Fave or Fail? (4-8 Dec 2017)

faveorfail

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

Faves

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!

Fails

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!

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Fave or Fail? (13-17 Nov 2017)

faveorfail

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

Faves

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.

Fails

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?

Scene of the Week (13-17 Nov 2017)

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This brilliant flashback scene was part of the special and memorable episode on Friday as Faith and Cain revisited the past. Featuring some incredible casting, Fleur Keith gave a great performance as Faith’s younger self, bruised and beaten and leaving the abusive Shadrach behind. It was an event we’d heard of years before from both Cain and Chas but seeing this pivotal moment ourselves brought it to life in a heartbreaking way, making Cain’s lifelong agony over it feel more acute. I loved the way the present day melted away into the flashback and then later the voice overs brought us back to the present. Every scene from this innovative episode could have been my scene of the week, but I picked this moment for its creativity and emotion and the impressive performances from all involved.

Fave or Fail? (30 Oct-3 Nov 2017)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! This week Pete was busy accusing and Laurel returned with more secrets!

Faves

Murder Mysteries

Emmerdale - What Is Laurel and Bob's Secret - YouTubeWhodunnit plots in soapland aren’t often my favourite but the “Who Killed Emma?” story definitely became more interesting this week. With Gabby a prime suspect it gave Rosie Bentham a great chance to show off her talents under police questioning against the great DS Benton. I was also glad to see Laurel return to the village and bring with it new questions and mysteries such as – what’s going on with Bob? While the storyline does have his weak moments (namely fairly repetitive scenes of the brothers arguing and Pete accusing anyone he can) it’s gathered a good ensemble of cast and I’m genuinely clueless as to who the culprit is – it really could be any one of them! The final flashback scene lined up all the suspects nicely and it was made even more intriguing by the extra videos released on YouTube exploring motives!

Quirky Friends

Emmerdale - Friday 3 Nov 7pm - The ITV Hub (1)Sometimes it’s the strangest groups of characters that make some of the best scenes and that was the case this week at the B&B. We’ve already seen ex-con and cheeky trouble maker Gerry form an unlikely but kind of sweet friendship with Liv but having them work at the B&B with straight-laced Doug was a work of genius. It might be a very short lived working partnership – what with Gerry’s dangerous fireworks causing Doug to burn his hands – but their opposite natures worked well in giving us a fun and surprising group of characters. Doug’s serious and humourless personality clashes with Gerry’s slapdash troublesome ways but their shared enthusiasm for niche interests meant their strange relationship was a believable one.

It’s War

-995 Aaron amp; Robert 30th October 2017 Robert Only Part 3 of 3 - YouTubeRobert’s revenge might have dragged on for half a century but going up against Lachlan might be his dangerous and most interesting move yet. While Robert’s attempts to scheme, schmooze and seduce his way through the family to gain their wealth and status has been going well so far, Lachlan proved he’s Rob’s biggest threat this week. Thankfully for this endless story, Lachlan offers a more believable threat and a more worthy opponent than the other family members who seem to be hanging off Robert’s every word. It was enjoyable this week to see the conflict front and centre with Lucky being the only one to see straight through Rob and manage to unnerve him too. Lachlan has a history of being cold and twisted and is perhaps a bigger worry than Robert anticipated. Thomas Atkinson has proved himself a great little actor and his antagonistic relationship and chemistry with Ryan Hawley is the most watchable this storyline has been.

Fails

The Cringe Factor

Emmerdale - Lawrence Wants to Reveal His Fling With Robert! - YouTubeIt was Halloween this week but there were other reasons to hide behind a cushion when watching. If it wasn’t the sound of Lawrence gasping with lust as Robert played him again (oh Larry you poor fool) then it was Chas and Paddy playing doctor and patient. It’s not that both stories aren’t silly enough to be mildly entertaining it’s just that watching both pairings together in an episode is a bit much for my poor cringe glands. I’m going to go as far as to say Chas and Paddy is actually a bit worse as their OTT role play (which seems to have them gagging for it every five minutes) is the very opposite of sexy. At least with Lawrence and Robert, the carnage after his lies are exposed will be worth it, as for Chas and Paddy I’m not convinced they’re funny enough together and they certainly don’t seem like a great love match.

Fave or Fail? (23-27 Oct 2017)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! This week baby Isaac was named and Chas returned from Ireland!

Faves

Glamourous Granny

vlcsnap-2017-10-29-11h02m41s905One of the best things to happen to Emmerdale this year has to be Faith Dingle. She wins hands down. Not an episode goes by without a killer outfit or a cracking line of dialogue. Most newbies seem to take a while to settle into the village but Faith feels like she’s been there forever, seamlessly integrating into every story and having great chemistry with everyone she works alongside. With the return of Chas this week, the pair had a touching moment and while Faith might often be used for witty one-liners, her relationship with her kids is gritty and complex. I hope she continues to play a big role up at Butlers and in her children’s lives – she’s been a revelation.

The Mother of Meltdowns

Emmerdale - Tuesday 24 Oct 7pm - The ITV HubMoira had another difficult week as she suspected her new baby (now named Isaac) was ill and she doubted her ability to protect him so soon after losing Holly. The pressure’s been piling on her since Isaac’s shock birth, so much so that she left him at the hospital this week believing herself to be a terrible mother and that he was better off without her. Throughout this story Natalie J Robb’s been giving powerful performances and this week was no exception. Her almost cold detachment and distancing from motherhood has been emotively told and your heart breaks seeing Moira freezing out help and hardening to protect herself from any more loss. Her fractured relationship with Cain is one that always provides deliciously angsty moments, but her dynamic with Faith is one I’ve enjoyed watching build through this story too.

Community Spirit

vlcsnap-2017-10-29-11h32m40s293A small aspect of the week’s events, but one I always enjoy, was a community feel to some of the scenes. Whether it was the Dingles’ knees up in the pub (with Paddy the clown) for Debbie’s birthday or Jimmy playing Eric’s bidding game during the auction – I loved seeing bigger groups and different characters interacting. I especially enjoyed the parallels of Jai’s struggle after Eliza’s fit compared with Cain’s moping in the shop and Vanessa getting dating advice from a surprisingly woke Jimmy and Robert, who was released from the panto shackles of Home Farm for a day. Sometimes character groups can feel a bit stale and locked-in so it’s always fun to see interactions of characters who rarely share screentime, particularly when experiences in the Dales can often overlap in interesting ways. Community scenes are an easy way of making the village feel more real and I welcome them at every opportunity.

Fails

Paddy Power

Emmerdale - Chas Returns and Instantly Kisses Paddy! - YouTubeChas was back this week and in her rightful position as pub landlady. Since her departure earlier this year (while Lucy Pargeter was on maternity leave) the pub has been missing that special something without her. But while I was thrilled to see Chas back and reunited with her family, her reintroduction was focused on her rather awkward romance with Paddy. Now, I love Chas and I love Paddy – and I even love their friendship – but when it comes a relationship it all feels a bit incestuous. The pair of them explored the possibility of reuniting earlier this year but after one too many doomed and funny dates realised they were better off as friends. And that’s where it should have ended! Sure, Chas could do with a reliable love and something to make her smile, but settling for Paddy feels like selling herself short – particularly when he was desperate to reunite with Rhona not so long ago. Emmerdale has had some odd pairings in the past and sometimes they work out but Chas and Paddy seem more like siblings than star-crossed lovers. Chas needs someone with a bit more impact than the village’s loveable fool. Sorry Paddy!

Muddled Message

Emmerdale - Debbie Won't Let Tom Control Her - YouTubeThere are a couple of things to like about Debbie’s new romance with Tom. One – he’s pretty easy on the eye; two – there seems some potential there for sparks; and three – it spares us from the sizzle-free Debbie/Ross pairing. But this week’s scenes left me wondering what we’re meant to make of this story and Tom in general. Is he meant to be a swoony fantasy – good looking, rich, powerful? Or is he meant to be a bit creepy and overbearing? It’s hard to tell what the message is here and because of that I’m struggling to suspend reality and enjoy Debbie’s escapades. Tom feels too good to be true and his seduction methods are old fashioned and stalkerish at times. He bought her a house and he barely knows her! And yet, despite her attempts to stand strong, Debbie returns to him and is repeatedly charmed back to bed. So is this some dated Cinderella fantasy or is something darker lurking under the surface? Are we meant to fear for Debbie or watch in envy? I can’t help but feel if Tom was a bit more of an original, believable character rather than Christian Grey lite then the intentions might be a bit less ambiguous.

5 Longterm Ways to Fix Robron

Last week Emmerdale super couple Aaron and Robert split up, with Aaron unable to cope with the pressures of his marriage, in light of Rebecca’s pregnancy. It seems only five minutes ago their engagement sealed off a perfect movie-style romance in Super Soap Week and their wedding was an unconventional TV treat. Now their marriage is broken, fans are fed up and it seems like everyone’s tired of their endless angsty storylines. What went wrong?

Aside from the Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley magic, here’s just a few ways I think Emmerdale can attempt to fix one of their most popular couples and make viewers start caring again.

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Back to Basics

It’s never been smooth sailing for Robron and their relationship was always unconventional, but it seems like The Powers That Be have really lost sight of what made the pair so popular. Part of the pleasure in watching a soap is seeing characters and relationships develop. With Robron it was the interest in watching someone as angst ridden as Aaron fall for someone with their own troubles, like Robert, hoping that one day they’d make a go of it. As the story progressed fans didn’t just like watching their two personalities clash and challenge each other, they liked their passion for each other and the fleeting shot at happiness. That they understood each other and supported each other. But lately there’s been a real drought in hope and happiness and we rarely get to see them enjoy each other’s company. Aaron’s history of tragedy made fans long for his happiness and despite Robert’s bad boy instability, he gave him that. It was never going to be easy; part of the enjoyment was watching them work for that. We fell in love with their sexy and tumultuous romance, but their bond and happiness at being together has taken a real knock in the quest to give them more obstacles.

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Give The Misery a Rest!

Arguments, angst, fighting and tears. It’s been the story since day one, but after Aaron’s horrible abuse trial ordeal I think everyone hoped it was about time for a break from the misery. Danny Miller’s tears are award-winning but there comes a point where the heartache reaches saturation point and people are desensitised by Aaron’s latest pain. Soaps don’t really do happiness, unless you’re a comedy couple, but everyone needs light and shade. Even Robron’s wedding was doused in sadness knowing Aaron was heading to prison a day later. Emmerdale couldn’t even give him a day! So this one’s a pretty simple fix really – give them some happier times! We’ve had the same old arguments for well over six months now and it’s time Emmerdale figured out how to find a better balance. We know they’re meant to be, but we’ve stopped seeing that side of them – unless we’re due a four episode argument and another break up, of course!

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Explore New Ground

Their Super Soap Week special showed us that Aaron and Robert are a lot more than angst machines – they’ve got a great comedic partnership too. Not only would a bit of humour give the actors something fun to do, it would be the “light” we’re crying out for. It doesn’t always have to be violence, cheating, drugs and death, you know! But not only that, Aaron and Robert have slipped into a pattern, and a bad habit of behaviours that form many of their stories. It goes something like this: Robert does something bad or something Aaron doesn’t like (intentionally or not), Aaron gets angry and upset, they argue and Robert begs for forgiveness. Sound familiar? How about something different to watch, eh? Test the characters in different ways, explore sides to the lads and their relationship we haven’t seen before. Both of them are complex – there’s a lot to delve into rather than the same old ground.

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Break The Bubble

This is a problem shared by many of the characters in Emmerdale, but one – if fixed – could lift Aaron and Robert out of their rut. Often characters stay in their “bubble” – take David and Tracey, for example, who often seem superglued to the shop, but the last few months, with most of their drama revolving around their marriage and personal issues Aaron and Robert have only interacted with a select few characters. Friendship and family should be the central factor in Emmerdale, but with Chas and Liv gone, Paddy busy, Aaron’s a bit of a forgotten Dingle and the Sugdens are even more fractured – Robron seem stuck in the same conversations with the same few characters. Again and again. So this rescue remedy is all about variety. Some of their more surprising interactions (Aaron’s awkward friendship with Finn, Robert allying with Bernice) have been a welcome change from the angst, but we could really do with more integration into village life and less rehashing of the same issues without resolution.

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The Rebecca Problem

Since her arrival last October, when she tried to tempt Robert back to bed, Rebecca White’s sole purpose in Emmerdale seems to be just to trigger repetitive and tiresome problems between Aaron and Robert. And let’s face it, it hasn’t exactly made her popular with fans of Emmerdale’s super couple. But if you thought we might one day see the end of their age-old arguments about Aaron’s insecurities and Robert’s cheating past, Rebecca’s pregnancy doesn’t offer much hope of that! So does this mean we’re destined to watch a future of her being the third wheel, rolled out whenever they need a bit of drama (read: argument they’ve had a hundred times before)? Well let’s hope not, eh? Because then we’ll never get the above fixes. There are a number of ways this story could go – but one thing’s for sure, Rebecca’s continued presence as a convenient thorn in their side isn’t doing any character favours and I’m longing for change, however that may be.

6 Perfect Reasons To Vote Emmerdale at the Soap Awards

Last year Emmerdale took home the big one – Best British Soap – at the British Soap Awards, for the first time in its history. The last twelve months in Emmerdale have been brilliant, so here are just a few reasons why Emmerdale is still the best soap and why you should vote for them at the Soap Awards.

Dealing with Tough Issues

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Emmerdale has been praised for its heartfelt stories about issues that have grounding in reality and deal with difficult subjects such as marital rape and dementia – and rightly so. Episodes like Holly’s tragic and shock death from a heroin overdose and Ashley’s passing were emotive and touching, particularly as they connected with an audience who had suffered similar tragedies in their own lives. These stories are soap at their finest and are especially effective when we have spent years watching these characters and their lives play out.

Super Soap Week

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It’s hard to imagine that Emmerdale’s Super Soap Week will ever be bettered. It had it all: a unique storytelling device, beautiful camera work, character focused episodes and then a blockbuster style stunt like nothing we’ve ever seen in soap before. It brought together a range of villagers in stories which covered multiple genres and saw their lives collide – literally. It was visually impressive, ambitious and a real treat for any Emmerdale or soap fan.

Complex Characters

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Emmerdale is blessed with a fantastic range of vibrant characters but it doesn’t make caricatures of them. Characters we think of as the fools can still face heartbreak; the bad guys can have a soft side. Bad deeds are done and bad decisions are made, but mostly the people we see onscreen feel human – like people we know and actions we can believe. Even some of its morally grey characters like Robert or Emma, have complicated emotional cores that are a joy to watch unfold. And even Emmerdale’s out-and-out villains like Pierce are more than just there for cackling and evil deeds – they showcase the dark side of human nature.

Flawless Performances

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There’s a reason why Emmerdale’s so full of great characters and hard-hitting storylines, why the cast is so beloved by all who watch and that’s simply down to how hugely talented the actors are. We’re moved to tears of sadness and laughter, we’re shocked and angered. We could hand out fifty awards and still feel like the cast deserve more. From the stunts to the quiet moments of pain and heartbreak, the Emmerdale actors nail it all. A vote for Emmerdale is a vote for this talented bunch and all the crew behind the scenes who make their performances even more powerful.

A Big Sense of Humour

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It’s not just emotional and hard-hitting issues Emmerdale tackles, but they often give us a great dollop of humour in its storylines. They might not all be rib-tickling but Emmerdale has enough brilliant comedy performers that there’s bound to be at least one villager that raises a laugh. Whether it’s the physical comedy, the one-liners or innuendo, Emmerdale isn’t short on laughs and it’s a warm and familiar comfort returning to these fun characters night after night.

Family Dynamic

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Family dynamics are a huge part of soap and Emmerdale’s use of family in the last year has helped to make its stories unbeatable. Soap families are notorious sprawling and unconventional, but there’s been no shortage of warmth and love between its family units, even those units which are forged through ties of friendship and loyalty rather than blood. We’ve had the BnB squad in Diane, Doug and Eric; we’ve seen the Thomas family facing a hard year, but the extended family brought humour and fun to Ashley’s bleak storyline; we’ve seen Aaron cement his new family with a wedding to Robert and a house for them and Liv; Tracy bonding with her birth father Frank and new-found sister in Vanessa, but her bond with Eric has been touching to see grow; The Dingles were severed last year with Zak’s betrayal but with Lisa taking him back and Debbie’s return, Faith’s arrival they’re as big and brash as ever. The Emmerdale families are so full of loveable relationships and surprising bonds that it makes deciding which family you’d join – if you could – an impossible choice!

Fave or Fail? (27-31 March 2017)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! This week saw Harriet and Cain snog and Faith reveal her cancer in a powerful moment.

Faves

Light and Shade

w51thWe all know Ashley’s story is ending very soon, but one of the strengths of this hard-hitting dementia plot has been Emmerdale’s handling of what could be quite a draining watch. With long running illness plots the danger is that the story gets bogged down in misery, but this hasn’t happened in Ashley’s story. The moments of grief and emotion have been used poignantly and amongst this has been heart-warming and fun family moments with a large group of characters. This week saw the Thomas collective and friends join together for a talent show to cheer up Laurel. Bernice’s Barry Manilow, Doug’s musical carrot (“I am some kind of tit!” – yes, we know), Nicola’s high spirited one-arm dance – all of this was juxtaposed with Ashley’s sing-a-long at the care home, ending in him coughing up blood. It’s because these moments of light, family warmth are shown alongside Ashley’s decline and brief moments of hope, that they’re so effective. Seeing all of Ashley’s family and friends together, all responding in different ways, all bringing their own histories and personalities into the story, makes this plot relatable to so many other families watching. Next week is going to be heartbreaking.

Genuine Shock

w51faithAdmittedly I’m the sort of Emmerdale fan who’s addicted to spoilers so there’s little that’s usually a surprise to me, but I was genuinely taken aback by the reveal of Faith’s mastectomy this week and found it to be a very powerful moment. After Chas and Faith’s turbulent heart to heart, Faith flinched when Chas went to hug her, prompting another emotional outburst from Chas with her believing that Faith thought she was toxic. What transpired was a scene alone in Faith’s bedroom and a silent shot as she stared at herself in the mirror, revealing her mastectomy scars. The moment was shocking, poignant and a brave move for a soap. Although Faith is a controversial figure both on-screen with her family and off-screen with viewers, she already feels like a complex and well draw character despite not having been on screen for very long and having already shared scenes with many characters, it seems like she is already finding her place in Emmerdale.

Bob’s Your Uncle

Emmerdale - Bob Is Shocked When Ashley Starts Coughing Up Blood - YouTubeI’m not convinced there’s enough love for Bob Hope on the internet. Not only does he make unforgettable Americanos and think of himself as a bit of a smooth mover but he’s got to be one of best shoulders to cry on right now. This week Carly opened up to him about losing Billy and his support was compassionate and tender – exactly what she needed from her dad. Later in the week, Bob was a great friend for Ashley and even entertained the other residents in the care home with his singing. Bob is one of those villagers who seems to brighten up the screen and this week proved more than ever that he’s more than just a coffee maker and we need to see him get stuck into as many stories as possible!

Fails

Something Missing?

Emmerdale - Did Harriet Enjoy Being Kissed by Bad Boy Cain - YouTubeOn paper, unconventional vicar hooks up with local bad boy sounds like the recipe for a red-hot affair story and when we all suspected that cool woman of the cloth Harriet was going to get frisky with Cain, there was definitely potential. Could ‘Charriet’ be the next big thing? Well…for me it was a bit of a let down if I’m honest. The build-up to their church aisle snog felt a little forced and their confrontational attitude the other week sprung up from nowhere for two characters who have barely interacted in their years onscreen. Understandably they wouldn’t get on and yet it all felt far too shoe-horned just to make their antagonism greater for a shock snog. And really, there’s no denying they’re both sexy but their chemistry didn’t quite translate as well as it could. That’s not to say this plot won’t heat up but there was just something missing. Might it be because it just feels like Cain is treading water until they reunite him with Moira?

Seeing Double

EmmerdaleIf you’ve been following this blog for a while you’ll have noticed my change of heart when it comes to Jai Sharma. I’m fickle, okay? Once I couldn’t stand the guy and I wouldn’t have minded if there was a fire at the sweet factory, but now? Now I love Jai. This week saw a return of a more Jai centred story as he attended an NA meeting at the village hall and talked about his struggle with addiction and the loss of Holly. All powerful and moving stuff, even if these issues – like Carly’s struggles – feel a bit disjointed seeing as they’ve not been touched on regularly enough. However what was less convincing was the arrival of Nell aka Holly Barton’s doppelganger. We understand quite clearly that she was meant to remind Jai of Holly and encourage him to reach out but did her look-a-like status need to be so embarrassingly blatant? The clothes, the age, the voice, the hair. It was all a bit much and had the subtly of a hammer to the face. We’re not idiots, Emmerdale, we can connect the dots without the need for a Holly clone! Less is more.

Scene of the Week (27-31 March 2017)

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This scene of the week choice is a little cheat because Chas and Faith’s kitchen outpourings lasted a few scenes, but they were truly stand-out moments in the week and one of the many reasons I’ll miss Chas and Lucy Pargeter now that she’s on maternity leave. Fractured familial relationships and mothers abandoning their children are a soap staple but still this confrontation between Chas and Faith managed to feel fresh and compelling. It was a complex situation fought out between these two headstrong women and while we might have some sympathies with Faith (perhaps more so now we know why she’s eager to repair her relationships) Chas’s pain at the abandonment, being left with a drunk and violent father and its impact on her own experience as a mother, was still raw. The writing and acting in these tough scenes made Chas and Faith’s relationship feel real and complicated and human – soap at its best.