmas special to Lachlan’s dark side being exposed – the last week of 2017 was an eventful one!

Faves

Christmas Extravaganza

vlcsnap-2017-12-31-18h01m29s087Emmerdale’s Christmas special was a mad hour of nightmares, festivities and emotion and you can read my breakdown of everything I loved in this post here. There was little else that could make my top spot this week. Perhaps the thing I loved most about this episode is that despite the creative and risky storytelling choices, at the heart of it was a concentration on emotion and character. Not only did the special episode give them a chance to do something a little bit weird and stylistic, but it also gave the audience greater insight into one of their best and most complex characters in Robert. It was an episode full of everything Emmerdale does best, full of heart and humour and I loved it!

The Dark Side

vlcsnap-2017-12-31-18h01m56s966One of the few saving graces of the White family drama this week came from Lachlan. Thanks to chilling and unnerving performances from Thomas Atkinson, he took Lachlan to new dark levels as he threatened Chrissie and blackmailed her into getting him a flat. This was one of the first times we really saw Lachlan’s unfiltered psychotic behaviour in display in front of his mother and the first time Chrissie was really alarmed. Seeing Lachlan like this finally made that twisted mother/son dynamic interesting and begs the question why they didn’t go down this route sooner. There was so much potential there for Chrissie to enable her son’s out of control behaviour while he terrorised her but that now seems like a missed opportunity.

Nan Knows Best

_1074 Aaron amp; Robert 26th December 2017 Part 3 of 3 - YouTubeWhen it comes to her grandkids we usually see Faith Dingle supporting Debbie’s corner, but this week it was Aaron’s turn as she was able to over him a boost to his self-esteem. Insecure and anxious about his self-harm scars, Faith was able to relate, after her mastectomy surgery gave her confidence a knock and made it difficult for her to get intimate. Despite them being family it made a welcome change for these two characters to have a meaningful scene together and although it was emotional, Faith is the right kind of loud and supportive nan figure Aaron needs in his life. Here’s hoping they share more screentime in 2018!

A New Reign?

vlcsnap-2017-12-31-18h03m26s311Apart from wandering around the village in his furs, we haven’t seen a great deal of Jimmy towards the end half of the year but 2018 looks like we might see a bit more of him. This week more of the community got involved in the golf course debacle, making the story a lot more interesting than just a Dingle protest and Jimmy was approached by councillor Morris in the hopes he would fight the developers corner. Jimmy’s family history was played on, reminding us all that Jimmy’s legacy is a lot more than just a haulage business and Tom King got a mention too. As much as I love Jimmy the fool and his relationship with Nicola, it’s about time the King family history was remembered and we started seeing a more ruthless return.

Fails

Just Leave

vlcsnap-2017-12-31-18h04m26s230When it comes to the White family it’s always the same old story and with their exits teased about 9 months ago, I’m bored rigid of them. There only seems to be two types of drama whenever they’re about – either it’s internal conflict, family members at war, or it’s something Robert’s done and this week was more of the same tired story.  With Rebecca yo-yoing for the 600th time between Emmerdale and elsewhere, having done a u-turn on her opinion of Robert twice in a week and the rest of the family (Lachlan not withstanding) whiplashing between forgiveness and condemnation of Rob again – they decided they would leave the village. About time too! But really, with all their weak-willed, wishy-washy behaviour you wonder why they didn’t do it years ago. Who cares anymore? They add nothing to the village or the programme. Just leave already.

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Scene of the Week (25-29 Dec 2017)

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This week was full of individually strong scenes but my choice for Scene of the Week had to come from the surreal Christmas special, and naturally had to feature Valerie Pollard. I’ve already praised the Christmas episode as a whole, but this strange and nightmarish sequence had a gorgeous gothic feel, as well as bringing back an Emmerdale icon in the shape of a ghostly Val. Almost every line from her mouth was comedy gold and alongside her, Robert’s horror at the chilling events were played with gusto by Ryan Hawley. Down in the grave, Val gave Robert his moral takeaway from his hallucinations as his greyed out corpse jerked into reality via shocks given in the hospital. This scene had everything – a ghoulish aesthetic, great performances, wicked one liners and a spectacular return from the dead! What more could you ask for on Christmas day?

Emmerdale’s Top 20 Moments of 2017 – Part One (#20-11)

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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?

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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?

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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!

8 Reasons Emmerdale’s Bonkers Xmas Special Was Brilliant

Emmerdale’s Christmas special episode was a bit different from the norm – to say the least – but whether it was the mad movie tributes or the tear-jerking reality, there was so much to enjoy. Here are just eight of the reasons I loved it.

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Star Performance

Emmerdale took a real risk with their Christmas special this year and the weight of the genre twisting fell onto Ryan Hawley’s shoulders as Robert took centre stage. Ryan’s pulled out some impressive performances this year and salvaged some of the more unpopular storylines with his talents and this special episode really showcased his range. From his confusion at the bonkers goings on to his self reflection and heart breaking revelation, Ryan brought humour and heart to the episode even in the crazy dream sequences. What a star.

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Back From the Dead

Perhaps one of the most surprising and thrilling moments was seeing the legendary Val Pollard again. She’s larger than life and much missed so it seems only fitting that she made an appearance. With a whole host of one-liners – far too many to repeat – and a wicked sense of humour, Val was the perfect ghost to lead Robert to redemption. More than anything though it made it clear that there has been no bigger error than killing off The Valerie Pollard.

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Mad Movie Mash-ups

Last year’s Emmerdale had real snow and lots of traditional Christmassy vibes, but this year they went one step madder with A Christmas Carol tribute, merged with a bit of Groundhog Day. It did sort of feel like you’d had one too many sherries watching it, but the psychedelic fun seems a little more acceptable on Christmas Day. Jimmy King and his boxer shorts cropped up in every sequence as the Ned Ryerson figure, adding to Robert’s frustrations and Dan’s own version of Last Christmas will continue to haunt me long into the New Year. Sure it was like a drug induced hallucination, complete with dream sequences, ghosts and the bonkers world of Robert Sugden’s subconscious, but as a hardcore fan, it was a fun change to the norm.

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Crazy Outfits

Part of the fun of the dream sequences was to see the weird and wonderful outfits Robert Sugden’s brain conjured. Loud, opulent and Christmassy was the general vibe, until we got to the funeral scenes where the eyeliner came out and everything went a bit gothic. I always enjoy fancy dress in The Dales and seeing the characters in ways we wouldn’t normally, so there was a surreal glam fun to it all.

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Love, Life and Death

Emmerdale’s much loved and much tortured couple had their love and their heartbreak revisited in the Christmas episode, just so we could all cry into our turkey sandwiches. It’s been widely reported that they’re reuniting in 2018 (thank god) and the special episode exposed the qualities that make this so longed for. It’s will they/won’t they rom-com at its finest, with third wheel love triangles, dreamy fantasy sequence and life or death moments of tragedy, heralded by the visceral chemistry between Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley. TV romance gold.

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Sort-of Sugden Family Christmas

The Sugden family are fractured these days to say the least, but it was nice to see the mix and match of the extended family rally round in the present day scenes. It’s no shock that Robert is a fairly lonely and isolated man considering everything he’s done, but with no living parents left it’s touching to see Diane and Doug take that role a little. Their lowkey celebrations were a world away from the Dingles but were loving in their own way. Doug and Robert’s clashing personalities have been a fun new thing to explore and I hope this muddled family unit get some more material come the new year.

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Something New

This year’s Christmas special was always going to be a bit wacky and divisive but I admire Emmerdale’s stab at something different. This episode gave them the chance to really dig into Robert’s complex character and address all the trouble and heartbreak he’s caused in a surprising and fun way. In the past few years they’ve broken new ground in the soap genre, trying to make something fresh and unique. Not every risk pays off, but I’d gladly watch Emmerdale doing something unusual and special than rehashing the past by trying to re-do old glories like other soaps we won’t mention! Emmerdale’s a top quality soap bringing new ideas to a familiar genre and that can’t be a bad thing.

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That Tear-jerking Ending

What did we do to deserve such pain on Christmas Day?! But after a few wines and a shed load of excitement, we were bound to end up blubbing somehow. With Robert’s life in tatters and his nightmares ringing in his ears, he decided to do the selfless thing and let go of Aaron. As the two tearfully parted at the hospital, both of them still in love, it was a briefly painful resolution to months of heartbreak. With intimate and subtle performances it was quite a change from the episode’s wacky opening, but the type of scene that both actors excel in. If the Christmas Day scenes were anything to go by then that reunion is sure gonna be something special. I’m waiting…

Fave or Fail? (18-22 Dec 2017)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Adam was arrested for Emma’s murder and his fate looks to be sealed after his false confession.

Faves

Adam’s Agony

_347 Adam amp; Victoria 21st December 2017 Part 4 - YouTubeHats off to actor Adam Thomas this week as Adam Barton was faced with the most agonising of decisions and ended up confessing to a murder he didn’t commit. With the knowledge his struggling mum was the real killer and pressurised with the thought that she’d never cope in prison, Adam did the unthinkable and spun a web of lies for the police, knowing it fed into their theories about him. Adam is already the obvious suspect and his fate was already sealed, but seeing Adam realise this and write his own prison sentence was unimaginably horrible. Throughout his last few years on Emmerdale, Adam’s acting talents have been wasted but he truly gave some crushing performances this week proving what an underrated talent he is. It seems like a pretty cruel exit for Adam Barton, but one that has already given us so many great moments to watch.

Brenda’s Bad Week

Emmerdale - Brenda Figures Out Bob's Dirty Little Secret - YouTubeMy heart broke for poor Brenda this week as she discovered Bob had cheated on her. After Bob and Brenda’s adorable slow burn romance which developed during her brain tumour illness, they’ve been one of the most stable couples in the village. Sure, they’ve also been a little dull and light on the drama – but with all the other ups and downs in The Dales, we need a bit of stability. But after Bob and Laurel’s one night stand, it was only a matter of time before Brenda found out the truth. We haven’t seen Lesley Dunlop have any big storylines to get her teeth into for a while, but she really delivered on Brenda’s absolute devastation and her heart-wrenching humiliation right before Christmas had Love Actually vibes. How could you, Bob? How could you?!

Twas the Night Before Christmas

vlcsnap-2017-12-24-17h32m56s942Emmerdale’s highly anticipated weird and wonderful Christmas special airs tomorrow, with Robert “Scrooge” Sugden taking centre stage for A Christmas Carol inspired treat. Friday’s episode saw the lead up to that with the lonely and miserable man overdoing it on whiskey (cos that worked out so well before) and almost getting kicked out of the pub. From Rob’s cringey boozed up sing-song with Doug and Gerry, to his defeated and foolish attempts to win back Aaron, it was hard not to feel for the bloke. Ryan Hawley does heartbreak so well. Despite my totally, totally unbiased and unashamed love for Robert, his drunken behaviour had disaster written all over it and the episode ended with him being hit by a car. Cue Monday’s special episode! It was a great lead up to the main event, with the irresistible Robron pull still there, simmering under the surface. I can’t wait for the main event!

Fail

Bob’s Betrayal

Emmerdale - Bob Is Floored by Brenda's Decision - YouTubeBob’s on my shit list. There’s no two ways about it. And I am a card carrying Bob Hope fan! If his betrayal of Brenda wasn’t bad enough, he lied about it to Brenda’s face with the lamest excuses you’ve ever heard and was pretty shitty to Laurel too. It isn’t just Bob that gets stuck on the Fail list this week though, it’s also the fact that the lead up to the reveal ticked every cliché in the book. All the misdirection with Brenda almost discovering it was Laurel; Bob and Laurel having an awkward Xmas gathering; those wink-wink-nudge-nudge lines of dialogue. It was all a bit tacky. It’s going to be even harder for Brenda when she finds out the full story – so is it too much to ask that there are no more clichés, like – dare I say it – a pregnancy scare?

Scene of the Week (18-22 Dec 2017)

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What a scene this was! Both thrilling and devastating, the fates of mother and son, Moira and Adam Barton, lay in the hands of Hotten’s finest after the two of them confessed to killing Emma. I loved the way this was shot, juxtaposing both characters being lead to their futures, Moira to Cain and the outside world and Adam back to a cell. There was a cold, resigned horror on Adam’s face – played perfectly by Adam Thomas – whereas Moira’s dazed sense of calm shattered into screams when she realised her confession hadn’t worked to free her son. Poor Adam was left to slump to the floor as reality set in and Adam Thomas really piled on the heartbreak. Great moment in this hard to watch story.