Fave or Fail? (7-11 May 2018)

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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! Brenda and Bob’s wedding day ended with a break-up and Charity exposed DI Bails during a press conference.

Faves

Brenda’s Big Moment

vlcsnap-2018-05-13-11h30m24s875If you’re anything like me you’ll have wanted to put your arms around Brenda after her devastating week. I was hoping that she might go at Bob with a chainsaw but what transpired was something much more subtle and heartbreaking as their marriage ended less than an hour after their doomed wedding. Brenda crumbled when she realised how unhappy Bob was and how forced their contentment had been, eventually sending him packing. It was such a painful moment for her, still wearing her wedding dress, but the worst came on Friday when Bob admitted he and Laurel were an item. What a dick! I’m truly hoping everyone is going to be Team Brenda on this one – especially as she was left consoling his poor children. It’s been tough to watch Brenda go through this, but it’s given the character a gutsy lease of life and actress Lesley Dunlop has delivered hugely empathetic scenes. She’s shone.

Time’s Running Out

vlcsnap-2018-05-13-11h28m50s336It’s no secret that there’s going to be a death in Emmerdale next week and at the moment all eyes are on Gerry as the ill-fated victim. This week fans started tweeting #SaveGerry as it looks increasingly likely he’ll be Lachlan’s next target now that he’s listened to the incriminating voicemail. Everyone knows the most dangerous thing in soapland is knowing too much about your murderous neighbours so sadly it seems like only a matter of time. Lachlan’s a great villain and Gerry’s a loveable idiot so the tension is already high in this storyline. But I don’t want to lose him! Is it too late for a quick rewrite?!

All Out in the Open

vlcsnap-2018-05-13-11h29m18s238Charity’s storyline took a surprising turn this week as she exposed her own secret right in the middle of a press conference Bails was heading. After an emotionally raw conversation with Harriet, Charity revealed that the only evidence she had against Bails was a baby boy, who died. I’m expecting a twist in the tail with that element of the story as secret children have a habit of showing up, but it was Charity and Noah’s scenes I liked best this week. I’d have liked to have seen a bigger and more empathetic reaction from Debbie, Cain and the rest of Charity’s family, but Noah’s distrustful and harsh outburst felt right for the character and was another great performance from Jack Downham. This storyline isn’t quite firing on every cylinder for me, but the vulnerable performances from Emma Atkins help to make Charity’s agony worth exploring.

The Kids Are(n’t) All Right

vlcsnap-2018-05-13-11h32m21s555Arthur Thomas was what the kids call “A Mood” this week as he locked Bob in the pirate ship and then stroppily told his mother that he did it and didn’t care. Arthur you little legend. Who can blame the lad? He seems to hate this ridiculous love affair as much as the rest of us. Through his anger you can tell it’s deeply painful for him too and I hope Emmerdale continues to explore that story, especially as losing his dad is still so raw. I’m all for more scenes of Arthur huffing and puffing and even teaming up with Brenda to destroy Bobel from within. You go on son!

Fails

Love Fools

vlcsnap-2018-05-13-11h31m14s547After Bob was kicked to the curb after the wedding, and Laurel didn’t crash it and instead went to Ashley’s grave – I had hope. Since the Bob and Laurel affair started (some seven months ago!!) it’s been unpopular with many viewers – not just because of poor Brenda but because Ashley’s not been dead long either. But if this was all a long term story of grief, of its confusing and lonely state, then I could just about buy it and Laurel’s speech to Ashley seemed to confirm just that. It was a good moment, one that felt real and believable. Then Friday happened and suddenly Laurel and Bob believe themselves to be the players in a love story and fell back into each other’s arms. Ugh. All of Thursday’s good Laurel moments seemed wasted. I feel desperately sorry for the children and Brenda, and can only hope the big Bobel “love story” implodes soon. With any luck they’ll be miserable together and Emmerdale will end the pairing for good.

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Fave or Fail? (16-20 April 2018)

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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! This week Liv got a four month sentence and Lisa left the village.

Faves

Arthur’s Discovery

4129b3d2-dfb0-4e7c-94fe-89cbac27efb9Just as the continuation of the unpopular Bob and Laurel storyline made us want to put our foot through the telly, Emmerdale took the story in an ingenious direction – getting Arthur involved! After the poor lad overheard an incriminating conversation between the pair, he was thrown into turmoil. With so many adultery stories in soap, we rarely get to see the damaging effect on the children but with a talented actor like Alfie Clarke at the helm this was the prime opportunity to explore that story. And let’s face it, it’s far more interesting to watch that turmoil than it is to keep watching Bob and Laurel pining! Now that Brenda knows, there’s no longer that kind of explosive energy but now a much more subtle and heartbreaking torture for lovely Arthur who is complicit and hurt by the lies and betrayal. A much better and more original direction for this story.

Lydia’s Kindness

vlcsnap-2018-04-22-16h08m34s408When Lydia Hart became a regular character in Emmerdale, she was the kooky grief counsellor-come-cleaner who loved a cockatoo (Steve, naturally). But thanks to her adorable relationship with Sam Dingle and her abundance of jobs and friends she’s integrated organically and wonderfully. This week Lydia moved into Wishing Well in the absence of Lisa. It felt like it had been ages since we’d seen her and I was grateful for the warmth and kindness she brings to the village. Her slightly unconventional ways still exist but she’s written with the empathy and compassion that’s much needed in the village and especially by Belle this week who began to suffer again with a deterioration in her mental health. Now that Lydia has moved in with the Dingles I can only hope that the wedding between her and Sam isn’t too far away! It’s going to be brilliant!

Fun Factor

vlcsnap-2018-04-22-16h06m26s897I’ve been a Jessie fan since the moment she appeared on screen and every time we edge closer to finding out more about her I get excited. We’re not quite there yet but there were more hints than ever this week as she continued to avoid Marlon’s attentions. I’m not opposed to the idea of them together but his persistence is starting to get to David levels of irritating. They do however make great friends and manage to inject a real fun factor into Emmerdale. Jessie is a bright presence at the school and making Marlon give a talk about honesty was entertaining. Emmerdale don’t always get comedy right but in Marlon and Jessie they’ve found the right balance of joy without becoming cringey. But I am even more eager to know what skeletons Jessie has in the past!

Fails

Dingle Division

vlcsnap-2018-04-22-16h07m16s997I’m massively conflicted by this Liv story right now. On the plus side, Isobel Steele is massively talented and she deserves a big story (even if elements of it are a bit too close to Aaron’s story last year and they could do with making the two of them a bit less similar). But on the other side this story has given us a huge division in the Dingles, damaging Zak and Lisa’s relationship AGAIN, and making Zak as insensitive and unlikeable as the Joanie days. I found Lisa’s actions uncharacteristic and hard to believe so her family’s ousting and anger at her seemed contrived especially knowing Lisa’s departure for the village won’t last. Poor Belle unfairly bore the brunt of Zak and Sam’s anger reintroducing her mental health struggles too. And it’s never fun to watch Zak’s woe is me attitude either. There are several aspects of this story that just don’t gel for me and I hope the fractures don’t dominate the story too long because we’ve been there done that with Zak and Lisa.

Bobbing Back and Forth

vlcsnap-2018-04-22-16h05m05s839I’ve liked Bob for a long time, enjoying his happy spirit in the café but this week might have just killed my love for him dead. Watching Bob and Laurel make eyes at each other is irritating enough but a guiltless Bob was more than ready to ditch everything for Laurel this week without any consideration for Brenda and his poor kids. This story has brought out the worst in Bob making his hundredth midlife crisis feel even more tacky and insincere than ever. I was glad that Laurel talked sense to him but even she still seemed to be holding a candle. WHY?! And his crawling back to Brenda was unbearable. Surely Brenda can’t really marry him after all this? He doesn’t deserve it.

Scene of the Week (16-20 April 2018)

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What a shocker this scene was! With Bob and Laurel pining away in their ill-advised limbo of forbidden feelings I was too busy groaning at the end of Thursday’s episode to expect what happened next. These days in the world of spoilers, genuine surprises are a rare thing but having poor innocent Arthur discover his mum’s secret was a great moment. Alfie Clarke is a brilliant actor and his pained, confused expression really did the job of tugging at the heart strings. It was particularly painful that he discovered this secret in his safe space of the pirate ship, a place that meant so much to him and his dad. Even better was that it added a new dimension to the frustrating and irritating Bob and Laurel story. Poor Arthur!

Fave or Fail? (2-6 April 2018)

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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! In the week that saw Aaron get kidnapped, Bob and Laurel just couldn’t keep their hands off each other – again, and again.

Faves

Turning Tables

vlcsnap-2018-04-07-21h14m51s876Okay sure, the kidnap was a bit flat and the confusion over contracts was a bit of a muddle, but the continually turning tables between Joe and Robert has real potential. The White family were never a match for Robert’s cunning, making it painfully easy for him in their obliviousness, but Joe’s got the cash and the ruthlessness to use Robert’s weak spot for his advantage. Seeing Robert sign a deal with the devil takes us to new territory for him – he’s used to control and victory and working for himself. Being under Joe’s thumb is going to drive him crazy, it’s a pressure cooker waiting to happen, but it could easily escalate on both sides. Neither man wants to lose but the one-upmanship has already had its moments of arrogant fun on both sides so bring it on.

Bittersweet Memories

vlcsnap-2018-04-07-21h15m40s451It was Ashley’s memorial this week and I can hardly believe a whole year has passed since he died. In between all of the Bob and Laurel grief shagging, we did get to see a touching service on a very wintery looking day. These scenes were another chance to see the Thomas kids shine with both Gabby and Arthur reminding us of how impressive their performances were and continue to be in relation to Ashley’s story. I particularly liked the parallel to Ashley’s funeral, only this time it was Arthur stepping up to read the speech when Gabby’s emotions got the better of her. These two are the big stars in the Emmerdale future.

King and Queen

vlcsnap-2018-04-07-21h17m14s426For all the chaos and upset Joe Tate has brought to the village, he’s done one good thing and that’s allowed us to see more of Jimmy and Nicola King. This week they got to be smug and smart as they stood up to Joe and helped Robert sort of get back on track. They’re absolutely two of my favourite characters in the village and it’s been great to see them keep their kookiness but still get a small victory. More please!

Dark Brenda

vlcsnap-2018-04-07-21h11m26s627The Bob and Laurel affair story has reached almost unbearable levels of snogging and teenage frolicking, however if there’s one shining light in this plot then it’s been the rise of Dark Brenda. I think by this point, with sympathy very much on Team Brenda, we’d all be cheering her on to fire up a chainsaw in the direction of Bob’s balls. Her menacing and pointed asides are comically unsubtle, but her little acts of revenge and copious wine drinking is a real Mood (as the kids say). By this point I’m all for Brenda to embrace the dark side fully and start dressing as a goth.

Puppet Master

vlcsnap-2018-04-07-21h17m59s523Granted Emmerdale’s delaying tactics when it comes to the Lachlan car crash reveal are getting almost as frustrating as the dragging out of the Emma saga, but there’s no question that Lachlan is at his most engaging when he’s playing puppet master. This week he managed to convince Rebecca that she encouraged Chrissie to drive faster so was therefore responsible for the crash. A particularly clever and wicked move considering her brain damage but a role that actor Thomas Atkinson seems to relish.

Fails

Hair Raising

vlcsnap-2018-04-07-21h18m46s675For a silly comedy plot, Daz’s unicorn hair got a lot of screentime this Thursday as multiple crossed wires and misunderstandings meant his relationship with Bernice was briefly on the rocks. Followers of this blog will know that Bernice is one of my absolute favourite characters from her brilliant comic timing to her surprisingly emotional moments too, but even she struggles to lift Daz from the doldrums. I’ve nothing really against the man, he just seems a bit of a drip, especially when Bernice is such a lively, scene stealing character. She deserves a better story than this? And if they can’t find someone with enough spark to pair her off with then I’d happily watch more of her in the salon or being a pretty dodgy mother to Gabby.

No Real Danger

vlcsnap-2018-04-07-21h18m16s866Perhaps one of the problems with this week’s lacklustre kidnap plot was that barely a week goes by without someone being tossed into a car boot. Considering it’s usually Cain doing the kidnapping, it seemed ironic that he was on the opposite side this week trying to rescue Aaron from the clutches of panto villain, Syd. Robert and Aaron have faced so much angst in their quest to be together that even their reactions to Aaron’s life being at stake felt a bit muted in comparison to their usual emotionally-intense peril. But it wasn’t just Syd springing up from nowhere and disappearing almost as quick that was the problem, it was that the stakes didn’t seem very high or very real when it was all done and dusted in about ten minutes on screen. When the story was sprinkled between Daz’s unicorn hair and Bob and Laurel sucking face for the hundredth time it lost all sense of urgency. Still, getting Cain and Moira involved in a Robron story was a great move – fingers crossed for more of that.

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.

Fave or Fail? (25-29 Sep 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! Big stories for Emma and the Thomas kids and a week of no ‘Fails’ from me! 

Faves

Exposing Emma

vlcsnap-2017-10-01-12h38m43s348Thankfully with his sister Gabby back, little Arthur Thomas had someone else on his side this week and Gabby made it her mission to get payback. She began the week trying to “haunt” Emma with signs from above, wanting revenge on her cruelty to the family, but when she recovered the memory card and saw firsthand how Emma treated Ashley she wanted to expose Emma for her vile behaviour. I loved Gabby taking such a central role in this story alongside Arthur and the pair of them aren’t only adorable siblings but made gripping viewing as they attempted to take Emma down. Both Rosie and Alfie’s performances make us viewers want to reach into the TV and protect them as well as cheer them on for getting the evidence they needed to uncover Emma’s behaviour. They’ve done an amazing job with this story, putting everything in place for next week’s big showdown and Emma’s complete unravelling.

The End is Nigh

vlcsnap-2017-10-01-12h14m28s098If you haven’t seen the promotion of next week’s “Emmadale” then this week was the perfect build up for a huge week for Emma Barton. Gillian Kearney excelled once again as Emma lost her grip and ended up hallucinating James by the end of the week! With Gabby and Arthur on her case, Emma clung to her religious convictions to keep her feelings of guilt at bay but with the memory card uncovered, Finn saw through his mother’s earlier explanations for James’s death and warned her he’d have to tell Pete and Ross if she didn’t. It seems pretty likely that we haven’t got long left of Emma, but I have thoroughly enjoyed the way she can be really wicked one minute and still sympathetic at times too. Her moments of shocking behaviour hold even more impact when her motherly and pious front shatters, but she’s never been pantomime and her desperate behaviour feels like it comes from a place of unhinged heartbreak rather than pure villainy. I can’t wait for it all to explode next week!

Loner Laughs

vlcsnap-2017-10-01-11h56m01s353The exploits of Paddy Kirk are often laugh out loud funny and this week it was a particular highlight for me. Having been a bit of a loser in love, Paddy began the week on a surprise date – set up by Marlon – and with Bernice of all people. With their wires crossed, these two comedy heroes made for a winning scene, before eventually having a go at Marlon for his deception in getting them there. Paddy’s week picked up when he nicked Marlon’s internet date, though considering he ended up cuffed to a cage in the vets, making do with licking water from a bottle, it wasn’t a roaring success! Dominic Brunt is fantastic in the physical and bumbling comedy scenes and this got even better by the end of the week as he misunderstood Marlon’s hints about buying a puppy and ended up with Paddy as a houseguest instead. Even though Marlon might not be keen I think getting these two co-habiting will be a hilarious watch!

Cheeky Return

vlcsnap-2017-10-01-12h08m02s189This week saw the welcome return of Gerry Roberts, aka Lachlan’s grinning sidekick from young offenders. You have to commend actor Shaun Thomas for bringing so much cheeky-chappy charm to the role and making Gerry a fun character in amongst the fairly unlikeable Whites. Gerry’s puppy dog enthusiasm when it comes to flirting with Chrissie and trying to make a few hundred quid out of Robert means his oddball personality makes for entertaining viewing. Once the White family goes I’m not sure what place he’d have in the village, but I wouldn’t mind still seeing him every now and again!

Worthy Opponents

vlcsnap-2017-10-01-12h05m12s772Robert’s revenge against the Whites rumbled on for another week but the one silver lining is that finally his plans have faced real opposition, in the face of Lachlan and Chrissie. So far we’ve watched Robert make fools of embarrassingly easy targets Rebecca and Lawrence, but it’s Lachlan and Chrissie who are much wiser to his true colours and they’ve started to uncover his schemes. This week with the help of Gerry and a secret camera, Robert was able to blackmail Lachlan with his prostitute secret and it was fun to watch the two of them try and out-do each other. Let’s face it, Robert’s had it far too easy and it wasn’t just unbelievable but also a bit boring. And then there’s the return of Chrissie to the business, perhaps Robert’s biggest adversary and maybe the only member of that family to really unravel him. If mother and son work together that might be the only way to stop Robert from obtaining the keys to Home Farm.

Scene of the Week (25-29 Sep 2017)

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Superstar young actors Rosie Bentham and Alfie Clarke are in the centre of Emmerdale’s biggest storyline at the moment, having already given huge performances during Ashley’s dementia storyline. This week as the tension mounted for Emma and having retrieved the stolen memory card, Gabby finally saw the video that broke her little brother’s heart. In the scene prior to this one Gabby and Arthur were laughing and reminiscing along with their father’s image, but it was this scene, as the emotional youngsters saw again what Emma had done to their father, that earns my Scene of the Week. I was spoilt for choice for great moments as the drama ramps up for a huge week for Emmerdale, but as Gabby vowed for revenge in spite of Arthur’s fears I was impressed at how both young actors managed to handle such big material and carry scenes on their own. Fingers crossed these two will be duly recognised with awards.

Fave or Fail? (26-30 June 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! We were robbed of episodes this week as football took over, but with Rhona’s story and Arthur’s discovery it was a good week!

Faves

Survivor Solidarity

w64lrI can’t tell you how glad I am that Emmerdale decided to make Lisa a confidant for Rhona. When Emmerdale remembers its own history (like when Zak comforted David during his cancer or even this week when Pearl talked about her rapist son) it really excels and makes the most of the long running nature of soap. Lisa wa able to empathise with Rhona’s struggles like no other villager could, not even her friends, and it was so important for Rhona to have a safe person for her to express her fears and most difficult feelings to. Lisa’s comfort was wonderful, telling Rhona about how brave she was, all the while being able to reason with her irrational fears about being judged by others. It’s scenes like these that Emmerdale does so well, ones that are heartfelt and real. Lisa was the perfect choice of character for Rhona to lean on – she’s been there and she’s survived – and she gave Rhona the strength she needed to get through another difficult week.

Dangerous Discovery

Emmerdale - Emma Talks To Arthur About The Video - YouTubeThe reveal of Emma’s deadly secret is drawing closer and closer and it’s time to get excited! This week little Arthur feeling worried that he’d soon be orphaned (poor lad) decided to watch his dad’s videos alone on the pirate ship for comfort. And what video did he end up seeing? Dun dun dun! Emma upsetting Ashley and talking about the Hotten Bypass bridge. Uh oh. Arthur spent the rest of the week running away from and looking positively terrified of Emma every time she was in the vicinity until he tearfully told her that he’d watched the video. As Emma got panicky and Laurel vowed to get to the bottom of why Arthur was so upset, the tension mounted ever closer to that glorious reveal moment! But I also have to commend the ever brilliant Alfie Clarke whose expressive face makes everything from his rosy-cheeked upset to his terror so believable, but I am worried about poor little Arthur now!

Gaslighting

Emmerdale - Pierce Isn't Harassing Rhona, Pierce's Mother Is! - YouTubePierce and his wicked mother Martha made a return this week and the latter proved she was just as twisted as her son. Poor Rhona spent most of the week paranoid that Pierce was breaking into her house and gaslighting her, but when he smugly revealed to Paddy that he’d been in Amsterdam, Rhona was worried everyone thought she was losing it. Pierce is a mastermind manipulator and that was in full display in his meeting as he made Paddy look unhinged and Rhona the unreliable narrator. It’s clever but oh so maddening. His mother Martha isn’t much better as she later revealed to Rhona that she was behind all the tampering in her house and would do anything to protect her son, threatening Rhona that she had to drop the charges and walk away. With two powerful and evil manipulators at the helm this is hell for poor Rhona, but this is making for one fantastic story – the kind where you’re screaming at the telly, begging for justice.

Sisters Before Misters

w64npTuesday’s hour long episode had a great Girl Power vibe and I really loved it. Apart from Vanessa’s usual support of Rhona and the new comfort from Lisa, other female friendships came into the spotlight. Nicola played a big part in this as she agreed to look after Laurel’s kids if anything should happen but it was her new and surprising alliance with Priya that I really enjoyed. Now free from the shackles of Rakesh, Priya acknowledged her foolishness for letting him dictate her life for so long. Together her and Nicola were a supportive force as they agreed to put useless men behind them and stand strong. I like both characters as the two of them are strong minded business women so I’m glad they’ve gotten over their rivalry, even if I’m with Jai on this – how long will it last? But on the plus side, it did at least make Priya see sense when it came to Pete and she took a stand. Sadly, I can definitely see that resolve folding. Ugh.

Fails

The Thrill of the Chase

Emmerdale - Debbie Finds Out Ross Has Totally Moved On - YouTubeI won’t pretend my heart is filled with joy at the prospect of a Debbie and Ross reunion and I much prefer their characters apart however I was slightly dismayed at the direction their relationship has taken this week. It even surprised me that I didn’t mind their more fun scenes together (anything that get Debs to do anything but frown is a good thing) but then by the end of the week a different dynamic emerged. If you can cast your mind all the way back to 2015 you’ll remember Debbie left town on discovering Ross shot Robert and she’d had enough of his bad boy ways. Fair enough! So why now, when he should be making the effort (if he wants her back) to prove he’s a decent bloke, is she chasing after him? Not to mention his attitude seems way off if he really does care about her the way we’re supposed to think he does. He’s cocky and dismissive, even seeming unfazed when she seemed to soften. So if we really do have to see a re-run of Debbie n’ Ross – surely Debbie deserves more than being at the whim of Ross’s ego?

FYI: There will be no Woolie Weekly posts for the next two weeks as I am on holiday, but I will be posting a summer quiz next week so I hope you enjoy that!

Fave or Fail? (22-26 May 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! Robert confessed his betrayal to Aaron this week and we enter another stretch of Emmerdale’s Worse Storyline Ever™

Faves

Rollercoaster of Emotions

vlcsnap-2017-05-28-17h47m43s531Let’s not get into this Aaron/Robert/Rebecca baby plot, which has to be one of my most loathed soap plots of all time, but let’s talk about the one saving grace of this story and that’s Thursday’s reveal. It’s been a ticking time bomb for months but finally this week, torn apart by guilt, Robert confessed his betrayal to a devastated Aaron. The Robron relationship has had more ups and downs (and to be honest, more downs) than Space Mountain but if anything this set of episodes proved why they continue to drag Aaron and Robert from one torturous story to the next and that’s how well the actors sell the heartbreak and the passion in their character’s relationship. With a script that dug right into their deepest flaws and issues, the intense argument saw Aaron and Robert communicate like never before as they got to the heart of why Aaron’s prison spell and Robert’s huge mistake had caused such a colossal impact on both characters. It was an honest, intimate and powerful display of their complex relationship one that owes a great deal to the long-standing chemistry between Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley and a partnership which I hope doesn’t suffer too much in this unpopular storyline.

Light Touch

vlcsnap-2017-05-28-17h38m02s763Lydia continues to be an injection of fun into Emmerdale and her budding romance with Sam Dingle has been a joy to watch. In just a few weeks she’s managed to integrate with lots of different characters with her cleaning job, but her comedic role in the Thomas household has worked surprisingly well to lift them after the serious and rather bleak Ashley plot. Away from Lydia was the stained-glass window mix up on Friday which saw Kerry’s creative unicorn and Adonis Ashley contribution be installed instead of Arthur’s intended window, thanks to an email error by Sandy. Bernice arrived during the chaos and of course made my GIF of the week. Far from making light of Ashley’s passing, these lighter moments have shown that laughs are possible after a death and he definitely would have seen the funny side. I’m glad that Emmerdale are able to remember Ashley, that the Thomases are allowed to grieve and but that life goes on, with smiles and even with a stuffed cockatoo in tow.

Moira Mystery

vlcsnap-2017-05-28-17h29m58s379Maybe I’m reading into things with Moira this week but I definitely felt like there was more to her exhaustion collapse and jumpy behaviour around Faith. It might not be the pregnancy plot we all predicted would happen when she slept with Pete and then Cain back in December, but it does make you wonder. Still, mystery aside, I love seeing Moira in farming mode and her interactions with Faith (like berating her for flirting with Adam) are really good fun. But what was also nice this week was the reminder of Holly and the realism of her presence continuing to impact upon Moira when in soaps death is so quickly forgotten. The scenes between Adam and Moira as they came together again after their fallout was a touching moment and part of the family warmth I’ve come to expect from Emmerdale at its best.

Fails

Carry On Car Theft

vlcsnap-2017-05-28-17h30m52s257It was only last week Debbie made my ‘Faves’ list as I praised the new and more light-hearted direction her character was going through, but this week the fun turned farce as Charity got on board for some carry-on capers. The Charity and Debbie relationship is one which has a natural spark and their bickering in a crisis is much more enjoyable than when they’re feuding about Charity’s wrong doings, but this week’s scenes crossed the line into just plain stupid. Charity can be a great comedy character and she’s proved she can work well as pub landlady but surely there’s got to be a better story for her than an “oops we’ve knocked a man out cold let’s shove him in the boot” episode filler. I love the Debbie and Charity interactions but these scenes dragged on, thinning out the humour in them, but if it keeps Debbie away from mopey love-life stories then I won’t complain too much.

A Massive Failure

vlcsnap-2017-05-28-17h40m02s250Where to start? I hate this storyline and to be honest I don’t know any Emmerdale fan that doesn’t. Granted, throwing a one-night-stand into the mix a mere three weeks after your most popular couple get hitched was never going to be received with open arms but the progression of this story has only got worse from then on. Putting aside the repetitive and tired clichés of this story, the unrelenting torture of Aaron and the tiring on/off conflict between Aaron and Robert, which is testing even to the most ardent of fan, we come to the biggest problem of all in the writing of Rebecca White. Introduced as the “good” White sister willing to take down her family and seduce Robert in the process, we’ve seen her turn from independent go-getter and vixen to saintly victim throughout this storyline. Not a day goes by when she hasn’t had a dramatic change of heart and this week we had the full spectrum. From wanting Rob to not wanting him, from not wanting the baby to desperately wanting to be a mother, to staying out of Robron’s way to actively telling Aaron to leave Robert. Her motives are all over the place and I don’t think it’s hormones. Her character makes no sense and her flaky lack of coherency and agency screams of a character who is written on the spot, bowing slavishly to the plot and because of this she’s not a character I believe, let alone like. Her weepy protestations of her innocence are thin and insincere and not like any woman I know (thank god). Sorry Emmerdale, there’s no getting round this, this is a massive failure for all characters involved.

 

 

Fave or Fail? (8-12 May 2017)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Rhona confided in Vanessa this week in outstanding scenes and the teen gang plot remained uninteresting.

Faves

Avoiding the Predictable

Emmerdale May 10 - YouTubeRhona’s story returned this week as she came back from her holiday with Leo and thankfully Pierce wasn’t anywhere to be seen. After Emmerdale’s fantastic and emotional portrayal of Rhona’s bravery in the aftermath of her rape I was concerned they might be tempted of going down a very soapy route of having her forgive him, or cope by being in denial over the attack and make her friends increasingly oblivious as Pierce continued to abuse her. After all he was very manipulative after the attack and warning her she had no chance in winning a trial against him. You could see how he’d chipped away at her and I worried that he might have destroyed all her resilience. But so far, and to my relief, this doesn’t seem to be the route they are taking this story. Rhona is being brave and strong, trying to cope with this alone despite the fear and the shame affecting her deeply. Even though she has returned to taking painkillers, Vanessa’s support is hugely important and I’m glad Emmerdale haven’t gone down a cliched route of her keeping quiet – right now this is not about any further evil deeds Pierce can do, this is about Rhona and the long-term impact his behaviour the rape has had on her.

Friendship

w56rvI got a reminder this week about how the long-term friendships on Emmerdale are something I love watching. There was a return to the Victoria and Finn friendship, that we haven’t seen in forever, one which feels far more heartfelt than the other pals the two of them have made. The actors have a nice chemistry and if Vic’s going to stay single for a bit then I hope we can return to having more scenes of these two together. And of course the biggest friendship factor this week was “Team Rhona”. Paddy, Marlon and Vanessa were all worried on her return and while they all took different and cautious approaches as the week went on, it was Vanessa who eventually got through to Rhona and allowed her to open up fully. The scenes following Rhona’s confession were beautifully acted and written with Vanessa saying all the things Rhona, and every other woman suffering in the same way, needed to and should hear. I was moved to tears as Vanessa offered to be there for talks or even a cuddle and her strong response to Rhona’s relapse was another fantastic moment in this story. Emmerdale characters and stories work best when they have a network of loved ones around them – family, spouses but also friends – and I hope we continue to see these believable friendships in all the on-going stories.

The Little Things

w56cTwo little moments in the week struck me as the perfect example of how well Emmerdale can squeeze in some great comedy. Take the tragic passing of Lydia’s cockatoo Steve and how this affected her interview up at Home Farm. Not only was the anecdote of his death as bonkers as Lydia herself, but the next day a spot of confusion had Chrissie assume Steve was Lydia’s dead friend rather than a bird. We don’t often get to see Chrissie in humorous scenes but her reaction to Steve being stuffed really tickled me and made me wish for more scenes where we get to see Chrissie as a bit more human rather than stuck with the White contingent. Then there was Sandy, technophobe and only two clicks away from a dodgy video. Laurel had to quickly cover Arthur’s eyes and then uncover them so he could get rid of the offending porn video. It was a throwaway scene but one with such warmth, humour and one that was very welcome after all the sadness in the Thomas’s household.

Fails

Underwhelming

Emmerdale - Adam Has Broken Victoria's Heart for the Last Time - YouTubeAdam and Victoria broke up (for good?) this week and after their previous “split” a few weeks ago, which while convoluted had some great performances, this week’s developments just felt underwhelming. Adam was in full on Neanderthal mode, blaming everyone but himself for kissing Vanessa– including his own mother – and these sorts of situations never put him in the best light. Vic took a hard line on the cheating (although it’s not been all that long since she forgave him worse) but it’s hard to know whether her resistance to forgiving him will last, particularly seeing as Emmerdale’s commitment to exploring Adam and Victoria’s relationship (good or bad) seems half-hearted at best. But perhaps the impact of this storyline has been significantly lessened by the oversaturation of cheating/mistake-kiss plots in the recent year. I’m SO tired of it and it doesn’t seem to be ending any time soon. Surely even the scriptwriters are bored writing the same apology and forgiveness scenes for their couples?

Teenage Terror

Emmerdale - The Robbers Return to Intimidate Eric - YouTubeWho wouldn’t be scared by a gang of teenage thugs, ones who use threats, intimidation, theft and knives to terrify their victims? Dan suffered that very ordeal this week and was faced with the dilemma of whether to go through with identifying them to police or not, a dilemma which was particularly troublesome when their threats included hurting his daughter, Amelia. Despite this, teenage gangs never really translate well on screen and while hypothetically I can believe these characters would be intimidated, there just doesn’t feel like there’s any real threat when we watch it on screen. Stories of intimidation and insecurity are ones which need a slow-burn build up to feel real, but these Waterloo Road rejects throwing a sandwich and circling round Kerry doesn’t really cut it. Unfortunately that hasn’t helped to served Dan’s repetitive story and it’s not keeping my interest.