Fave or Fail? (12-16 March 2018)


Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Lisa’s health suffered when Gabby and Liv’s actions backfired and Joe discovered Debbie’s dark secret.


Dingle Divide

vlcsnap-2018-03-18-09h51m53s334Poor Lisa Dingle faced a health scare this week after Gabby and Liv’s prank went wrong. With Gabby determined to teach Daz a lesson, Lisa got caught in the crossfire and ended up in hospital and now the family are hellbent on revenge. There is one slight issue and one big secret, however – Liv is the one that did the actual spiking. It’s a story helmed by two great young actresses that causes friction not only between the extended families but will now surely divide the Dingles too when they find out the truth. I love stories that get the whole village involved, especially when it’s someone as beloved by the community (and viewers) as Lisa. With regretful Liv sure to spiral, this will give great dramatic material for Isobel Steele and might be the big consequences that Gabby and Liv need to learn from their mistakes.

Wicked Games

vlcsnap-2018-03-18-09h52m54s476Joe Tate learnt the shocking truth about Ross’s acid attack this week and decided to play a vengeful game with Debbie in order to keep her dark secret by blackmailing her into playing his girlfriend. Twisted, much? Joe’s manipulative wickedness adds a cruel spin to the story which might otherwise just be a quite repetitive and depressing story of Ross’s suffering. Health stories by nature can be slow so I’m glad of other elements to keep it interesting while still showing enough sensitivity and education through Ross’s recovery. Joe’s turning up at the hospital and forcing Debbie to reveal their new “status” to an already hurting was an especially bastardy move. Joe’s definitely the boo-hiss villain that makes soap so entertaining. But there’s a fine line between love and hate and Joe’s feelings for Debbie seem to be walking that tightrope, will hers follow?

Happier Times

vlcsnap-2018-03-18-12h23m44s125Smiles never last long in Emmerdale, but how nice to see resident misery magnet Aaron with some happiness this week. With much of last year bogged down in an angsty hell, it’s been good that the character has been shown to have a bit more of an adult life, not just in parenting and responsibility, but with his relationship with Chas too. With Chas absent a lot of last year, the mother son scenes were thin on the ground, but I’m glad we’ve moved to a more mature, less dependent relationship between the two. It feels fresher and far more enjoyable to see him carving a life for himself too.

Through the Tough Times

vlcsnap-2018-03-18-09h54m59s362Hooray for Eric again this week as not only did he invite Faith to move into his lovely barn, but he was a great support to Tracy. With Val and Finn gone it’s sad that we’ve not seen much of the BnB lately – we really did take those days for granted. But after David’s awful behaviour and his daughter-in-law needing a break from the shop, Eric was quick to offer her a better position working for him. I think this is exactly the boost Tracy needs. Eric has faith in her (no pun intended) and I love their supportive relationship, on both sides.


Recipe for Disaster

vlcsnap-2018-03-18-12h25m55s685This week, despite all the warning signs, Chas and Paddy decided to go ahead with the pregnancy and bring a Chaddy child into this world. As nice as it was to see Chas get some focus again, the writing choices felt heavily pro-life and dated, leading us to the inevitable outcome where they chose not to terminate. Still, we all know happiness for anyone – especially Chas – is short lived so all this champagne popping seems a bit pre-emptive, particularly when you remember Paddy was torn between two women five minutes ago. This has disaster written all over it and while I’m not a fan of the ill-suited couple, I dread the likely drift back towards Paddy and Rhona. It seems clear he’s still in love with her so how long before Chas’s heart is broken and the Dingles have another enemy on their list?


Fave or Fail? (26 Feb-2 March 2018)


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 Brenda made the heart-breaking discovery about Bob and Brenda while Joe decided to make more enemies.


Joe VS the World

vlcsnap-2018-03-04-12h09m44s606He’s only been in the village a few months but after his swanky redecoration of Home Farm Joe’s busy making a long list of enemies. Not satisfied by his war with the Dingles, he’s now roped poor gullible Jimmy into his schemes, and plans to screw over Robert. Having watched Robert easily swindle the Whites it’s about time he had a decent enemy to face up to and Joe might just be it. Their confrontations drag up a whole heap of Emmerdale history between the Sugdens and Tates and that makes it far more engaging and enjoyable to watch. Their rivalry seems like it might be well matched and explosive, so here’s hoping Joe has more tricks up his sleeve than just spying.

Priya’s Breaking Point

Emmerdale - Priya Loses Her Temper With Amba - YouTubeFiona Wade proved this week what a great actress she is as Priya’s loneliness and stress finally took its toll and we saw her crumble. It’s been subtly in the background for a while but it all became too much for Priya. We saw last week that she’s pretty lonely and isolated and after some awkward encounters she saw that Pete’s moved on too. Then there was Jai pushing more work onto her, those nightmarish twins at the factory and finally the kids refusing food. She snapped. After escaping the shackles of her dull marriage to Rakesh and becoming unlikeable in the Pete affair debacle, Priya’s become a lot more watchable and empathetic. Character focused and family orientated plots seem to suit the Sharmas best so this big story building shows real promise.

All the Best Lines

vlcsnap-2018-03-04-12h07m03s727Shout out to Charity Dingle this week who seemed to have almost all the best lines. If it’s not a verbal take down with Joe, it’s supporting Chas and giving Paddy a wake-up call. Charity was one of the few characters talking sense when it came to Chas’s pregnancy debate this week, and at least trying to put her cousin’s wishes first. She might be wary of letting Noah hang out with Joe, but their fiery confrontations are lingering with years of Tate tension and it’s fun to see them go head to head. Rumour has it that Charity’s going to get a decent storyline of her own soon and I can’t wait, she’s too good to stay on the sidelines.


Emotional Affair

vlcsnap-2018-03-04-12h22m32s028The best aspect of the big mess Bob and Laurel have got themselves into is that I care and empathise with all three characters – even if Bob and Laurel aren’t very likeable at the moment – but there’s still something not clicking. I can’t help but think that the story would have worked better had it stayed an emotional affair from the off, rather than throwing in a shock flashback moment during the Emma murder reveal, making Bob and Laurel’s feelings and betrayal spring up from nowhere. All that forbidden longing and tension might’ve worked, but their guilt now feels a bit half hearted considering they’ve already done the dirty.

Chas’s Decision

vlcsnap-2018-03-04-12h07m32s193Chas and Paddy’s pregnancy dilemma already feels as if it’s been going on long enough for them to have had a grown child by now. Granted it doesn’t help that I don’t like them as a couple, but I can’t think of much worse than them having a child. Let’s face it, Chas and Paddy aren’t built to last. What’s worse is the pressure put on Chas to keep the baby this week with almost every Dingle sticking their nose in and forcing her to make a decision and no one really listening to her. Chas is a strong character and she of all people knows her own mind – why shouldn’t she have an abortion? The story focus seemed to be so heavily weighted on Paddy’s feelings too with the same manipulative sad face ending every scene, trying to guilt her into keeping the baby for his own selfish reasons. The only positive here is that with any luck, one way or another, this pregnancy might break them.

Fave or Fail? (19-23 Feb 2018)


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 and Robert finally reunite, Tracy was threatened with secrets from her past.


Make Your Dreams Come True

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h47m14s763If you heard the sound of happy crying on Thursday night then it was probably me. After months and months of agony and teasing, FINALLY Aaron and Robert were reunited and sought to face the future together, better than ever. It’s no secret that Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley’s chemistry has earned them thousands of fans worldwide so the pressure was on for a satisfying and romantic reunion. We got it – and then some. It had all the classic tropes of a romantic movie, with heartbroken Robert struggling to move on and Aaron realising he couldn’t live without Robert. It wasn’t just the fact they’d patched up and declared their love, it was all the special details included that made it so poignant for fans. From the fun scenes in the club, to the meaningful conversations in the garage (a location pivotal in their love story) – there wasn’t a moment wasted with all cards on the table. There wasn’t any silly misunderstandings or finger pointing, it was rooted in their intense past and entirely faithful to their characters. After so much agony and angst, it was a surreal joy to see their family happily reunited. Aaron was grinning – and you don’t see that often! It felt important and truly memorable. Moving forward, we know it can’t be plain sailing but by god, Emmerdale, don’t ruin this. You’ve got something really special.

Amazing Amy

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h47m51s372On any other week, Tracy’s storyline would have been top of my Faves list because if there’s anyone who deserves ALL the awards then it’s Amy Walsh. She’s been an absolute revelation this week, as Tracy was blackmailed over her prostitute past by the vile Phil. Amy conveyed Tracy’s abject fear brilliantly and her heartbreak at David’s cold shoulder was especially moving. Tracy’s scenes with Frank saw a new and improved sensitive side to his character as he was able to comfort her without judgement, until David’s treatment of her. Amy’s performances have been powerful and empathetic in this dark storyline, cementing her as one of Emmerdale’s best actors. We all wanted to rush in and rescue her this week, but I don’t think it’s going to get any easier for her as she tries to get justice. I just hope Frank and Vanessa will be there for her when David inevitably lets her down.

Squad Goals

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h45m35s230How great was Thursday’s episode at the bar? Fans of Robert have been crying out for him to have some actual mates for ages and Emmerdale also relished the opportunity to revisit the brilliant double act he has with Bernice, as well as giving him an ally in Vanessa. Aside from the girls’ great attempts to cheer him up, the comedy between the girls was something special. This episode was chockfull of one-liners and each character added something to the group to make it warm and funny. It’s great seeing our favourites outside of the village so it felt like we were really spoilt and even better that we got to see a group of girls having a great time and getting along. No bitchiness, no falling out over men, just bad dancing and cheesy music requests. More of this. PLEASE!

Getting Serious?

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h48m42s367With Charity back from her holiday this meant the Vanity hook ups could resume much to both their delights, but as the week progressed it was clear they were after a bit more than no-strings fun. While I’ve criticised Emmerdale in the past for its slow and most off-screen portrayal of Vanessa and Charity’s relationship, I was glad to see it given a little more prominence this week. I loved seeing the women have flirty fun (with drunk Vanessa being an adorable bonus) and Charity soften to the idea of something more serious. When the writing is there, Vanity is sparky and fun, bringing out new sides to both characters. There’s still room for more though, and I want to see it!

Bonus Faves

  • Gerry and Jacob’s lovely attempts to cheer up Liv (ice cream Gerry, leave out the vodka) and talk sense into Gabby. Jacob continues to be wonderful and the Liv/Gabby drama continues to be believable and well done
  • Ross’s continued struggles
  • Aaron’s lovely attempts to help Liv with her sexuality
  • Bernice’s funny but very blunt relationship advice
  • Priya and Kerry’s badgering of the DJ for 90s classics leading to them being kicked out – TV gold!
  • Robert and Liv repairing their fractured relationship. They have always been one of my favourite relationships in Emmerdale so it was touching seeing them move on and become a family again – that hug!
  • Joe’s redecorated Home Farm and it looks amazing
  • Faith using the loo when Chas was in the room – they’ve got a brilliant mother/daughter dynamic
  • Jimmy’s sycophantic “Thank you, Mr Tate!” combined with Robert’s bristling fury at Joe calling him “Richard” – this new rivalry will be amazing


David is the Worst

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h49m11s488There is always stiff competition when it comes to “worst man in Emmerdale” but surely David Metcalfe wins this one hands down? As if his cheating on insecure Tracy wasn’t bad enough this week he behaved so hideously that I’m firmly Team Tracy Deserves Better. With predatory and disgusting Phil blackmailing Tracy, David caught them in a compromising position and then learnt the truth about Tracy’s past. Instead of being warm, loving and supportive of his wife he was cold and accusatory, unable to even look at her in the same way when he found out about her history. While it would understandably be a shock, David’s attitude towards her prostitution (and his selfish attitude in general) has soured my view of him completely and that’s without considering his recent lying and cheating. With Tracy’s other family members showing compassion and understanding, David is a far cry from the type of man Tracy needs. It’s going to take a lot for me to warm to him again.


Fave or Fail? (29 Jan-2 Feb 2018)


Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Romance was in the air this week as Charity and Vanessa kissed and made up, Rhona and Pete had some fun and there was a big reunion for Cain and Moira.


The Big Reunion

Emmerdale - Moira Gives Cain Her Answer - YouTube (1)This week was all about Cain and Moira reuniting and finally putting their ghosts to rest and it’s about time too! With Moira feeling pressured and grief stricken about Holly again, she decided to leave the village for good. We all know this rarely happens for real, but Cain was devastated at the prospect and gave her an ultimatum to meet him at the bridge – in true movie romance style. Reunions don’t come easy and it took some big conversations between Cain and Zak, and Moira and Charity to make the pair of them fight for their relationship. Emmerdale heart-to-hearts are some of my favourite moments, allowing for quiet and impressive performances and seeing Cain open and vulnerable is always welcome. Their final reunion on the bridge was perfect for their characters, full of humour and warmth and by Friday they were back kissing in the café as if they’d never been apart. An easy highlight of the week.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Emmerdale - Tuesday 30 Jan 7pm - The ITV HubHooray for besties Rhona and Vanessa this week who are definitely having fun in the dating department. After a hot and cold fling with Charity, Vanessa got her favourite pub landlady to own up to her feelings and the two shared a very nice kiss outside in the village, hopefully meaning we’ll start to see a bit more of their relationship from now on. Then there was a very unlikely but nicely sparky hook up between Pete and Rhona, giving her back the pep she’s been missing. Pete might not be future husband material but their interactions have given Rhona a big dose of fun and with a nice chemistry they’ve been a surprisingly enjoyable watch.

Darkness on the Horizon

Emmerdale - Someone From Tracy's Past Has Returned... - YouTubeThe new creepy handyman Phil is bad freaking news and I’m hating the way he’s wedged himself into the shop and buddied up with David, but what this does mean is a great big emotional story for Tracy in future. Amy Walsh plays vulnerable Tracy so well and this story looks like it could be dark and challenging – definitely something gritty for Amy to get her teeth into. I’m so worried for Tracy, especially with David being a dick, but I can’t wait to see how Amy pulls it out of the bag!


Just Grow Up

Emmerdale - Paddy Picks a Fight With Rhona's New Man Pete! - YouTubeUgh Paddy. After the whole Tess debacle, we finally regained some of the old fun Paddy we loved when he came back from Germany but with his messy feelings for Rhona and his jealousy in the mix, he was really unlikeable this week. Sure, he eventually redeemed himself by realising how selfish he’d been, but when Paddy’s childish like this it really puts me off him, especially when Rhona deserves something fun and uncomplicated. I still can’t stand the Chas and Paddy pairing, but maybe Rhona is better off without him after all? I can’t help but feel eventually he’s going to break Chas’s heart though…

Shifting the Blame

Emmerdale - Someone From Tracy's Past Has Returned... - YouTube (1)Another man for the dick list is David, once again. If the cheating and the lying wasn’t bad enough (like every other man in the Dales), it got worse as soon as Tracy confronted him about Priya’s incriminating text message. It might have been far too easy for David to fess up now (especially with Leyla not due back for ages) but lying again only served to make insecure Tracy feel a hundred times worse. Couldn’t he have thought of a way to lie without Tracy blaming herself? It’s horribly cruel of David and it feels even worse coming from someone who gives off the impression of being a nice guy and a dream husband. He better be there for her when things with Phil get dark otherwise I may end up hating him for a lot longer.


Quote of the Week (8-12 Jan 2018)



Charity: And each year I think: “Next year’s gonna be better. Hey! Maybe I’ll win the lottery or meet the love of my life!”
Chas: N’aw, for this birthday you just settled for doing a dump in Joseph Tate’s front room-!


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


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.


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!


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.


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!


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!


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.


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.


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!


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!


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!


1. Ashley’s Demise

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


Emmerdale’s Worst Moments of 2017


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

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


5. Anti Climaxes and Dragging Storylines

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



4. Sizzle Free Love Affairs

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


3. Finn the Stalker

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


2. The White Family

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


1. Robron Smashed to Bits

Oh boy. Where to begin.

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

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

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

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


8 Reasons Emmerdale’s Bonkers Xmas Special Was Brilliant

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


Star Performance

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


Back From the Dead

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


Mad Movie Mash-ups

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


Crazy Outfits

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


Love, Life and Death

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


Sort-of Sugden Family Christmas

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


Something New

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


That Tear-jerking Ending

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


Fave or Fail? (4-8 Dec 2017)


Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Faith and Pollard broke up this week and we said a sad goodbye to Emmerdale stalwart, Alfie the dog.


Bonnie and Clyde

Emmerdale - Pollard Faces the Music - YouTubeI know when it comes to Faith Dingle, I am a bit of a broken record, but I truly think she’s the best thing that’s happened to Emmerdale in 2017. She proved that even more this week when she and Eric went all Bonnie and Clyde on us in an attempt to bring down Morris from the council. I love the pairing of Eric and Faith, they go from funny to heartwarming to that special kind of delicious soap angst that I love. Eric’s face of terror when Faith was speeding was genius but it was only a matter of time before she uncovered his lies about the access road. The two of them broke up after Faith found out what Eric had done but their confrontational was beautifully painful, as both Sally Dexter and Christopher Chittell really sold Faith and Eric’s love for each other and her heartbreak at his betrayal. The two clash on their outlooks in life and the dodgy ways they deal with obstacles to what they want, but even still they are pretty well matched. Even if their future is a rocky one, you know they’re a couple that should be together. Fingers crossed!

Goodbye Alfie

vlcsnap-2017-12-10-14h54m12s818The Dingles and us, the humble viewers, had to say goodbye to scruffy-furred Emmerdale legend, Alfie the dog, this week in some really moving scenes. Alfie is as much a part of Wishing Well as the crocheted blankets so to see him look so sad and ill was a horrible thing and the decision fell to Zak to put their poor old dog down. Even someone like me who isn’t a dog lover (I know, I know) couldn’t fail to be moved as the Dingles said goodbye to their dear old mutt. Rest in peace, Alfie. You’ll be sorely missed.

Both Sides of the Story

vlcsnap-2017-12-10-14h58m10s779With actress Roxy Shahidi soon to leave for maternity, we knew it wouldn’t be long before Emmerdale needed to engineer an exit story for her. As Alicia lives in Portugal now you’d think Leyla could just jet there but it seems something a little more convoluted is in the pipeline. Don’t get me wrong, I love Leyla and I’m even slightly curious about how a David and Leyla romance attempt would work these days – but I’m just not sure it’s worth sacrificing their friendship. But despite this and Tracy’s OTT reaction, this story becomes a fave simply for the impressive scenes between Roxy and Amy Walsh. Amy always manages to give Tracy a lot of heart and soul in her stories and both actresses carried a lot of emotion in their scenes which actually made you empathise with both parties. With all these brilliant moments between the powerful females in the Dales, it does make you long for them to stop falling out over the lacklustre men though!


The Show Mustn’t Go On

Emmerdale - Thursday 7 Dec 8pm - The ITV Hub (1)At this festive time of year I do love to see all the traditions on screen and the Emmerdale nativity story began with gusto. Rhona went all Nativity-zilla on us, getting squeaky and irate as her plans struggled, roping in a reluctant Vanessa and getting Marlon dressed as a donkey. It wasn’t without its amusing moments and the kids of Emmerdale are always worth watching. Disappointingly though, so few villagers bothered to turn up meaning the community spirit was more than a bit lacking. Add to that some crippingly cringey comedy from Paddy and Chas (not to mention even more of their gross romance) and the whole thing was a bit of a flop. Bah humbug!

Pete’s Pity Party

vlcsnap-2017-12-10-14h56m26s322Ordinarily you’d feel sorry for someone like Pete Barton. Father and brother murdered by his mother, mother then murdered, son he thought was his wasn’t, thought he had a second chance with his girlfriend but turns out she was in love with someone else, knocked unconscious after a fall down some stairs. All in all, not a great time to be Pete Barton. The problem is, I still wish he was the one shot to death by Emma. On paper Pete should be sympathetic, but with all his aggression and shouty spitefulness it’s hard to feel sorry for him. He speaks to others, even those trying to help like Harriet, like he’s going to punch them in the face. And it was poor David this week that did actually get punched. But when Pete’s not raging around like some uncaged alpha male, he’s being colossally dull. What a shame that we lost two interesting Barton family members and got stuck with Pete!


Fave or Fail? (13-17 Nov 2017)


Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Isaac’s christening lead to a lot of heartache and soul searching this week.


Taking Risks

vlcsnap-2017-11-19-18h33m20s220Lately Emmerdale hasn’t been afraid to push the boundaries of the soap genre and the success of its efforts to tell stories in different and creative ways only confirm why it’s picking up awards regularly. Friday’s episode saw a tight focus on the story thread of Moira and Cain’s role in Isaac’s life and took us back in time to see the struggles Cain and Chas faced with their own parents, Faith and Shadrach. Like the Ashley special episode last year, the Emmerdale casting team were spectacular in their choice of perfect actors for the younger versions of Faith, Shadrach, Cain and Chas with the adults in particular bearing a striking and uncanny resemblance to their counterparts. Reflecting on Cain’s childhood, Jeff Hordley gave a hugely emotional performance, with Cain’s heartbreaking past helping to explain how much of a struggle he’s facing in the present day as a father to Isaac and Sally Dexter continues to be a brilliant on-screen presence, in both comedy and tragedy. Together they make a believable mother and son duo which made the scenes all the more poignant. Far from being gimmicky, the flashbacks helped to flesh out the backstories of characters we’ve known for a long time and gave more weight to the struggles they’ve suffered, which before now we’ve only known through being told rather than seeing it first-hand. When Emmerdale takes creative risks like this the quality feels heightened, like we’re watching something beyond the tag of ‘soap’ and makes the drama feel fresh and novel, showing that these new approaches really pay off.

Compassionate Love

vlcsnap-2017-11-19-18h35m54s669Eric and Faith’s relationship really became something special this week. For all their to-ing and fro-ing, with miscommunication and Rodney’s interference, the pair finally expressed the strength of their feelings for each other and slept together in some moving and beautiful scenes. The joy of Eric and Faith is that their connection feels real and their own private struggles – whether it’s a shared grief or Faith’s insecurities about her body – were told sensitively and poignantly. It feels like ages since we’ve seen a love story played out between an older couple, but the touching way Eric and Faith’s story has been told, it’s been almost impossible not to fall in love with them too. My heart melted with Faith said Eric made her feel special, and his calling her beautiful and saying she brought colour back to his existence was wonderful. Here’s hoping they go the distance – they deserve it.

Perfect Performance

vlcsnap-2017-11-19-18h33m39s784Almost every week I want to heap praise onto Natalie J Robb’s acting. As Moira continues to struggle with her post-natal depression Natalie plays the scenes with such an effective dazed disconnect. This week Moira’s difficulties became more apparent to her family as she even went as far as giving Isaac to Adam and Vic, telling them that she couldn’t keep him and couldn’t deal with being a mother again. Moira’s grief and guilt over Holly is tied so intensely to Isaac that Moira’s been unable to bond for fear that she might lose him too. Moira’s breakdown this week was a wake up call to her loved ones who’d been oblivious and almost dismissive of her distant behaviour and Natalie made that inner battle of Moira’s so vivid and raw. I’m glad they’re continuing to show the impact of Holly’s death on Moira’s life and that Isaac hasn’t been a quick fix to that grief or to her estranged marriage with Cain. It’s a difficult watch, but one Natalie sells so well.


Rhona’s Heartbreak

vlcsnap-2017-11-19-18h34m34s543It’s a testament to Zoe Henry’s acting that Rhona’s heartbreak was so effective this week, as she discovered Paddy had moved on and was with Chas. As if their slobbering PDAs weren’t bad enough! Granted, it was Rhona’s choice not to reunite with Paddy after the trial, but his and Chas’s sudden teenage fixation with each other does seem a little on the hasty side and is a bit of a hard watch – even more so for Rhona. So why the “Fail” category this week? Simply because it hurts to see Rhona crushed like that when she’s had a really tough year. Plus, it seems inevitable that the great Chas and Paddy love affair will crash and burn at some point (like it always does) so it seems even more unnecessary to put Rhona through this.

Baby Fever

vlcsnap-2017-11-19-18h37m09s905Victoria was right this week when she talked about cute baby overload in the village. But it’s not the squidgy little faces that are a problem, it’s that there feels like there are too many baby plots all at once. Moira’s post-natal depression has been wonderfully told so far, but it’s not just the parenting stories with Isaac we are watching – it’s Rebecca and Robert with Sebastian, Adam and Vic wanting to adopt too. Last week Robert had his moment of being a reluctant father and then this time it was Cain’s turn. And this heavy baby focus is without mentioning Jai and Megan’s concerns over Eliza. All the baby plots serve a purpose when it comes to explore issues with their parents, but did we really need so many baby plots all at once?