5 Things About Classic Emmerdale Current Emmerdale Could Learn From

If you’ve been watching (or rewatching) classic Emmerdale on ITV3 in the afternoons then you’ll have seen a few differences between the Emmerdale of then and the Emmerdale of now. While the TV and soap landscape has changed significantly since the 1980s and we’re lucky enough to get 6 episodes a week, there are a few elements of the classic episodes that would improve the modern day show we know and love. Here are just a few of them.

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More Farming

Emmerdale might have lost its “Farm” tag in 1989, but farming and the countryside was still a huge part of the show in the late 80s and 90s, as seen in the repeated episodes of this time. Farming and the rural setting is Emmerdale’s USP and these days is a really under utilised aspect. Fans enjoy the novelty of seeing animals on screen but it shouldn’t be such a rarity for a countryside show. Time has moved on and the village is a lot less about farming than it used to be, but there are still the Dingle pigs and Butler’s farm – and even the vets could get involved now and again. No one wants every storyline about sheep, but as shown in the classic episodes, farming issues can really affect the standing and reputation of a family in a small community. Farming was at the heart of the village once and it’s a shame it’s taken such a huge backseat. Characters are rarely seen at work in current episodes, and whether they’re farming or in another industry, a few more grounded stories wouldn’t go amiss.

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A Gossip Behind the Bar

One of the most iconic Emmerdale characters of the past has to be Woolpack landlord Amos, with his huge wiry sideburns. A long running comedy storyline about a village play might not go down all that well in modern times, but I reckon there’s a warmth and nosiness to Amos sorely lacking in Emmerdale as it stands. Sure, we do have our gossips – like Brenda, Faith or the rarely seen Pearl – but since losing Betty no one quite has that busy-body inquisitiveness like Amos. Not only is Amos a gossip, but he’s also in prime position behind the bar and has a journalistic background meaning he just can’t help himself in asking endless questions. Can we recruit someone to be the new gossip, or how about an older newbie for the village?

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More Outside Scenes

One of the biggest surprises in watching classic Emmerdale is just how regularly characters are filmed out and about. It’s not just in the village or on the various farms, but around the huge grounds of Home Farm and even in town around the streets. Sure, it’s a bigger expense and complication to film on location but it creates a feeling of authenticity to see the villagers in other streets, towns or even the shops. In scenes that aired recently on ITV3 you had Kim and Zoe Tate walking the streets, outside shops, and Jack Sugden working at a chippie. We’d never get that these days! With Home Farm set to become a bigger deal when Kim returns here’s hoping we’ll see more of the grounds too and not just that ugly kitchen!

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A Bigger Home Farm Divide

Speaking of Home Farm, one of the most significant differences you notice watching classic episodes of Emmerdale is the huge differences in class, wealth and power that Home Farm has. In the older episodes the Tates had control of the estate and their ownership of properties, farm and land had a huge impact on the day to day lives of the villagers. The villagers were suspicious of new owners in case it impacted upon their lands and homes, but for some a job working for the house was sought after. The Tates also were wealthy enough to hire a housekeeper, a gardener and their house and grounds were treated a lot more like a business than it currently is. Recently it seems like they’ve tried to get back to this arrangement in current episodes, as Graham has tried making villagers homeless, but as it stands Home Farm is aimless and the business side of things is vague. Perhaps current Home Farm needs a bit more of the classic country estate feeling, increase the wealth and power divide and make the “little people” more nervous about their future.

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Women Who Stand Their Ground

When it comes to powerful women and stories of female characters having agency, Emmerdale can be a bit hit and miss. The same can probably be said of classic Emmerdale too, but there’s something about the ambition and forthright nature of the women in the classic Emmerdale episodes that’s really appealing. Whether it’s Zoe Tate’s confident approach to her veterinary research, the legendary “Ma” Sugden presiding over the farm, or the bolshie Sarah Conolly giving Jack a list of rules before she moves in – these women are head-strong and determined, carving out their own lives. It’s good to see female characters in roles beyond just being mothers, love interests or bitches, by giving them passions and opinions too.

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9 Emmerdale Wishes for 2019

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We’ve just begun a shiny new year and it’s the perfect time to ponder what storylines or changes we’d like to see for Emmerdale in 2019. I had a good think, I asked on Twitter and here are my Top 9 wishes for Emmerdale in 2019.

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Backstory for Vanessa

Since becoming Charity’s girlfriend, we’ve seen a lot more of Vanessa but it would be nice to see more of her in her own right. Besides dad Frank we know very little about Vanessa’s family and past. Isn’t it about time someone from Vanessa’s past was introduced, or why not meet her mum? If the rumours are true and a Vanity wedding is on the cards then this is the perfect time to explore more about Vanessa.

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Show Some Success

Whether it’s a business going under, a plan going awry or exams being failed, we’ve seen a lot of failure over the years. Characters can’t always been happy and winning, but I think it’s about time someone had some good luck. 2018 saw Tracy start a new business and it would be great to see ambition pay off. Then there are characters like the Kings who haven’t been high-flying for years. Nicola is someone always looking for a bigger and better life – why not have her reach a level of success? And if the soap gods work their magic, maybe she and Jimmy realise that it isn’t what it’s cracked up to be!

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Big Stories for Coira and Robron

Two of Emmerdale’s biggest and most beloved couples reunited last year but since then their storylines have been bitty. Cain and Moira had Matty, Debbie and Graham to contend with, while Robert and Aaron supported their sisters and Rebecca through their big stories. But what next for the two big couples? Cain and Moira spent a lot of the year apart on screen so something that unites them and repairs the distance of their time apart would be good. For Robert and Aaron in their first year of married life, a story that changes the dynamic between them would be interesting to see – it’d be good to see Aaron getting in on the schemes for once! Whatever the stories ahead for both couples, it seems obvious that viewers just want to see more of their favourite couples together in great stories!

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More Village Gossip

Since losing characters like Betty and seeing less of comedic gems like Pearl, the village has been missing that key ingredient: gossip. Community is a huge part of village life and it was great to see more of that in 2018 but it’s not just parties and events that could tie characters and stories together – it’s also villagers having a natter about what else is going on the village! There’s plenty of scandal and drama along Main Street so there’s ample opportunity for big-mouthed characters to stick their oar in.  

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A Funny Feel Good Wedding

Happy weddings are a rare event for soap, but I’d love to see a wedding in 2019 for a fun loving couple. There’s Sam and Lydia, Faith and Eric or even new couple Liam and Bernice. These are genuinely funny, heart-warming couples who deserve a special day – and you just know the weddings would be full of laughs. It doesn’t all have to be disasters and slapstick, but imagine Lydia’s dance routine or Bernice going Bridezilla. And there’s always room for a classic soap twists and turns – let’s just see the villages having a good time.

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No More Special Episodes

I’ve loved Emmerdale’s attempt to reinvigorate the soap genre with special episodes, flashbacks and episodes that really dig deep into a character’s psyche. But now I think it’s time to give those kinds of episodes a rest and stick to good quality, linear storytelling. The more special episodes are made the less unique they get. Save them for when they really matter, Emmerdale!            

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Keep Kim 3D

My biggest wish for 2019 is that Emmerdale make the most of Kim’s return and don’t turn her into a caricature. Kim is an iconic Emmerdale soap bitch, but she’s not just a campy villain and I hope that when she returns the writers won’t lose sight of that and tarnish the fond memories viewers have of her original tenure. Keep Kim grounded, with flaws and vulnerabilities and that way her one-liners and sharp attitude will keep Kim at her best.

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Give Jai and Priya Something Gritty

2018 was a complete waste of the Sharmas. Priya briefly struggled with her mental health but that was glossed over quickly and Priya joined the rest of the family for silly sitcom subplots. Jai and Priya have a great sibling relationship and have been on the side-lines for ages so I think it’s about time they had a great, emotionally testing story.

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Reinvent Debbie Dingle

Oh Debbie, where to begin? She might be seen as the leading lady of the Dales, but unfortunately Debbie’s stories (and her personality) need a rethink. We’ve explored the same old ground for her when it comes to her love life and there isn’t much that manages to raise a smile. Even when she does something dark and reckless (like the acid attack story) her family manage to treat Debbie as a victim. With Joe gone and the truth about to be revealed, it’s time to shake Debbie up and give her something to do that we’ve not seen before. Could Emmerdale explore her bisexuality again? Give her a new friendship? A new job?

Emmerdale’s Top 20 Moments of 2018 – Part Two (#10-1)

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Here it is, my run down of the Top 10 Best Moments in Emmerdale in 2018. You can read numbers 11-20 here, but below are the things I enjoyed most about Emmerdale this year.

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10. Bernice and Liam

Three of Emmerdale’s best decisions in 2018 were these: making dishy Dr Liam Cavanagh a full-time cast member; Bernice ditching dull Daz and finally, making Liam and Bernice a couple. In just a short time, Bernice’s giggling crush on Dr C turned into a mutual attraction and the pair were carrying on like a couple of teenagers. Their relationship has managed to be both sweet and laugh-out-loud funny and uses both characters to their best. With Gabby and Leanna on their hands things won’t be easy, but as long as we keep having this Carry On humour and a relationship full of warm then I hope Cavastock last and last.

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9. Matty Barton

Matty has fitted into village life so well it seems strange to think he only arrived in June! Matty’s shock appearance at Butler’s and the subsequent fall-out was Emmerdale at its best. Matty’s reveal was great character led drama about a family and this continued as characters like Moira, Cain and Victoria reacquainted themselves with him. Actor Ash Palmisciano has brought so much warmth and humour to the role, that apart from it being interesting to have a trans character in the show and explore new ground in storylines, he’s also been great fun to have around, be it in the pub or in David’s shop. I’ve been torn between liking his friendship with Vic and loving the slow burn romance, but regardless, Matty’s one of the best newcomers in 2018.

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8. Pete and Rhona

When spoilers circulated at the beginning of the year claiming Pete and Rhona were going to hook up, put me down as someone that thought it sounded ridiculous! Fast forward 12 months and they are one of my favourite couples in Emmerdale. Pete was one of my most hated characters in 2017 after the Priya affair, and after Pierce, Rhona needed something fun and sparky, someone who would treat her well and communicate with her. Did anyone expect that from Pete Barton? These two have cracking chemistry, as well as Rhona performing miracles and actually making Pete seem mature and likeable. Who knew?! One of this year’s highlights was seeing Pete try and bond with Leo, even learning Makaton and it was moments like this that added real depth and heart into the pairing. I’m a big fan, Emmerdale – don’t let me down!

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7. Joe Tate Reveal

For one minute, just forget what a massive watered-down disappointment Joe Tate ended up being and cast your mind back to January 2018 where “Tom Waterhouse” revealed to a packed street that he was in fact “Joseph Tate”. It was the twist all viewers had been waiting for and delivered with such punch. Debbie and Charity’s world shattered and every criticism about the shallow Tom and Debbie fling and the golf course story all made sense. Joe swaggered around the village as the arrogant, campy soap villain, demolishing Wishing Well and injecting a real sense of Tate ruthlessness back into Home Farm, making the Dingles’ lives a misery. It was a glorious time of fun boo-hiss antagonism. It’s just a shame it all went so wrong…

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6. Ellis Chapman

Ellis only arrived in September, but already he has become one of my favourite characters in Emmerdale. When Ellis rocked up in September to see his mum Jessie, no one could have predicted how quickly he would settle into the village, but with a relationship with Vic, a job at the scrapyard and the best friendship with April he feels right at home. Not only does Ellis have the charisma and humour (and the dress sense) to carry any scene he’s in, he also has the slightly cynical, disenfranchised millennial vibe, which has been an entertaining clash with Marlon. Now that Billy’s finally arrived I’m expecting to see new sides to Ellis and I can’t wait.

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5. The Coira Reunion

It’s fair to say that Cain and Moira had a very rough start to the year, surrounded still by the lingering fall-out from Emma Barton’s death. But Coira were meant to be and their on/off tempestuous relationship could only end in one way. With Moira ready to leave the village for good, Cain made a last-ditch attempt to reunite with her, telling her to meet him at the bridge at 5pm. This was real rom-com stuff and when Moira finally arrived (late), Cain’s teasing quip melted all tension and the two kissed to seal their future together. Natalie J Robb and Jeff Hordley’s chemistry is addictively good and after a long wait, the reunion was so worth it.

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4. The Robron Reunion

Cain and Moira weren’t the only pair to have a reunion to rival the best rom-coms. After a year of hell for Robron, Robert was dragged to a gay bar by his girl squad to help him move on from Aaron. This hysterical ensemble of characters made for one of the best episodes of 2018, but the hilarious turned to heart-wrenching as Aaron realised he couldn’t be without his estranged terrible dancer of a husband. After all the best rom-com tropes, the crossed wires, a meaningful location (the garage!) and heart-stopping conversations, Aaron delivered a desperate speech to Robert, listing all the reasons he loved and appreciated him and the two were back together where they belonged. This had buckets of romance and emotion and proved that after all this time the Robron magic is still there.

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3. Emma Atkins’ Winning Performances

Arguably Emmerdale’s biggest character of 2018 was THE Charity Dingle. After fairly low-key stories since her reintroduction after prison, this year was a gamechanger for Charity. From discovering her son was still alive, to finding love with Vanessa, to getting Bails sent down for rape and abuse, Charity’s 2018 was huge. Elements of the Bails story felt repetitive and drawn out, especially coming so soon after two other big rape stories in Emmerdale, but Emma Atkins’ retelling of the abuse Charity faced stayed captivating. Through the ups and downs of Charity’s year, be it her sharp tongue, humour or fragility, the consistently brilliant performances from Emma Atkins have been a constant. Charity’s entertainment factor is endless and her caustic humour can liven up even the dullest week of stories.

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2. Thomas Atkinson’s Killer Portrayal

The second week of January 2018 featured one hell of a car crash as Lachlan White tried to kill his entire family, wanting “make all the monsters disappear”. We’ve been waiting years for Emmerdale to fully embrace Lachlan’s cold-hearted and entitled darkness and this year Lachlan went from deranged to serial killer as his behaviour escalated to tormenting, gaslighting, imprisonment, torture and multiple murders. Yikes. The story suffered from lags and disappointments, but actor Thomas Atkinson was incredible in the role, progressing from a lost-boy out of his depth to stone-cold evil. At his best, Thomas made Lachlan creepily empathetic and then, in the next breath twisted and cold. In the end, the story let him down but some of Emmerdale’s best scenes in 2018 had Thomas at the helm.

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1. Tracy’s Powerful Year

So, my top spot? The brave and beautiful Tracy Shankley. The year began with another lazy cheating plot as David slept with Leyla (offscreen) and shattered Tracy’s heart, but worse was to come when a man from her past appeared, pallying up with David and blackmailing Tracy over her secret past as a prostitute. As David turned a cold shoulder and blamed her, ashamed of her past, Tracy – with the help of some allies – realised she deserved far better and dumped him for good. Amy Walsh is one of Emmerdale’s best, delivering raw and vulnerable performances and making Tracy an incredibly empathetic and strong woman. I’ve loved her empowered speeches this year as she made so many right, but difficult choices, and she has been my stand-out star of 2018. It was a real shame her storyline about prostitution was rushed and that Amy Walsh has been overlooked for award nominations. Here’s to a bigger and better year for Tracy and her new business in 2018 and please Emmerdale, please, don’t reunite her with David.

Thank you for all your support of The Woolie Weekly in 2018 and Happy New Year!

Emmerdale’s Worst Moments of 2018

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It hasn’t been the greatest year of Emmerdale stories and when the big plots drag, or have anti-climactic endings it’s even worse. There were some low points which didn’t make the list but need a mention – like Rodney and Misty’s horrendously cringy sex life and David Metcalfe being a scumbag – but those aside, here’s a look some of the worst parts of Emmerdale in 2018.

Come back later for my Top 10 Emmerdale Moments of 2018!

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7. Amelia’s Kidnap

When Amelia’s disappearance began it was genuinely interesting. At first we had no idea what had happened to her – was she dead? Was it an inside job? After a disappointing paternity twist, a shocking missing child plot could have been really exciting. But after the TV appeal and with Kerry the only watchable part of the story, the rest was left to more of Dan and Daz’s boggle-eyed fighting. Within a week all mystery was good and it was revealed Amelia was groomed by Beth, whose father had been killed in action by Daz. Beth’s threats were laughable, Amelia’s fixation with Beth was unbelievable when we’d seen none of its build-up. This just wasn’t the right story for the Spencers and unfortunately it went on and on.

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6. Lachlan’s Anti-climax

One of Emmerdale’s biggest stories in 2018 was Lachlan’s descent into serial killing. With Thomas Atkinson at the heart of the stories, many of the disappointments were saved with his chilling performances, but this story dragged on for far too long. For months Lachlan’s evil behaviour stalled and characters conveniently went on holiday just so he could get away with his crimes. When it came to the end, everyone expected a huge Cameron Murray-style climax, but his showdowns were staggered across a week, followed by a stint in jail and his eventual exit was a tame affair of some wise-cracking detectives telling him he’ll be in prison for a very long time. Spoilers tell us he’ll be making a return to terrorise Belle soon from behind bars, but I’m not convinced even a delayed climax can save story that stalled and swerved any real excitement.

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5. Ross’s Acid Attack

Ross’s acid attack story began as a contemporary story with some stellar scenes in the aftermath, but quickly the direction veered away from a sensitive handling of a modern day issue and got bogged down in guns, gangsters, drugs and Debbie Dingle. Making Debbie, a pivotal character in the village, the accidental mastermind behind the attack meant she could never really face justice for the action and Emmerdale did their very best to absolve her of blame. At times her guilt was empathetic but many viewers felt there was too much focus on her role rather than Ross’s recovery. While Ross’s identity and self esteem struggled, it was the regression to form that was so disappointing. Rather than the attack letting us see the more vulnerable, likable aspects of Ross, we saw him become a cocky thug, taking coke and destroying all his relationships. This might have been a prolonged reaction to his attack but it was ugly to watch and made Ross’s last months on Emmerdale unpalatable.

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4. Bob and Laurel

It seems like the new producers of Emmerdale have seen sense and ended the Bob and Laurel relationship and this was arguably one of 2018’s most hated plotlines. Last year in my rundown of 2017 I praised seeing more of Bob but this year I’ve eaten my words as we saw selfish Bob destroy his marriage for a midlife crisis affair with Laurel and become a really unlikeable man. There were elements of empathy and good viewing within this story, it just became difficult to buy into this apparent deep emotional love Laurel and Bob shared when there was no chemistry on screen. At one point during the year it seemed like Bob and Laurel spent every episode sucking face and when we knew how it was hurting Brenda, and later the kids, it became even more unwatchable. Much like how showrunners backtracked on Zak and Joanie, it seems everyone saw sense and Bob and Laurel’s romance is well and truly over now, thank god.

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3. Home Farm Flops

One of 2018’s biggest disappointments was how fast Emmerdale destroyed Joe and Graham. From the masterpiece of the Joseph Tate reveal, he was the perfect antagonist, held back from the edge by the mysterious Graham. But just months later, Joe turned lovesick puppy for Debbie, forgiven by all the villagers he’d wronged and eventually killed by right hand man Graham. Graham, who’s dark past was revealed in great scenes with Debbie early in the year, is stuck in the big house isolated and twiddling his thumbs until Kim’s return. Apart from Emmerdale sucking all life and interest from Joe during his short time on the show, my interest in Graham has quickly waned as Emmerdale have swerved any real depth to him by keeping him aloof and monotone. Not only have they given him a lifeless romance with Megan, but following on from the same mistakes as The White family, Graham’s only interesting feature is his exposition-heavy backstory. There’s only so long you can stay interested in a character as robotic as Graham and I’m afraid I’ve lost all patience.

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2. Rebecca and the Crazy Nurse

When Rebecca became Lachlan’s prisoner in the woods, we finally saw a side to her that had been missing in her previous storylines, she fought back, determined to survive and see Seb again. But after her many many near death experiences, Emmerdale revealed Lachlan had kept her locked up with a deranged nurse who kept her drugged and tied to the bed. Rebecca managed to escape and returned to the village in a nightie at the graveyard like a ghost. She then proceeded to retell her whole trauma to police, despite having severe memory problems due to her executive dysfunction. This ill-conceived story was like something from a terrible American soap opera, not just outlandish and implausible, but a laughably stupid turn of events from what had been an enjoyably grisly part of the Lachlan story.

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1. Killing Gerry

Emmerdale’s decision to kill off Gerry wasn’t just the worst thing they did in 2018, in fact I think it’s one of Emmerdale’s worst decisions in recent years. Gerry was the sacrificial lamb to Lachlan’s reign of terror, but what a waste it was. Gerry was a loveable cheeky chappy who had so many interactions in the village and unlike some “comedy characters” he was a genuinely funny guy. He had a lovely relationship with Doug, wound up Aaron, befriended Liv, walked Tip the dog for Jai and had a very keen interest in older ladies. His connection to Lachlan might’ve meant his death was inevitable but much like losing Val in 2015, I think it was a big mistake. It’s hard to replicate a character like Gerry and I think it’s a huge loss to the show. RIP Gerry lad, miss you.

Emmerdale’s Top 20 Moments of 2018 – Part One (#20-11)

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In a big year that saw arrivals, returns and exits, Emmerdale 2018 had many memorable moments. 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. Brenda Bites Back

Brenda isn’t usually a character that makes my Top 20 list, but after being cheated on by Bob, Brenda’s really come into her own. Lesley Dunlop has shone this year in emotive performances as Brenda expressed her agony, but as the pain turned to bitterness, her wicked one-liners also proved entertaining. After Brenda’s devastating discovery of Bob’s affair she bottled her heartbreak and began a secret campaign against Bob and Laurel, saving the explosive showdown for much later in the year. Having hated Bob and Laurel, I was firmly Team Brenda all the way especially after their wedding day crumpled when she realised how unhappy he was with her. Since then, Brenda had to pick up the pieces with the kids and remain strong, even when weak-willed Bob came crawling. Maybe Brenda is the true hero of 2018 after all.

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19. Losing Grace

One of Emmerdale’s biggest storylines this year was Chas and Paddy and the loss of their baby Grace. This long-running story is one which resonated deeply with a lot of bereaved viewers and explored a range of emotions, from anger and denial to numbness, during the couple’s grief. For me, the moments Chas and Paddy suffered privately were their strongest, breaking down alone and too scared to talk, but their explosion at each other showed a believable ugliness in the aftermath. Supportive characters like Marlon and Faith were a welcome, warm tonic from the prolonged periods of sadness this story produced.

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18. Kim Tate’s Return

The hotly-anticipated return of iconic superbitch Kim Tate shook Home Farm and its visitors when, straight from her prison release, she rocked up in October. This was more of a teaser than anything long-lasting, but her sharp tongued cattiness was a fun injection of camp in the rather dry halls of Home Farm. Unfortunately Kim’s presence was bogged down by a plodding backstory with Graham and an anti-climactic masquerade ball, but her ruthless reintroduction was merely a taster of what’s to come, and I’m hoping for great things in 2019!

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17. Sarah’s transplant

As usual it was another year of misery for Debbie, but it was her daughter’s health crisis which was the most believable and compelling story. Young Katie Hill did a great job with this sad story, displaying a stubbornness just like her mother as she suffered heart failure and initially refused treatment. This story was rife with divisions as Sarah learnt Debbie was behind Ross’s acid attack, but it was characters like Joe, Charity and Faith who brought some much needed levity to the situation and helped show Sarah she hadn’t even begun living yet. This was another story grounded in reality, a horrible situation many parents face and the onscreen relationship between Charley Webb and Katie made the vulnerable hospital moments authentic and heartbreaking.

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16. More Community Spirit

If there’s anything a village should have, then it’s community spirit. Sometimes in Emmerdale that isn’t always the case, but this year there have been plenty of times we’ve seen a real community feel and I hope this carries on into 2019! Whether it’s impromptu strip shows with the men of the village, rebuilding Wishing Well cottage, a group outing to a gay bar, parties and celebrations, fireworks to remember Gerry, or even a big masked ball at Home Farm – there have been plenty of occasions this year for the villagers to mix. These events give characters who don’t usually interact the chance to chat, forming new friendships and fun interactions. More importantly it’s an entertaining way to make Emmerdale village feel more real and have stories intersect rather than filming blocks distract from the everyday authenticity of village life.

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15. Noah Tate

Noah had a big year as he tried to find his place in the world when 2018 began with the Dingles at war with his villainous big brother, Joe Tate. With mum Charity hating Noah’s bond with Joe, Noah became more determined to learn about his roots and soon the brothers were bonding well. Mischievous Noah brought out Joe’s softer side and the actors had a believable onscreen rapport. Actor Jack Downham impressed me several times throughout the year as he faced difficult times within his family, managing to be empathetic even when he can be a bit of a teenage brat. Since Joe’s “disappearance” and feeling isolated by Charity, Noah has really struggled. With Jack’s performances getting better and better, and Noah’s complex relationship with Charity being one of her most interesting dynamics, I hope big things are ahead for him in 2019.

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14. Adam Barton’s Exit

January 2018 feels like a long time ago now, but back then we lost one of Emmerdale’s original Barton boys as Adam went on the run for Emma’s murder, protecting his mum, Moira. Adam’s imprisonment was a bit of a mess story-wise, and even though his last episode was the trademark “on the run” Emmerdale exit, the final episode itself had an entertaining escape plan and finished with scenes that were full of heart. Actor Adam Thomas really pulled on the heart stings as he left Moira an emotional voicemail to say goodbye and shared meaningful final scenes with best mate Aaron and estranged wife Victoria. It might have happened months ago now, but much like it has for Victoria, it still made a lasting impression!

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13. Ryan Stocks

Perhaps the best part of Charity’s story this year was the arrival of the son she thought had died, Ryan Stocks. Ryan has been a breath of fresh air to the village and in Charity’s life, being full of cutting humour as well as having a kind-hearted nature. Charity and Ryan’s first meeting were some of the best scenes of the year, as she dealt with her shock and guilt and he showed her compassion. Newcomer James Moore has made a great impression on Emmerdale fans already and it’s been refreshing to have a prominent disabled character join the village in a likeable and quick-witted role.

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12. The Robron Wedding

Hearts soared this year as Robert and Aaron finally got their much-longed-for legal wedding in a touching special day. 2017’s wedding was hit with Robron fans, so any second shot was going to be hard to match, but Emmerdale pulled out all the stops for a classy affair this time, with romantic speeches, happy tears and matching décor. A happily married couple on their wedding day is a rare event in soap, but after the struggle to get there it was earned.

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11. Charity’s Flashback Episode

Last year’s trip into Cain and Faith’s past, complete with young recasts was such a success that Emmerdale went back in time again, this time to Charity’s dark past. Arguably the strength of Emma Aktin’s retelling of her abuse in earlier episodes rendered this flashback episode surplus to the story, but the special scenes illustrated Charity’s captivating history and the transitions between past and present were nicely done. This kind of episode relies on a killer performer and thankfully Emma fulfilled that role perfectly, but it’s probably time for Emmerdale to give the flashbacks a rest for a while.

Come back tomorrow for my Top 10 and my worst moments of Emmerdale 2018.

7 Recent Storylines With Potential That Just Vanished

I’ve noticed a strange trend in 2018 – the disappearing storyline! While other plots drag on for months and months, some stories with potential just seem to vanish into thin air. Now, I’m not talking stories that took a disappointing turn (like Ross’s acid attack) but these are moments that were delivered with great performances, lots of excitement and press and then…vanished!

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Moira and the impact of killing Emma

Making Moira a killer was a huge decision and one that sent a chill of terror into Moira fans, but they needn’t have worried because any impact on her was short lived. After a quiet year for Moira, mainly because they were trying to keep her shock pregnancy a secret, she had a traumatic end to 2017, suffering both post-natal depression and extreme guilt for her part in killing Emma. With Moira such a beloved and ordinary character in the village (ordinary as far as you can be for a soap character!) it was always going to be difficult to give her any long-term consequences for killing off another character. But within a matter of months, she’d reunited with love Cain and everything had been forgiven and forgotten when it came to the Barton boys. The aftermath Moira’s breakdown was intense and destructive, but although she lost son Adam, psychologically she seems happier than ever now! Perhaps making Moira a killer was too jarring and Emmerdale weren’t sure how to deal with it long-term, but if this was the case, maybe she was the wrong character for the role. I love Moira and I like seeing her happy and settled, but it does feel like everything was brushed too neatly under the carpet.

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Joe Tate vs the world

Perhaps the worst offender on the list is the complete waste of Joe Tate since his wonderful reveal in January. Excitement was high when the Tom Waterhouse charade fell apart and he was revealed to be Chris Tate’s son, leading to a deliciously evil take over of the village next to stoic butler figure Graham. Every doubt we’d had about the “Tom” storyline was revealed to be deliberate, including the all-too-perfect romance with Debbie. But as Joe made enemies left right and centre, demolishing Wishing Well, taking Home James Haulage from Robert and pissing off everyone in sight, his position as top dog and loathed rich boy just couldn’t be sustained. Living in the big house and have no familial ties, it seemed like Emmerdale swiftly realised Joe needed more than just enemies and his redemption came in the shape of his new-found love for dour Debbie Dingle. While a slow love-hate romance might’ve worked, it’s now as if all of Joe’s Machiavellian behaviour has been dropped in favour of a bedside vigil for Sarah. Where is the village antagonist we were promised? Why isn’t he living up to the Tate name and has fallen into the trap of being a wet weekend who has the odd tantrum? With all his vendettas forgotten he’s an aimless character and a real waste of that Tate legacy.

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Liv’s drinking and asexuality

Viewers had long been promised a gritty plot for talented Isobel Steele and it finally emerged onto screens this year. Or did it? Compared to issue-led plots for other characters Liv’s drinking problems have been vaguely handled and half-arsed. Don’t get me wrong, Isobel has given sensitive and emotional performances as Liv tried to navigate adolescence, but after a spell in youth offenders and a brief Lachlan-fuelled relapse, her problem with alcohol has almost been treated as “fixed”. Are we meant to believe she’s all fine now? That her time inside “fixed her” (a worrying implication if so)? It feels like this complex issue has been brushed under the carpet rather than giving it the treatment it deserves. Is this so they can make Liv start drinking again when the story needs it, or has it just been forgotten about? It’s a similar case with the hints about her asexuality. Liv has spent a little time questioning this, but it hasn’t been given the airtime that it deserves and that seems like another waste of Isobel’s talents to leave Liv’s interesting struggles untouched. Instead of piling on more angst (like her recent exam failures) can’t Emmerdale do a better job of resolving the stories they’ve already laid the foundations of?

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The Kings – business and health problems

I’m a huge fan of the Kings so I was excited to see them get involved in the Tate take-over at the start of 2018. Jimmy had long been relegated to comedy buffoon with Nicola as his nagging wife, so it was great to see a bit of the powerhouse King family history remembered. But after teaming up with Robert to double-cross Joe, the story collapsed and disappeared. We haven’t heard anything about the new Home James Haulage work team or what a nightmare Joe is as a boss. It’s business as usual. All of Jimmy’s health issues and stress have disappeared (is he okay? Who knows!) so there was no emotional story there and so instead the Kings have been underused for another year which is a real shame as they’re one of Emmerdale’s biggest assets.

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Priya’s struggling mental health

Before she took on a role at Home Farm (which seems like a great move!) Priya had a difficult start to the year. The first few months of 2018 we saw signs of Priya feeling lonely and exhausted and with Jai using her as a babysitter, it all got a bit much for her. This really seemed like it could be the beginning of a decent storyline for her. It isn’t the first time Priya’s had mental health struggles and with 2017 seeing the end to her marriage, and a disastrous affair with Pete, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see her feel her life was in tatters. Priya’s an ambitious woman so to see her have a bit of a breakdown about her stalled life could have been a great story, but it just fizzled out instead. It’s about time the Sharmas had something a bit more serious and emotional to do and Fiona Wade would have done a great job with it.

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Syd MacFarlane’s threat to Aaron

If you don’t remember Syd MacFarlane then I don’t blame you. Syd had a very brief appearance in January and was let free during Adam’s escape from his prison van, but he made another cameo in April, blackmailing Aaron and Robert for some hard cash in one of the most lacklustre plots of the Spring. Syd rocked up, threatened Aaron, then held him hostage for all of half an episode just so that Robert could sign away their flat and his business to Joe Tate for the ransom. As we know, that rivalry with Joe had no real long-term consequences and Syd’s random arrival was just as fleeting and insignificant as his exit. Syd and his threats had no impact, even though Aaron and the MacFarlanes had a long history that could’ve been explored, meaning Syd was a 2D “villain of the week” character. Gone and forgotten instantly. The MacFarlanes could have started real trouble for the Dingles, for Robert’s business or even given Joe some tips! Instead it turned into one of 2018’s most pointless and disappointing subplots, wasting both fan favourite couples, Robron and Coira, who briefly joined forces to take down Syd.

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Eliza’s health problems

Instead of helping his dad with dating disasters, Jai could have had a much more emotionally engaging storyline had Emmerdale continued to be true to the drama of Eliza’s health concerns. Megan is wasted in wishy-washy romance plots with Frank and Jai spends too long in the factory – but when Eliza was taken ill, I thought this was the start of a relatable and engaging story about parents and their disabled infant. When Eliza was diagnosed with cerebral palsy in late 2017 I thought this was going to be the start of a great story for the parents, but that went nowhere. Then again at the start of the year when bruises appeared on her and they suspected Eliza, this looked to be like a dramatic and heartful family story, but nothing ever came from it. All the actors involved are capable of big performances, but this is another non-starter wasting their talents.

6 Upcoming Emmerdale Stories to Get Excited About

As the hot weather lands and soaps are shunted around the schedule to make way for sport, we reach the half way point in the year. I thought it was about time to think about what awaits in our favourite village. We’re used to Emmerdale really stepping up in the colder months – so what are the big things I’m looking forward to? What are the hotly anticipated moments for the end of 2018?

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Matty Barton’s return to Emmerdale

Matty’s storyline kicks off in tonight’s Emmerdale as actor Ash Palmisciano steps into the role. Not only does Matty’s arrival at Butler’s give Emmerdale the chance to tell a relatable story of a young trans guy but it also gives Moira and Cain a fresh whirlwind of drama into their lives. Since the losing Adam at the start of 2018 Moira’s nest has felt a little empty and despite the juicy drama of Emma’s murder reveal and the much-loved reunion with Cain, we’ve seen far too little of them onscreen. There’s no doubt that Matty’s story is going to be an emotive and important one and I just can’t wait to see how his return to the family fold changes the dynamic.

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Robron get hitched – officially

No other upcoming Emmerdale storyline quite has the anticipation as the second (and this time legal) wedding between Robert and Aaron. Having been promised back in February 2017, it’s no wonder everyone’s getting a bit itchy in the wait. After all, when you consider what the characters (and the fans) have endured in the lead up to this momentous romantic occasion, it’s more than earned now. Original reports cited a summer wedding for the lads but with no concrete date on the horizon, might it coincide with the ill-fated, high octane drama of October’s Super Soap Week. I think it seems pretty likely. At least this way it gives us all plenty of time to buy a hat and there’s no need for the villagers to make a rush job of the decor this time. My wedding wish list is minimal this time, let’s just make it romantic and official. And lasting? Or is that too much to hope for?!

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Ryan Stocks gets a Dingle welcome?

This year we’ve been introduced to Charity’s smart mouthed son, Ryan, the baby she thought had died. It’s been a rocky start for the pair’s relationship but I can’t be the only one hoping he can become a more permanent part of the village? Ryan has already brought out a different side to Charity and it’s been great to see a disabled actor in a pivotal role rather than a predictable “secret son with a dark secret” trope. I’d love to see Ryan in the village full time, bringing something new to the Dingles and getting involved in all their mishaps and drama. Fans have already enjoyed the charisma actor James Moore has brought to the role and he’d be a welcome addition to Wishing Well cottage, adding something new to the village’s most famous family.

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Sam and Lydia’s kooky wedding

It’s not just Robron’s wedding that I’m looking forward to, it’s also the wedding of delightfully oddball Lydia and Sam! We haven’t heard much about these two getting hitched, beyond Sam’s proposal last year, but I’m really hoping it’s soon. These two seem like such a solid couple and I really buy into their love, and I reckon the wedding itself is going to be the feel-good tonic we need throughout all the tough storylines this year. With Lydia and the Dingles at the centre I’m expecting mayhem and a whole lot of dancing. Here’s hoping it happens sooner rather than later. We could do with some joy.

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Getting to know Jessie

Headteacher Jessie Grant has been with us for a while now, but despite now living in the village in one of the flats at the Mill, we know so very little about her. We know she’s very reluctant to pair up with Marlon (is there a darker story there?) and that she has a son – but apart from her beautiful voice, we know very little else. It’s about time we got to scratch the surface with Jessie and find out what her story is. It seems from the spoilers that she’s getting closer with Marlon again soon so maybe we’ll get some answers soon!

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Lachlan runs out of luck

Since killing off half his family at the start of the year and then Gerry very recently, Lachlan’s been trying to keep a low profile. Soap law says he’s bound to get caught sometime soon but between now and then I hope he doesn’t just tread water. He got closer to murder last week with no-mark Freddie, but for full impact of his psychopathic ways, he should be escalating soon in the hopes of a climatic and heart-stopping final act. Between evil acts, the story has started to drag, but with Lachlan at his best when he’s chilling and remorseless, I hope his luck runs out before the character loses his momentum.

What stories are you looking forward to? Comment down below!

6 Emmerdale Performances Worth Voting For

The longlist for the British Soap Awards is now open and our Emmerdale favourites are up for the coveted accolades. With six of Emmerdale’s best performers up for awards, I thought I would choose six scenes from the past year to showcase why they deserve a vote or two.

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Best Actor

Ryan Hawley (Robert Sugden)

Robert tries to let go – Christmas Day 2017

With almost all of the special Christmas episode centred on Robert, Ryan Hawley had a huge task carrying the episode after another eventful year of playing heartbroken and vengeful. The final scene of the Christmas Day episode saw a broken Robert defeated and tearful, having given up on reuniting with Aaron for the sake of his well-being. It was a gut-wrenching and beautifully played moment played between him and Danny Miller, showcasing their chemistry and the subtle agony Ryan is able to play on Robert’s face. For a character who can be the viciously smug seducer, Ryan has excelled at showing us Robert’s vulnerable, raw sides this past year.  

Vote for Ryan – Best Actor

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Jeff Hordley (Cain Dingle)

Cain’s flashback – November 2017

Loveable rogue Cain Dingle is never far from a car boot kidnap, but with the arrival of his mother Faith and a new son in Isaac, Cain was thrown into turmoil about his childhood. Exploring Cain’s past through a specially constructed episode using recast younger actors, Emmerdale explored the heart breaking harsh upbringing Chas and Cain endured. Cain is a man who holds his emotions tight so when Jeff Hordley gets to show us Cain’s exposed pain, we feel every tear. In Cain’s childhood home, Jeff managed to evoke a lifetime of agony and confusion in a single look and his onscreen dynamic with Sally Dexter makes you believe in them totally as mother and son.

Vote for Jeff – Best Actor

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Michael Parr (Ross Barton)

Ross’s Acid Attack Prognosis – Feb 2018

We were so used to seeing hard-man Ross let nothing stand in his way until he became a victim of mistaken identity and an acid attack at the start of the year. It’s been a complete change to see Ross lose his confidence and bravado and that switch from arrogant bloke to vulnerable and uncertain man has been one actor Michael Parr has relished. As doctors revealed his prognosis, it Ross being left alone when Michael really shone, shedding all of the Ross we’d come to know and showing us this broken man instead. As Ross continues to struggle with new challenges and a difficulty to accept his future, it’s been a welcome and impressive transformation.

Vote for Michael – Best Actor

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Best Actress

Emma Atkins (Charity Dingle)

Charity’s Abuse Reveal – April 2018

Since her return in 2016, Charity has mostly been used for (brilliant) comic relief and razor sharp lines, but this year has seen her take on a hugely emotional storyline as Charity opened up about her past. The story might only just have begun but Emma Atkins’ performance when Charity told Vanessa what she’d suffered at the hands of DI Bails, was powerful and harrowing. Emma’s incredible portrayal dug deep into the heart of Charity’s character, breaking down the walls Charity has built around herself and it’s clear that these levels of performances will continue to resonate as Charity’s story progresses.

Vote for Emma – Best Actress

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Lucy Pargeter (Chas Dingle)

Chas’s pregnancy decision – February 2018

There’s never been a quiet year for Chas Dingle, but things are looking a bit happier for her lately as she’s settled down with Paddy. Things didn’t get off to the smoothest of starts for the pair though and Chas was thrown into turmoil in February when she discovered she was pregnant. Despite Chas’s pregnancy decision being a divisive story among villagers and viewers, Lucy always gives Chas a vivacity and strength even when Chas herself is struggling. There are raw emotions in her performances which meant you couldn’t help but be on Chas’s side during those emotional scenes when she explained why she couldn’t go through the pregnancy. Even though Chas has now changed her mind and wants to keep the baby, I don’t expect it will be plain sailing. Chas Dingle never has it easy…

Vote for Lucy – Best Actress

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Natalie J Robb (Moira Dingle)

Moira’s guilt – December 2017

Wow, what a year Moira had. If 2016 wasn’t traumatic enough for her, the end of Moira’s 2017 was lifechanging. After being caught up in the events of Emma’s breakdown, Moira found herself giving birth to a shock baby. But that wasn’t all! As flashbacks revealed, Moira was also responsible for Emma’s murder, after being goaded by her to do it. Natalie J Robb’s captivating performances made Moira’s guilt, grief and PND so agonising. It was a shock to everyone that Moira killed Emma, but Natalie made Moira’s actions believable for the audience and unbearable for her to deal with, having knock-on effects to her feelings towards Isaac too. These were powerful scenes of guilt and confession, made even greater by the partnership between Natalie and Jeff.

Vote for Natalie – Best Actress  

And you can of course vote for Emmerdale as Best Soap too! Longlist voting closes Tuesday 24th April 2018.

Emmerdale’s Top 20 Moments of 2017 – Part Two (#10-1)

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Here it is, my Top 10 of the Best Moments in Emmerdale in 2017. You can read numbers 11-20 here, but below are the things I enjoyed most about Emmerdale and the reason I think it’s been so successful in 2017.

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10. Lydia Hart

Kooky Lydia made several appearances in 2016 and I was quickly taken with actress Karen Blick and her great grasp of comedy, so it was a complete joy to see her become a show regular in 2017. Lydia quickly established herself in the village, living with and bringing laughter back to Laurel’s house, becoming a cleaner for the factory and the Whites and pairing up with Sam. Lydia feels right at home in the village and although her oddball humour hasn’t disappeared, Emmerdale managed to make her more human by exploring the long term impact of losing her husband. I can’t wait to see Lydia and Sam get married in 2018!

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9. Creativity and Risks

Soaps are such a long running staple in British households that sometimes it feels like so many stories have already been told. What I’ve enjoyed about Emmerdale recently is its attempts to take risks and be creative within the realms of soap. Whether it’s taking the time to explore on story in depth and dedicate a whole episode to that tale, to arrange stories in non-linear ways to keep viewers guessing, or use flashbacks and different storytelling devices to explore a character in depth. Emmerdale have used all of these effectively in the year to take a closer look and examine the characters with love and I hope they continue to make original choices in future.

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8. Super Soap Week 2.0

Little was going to top 2016’s Super Soap Week – an impressive, visually stunning treat – but 2017’s Barton centric week was full of thrills, shocks and centred on the fantastic Gillian Kearney. From barn explosions, killer confessions, a shock birth, a shooting, hallucinations, a kidnap and a murder – they packed a great deal into one week, perhaps a bit too much at times!

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7. The Thomas Kids

Emmerdale’s cast is fantastic, but even more impressive is its cast of child actors. In 2017 actors Rosie Bentham and Alfie Clarke impressed everyone with their ability to give such touching and heartfelt performances through the Ashley’s dementia storyline. The Thomas family scenes resonated deeply with so many viewers and much of this was down to the moving portrayals of grief by Ashley’s children, Gabby and Arthur. Even after Ashley was gone, the two didn’t take a backseat and played a key role in Emma’s storyline too, with Gabby even a suspect in her murder. Both Rosie and Alfie are talented individuals and I really look forward to what 2018 will bring!

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6. Big Performances

Above all else, Emmerdale in 2017 was the year of fantastic performances. What I loved about the year’s stories is that it gave so many of the actors a chance to shine in some stand-out moments, rather that a small handful of actors dominating. 2017 saw big emotional and dramatic roles for lots of the cast, earning acting awards for a variety of the cast and giving everyone a juicy role. You just have to scroll through my Scene of the Week choices to witness the range of performances throughout year – almost everyone had their chance to shine in the spotlight in 2017 and I hope that continues in 2018.

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5. Rhona’s Rape

Emmerdale told a very powerful story of control, abuse and rape in 2017 as Rhona was raped by Pierce on their wedding day. The effectiveness of this storyline came from the slow burn nature of Pierce’s control and darkness, and the positive way Rhona took control of her life in the aftermath. Jonathan Wrather was chilling and compelling, playing Pierce as remorseless and dangerous in his inferiority complex. Zoe Henry was breathtakingly good, from Rhona’s traumatised state all the way through to her bravery during the trial and I appreciated the way Emmerdale didn’t let this story drag or fall into cliché by having people not believe her, or by letting Pierce back into her life.

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4. The Robron Wedding

Despite what transpired in the rest of 2017 for the fan-favourite couple, the Robron wedding was still a huge highlight of the year. It had everything: warmth, humour, family and romance. In true Emmerdale style, Dingle mania took over and the boys escaped to the garage to exchange their vows in private which was a glorious throwback to the origins of their relationship. These episodes, even with their bittersweet tinge, showed exactly why the pairing are so beloved and why the onscreen chemistry between Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley withstands the most trying of storylines. Here’s hoping 2018 focuses on happier times for Robron!

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3. Emma’s Unravelling

Emma Barton was by far one of my favourite soap characters of 2017 and despite her needing a climatic end, I already miss her. Gillian Kearney played all her complexities perfectly and made her so compelling to watch. Having taken up Christianity after James’s death to absolve herself, Emma’s inner conflict continued to struggle as she compartmentalised her desperate behaviour against her newfound religion. She could be reckless as well as being fragile and her obsessive nature made her unpredictable too, meaning even little Arthur became a victim of hers. Her downfall did come a little too slowly, but with Gillian’s captivating and often sympathetic performances, I didn’t mind that we got to see as much of Emma as possible in 2017!

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2. Faith Dingle

It’s hard to believe that Faith Dingle has been on our screens less than a year because truly I can’t imagine Emmerdale without her. Bold, brash, larger than life, with a wicked tongue and a huge heart, Faith has breathed new life into Emmerdale. From the troubled relationships with her children, to her own heartbreaking breast cancer secret, Faith isn’t just about the big laughs and outrageous comments. Faith is the kind of character Emmerdale does best, delivering barbed comments and saucy winks, as well as revealing someone with a dark history and deep insecurities. Sally Dexter has made Faith into such a memorable character, even managing to nab all the best lines. Bring on 2018 and more of Faith!

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1. Ashley’s Demise

Without a doubt, Emmerdale best story of 2017 and the one that will be heralded for years to come is Ashley’s death. This long running story is one that touches the hearts of many families struggling with the same illness and was told with honesty and warmth. Actors John Middleton and Charlotte Bellamy gave exceptional performances as the couple separated by this tragedy, with the acting and writing exceeding itself week on week. It was painful at every turn, and yet Emmerdale managed to keep moments of humour to balance the strain on viewers. This family and these characters felt more like people we knew rather than figures on TV and our hearts broke over and over as the situation worsened and Ashley finally died. It’s also been good to see that Ashley is never forgotten – his presence and the impact of his death is still something that features in the storylines and the behaviours of those who loved him and I’m sure that will continue in 2018.

Emmerdale’s Worst Moments of 2017

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Emmerdale had another huge year full of great storylines and incredible performances, but it wasn’t all perfect. Here’s my look at where it went wrong in 2017.

Make sure you read my Top 10 Best Bits of 2017 later today!

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5. Anti Climaxes and Dragging Storylines

One of the biggest issues of 2017 was the pacing of storylines. Huge and long running stories that ended on a whimper, or stories that dragged on and on forever. There were notable exceptions of course, but sometimes stories ran on way past their sell by date. Even some of the best stories, like Emma’s downfall, could have benefitted from a faster, punchier conclusion. Smaller subplots like Tracy’s erotic novel ran for months, squeezing out every last second of humour until nothing was funny anymore; Rakesh took months to leave after his lies were exposed; I felt jaded by Vic and Adam’s lovely marriage ending several times in repetitive ways; similarly fatigued by Robron’s nine-month relationship breakdown (and Robert’s never ending revenge); Dan and the teen gang/Josh story lasted weeks and went nowhere having no impact on any of the families it involved; much like Jai’s drawn out relationship with Nell (which did benefit from some brilliant final moments) it’s had no long term effect on the characters, making any investment in the story pointless. So here’s hoping for 2018 that the fat is trimmed and stories aren’t stalled to delay shocks and twists, before they become anti-climatic.

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4. Sizzle Free Love Affairs

My biggest wish for 2017 was less cheating after the adultery-fest of 2016 and while that didn’t really happen, 2017 saw the rise of something just as disheartening: the sizzle free love affair. We had Cain and Harriet getting jiggy in the vestry – a combo of good and evil that should have been sinfully seductive viewing but fell flat in Cain and Moira’s shadow, especially when Harriet seems to be selling herself short. We had Megan and Frank – a dry and boring relationship which even Frank’s fling with Charity couldn’t liven up. Then there was Chas and Paddy – a strange and incompatible mismatch which requires strong cringe glands. And finally, the plot that soured our summers, Pete and Priya. Tipped as this big sexy affair for the summer, both characters suffered from horrible personalities and sub-zero chemistry levels. All the bum grabbing and clothes tearing in the world couldn’t save them.

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3. Finn the Stalker

It feels like forever ago now, particularly as poor Finn is now six feet under, but one of the worst plots of 2017 had to be Finn the stalker. Finn had been a fairly loveable, sweet geeky guy until this story saw him become clingy and crazy in his attempts to be with his boyfriend Kasim. Despite the unhinged behaviour being explained as Finn trying to cope with his dad’s death, Finn grew desperate and unlikeable in extreme ways (graffitiing the word “Yestergay” on Kasim’s wall for one) which made little sense and ruined what people loved about the character. Thankfully after a short trip to Australia, Finn’s personality went back to normal and we could all just forget about the bad plot. It’s just unfortunate that after all that, he ended up dead. Finn deserved better.

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2. The White Family

The White family were featured as one of my worst parts of 2016 and here they are again! Things didn’t improve from the previous year, as throughout 2017 the Whites continued to be isolated from the rest of the village and relied on exposition-heavy backstories to provide depth and create more inner-family conflict. Their entitled attitudes and unlikeable personalities meant their circular and tired arguments didn’t make for engaging viewing. Even Robert’s tedious and endless revenge panto plot didn’t improve things as it lobotomised the family making them look more gullible than ever before. Ultimately it felt like the confusion about what to do with the family ran on for another year as their limbo between victims and villains never settled. Another year of wasted potential. Their bad deeds (erm Andy, Alicia to name a few) were barely mentioned and their real points of interest (Lawrence’s sexuality, the family’s nastiness) ignored. If only they’d embraced the Whites as true, self-righteous villains (like they’ve just started to with Lachlan) then we might have seen something good.

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1. Robron Smashed to Bits

Oh boy. Where to begin.

After Aaron’s traumatic child abuse story of 2016, he was owed some happiness in 2017, right? Wrong. After a romantic and heartfelt wedding, Aaron was packed off to prison where he was tortured and abused in well-acted but nasty scenes that felt like a cruel step too far. At the time I questioned the darkness of these scenes after the hopeful future that was earned after Gordon’s trial. Once again throughout the year, Aaron might as well have been used as a voodoo doll. If people weren’t desensitised and sick of Aaron’s misery then 2017 might have pushed them over the edge.

On the outside, Robert was in bits and after learning that Aaron was taking Spice (a well meaning and educational drugs plot this wasn’t), Robert imploded their relationship by sleeping with continual thorn-in-Robron’s-side Rebecca. This was never going to be a popular move just three weeks after the wedding, but at every step the story became more wearing, more frustrating and more miserable. The handling of Robert’s bisexuality had already been praised in the LGBT community but the clumsy way his sexual identity had been inexplicably and repeatedly linked to being faithful in the dialogue meant his cheating was hard to not see as a huge backwards step and a muddled, dated message to the audience. Having spent so long redeeming Robert in the eyes of the viewers, Aaron and his loved ones it was depressing to see that destroyed.

It didn’t stop there, of course. We had the inevitable pregnancy, more drugs, more self harm, more arguments and finally a big split. Rebecca’s personality shifted when the story required, having been introduced as a flighty vixen in 2016 eager to get Robert for herself, Rebecca became the eternal martyr lurching through multiple personalities when the story required it. Rebecca’s point of view was barely featured, meaning her flip-flopping decisions never showed much more of a purpose than to cause more grief between the already fractured couple. Beyond frustrating.

Having once had soap’s hottest property in the palm of their hand, even the most ardent Robron fan was exhausted and despondent. So after all that and promises behind the scenes for a reunion in 2018, is it too much to hope for a less torturous 2018?