Fave or Fail? (18-22 June 2018)

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 Diane’s birthday surprise was one hell of a shock and Laurel and Brenda sort of made amends.

Faves

Dingle Downtime

vlcsnap-2018-06-24-15h38m24s367It was nice to see the Dingles get a bit of downtime this week after Sarah’s health drama of last week and Charity’s ongoing heartache. Cain is always lovely to see in sensitive “Grumpy” mode (even if they’ve disappointing removed all antagonism from Joe Tate’s feud with the Dingles) and I reckon Charity’s cushions were one of the week’s biggest highlights! Even though Cain and Moira’s storyline begins next week it was refreshing to see them hanging out on the swings with the kids enjoying the summer. I say bring on next week though – as the person watching them from the farm reveals himself!

News Travels Fast

vlcsnap-2018-06-24-15h36m03s437You’d think the villagers of Emmerdale would be used to an illicit bunk up but that didn’t stop tongues wagging this week when Doug and Brenda’s night together became common knowledge. After that disastrous surprise party, news spread quickly in the pub and even made its way to the Dingle girls’ group chat (I LOVE that they have a group chat by the way). From Nicola’s disappointment to miss out on the drama to the giggles around the bar, this gave the story a fun injection of village life and I always love moments where everyone feels a bit more connected in each other’s stories.

Comedy Copper

vlcsnap-2018-06-24-15h33m55s853Sometimes it’s the guest characters in Emmerdale that are the heroes of the week and this time it was another smart mouthed copper who stole the show in Friday’s episode. Like the rest of us he was sick of the childish spats between Brenda and Laurel as they got detained for the night and then things escalated when Bob and Doug arrived. The frustrated cop was officially Done as the blokes bickered too. As Emmerdale takes its yearly summer dip in storyline quality, I’m grateful that we at least have some guest characters to liven things up in the village.

Fail

Mystery Solved

vlcsnap-2018-06-24-15h34m55s662Within a week Amelia’s story has gone from intriguing to downright disappointing. We don’t know the full story yet, but all the mystery seems to have been removed regardless. Amelia is now holed up in a flat with a girl who has been grooming her online. In order to increase the mystery element, all the grooming happened off screen but now it’s quite a leap to expect us to believe Amelia would be so enamoured and obedient to her captor, giving up all access to the outside world. It looks like this girl is the daughter of the man Daz killed in the army and if that’s the case then it’s going to be a reveal with zero shock factor. Now that Beth has added a ridiculous Dalek voice changer, her threats to Daz have even less impact. There’s no fun in guessing what’s’ happened to Amelia anymore when the truth seems so obvious. What are we left with apart from the tiresome Spencer brother feud that got old last year?

Advertisements

Fave or Fail? (11-15 June 2018)

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! In the week that saw Chas tell Paddy the truth about the baby, Sarah learnt she is suffering heart failure.

Faves

Mother Daughter Divide

vlcsnap-2018-06-16-17h07m30s618It was a traumatic week for Debbie and Sarah as their strained relationship broke down in the middle of Sarah’s health crisis. After joyriding, Sarah couldn’t contain her anger any further and told the police that her mother was behind Ross’s acid attack. But when the police showed up, Sarah collapsed and after tests it was found that she has heart failure. An emotional and agonising time for any family, but it was made even harder because Sarah cannot forgive Debbie and feels betrayed by her. I like the layers in this story, the stubbornness of both characters and Debbie’s vulnerability on show. The elements related to the acid attack are still a weak point, and it would be nice if someone mentioned trying to get hold of Andy (even if he’s unlikely to return) just to make this more than just about Debbie, but it’s the complicated emotions here that make it worth watching.

Where is Amelia?

Emmerdale - Friday 15 Jun 7pm - ITV HubThis week the Spencers did a TV appeal for missing Ameila, on ITV News no less (loving the meta) and the thing I’m enjoying about this story is that I genuinely don’t know what’s happened to her. This week Daz was under fire but it almost feels like he’s been set up, possibly even by Dan. Could this be an inside job? I really hope this story triggers some real and surprising twists and keeps us well away from the tedious spats between the brothers. The other shining light of this story is Kerry again, who is staying positive and supportive. Who ever thought we’d see Kerry having such a calm and mature influence?

Everyone Needs a Marlon

vlcsnap-2018-06-16-17h07m04s696If you were picking Dingles to be in your corner, you’d definitely pick Marlon, wouldn’t you? If not for the cooking then definitely his hugs. This week Marlon was caught in a difficult position between supporting his best mate and hearing Chas desperately upset. Marlon’s relationship with Paddy is one I rarely get tired of, full of warmth and humour, but it’s his empathetic side that really shone this week as he comforted Chas. He could sense something was wrong with her and tried to be there without interfering simply by asking her if she was okay and offering an ear. Marlon was exactly the loved one you’d need in hard times, sympathetic and kind without judgement. He doesn’t get nearly enough appreciation so I thought I’d start right here!

The Next Generation

vlcsnap-2018-06-16-15h38m46s418Controversially I quite enjoyed Leanna Cavanagh’s role this week as the nasty teen leading the others astray. I can see her becoming a full-on bully in the village but sometimes we need an antagonist, someone who does and says awful things and who we love to hate, to shake things up. Bunking school and joyriding seems pretty soap standard, but Emmerdale’s young actors in this group (Jacob, Noah and Sarah) are a watchable bunch and usually pretty well behaved! It was good to see them take a bigger role and alone, away from the adults. With their parents’ drama-packed lives, there’s no doubt that this generation of kids are going to cause plenty of mayhem when they grow up and this is only the start.

Fail

Scraping the Barrel

Emmerdale - Doug Kisses Brenda! - YouTubeIt was whiskey-snog o’clock again in Emmerdale this week as Brenda and Doug succumbed not to secret passion but Emmerdale’s tired clichés. With this snog (and probably more off screen) this signals another stable couple left in tatters. Doug and Diane were the only long term couple who hadn’t been given a cheating plot and now they’re just another village statistic. And what’s worse is that he’s Laurel’s dad, meaning they’ve made the whole Brenda/Bob/Laurel fallout a whole lot more complicated. Won’t anybody think of the kids?! Cheating and drunken mistakes are soap bread and butter, but every soap needs stable and enduring relationships, even if they are gentle and drama free. Emmerdale put the bullet in this by destroying Zak and Lisa in 2015 and since then it’s been break up after break up. How can we be expected to care about these families and couples when Emmerdale doesn’t seem to? Doug and Diane might not have been groundbreaking or fan favourites, but it’s important to the fabric of the village to have some stable couples. This just feels lazy.

Fave or Fail? (28 May-1 June 2018)

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! Both Chas and Charity had a difficult week as Ross confronted Debbie about the acid attack.

Faves

Charity’s Flashback Episode

vlcsnap-2018-06-03-18h49m18s668Emmerdale took another trip back in time this week with the help of flashbacks as we saw Charity relive the birth of her son. Much like the Cain and Faith special episode, young Charity was perfectly cast with Mica Procter in the role and the transitions between scenes were nicely done. Much of the episode focused on Emma Atkins giving monologues and she proved to be a captivating storyteller. I love when Emmerdale dare to get a little creative in their storytelling and this special was no exception. Of course the main reason for this episode was to reveal the fairly unsurprising twist that Charity’s son is actually alive. But it was a great end to the episode and now that Emmerdale have teased Ryan’s arrival in the show, I’m looking forward to seeing how this changes the dynamic.

Chas’s Secret Pain

vlcsnap-2018-06-03-09h59m34s500Poor Chas had to face the agony of learning that her unborn daughter may have a fatal condition this week, as Paddy took a secret trip to Scotland and crossed wires meant he missed the scan. After deciding to keep the baby, Chas and Paddy’s relationship has mostly been all comedy hi-jinx and morning sickness, so it was inevitable bad news was on the horizon. It’s the way it goes in soap! But this heartbreak meant Chas couldn’t bear to crush Paddy or anyone else and kept the secret to herself, even having to watch Paddy decorating the kid’s room. It’s painful to watch Chas go through this and try to lock up her emotions but actress Lucy Pargeter is doing a great job showing the range of emotions Chas has been through. I’m sure this is going to be a poignant story moving forward, I just hope Chas doesn’t keep everyone in the dark for too long and drag out her secret misery.

Young Talent

vlcsnap-2018-06-03-09h58m27s758I’ve been really impressed again with the young actors in Emmerdale and this week it was the turn of Daisy Campbell to shine as Amelia learnt that Daz is her biological father. Amelia’s sunny outlook on life was shattered this week when she heard the truth about her DNA from her vlog recording, devastated no one had told her upfront. With Dan and Daz at each other’s throats (again), Amelia was hurt and angry that Dan would try and kill his brother. I could do without Dan and Daz’s tedious fights and this paternity twist, but Daisy gives great heart to the role.

Fail

(Un)Missable Drama

vlcsnap-2018-06-03-18h50m02s011As we approach summer, the soaps usually end up shunted around the schedules and BBQ weather takes precedent. We’re used to the soaps, Emmerdale included, saving their best material for the colder months. But don’t say we’ve reached that point already? In between Charity and Chas’s big, emotionally involving stories it’s starting to feel a lot like filler. Part of Wednesday’s episode centred on friendless Frank and his darts game for crying out loud! Surely there’s something better for these characters to be doing? Don’t get me wrong, when Emmerdale are supported by power-house performances and emotive stories, they are unbeatable, it’s just at the moment we’re lacking that compulsive viewing feeling. With Corrie and EastEnders grabbing the headlines with their stories, it feels like Emmerdale’s been left floundering. It’s got all the right ingredients there, it just needs something gripping to keep it up there with the best.

Fave or Fail? (14-18 May 2018)

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! We lost Gerry this week after he was brutally murdered by Lachlan White. Miss you already Gerry!

Faves

Gerry’s Tragic Ending

vlcsnap-2018-05-19-20h52m07s849Oh Gerry, sweet Gerry! I’m sure I speak for most people when I say: I miss you already! What a cruel and horrible way to go, especially when he seemed to have such a big heart and a happy-go-lucky personality. His final scenes, despite a build up that was a bit too heavy handed and obvious, were unbearably tense and uncomfortable to watch. Both actors did an incredible job in creating a huge feeling of dread throughout in scenes which were claustrophobic to watch. It was a memorable and heart-breaking moment which gave Emmerdale the bit of ‘oompf’ that it’s been missing since the start of the year and it gave Lachlan’s story sudden momentum, making the desire for justice more significant. Was one good moment and a boost for the soap’s resident villain enough to warrant losing such a popular and versatile character though?

Killer Performance

vlcsnap-2018-05-19-20h54m44s545Once again I’m so impressed by Thomas Atkinson’s performances as the psychopathic Lachlan White, easily making this a highlight of the week. Not only does he manage to be cold and remorseless, he’s so compelling to watch that you’re almost willing him to get away with his crimes just to see him commit more! He’s at his best when he’s in this heightened state of dark and conflicted but I can’t help but feel if they let this story rumble on too long, he’ll lose his edge and that would be a real waste. He shouldn’t fade into the background, this should be the start of his descent.

Ain’t No Party Like a Woolpack Party

vlcsnap-2018-05-19-20h50m45s490In between Lachlan’s murderous deeds this week, in true light and shade soap balance, Chas and Paddy threw an engagement party. Sure the whole “curse” thing was a bit stupid but it did provide a setting for a huge gathering of cast and that’s always fun. From Faith and Lydia starting the karaoke (nice lungs from the Kings too), to Paddy’s awkward attempts to separate Brenda from Bob n’ Laurel, to his and Robert funny yet badly communicated cover story for Aaron’s absence. I loved that this one setting managed to have so many story cross-overs all happening at once and added to that awful sense of dread knowing it wouldn’t be long before someone discovered Gerry. More parties and community cross-overs please!

Put a Ring on it

vlcsnap-2018-05-19-20h57m05s897It’s been three months since the romantic Cain and Moira reunion and I really feel like we haven’t seen enough of them lately – even more surprising considering Moira outed herself as Emma’s killer and they now have baby Isaac to look after! So it was enjoyable to see a bit of fun and romance this week from Coira as they celebrated their wedding anniversary. It’s always good to see Cain get a bit soft and misty eyed around Moira and the sparks were firing as ever when they exchanged their rings. But cute scenes like this often indicate hard times are approaching – does this mean there’s heartache headed their way? I hope not!

Bonus Faves:

  • Doug getting an actual story – even though he’s actually innocent!
  • Pearl vs Vanessa in the vets – love a good comedic class
  • Brenda’s brutal café signage and decision to milk Bob for all he’s worth
  • The Hope kids (hilariously) unleashing their anger on Laurel by shouting at her in the street
  • Gerry’s flirty phone call to a customer (which sadly ended up sealing his fate)
  • The fleeting and flirty Robron moment just to prove they can have happiness, only if it precedes tragedy ofc

Fails

Predictable Paternity

vlcsnap-2018-05-19-20h55m22s167Ugh retconned paternity twists – who cares? Dan and Daz’s brotherly rivalry flared up again for Round 400 meaning more tedious shouting and hastily fleshed out backstory that we don’t care about. Whoever thought this story, one that’s been told countless times more successfully, needed telling again? Can we skip to the part where Amelia finds out so we can be done with this and get the Spencers back doing what they do best with some light hearted easy drama?

A Big Mistake

vlcsnap-2018-05-19-20h54m14s599It seems clear that Emmerdale needed Lachlan to kill someone we all really cared about so that we become engaged in his rather meandering descent into true villainy, but did it really have to be Gerry? This feature from Digital Spy summed up the travesty in killing such a likeable, funny guy and I’m already feeling the loss of Gerry (and Shaun Thomas from the show). Comedy can be so hit and miss but with Gerry Emmerdale had a natural. He was cheeky and endearing, fitting in seamlessly with so many stories and characters. We knew so little about him too, meaning there were years of untapped stories just waiting for Emmerdale to explore there. Not only does this seem like a really short sighted decision, but when Lachlan’s story climaxes – is it really going to be worth losing such a beloved character like Gerry? Gerry was the obvious and predictable target and if this story is going to drag onto the point of apathy it’ll feel like even more of a waste. Gerry could have been saved with a more original approach to this story and I bet the powers that be will come to regret this move in months to come.

Fave or Fail? (30 April-4 May 2018)

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! A delayed round-up after a week off, this week saw Joe make a leap of faith and rekindle things with Debbie as Megan cheated with Graham.

Faves

Brotherly Bonding

vlcsnap-2018-05-07-17h01m05s653I’ve been enjoying seeing a lot more of Noah lately as he bonds with power hungry big brother Joe. Not only is the Tate brother bonding a chance to reflect on Emmerdale history but it has also allowed us to see more of Joe and explain his vicious behaviour. I can’t quite believe his self reflection will really last, especially as he works well as the village antagonist, but I always welcome scenes that allow us to see the vulnerable and honest moments of characters who often show us a front. Actors Ned Porteous and Jack Downham already have a great on screen bond and Noah’s idolisation works well as a way to humanise Joe too. I bet it won’t be long before Noah has his heart broken, but I could easily see him stepping into a more villainous role in a few years time! 

Starting Again

vlcsnap-2018-05-07-17h02m22s940There’s a fine line between love and hate which Joe and Debbie have been crossing this week as the pair gave into charged kisses. Ever since Joe revealed his nefarious ways, Debbie has struggled knowing she had fallen for him and hating herself for it. It’s not anything new or unusual for dour Debbie to angst over a bad boy but there’s a teasing boyishness in Joe that brings out something slightly more fun in Debbie. Debs probably shouldn’t be believing Joe’s insistence that he’s changed when there hasn’t been much evidence to it, especially its only a few months since he tried to destroy the Dingles, but I can’t blame the girl for giving into a bit of high life fun with him. The scene where they started again, with tongue in cheek reintroductions was a cute moment which I found immediately endearing. There’s a forbidden love/hate temptation there which is a soap trope I can’t resist. Trouble awaits!

Taking Things Seriously

vlcsnap-2018-05-07-17h06m24s836Despite being tied to a very familiar (read: repetitive) paternity retcon story, it’s been nice to see Kerry get a pivotal and more serious role. She’s grown in likeability lately and has seemed a lot more grounded and mature. Even though Laura Norton is great at comedy and Kerry is often at her best with warmth and humour, I’ve been enjoying seeing her more vulnerable and serious in these scenes with Daz. There’s obviously a nice chemistry between the actors (likely down to Laura’s off screen relationship with Mark Jordon) but I do hope things are kept strictly platonic as the last thing Dan needs is a second heartbreak if he learns Amelia isn’t his biological daughter. 

Harsh Words

vlcsnap-2018-05-07-17h00m41s183Aaron bore the brunt of Liv’s upset this week as she lashed out when confronted about her drinking problem. Although writers have made her and these prison scenes frustratingly (lazily?) similar to Aaron’s stories and personality, there was a welcome grit and reality to this moment. Liv and Aaron’s relationship is understandably a popular one, made more so by the actors likeness in performance and mannerisms but there are times I’ve felt the characters are too similar and get on too well for the relationship to be  as engaging as it should be. With Liv joining Aaron’s tempestuous life when she did, it was obvious he wasn’t in the mental space to be a guardian for someone as troubled as her. So this upset explosion from Liv seemed needed and gave an edge to their relationship that was always lacking for me. 

Fails

On Repeat

vlcsnap-2018-05-07-17h07m47s565Is it just me or has everything just got a little repetitive in Emmerdale at the moment, lacking something fresh and original? Daz revealing he might be Amelia’s bio dad (leading to another big bust up with Dan probably); Megan and Graham’s secret and rushed hook up which came from nowhere and which Tracy is now covering; Belle’s mental health struggles; Liv’s prison story which has been very similar to Aaron’s; Daz and Bernice having a brief split due to misunderstanding. Even Charity’s story which is brilliantly acted, struggles to cover new ground when it’s the third rape story Emmerdale have done in three years. Right now I’m really holding out for something fresh and engaging to grip me, and that’s something Emmerdale is lacking right now. 

Wasted Potential

vlcsnap-2018-05-07-17h03m39s720I can’t help but feel that pairing up Frank and Megan is a complete waste of both actors and characters. Megan could be ruthless and a real powerhouse; Frank has the potential for underhand darkness – but together they’re blander than bland. Why, when both actors have CVs that speak for themselves? They’ve got to be one of Emmerdale’s worst pairings. Not even a secret and a brief hook up could liven them up. This week they got engaged after a brief misunderstanding which lasted long enough to hook up with Graham – and there wasn’t much spark there either. Then Tracy found out quicker than Sherlock so now it’s only a matter of time before it comes out. All very predictable and dull but made worse because I’m not sure if anyone cares if they stay together or not. The Megan and Frank relationship is flat, lacking any real interest or investment from the writers. Isn’t it time to call it a day and give them both something better to do in the show?

Emmerdale’s Worst Moments of 2017

topy2017w

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!

top2017w5

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.

top2017w4

 

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.

top2017w3

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.

top2017w2

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.

top2017w1

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.

vlcsnap-2017-12-26-16h44m08s197.png

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.

vlcsnap-2017-12-26-16h42m09s118.png

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.

vlcsnap-2017-12-26-16h40m54s318.png

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.

vlcsnap-2017-12-26-16h41m51s472.png

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.

vlcsnap-2017-12-26-16h46m29s057.png

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.

vlcsnap-2017-12-26-16h43m34s278.png

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.

vlcsnap-2017-12-26-16h55m20s787.png

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.

vlcsnap-2017-12-26-16h44m46s517.png

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? (16-20 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! Some hard hitting and important stories told this week alongside the never-ending saga of Robert’s revenge.

Faves

Worthy Story

vlcsnap-2017-10-22-12h27m00s037In January, I complained that Megan’s worries about the difficulties of her daughter potentially being disabled was a story worthy of more than just one episode, particularly as Gaynor Faye’s talents are regularly wasted in lifeless plots – and being tied to boring Frank. Thankfully that seemed to change this week as a hugely important and interesting story surfaced when Eliza had a fit and was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. While this is a sad and difficult story to tell, there are thousands of parents like Megan and Jai who are given similar news about their child’s future and it’s a story worth telling. Already both parents are dealing with Eliza’s disability differently, expressing different worries and finding it hard to cope. It’s a very human story, but with honest performances and effective writing it’s already been moving and well told.

Identity Issues

vlcsnap-2017-10-22-12h31m05s774Vanessa had a difficult week as she questioned her sexuality and faced questions from the gossipy village. After spending the night with and being cruelly outed in the pub by Charity, Vanessa was confused about how to label herself, knowing that she was now interested in women. Despite the cliché public Woolie outing, I’ve enjoyed this story so far for the refreshing way it’s letting Vanessa take a slow and unpressured journey towards discovering her identity. Not only has it been great to see Ness get a storyline of her own, but the key players in her life – Rhona, Tracy, Frank and even Paddy and Pearl – have offered her great support and advice, in a non-judgemental and encouraging way and these have made for some touching and rather sweet scenes.

A Bit of Humour

vlcsnap-2017-10-22-12h53m43s196One shining light in this frustratingly slow “Robert takes over Home Farm” plot this week was Kath – the woman Robert hired to play an investor. Much like when Robert teamed up with Bernice last year, his irritated “brains of the operation” roles needs a slightly maverick comedy sidekick to clash with, and in this he has Kath. Despite her playing the part well and securing the deal, it was fun seeing her test the waters with him and make him sweat with her off-the-wall suggestions for Kath’s backstory. It certainly gives the story a bit more of the “fun” element even if it’s a stretch to believe Robert wouldn’t have knocked up a fake LinkedIn page for Rug Tree Bonds in his spare time.

Fails

Scheme of the Week

vlcsnap-2017-10-22-12h52m45s737Robert Sugden seems to be reliving his villainy Greatest Hits at the moment as he cartoonishly seduces his way into Home Farm. Literally. Again. But it’s not the excruciating scenes of Lawrence falling for Robert’s charms (come on Larry, he’s played you exactly like this before!) that make my fails list, it’s the plodding pace of this revenge plot. Every week a new scheme of Robert pops up with no end in sight giving him no real set backs to speak of. Even Chrissie was lured into forgiveness and trust this week, thanks to an anti-climatic near-death experience orchestrated by Rob. Come on, Chrissie – we were counting on you! At this point Robert will have so many puppets to control he’ll need a spare hand. Chrissie’s uncle Tim returned from nowhere (angry about some baffling injustice) to aid Robert’s evil deeds for a reason that made zero sense, leaving this plot with more holes than Lisa Dingle’s crochet blankets. Robert might be doing the trick to win over the Whites but it’s making panto season feel like an eternity – isn’t it about time he had a real rival to come up against?

Falling Flat

vlcsnap-2017-10-22-12h51m55s027Perhaps it’s a bit meanspirited of me to say, especially as he’s not been in Emmerdale long but Dan’s brother Daz already feels a bit surplus to requirement. Sure, they seem to be lining up a story of PTSD for Daz, but I can’t help but think his character is a bit dull and pointless and I’m struggling to care. This week he integrated himself into village life a bit more, getting a date and a job, but he’s not exactly got the charisma or fun factor to add anything new to the Dales. A dodgy woman from his past showed up threatening him and the family but there wasn’t any real sense of jeopardy and Dan and co’s response came across as laughable rather than strong. I don’t feel like we know Daz enough to care about his struggles, especially when these tales are based on his retelling of events, and he just doesn’t have enough charm or personality to be engaging. We have Dan, did we really need another downtrodden Mr Average?