Fave or Fail? (15-19 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! Off screen Emmerdale bagged a BAFTA, sadly on screen this week was a lot less exciting!

Faves

Mates Before Dates

w58pmPaddy and Marlon’s friendship is the anecdote to any average week on Emmerdale so they were easily the highlight for me this week. Having been best mates for so long there’s a natural joy in their scenes which arises from the long-term working partnership between Dominic Brunt and Mark Charnock and that kind of fun is infectious. This week, as Marlon’s romance with Carly hit troubled waters, Paddy was there to coo, gasp and practise his proposal to her on (much to the mocking of Charity). The pair also had to cover up Marlon’s failed attempts to propose by inventing a story about their friendship anniversary – n’aww. And even though Paddy might be the worst at giving Marlon confidence in his status as Carly’s beloved, the pair of them and their friendship will outlive any romance and for that I’m truly grateful. Who needs a girlfriend when you have a best friend like these two?

Handsome Stranger

Emmerdale - Matt Has Just One Thing to Say to Carly - YouTubeRight at the end of last week, a tall, dark, handsome and bearded stranger arrived in the shape of Carly’s ex-Matt, and poor Billy’s father. It seems pretty much guaranteed that Matt won’t be around for long and that he and Carly are going to break Marlon’s little heart but in the meantime it’s been nice to have a charismatic new arrival in the village. Now you might say I’m swayed by his nice accent and good looks and you wouldn’t be entirely wrong, but if things were different I’d say Matt would make a good new addition to the Dales. He’s already proved he can carry a believable and exposition-heavy scene and make his emotions towards Carly and the loss of Billy complex and emotive, but up against Charity’s creepy OTT flirting, he’s proved his comedy worth too. So, while we might not have him for long and it’s a shame his role seems to be a facilitator for Carly’s exit, Matt seems like a pretty interesting character.

Different Direction

w58dSince my Emmerdale viewing habits became religious, Debbie seemed to be stuck in a cycle of two plots which never really endeared me to her as a character. I never bought into her Barton love triangle, nor her supposed love for Ross and the gangster/heist stories she got mixed up in left me cold too. For me, Debbie works best around her family, being a mother, running the garage rather than being at the centre of a money or love-triangle drama. Living with her kids, Faith and Moira has breathed life into her and this week I really enjoyed seeing her at the heart of the garage, back in her overalls and concerned with making a living rather than this just being an excuse to stir up old feelings with Ross. I enjoyed seeing her go up against Chrissie and her cutting one-liners to both White sisters were pretty satisfying too. I’m sure before long she’ll be back with Ross, trying to muster up some sexual tension, but for now Debbie seems assured and independent and I like that a lot.

Fails

Filling the Gap

Emmerdale - Jai Walks In On Nell Crying After Harming Herself - YouTubeRhona went to rehab on Monday this week meaning that most of my interest in village drama went with her. That’s not to say there are no characters I like in Emmerdale right now, but in terms of stories there just aren’t any plots holding my interest. I’m warmed massively to Jai, but his plot with the insipid Nell is odd and unengaging. Should we trust her, but more importantly why should we care? We’ve only known the girl five minutes and her budding and uneasy relationship with Jai has nothing on the short-but-sweet connection Holly and Jai had. Dan vs the bullies was the other main story of the week and even with a ‘whodunnit’ element, the teen gang were still as unthreatening as ever. Neither Dan or Jai are exactly leading man material with these uninspiring plots. Even with Amy Walsh’s great performance at the end of the week, the teen thug story is one that feels cold, lacking a ‘must-see’ factor. Other stories this week involved Zak Dingle being even more useless than ever and serving meat to vegans and the beginning of the end for Marlon and Carly. In isolation these plots might have made good B or C plots, bubbling in the background but front and centre they’re not the best – Emmerdale, we know you can do better.

Storyline Amnesia

w58wEmmerdale has never been afraid to have a wealthy, snobby family living in Home Farm, lording it over the other villagers and being generally antagonistic to everyone they meet. It’s a dynamic viewers are used to, but one the White family has always struggled with, leaving their role in the village a mess. I’ve never hid the fact I like the family best when they’re embracing their dark side with full self-awareness and that the weakness comes when Emmerdale tries to paint them as insincere victims rather than privileged villains. Stepping away from their tedious in-fighting this week, there was a puzzling turn of events as Victoria worked and grovelled at Chrissie’s feet as she catered for a vegan event. What’s the problem there you say? Well, the last time Vic interacted with Chrissie she called her a poisonous cow and didn’t hold back in light of Chrissie setting up Andy, meaning he was on the run and absent from his ill daughter’s life. Now Vic is working for her, BFFs with Rebecca and bending over backwards to please them with no explanation. It’s as if the whole (boring) Whites vs Sugdens plot never happened! Andy who? Then there’s the continuing problem with Lachlan, a character still defined by the fact his history of sexual assault was wiped from the history books rather than him having any sort of redemption. Sorry, but whether they were friends or not, whether he rescued Alfie the dog, I still find it hard to believe that Belle would ever talk to him let alone kiss him. In this middle ground, where their rivalries and devious pasts are forgiven and forgotten with no explanation, the Whites just don’t work as well as they should. Make them hated, make them powerful but stop with this wishy-washy middle ground.

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Emmerdale’s Worst Moments of 2016

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Emmerdale had an INCREDIBLE 2016 winning awards left right and centre, but it can’t be flawless all the time. Later I’ll be continuing my countdown of the Top 20 Best Moments of the year, but here’s a brief look at the worst bits of Emmerdale in 2016.

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6. David’s never ending proposals

David and Tracy’s relationship had a really tender beginning and I was fully on board, but when David rushed into proposing and Tracy eventually said no, he wasn’t going to let that be her answer. What followed was months of David trying to wear her down and bulldoze over her feelings by proposing in increasingly outlandish ways. Perhaps the intention was to be seen as funny and sweet but instead David just seemed like a bit of a creep, without respecting that Tracy thought it was too soon. By the time they finally got married, I was sort of beyond the point of caring and David hadn’t just worn me down, he’d made me reach the point of irritation.

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5. Jermaine and Belle’s affair

Ugh. That’s Jermaine and Belle’s affair summarised in one word. It wasn’t just due to the icky age gap and his professional status as a doctor, but the way this plot went on and on. Their sudden uncontrollable passion for each other never felt very believable and when the affair came out, Dr Bailey was quick to let Belle take the fall and say it was all in her head. Bastard! Unfortunately that wasn’t the end, as Belle tried to hang onto him by claiming to be pregnant and what followed was a harrowing breakdown plot for Belle as she was diagnosed with schizophrenia. While Eden Taylor Draper’s performances were great, Belle’s visions of “Ellie” were just way too similar to last year’s story when Belle heard Gemma’s voice. Again we faced the oblivious Dingles and repetitive moments of Belle reacting to the voices and hiding this from everyone, which overshadowed the sensitive issues of the plot. Jermaine did stand by her and became more fun working behind the bar, but thankfully they’ve broken up now and we might get something different from Belle in the future.

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4. Kerry’s spiralling out of control

There’s been a noticeable shift in Kerry Wyatt this year and her goofy and loud comedy has been overtaken by a selfish nastiness, which has got worse in recent months since her relationship with Dan ended. Ever since Kerry sided with Joanie against the lovely Lisa, we’ve seen a colder and less loveable character meaning that when she is funnier, it doesn’t always have the right tone. Kerry can be sympathetic and she has had a rough time of it but her attitudes and behaviour in the workplace and towards others haven’t been a pleasure to watch. Instead of wanting to rescue Kerry from her bad decisions, there’s a greater feeling of wanting her to snap out of it and just stop this immature behaviour!

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3. The Whites vs everyone and each other

I have a very difficult relationship with the White family. I enjoyed Chrissie in camp bitch mode, I enjoyed Lawrence’s tragic backstory and I think Thomas Atkinson is a good performer, but as a family unit they’re still such a muddle with their motivations being unreadable or all over the place. Their position as antagonists in the village works to an extent but seems to go round in circles when it’s clear they will never be defeated. Watching the Whites vs the Sugdens is still as tedious as it was from the beginning when it looks obvious Andy won’t return and Lachlan won’t go down for Lawrence’s shooting. Lachlan as a character doesn’t work, since the lack of remorse and no real resolution to the sexual assault storyline makes his existence in the show uncomfortable and irredeemable; the Whites’ lack of any real connections in the village two years on from their arrival mean their interactions are limited and repetitive and often we’re left in an endless cycle of the same disputes, including the ones with each other.

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2. Rakesh’s money woes

Sorry Rakesh fans, but he has got to be the biggest soap bore of 2016. Okay, he might have had an eventful summer committing arson and insurance fraud in a bid to dig himself out of debt but that hasn’t made him any more interesting. Money plots rarely work on screen and watching Rakesh sweat as he lost it all just wasn’t dramatic or even emotional. Emmerdale even tried to go down the tragic backstory route but there’s just no intrigue or empathy to be found in Rakesh. He lacks any sort of charisma, he’s a dead weight around Priya’s neck and he’s dominated the show far too much this year. Now with Kirin gone there feels like even less of a purpose to him and I wouldn’t miss him if he had to leave the village forever.

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1. Cheating plots

If I could change two things from Emmerdale 2016, one would be less misogynistic writing (be it the way some female characters are written, how some female characters interact with each other or how men treat them without consequence) and two would be to cut down on the cheap cheating plots. Sure, cheating has been a soap trope since forever but this year has seen an unnecessary amount of “shock” kiss scenes used as a fast device for conflict and drama. Don’t believe me? Here’s a quick (and probably incomplete) list: Moira/Pete, Nicola/Dan, Chrissie/Rakesh, Moira/James, Kerry/Ross, Rebecca/Robert, Bernice/Jimmy, Lisa/Zak, Laurel attempting to kiss Marlon, Holly attempting to kiss Cain, Ross attempting to kiss Victoria… Not only is it repetitive and lazy it’s a miserable viewing experience when you can’t rely on any stability between your favourite soap couples. We expect drama and conflict in relationships but with so many of the Emmerdale couples in tatters, don’t keep ruining every other couple with these endless cheating plot devices!

Fave or Fail? (5-9 Dec 2016)

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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! The heart-wrenching portrayal of Ashley’s dementia is balanced by big laughs in a good week of Emmerdale!

Faves

Hard Hitting

emmerdale-ashley-smacks-laurels-lip-open-youtubeIt’s impossible not to be floored by John Middleton’s impressive performances as Ashley sinks into further decline. He delivers the complexities and heartbreak of dementia so well, it’s completely crushing to watch Ashley’s drifting from childlike fixations about attending daycare, to confusions, to flashes of the man we know and love so well. The slow build-up of this story and the pressure of Ashley’s deterioration on his family is already giving us painful snapshots of how bad it’s going to get as we inch closer to his death. You can’t help but wonder what impact this will have on Laurel and her alcoholism, on Sandy, and the devastation this will have on Ashley’s children. From the chaos and confusion of the hospital scenes to Ashley having a near miss in the road, causing Diane to do an emergency stop, this is a difficult watch but an important one too. Fingers crossed that come awards season John, Charlotte Bellamy and the Emmerdale team will be honoured for this emotional and powerful story portraying an illness which affects the lives of so many.

Christmas Lights

vlcsnap-2016-12-10-22h17m09s589Emmerdale made me feel extra Christmassy this week as the village light switch on happened. It was quite a low-key affair and I wish there’d been more made of it and more villagers involved because I liked what community feel it did have. The scenes where Eric and Tracy wished each other a Happy Christmas and mused that the magic of Christmas and the light spectacle was exactly what Val would have wanted was a really heart-warming touch, especially when you consider what a bad place Eric was in last year after Val’s death. Still, even with its bright Christmas deccys, the village really does miss her outlandish sparkle!

Kissing Kasim

emmerdale-finn-and-kasim-kiss-youtubeFrom coma patient to dream boyfriend, it would be easy to fall for Kasim Sabet and Finn’s certainly found that out this week. You go get him, Finn! There was the slight issue of Finn lying to Kasim and hanging around his hospital bed when he was unconscious but that didn’t seem to put him off too much and Kasim was happily back to his flirting best. I mean, it was slightly weird, but hey Kasim seems to like Finn despite his quirks. It’s about bloody time Finn had someone to put a smile on his face, but knowing Finn’s luck I can’t help but feel there’s something just too perfect about Kasim and their relationship and that it won’t be long before something comes between them, but for now they have chemistry and make a cute couple.

Big Laughs

vlcsnap-2016-12-11-09h22m54s751When Emmerdale does comedy, it either falls cartoonishly flat (see: Nicola sticking a clown wig on Jimmy’s head) or they pitch it perfectly. Luckily, we had a lot of the latter this week. From Brenda wrestling with a blow-up Santa and having it fall on top of her, to Cain’s lack of goodbye handshake, Charity and Chas’s double act, to Finn’s general awkwardness, Emma quoting Madonna instead of the Bible – there was a lot to balance the darker sides of the soap. One of the many comedy highlights this week was Chas and Paddy’s mishaps – first the cringey present switch and hilarious dialogue preceding the mistaken present reveal – then their playful scenes in the vets’ surgery after Rhona had set them up. I can’t say I want Chas and Paddy reunited in love, but in laughs they’re a great pair.

Fail

Under Pressure

emmerdale-jermaine-storms-out-after-belle-backs-out-on-america-youtubeIt was difficult decision time for Belle Dingle this week as she faced an uncertain future. With disgraced Doc Jermaine ready to pack up for a State-side job, Belle was excited about a new life in America, however that also meant giving up her recent college opportunities and the security of the home and family she’d always known. It’s a difficult one. Belle’s only seventeen and has struggled severely with her mental health, particularly in the last few months, but independence and a change of scenery might have given her some great opportunities. However, she’s fragile and would be a long way from home with a man much older than her. Belle was torn between the two sides – The Dingles vs Jermaine. I grew to like Jermaine and he was fun working behind the bar but the Jermaine and Belle relationship had a seedy and uncomfortable beginning which it could never really recover from and you couldn’t see it lasting. And the Dingles did have a point in wanting her to stay and have a bit of security, but the underhand tactics and reverse psychology did seem selfish and made the whole thing feel uncomfortable. Ultimately Belle’s decision wasn’t really her own and it didn’t feel like either side had her interests at heart. Let’s face it, her family should have known better than to treat her life like a big game. The Dingles’ big and bold nature often means they come across as smothering, but let’s get real – when you’re in a soap, unless your contract’s up you won’t be straying too far from the village and your family anyway!

 

Fave or Fail? (12 – 16 Sep 2016)

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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! A good week where we had a proper introduction to Frank and learnt about what gives Ross Barton nightmares!

Faves

Talking Frank

vlcsnap-2016-09-18-14h12m38s514He’s the new, smooth and charming silver fox in Emmerdale and I think I’m in love. It seems very clear there’s a lot more to Tracy and Vanessa’s dad Frank than meets the eye – he’s definitely going to get up to some very bad things, but right now he’s got charisma by the bucketload. Frank’s already won over one of his daughters and has got Charity swooning (Frank and Charity would be an incredible partnership btw) but we saw a glimpse of his darker side too. Frank’s immediately intriguing and his well-spoken manner is a great guise for concealing his true nature and schmoozing everyone onto his side. So far Frank seems like a great addition to Emmerdale and I’m really excited to see what impact he’s going to have long term.

French Fancy

vlcsnap-2016-09-18-14h11m36s888In times of break ups and shake ups when it comes to Emmerdale’s couples, it made a nice change to see a romantic pairing who isn’t going through a rough patch and watch them indulge in a little bit of light-hearted flirting. Before Aaron headed to France on a slightly random bit of scrap trade training (is that a thing?) he made time to tease Robert about his age and have a smooch in the hallway. Everyone knows Robron have earned one hell of a fanbase since their affair almost two years ago, but the chemistry between the actors still burns strong now that they’re more settled. We’re used to seeing Aaron and Robert in relentless emotional drama or cooking up revenge plots, so it was a welcome bit of levity to see them happy together, even with Aaron’s dubious command of the language of love.

Clowning Around

vlcsnap-2016-09-18-14h12m07s921We learnt something new about local hard-man Ross Barton this week – he’s terrified of clowns. It was such a small joke within the week’s episodes but so fantastically played by Mike Parr that I had to add it to my favourite moments of the week. Ross could barely look at the clown-come-stripper, flinching and using a beer mat to hide him from view. He was even less amused when Dan decided to scare him the next day by jumping out in a clown mask. So that’s clowns and needles now – I wonder what else Ross is afraid of? When they don’t overplay Ross’s comedy, he’s a really entertaining character and it’s far more enjoyable to see his light and shade like this, reluctantly stuck between Kerry and Dan’s issues, than the way the spent most of last year pining for Debbie and having aggro with Pete.

Paddy’s Bad Week

616-aaron-amp-robert-15th-september-2016-part-3-of-3-robert-only-youtubeI’m reluctant to completely commit to the idea of “poor Paddy” considering he was the one to cheat on Rhona and leave her heartbroken but Paddy seemed to be prime target for bad luck this week. He walked in on Vanessa slagging him off, he didn’t feel especially welcome staying with a loved up Carly and Marlon, he got splattered in muck and he got sprayed with a hose. By the end of the week, having staged a sit-in at his old home and feeling homeless and sorry for himself, he seemed to have a moment of realisation that he’d majorly effed up his life (about time too). But the enjoyment of these scenes have mainly been because it feels like we have the old Paddy back. I think we were all fed up with him during his affair but to see him as the hapless, soft-hearted klutz again is exactly what we’d been missing and as long as he doesn’t keep up his misjudged plot to “win” Rhona back, then I’m happy to have the old Paddy back again.

Fail

Beg Borrow Steal

614-aaron-amp-robert-15th-september-2016-part-1-of-3-robert-only-youtubeLisa was on a mad mission to keep Belle up north this week as the hospital wanted to move her to a specialist mental health ward in Surrey. Surrey! Not Surrey! From the way the Dingles reacted you’d have thought the hospital was in Sydney, and while Lisa’s reluctance to keep Belle close was because of greater fears about losing her daughter for good the Dingles’ reactions seemed completely OTT. Lisa’s anguish seemed even more pointless considering by the end of the week she had resolved that Surrey was the right place for Belle and she could still visit her, perhaps proving that the plot’s real purpose was to bond Lisa and Zak closer, to integrate Liv into the family and to let Lisa joyride! Unfortunately, Lisa’s short sighted stubbornness dominated the week’s plots and was grating when her heartbreak had been so poignant previously. And even though the Dingles aren’t always everyone’s friends in the village, it makes you wonder why they didn’t try doing a fundraiser or tapping some of their richer pals, rather than hoping the selfish Whites might help!

Fave or Fail? (5 – 9 Sep 2016)

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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! A week where everyone snogged the wrong person and a donkey was the hero of the hour.

Faves

Party Envy

em13_0005Easily one of my favourite things this week was Tracy’s 90s themed party. Being around her age I live in a constant state of Buzzfeed-nutured 90s nostalgia. Ponytails, S Club 7 and Steps, bad lipstick – it all brought back good memories. What was even lovelier is that newly discovered sisters Tracy and Vanessa even managed to share a hug and Vanessa went to a lot of effort to put it all together. Of course resentments about their father Frank got in the way of true bonding but while it lasted the girls shared some touching scenes. I love when Emmerdale throws a good party especially when they feature some inspired costume choices – Leyla as Britney was smoking hot!

Switching Sympathies

em13_0004I’m glad that Dan and Nicola’s emotional affair stopped before it went any further than a kiss. Their bonding, friendship and subsequent messy feelings has actually been believable and an interesting watch, rather than just another extra-marital affair plot. The good thing about the episodes this week is the grey area of all four players’ feelings. All four of them were hurt – Jimmy and Kerry because of the betrayal, Dan and Nicola because of the guilt and the pre-existing difficulties they had with their partners. Emmerdale did a good job at showing all sides to the fallout – Jimmy’s anger and frustration (he only wanted Nicola to communicate with him); Kerry’s quest for drunken revenge; Dan’s explanation for his comfort seeking and finally Nicola’s feelings of inadequacy. I enjoyed how my sympathies switched and were with all characters rather than pointing the blame at any individual and villainising them. Ultimately I’m just glad the Kings seem to be on slightly better ground now because Jimmy and Nicola are made for each other. Kerry and Dan on the other hand…it’s only a matter of time before Dan finds out about Ross!

Gripping Performances

emmerdale-lisa-has-given-up-on-a-now-homeless-belle-youtubeTwo big emotional moments in the week centred on Belle’s breakdown and Tracy’s upset about her father Frank’s neglect of her as a child, in favour of his other family. While I can’t say either plot is my favourite, the success of them lies heavily in the performances of the leading actresses. Eden Taylor Draper and Amy Walsh can’t fail to break hearts with their acting, particularly in those scenes of distress and upset. Tracy instantly becomes more sympathetic and likeable when we get to see her in a state of sadness and stripped of her brash defences and away from his tiresome proposals, David offered her the support she needed. Similarly Belle’s storyline is much stronger without the gimmick of Ellie’s presence and Eden’s performances are powerful enough alone without needing to see her delusions in an (irritating) physical form.

Fails

Double Standards

emmerdale-ross-shouts-at-ross-for-cheating-on-emma-with-moira-youtubeIt’s all very well for Ross to be upset and angry about his father’s betrayal of the emotionally unstable Emma, but did anyone else think it smacked of hypocrisy? Ross spent most of last year betraying his brother and ruining his life by getting it on with Debbie but now he feels like he has the authority to rage at James’s behaviour? Pfft. That’s not to mention the day before he was happy to take advantage of Kerry (who was upset and vulnerable) when he berated his dad for doing the same with Auntie Moira. Not content with having a pop at his dad, he accused Moira “whoring” it about near his dad, which was a bit rich coming from the guy who was competing with his brother about how many women he could bed. Ross is no saint and it would be more believable if his upset came from worries about his mother rather than from his judgemental soapbox.

Desperate Declaration

emmerdale-james-and-moira-get-close-and-kiss-youtubeThere’s not a single character in Emmerdale who is more pointless than James Barton. He’s a useless partner to Emma and a dreary influence in Moira’s life, more than happy to interfere in her private life as Mr Nice Guy, and now we know why. He loves Moira! Oh come on now. This desperate bombshell was an embarrassing and unbelievable revelation to convince Moira to stay at Butler’s. It came out of nowhere. We all know he’s Adam’s father (terrible retcon alert), so we know there’s history between them but there’s never a sizzle between them – not a single spark. So to see them start sucking face by the side of the road and the backseat of the taxi (sans knickers and bra) was totally implausible. Thank god for the donkey. Obviously Moira was trying to get one over on Cain, but surely even she’s not that desperate to turn to someone with all the personality of a fence post?! And as for James’s sudden surge of feelings for Moira, well that seems conveniently timed to send unstable Emma over the edge – in which case, bring it on. Team Emma all the way! It’s no loss.

Scene of the Week (5 – 9 Sep 2016)

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We’ve seen a lot of scenes with the Dingles – and especially Lisa – being distraught over Belle’s disappearance but Jane Cox proves her talent as an actress with another heart-shattering performance in my Scene of the Week choice. Friday’s episode saw Lisa, having given up all hope on her daughter’s return, receive a phonecall from the police and struggled to answer it. Joanie tried to give her some strength and accepted the call on her behalf which made an interesting shift in dynamic between the two women. Lisa shakily received the news about Belle, almost unable to speak because she feared the worst and she’d already gone through the trauma of identifying a body. Even though the audience knew Belle’s fate, the moment we waited for Lisa to hear it was filled with emotion and tension. Jane was able to convey so much in just her facial expressions making this a stand-out scene at the end of the week.

Scene of the Week (22-26 August 2016)

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Zak’s been bogged down in the betrayal of Lisa and his family for so long now it’s hard to remember a time where Steve Halliwell got to deliver a heartbreaking moment, but my Scene of the Week choice is just that. While you’ve got to question how sensible it was to put your phone on silent and bonk your new wife when your daughter is missing, it was Zak’s reaction to the voicemail that made the moment so poignant. We all know Belle’s missing and in a very bad way with her mental health struggles but the voicemail really showed the weight of torment she faced from her delusions and confusion. Belle’s breakdown hasn’t been as powerful as it could have been, having been too repetitive and similar to her story last year, but this worrying message was really affecting as it was one of the few times we’ve seen Belle’s health spiral without the gimmick of ‘Ellie’. Even though we only heard her voice, this was a great performance from Eden Taylor-Draper too.

Fave or Fail? (15-19 August 2016)

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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! Another great week in Emmerdale which saw Andy go on the run as Chrissie’s revenge stepped up a gear.

Faves

Andy’s Exit

vlcsnap-2016-08-20-17h56m02s505We lost an Emmerdale stalwart this week – Andy Sugden – and I’m really sorry to see him go. Despite his long tenure on the show, his exit has left the door open (#Justice4Andy) and hopefully he might make a triumphant return one day even if it’s just to call into The Woolpack for a pint. His surprising exit storyline might not have been perfect, perhaps rushed in parts, but his prison escape and plans to run were thrilling and emotional – exactly what a good exit should be. While some have raised an eyebrow at Andy’s yo-yoing affections when it comes to the women in his life, I loved the mutual pining and unlikely, awkwardly-timed pairing that he and Bernice made, so I was glad she played a significant role right to the end. Andy and Bernice have always had an enjoyable chemistry and spark and while we all knew it wouldn’t work in the end, there’s always that desire and ‘what-if’ feeling that somehow, at some point it could (and should?). Basically, I’m a sucker for a tragic love story and Andy’s exit ticked that box for me, especially as Bernice is just one of those characters you really hope will find the happiness she deserves. With Andy leaving to the sound of Snow Patrol’s Run, it tugged at the heart strings and I hope we get to see him back in the dales one day, probably making more questionable choices in his love life.

So Far Gone Girl

vlcsnap-2016-08-20-17h58m23s957At this rate, Chrissie’s camp villain routine is going to be on my Faves list every week but once again she proved herself to be such an enjoyable character to watch. Yes, she may have fallen off the sanity bus but watching her go full on Amy Dunne, Gone Girl style, to ruin Andy’s life was a great moment of shock. Picking up straight from where Friday’s episode left us, Chrissie didn’t let Andy go quietly and slashed her own wrist before an Oscar worthy performance that left everyone wondering how Andy could behave like this. Chrissie has almost everyone fooled with her saintly routine in front of Andy’s family and seeing her duplicitous act is as fun as it is frustrating. She just suits it – the elegantly evil glide down the stairs with a glass of champagne in her hand and the acts of deception. It’s perfect. You might be against her behaviour but she sure is someone you love to hate. It’s exciting to find out just how far she’s going to go next.

Brotherly Love

vlcsnap-2016-08-20-19h22m15s008He might not have been grateful to begin with but having his brother Robert show up, knight in shining armour style with his vintage motor and sarcasm a plenty, was exactly what Andy needed to rescue him. The banter between the two brothers was on fine form with too many great lines to quote here but after the laughs, their sad goodbye was enough to melt the coldest of hearts. There’s just something really genuine and watchable about their sibling relationship which gave Andy’s escape attempt and quest for truth heart and grounding. Robert’s mission to clear Andy’s name started as a bit of a gloating pisstake (in the smug way only Robert can pull off and still be infuriatingly charming) but now he’s lost a significant loved one this has become his own vendetta of revenge and justice against the Whites. And what’s better than Robert Sugden on a mission? Nothing.

Rooting for You

Emmerdale - Carly And Marlon Tells Each Other How They Really Feel And Kiss - YouTubeWhen Emmerdale does a good romance they do it well and there’s nothing I enjoy more than watching two unlikely characters fall for each other. Carly and Marlon seem to have what it takes to be a great couple – a spark, a good sense of fun and a shared understanding of tragedy. We’ve seen the two of them miscommunicate and pine for each other which is a winning combination to make the audience root for them together and this week saw more mixed messages until finally all it took was groin strain, a frozen lasagne and a bit of honesty before they were kissing and getting serious. After the weird direction Tracy and David have taken it’ll be nice to have another cute, warm and silly couple on screen, especially as with April around they already have a ready-made family. I’m looking forward to see how their romance progresses now that they’ve both owned up to their feelings.

Fail

Familiar Ground

vlcsnap-2016-08-20-17h52m56s216Rather than singling out a particular moment or story as my solitary fail in a strong week of Emmerdale, it’s more of a general moan about repetitive storylines. I’ve already expressed my irritation at David’s persistent proposals (and yes, that’s still happening) but this week saw two of the weaker plots fall into old territory. First there’s Belle’s storyline which although has progressed now that she’s run away after her baby lies were exposed, still gives us the tiresome scenes of ‘Ellie’ talking to her and Belle’s illness getting worse and then going unnoticed by her partner and family. We saw similar scenes when she heard Gemma’s voice (to the obliviousness of her family) and it just feels like this is a rehash of old episodes with a few more twists. Was it even that good last year to warrant it being revisited? I don’t think so. Then there’s Charity trying to relive her greatest hits with Cain in the hopes of luring him back to her – again, something we’ve seen before many times. If Emmerdale are determined to try and regain some of that Cain and Charity spark and give Coira’s marriage a rest, then can’t they find something new for Chain to do than schemes and hijinks they were doing years ago? It’s like a dodgy cover version of your favourite song. Can’t Charity just forget the camp wigs and try a bit of sincerity?

Fave or Fail? (8-12 August 2016)

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! An unmissable week in The Dales from Lisa’s heartbreak to Andy’s prison break!

Faves

Super Soapbitch

Emmerdale - Chrissie Blackmails Rakesh Into Betraying Andy - YouTubeIf there was any doubt before, Chrissie White has firmly secured herself the soapbitch crown as her ruthlessness took to new heights this week and it has been fantastic to watch. Her devious schemes and cold calculations led to a thrilling sequence of events and Andy Sugden on the run. With Lachlan cracking under the pressure, Chrissie’s grip on revenge only got tighter as she used her cunning to get Rakesh onside. Nothing like a bit of money and knowledge to give you all the power you need. With a sharper haircut and heavy eye-make up, Chrissie meant business as she told Rakesh to make sure Andy pleaded guilty or she’d let slip about his arson. Louise Marwood has been playing these scenes brilliantly, ensuring that Chrissie is a villain you just love to hate. Every scene has been tense, waiting for Chrissie’s plan to crumble, but it hasn’t and she’s been winning at every turn. It’s so much fun and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Twists and Turns

Emmerdale - Andy Escapes From Jail! - YouTubeThere have been some moments of pure shock and brilliance this week in Emmerdale which is making it completely unmissable. Of course the main drama has been surrounding the Chrissie and Andy drama and as we awaited his plea, I really couldn’t call which way he was going to plead. So tense! Then the biggest surprise of all was Rakesh telling Andy to shove him and run – that this was his only chance of ever being free – and we ended up seeing Andy make a thrilling escape and go on the run. Of course it’s quite implausible (especially Andy hiding in Adam’s scrapping truck) but when it’s exciting and unexpected as this was then it’s easier just to enjoy. Outside of this story is the revelation that Tracy and Vanessa are sisters. This is something that’s been speculated about for over a year but now that their dad Frank’s been introduced it’s going to be interesting to see how they react!

Getting Frank

CpmSUIdXYAExrcZFrank Clayton had his first scenes in Emmerdale this week as David visited him in prison. Him being Tracy AND Vanessa’s dad means there are already a great number of stories waiting to happen but I’m already interested in Frank. There was something quite charming as well unnerving about the man and although he seemed to have a good sense of humour, I definitely didn’t trust his simplistic story about how he ended up behind bars. With his release date looming I’m excited to see what kind of menace he might bring to the village considering he seems smart and outwardly charming – what kind of darkness could he be hiding?!

Fails

Give Lisa a Break

Emmerdale - Lisa Watches Zak And Joanie Get Married - YouTubeI love Lisa so this being under my ‘fail’ column isn’t an indication of how I feel about her (FYI I think she’s a wonderful, good hearted woman) but more that I wish she had an easier time of it. Having been left by Zak for another woman (her friend no less) she’s held her head high and shown countless examples how she is the better person. This week was the biggest test of all as she had to repair Joanie’s dress and cope with the actual wedding. You could feel the pain radiating off the screen and the sight of her walking away from the church as they said their vows has got to be one of the cruellest and heart breaking things to happen to such a sweet character. Lisa doesn’t deserve this. Lisa shouldn’t have to help with the wedding or give her blessing or let Zak appease his guilt. She shouldn’t have to suffer over her future identity and the Dingle name. No, Lisa deserves better. Lisa deserves happiness. Stop hurting Lisa, Emmerdale. Give her happier times! (I mean it’s unlikely considering Belle’s current mental health problems, but a girl can hope).

Pushy and Irritating

CphFvbKWYAEOg56David Metcalfe welcome to the bottom of the week’s Fail selections. Sigh. I was so on board with David and Tracy at first but I’m steadily going off the idea the more David tries to force her to agree to marry him. David’s a kooky, funny guy and it’s understandable that having cancer has made him reassess his life and the future but having already had several marriage rejections from Tracy, you’d think he’d tone it down. Sadly not. He hasn’t kept it light and romantic, it’s bordering on harassment and by now it’s just creepy and irritating. While he forges ahead with the proposals, even booking sessions with wedding planners Leyla and Megan, Tracy still isn’t keen. Sure, she doesn’t seem to mind some of the preparations and there’s a certain appeal to looking at dresses and venues but David’s pushiness is grating, especially when he met with Frank knowing she wanted nothing to do with him. Want a future with Tracy, David? Start listening to her.

Fave or Fail? (1-5 August 2016)

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Emotions ran high and families broke down in this week’s episodes and Coira’s marriage didn’t make it out alive.

faveorfail

 Faves

Shifting Sympathies

-106  Adam  amp; Victoria 2nd August 2016 Part 3 of 3 - YouTubeThis week has been all about messy relationships and high emotions. I can’t say I enjoyed watching Gabby’s cruel behaviour, Coira’s marriage breakdown (including a rather smug and devious Charity) or Nicola’s confusing emotions which led her to kissing Dan, but good drama doesn’t necessarily mean likable actions. Feelings and relationships are far more complex than good and bad. The truth behind Holly’s addiction and Moira’s HIV lead to some intense scenes at Butlers as Moira’s loyalties were split between her loved ones. Ashley too had to make tough decisions when it came to Gabby’s behaviour and Nicola struggled with losing her identity as an independent and headstrong woman. What I like about these stories is not just the solid performances but the shifting sympathies. These are not stories of cartoon villains or motiveless behaviour done just to stir up trouble, these are stories simmering with underlying tensions and deep emotional consequences.

Pure of Heart

-106  Adam  amp; Victoria 2nd August 2016 Part 3 of 3 - YouTube (1)As Emmerdale marriages implode around us, thank god for Adam and Victoria Barton whose marriage is full of honesty, trust and respect. Having come through her ordeal last week, Vic was confronted with the realisation that losing her business and confidence was a result of Holly’s addiction. Not wanting to tear apart his family, Victoria kept the secret from her husband and then later decided she was going to get her life back on track. She wasn’t always this good natured and we were reminded of the parallels between her and Gabby’s behaviour when Victoria dealt with the police following Gabby’s break-in and she told the teen to stop being a diva, adding that she would have to pay for the damages. Victoria is as kind-hearted and forgiving as you get in Emmerdale and she doesn’t get nearly enough screen time – being nice is underrated!

Changing Opinion?

vlcsnap-2016-08-06-22h22m26s656Is it my imagination or is Jermaine Bailey becoming a much more fun character when he’s away from Belle? He’s been temping in the pub now for a while and it’s surprising how entertaining his and Charity’s interactions have been. He’s not so smart on the uptake of her snark and schemes and his out-of-place awkwardness pulling pints (instead of pulling patients) seems to work quite well. Here’s hoping we see more of him being naïve and clueless behind the bar rather than moping around after his pregnant-but-not girlfriend.

Fails

Without Ceremony 

Emmerdale - The First Helicopter Crash Anniversary - YouTubeIt’s hard to believe a whole year has passed since Emmerdale blew their budget on a big helicopter crash right at the centre of the village killing Val, Ruby and a pilot no one seems to give a damn about. I can only presume he was a bit of an arsehole and all who knew him wished he was dead anyway. But this was a huge deal for the people of Emmerdale, they lost The Valerie Pollard and the café girl who made a good latte so you’d think they’d pull out all the stops in commemorating the anniversary of their passing. You’d think Eric would be there with those wanting to remember his wife. You’d think Pete and Ross might find the whole thing a bit awkward because, well it’s the anniversary of the disastrous wedding and it’s also the anniversary of Pete thinking he’d killed Ross and giving him an impromptu burial. But no, what transpired was a half-arsed comical memorial ceremony with Finn giving a very short speech and about five villagers showing up. It didn’t have any sense of importance or rememberance, there wasn’t even the madcap humour that Val’s funeral had, just Ross and Pete dressed as camp sailors and singing. WTF?! I almost wish they hadn’t bothered.

Breaking Point

Emmerdale - Cain And Charity Kiss In The Woolpack! - YouTubeThe destruction of one of Emmerdale’s most popular marriages, Cain and Moira, hasn’t been pleasant viewing especially as so many of Emmerdale’s big couples are in tatters. We’ve all been expecting it and it’s been on the cards ever since Charity confessed she wanted him back last January, but the escalation of events this week has been intense. Keeping secrets and breaking trust is always going to be hard to get past, but Cain was very unlikeable on self-destruct mode, lurching from one bad decision to the next. After the pressure cooker of emotions, he sought a drunken snog from Charity but even if you’re a ‘Chain’ fan, seeing the two of them hook up and use each other at such a low, desperate point was pretty grim. Charity was well aware he didn’t really want her but her low self-esteem meant she didn’t care, but when Cain made up with Moira and confessed about the kiss she struggled to forgive him. Cain’s jealousy of James was more fuel to the fire and Moira called time on their marriage having seen Cain at his worst. Coira have been pushed to their breaking point and what they once loved and found attractive in each other has become things that divide them. Can they get past this? I hope so. Charity has been there done that, got the t-shirt, I think she deserves new things to set her sights on.