Fave or Fail? (14-18 Jan 2019)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! It was a huge week for the Dingles as Charity and Vanessa got engaged, and Cain told Debbie he killed Joe.

Faves

For Better or Worse

vlcsnap-2019-01-20-11h00m50s589After last week’s shock stabbing for Vanessa, Charity only had one thing on her mind this week as she sought to stage the best proposal of all time for her girlfriend. Feeling the pressure, especially when Tracy got involved, Charity was left to her own devices and hijacked a posh guy’s huge and OTT proposal at Home Farm. From Charity’s panic and scheming with Chas and Tracy to her hilarious attempts to steal the outlandish proposal, the Vanity proposal plot was full of laughs and a script of brilliant lines. It was only later when Vanessa returned to Home Farm, wanting to hear Charity out after the earlier disappointment, that the pair’s heart to heart lead to a real proposal. The laughs of the earlier scenes were Charity at her best, but the mixing of her dry and drunken humour in the love declarations really worked in showing her vulnerability. As we move towards the wedding here’s hoping the stories allow Vanessa’s character to become more fleshed out and not overwhelmed by Dingle drama.

Maya’s Mind Games

vlcsnap-2019-01-20-11h01m31s517Maya’s grooming of Jacob continues to be Emmerdale’s biggest story, but it’s still not an easy watch. The fact the story is so excruciating is a sign that it’s working, particularly as Maya devised ways to keep Jacob quiet as well as pushing him to go further in their liaisons. Their school hook-up and meeting point in the kids’ den felt particularly sordid, but Louisa Clein’s delivery of Maya’s butter-wouldn’t-melt manipulations are perfect for the role. I did feel a concern this week that perhaps the subtly in the story had been dropped in favour of showing Maya enthusiastically twist and play Jacob for her own amusement – but perhaps she’s growing comfortable because she’s done this all before? I do wish however that Emmerdale had spent longer bedding Maya into the village, giving her friends or allies, before embarking on this story, because it inevitably means that David, Jacob and family aside, the impact is going to be minimal, even with ex Liam in the village, and that might make the resolution flatter.

Debbie Finds Out

vlcsnap-2019-01-20-10h58m43s348Finally – finally – all that whispering can stop at Butler’s Farm because Cain’s secret was out, and he told Debbie that he killed Joe. Understandably Debbie was horrified and Charley Webb’s performances were some of her best as all her pain and horror at her Dad’s cover-up came pouring out. Both Charley and Jeff Hordley work so well together that even though I find the story a bit of a dud, their on-screen chemistry is compelling. Jeff somehow manages to make Cain’s lashing out and his downfall empathetic, even when you’re screaming at the screen begging him to stop hurting his loved ones. I think the writing in this story has been damaging for Moira, who has become less and less like the woman viewers liked and more of a ruthless mob wife. Naturally the Cain and Moira’s relationship has lost the warmth and heart too. Here’s hoping that in time both characters can move away from this story (if Graham ever owns up to the truth) and become more grounded again.

Bonus Faves:

  • After this week’s fantastic comedic partnership between Charity and Tracy – and now that they’re about to become in laws – I hope we see lots more of them. They have so much hilarious potential.
  • This week was the first time we saw Eric and Ellis interact as Eric learnt about ‘gains’ and Eric gave Ellis all the shade about his hockey lessons. More please!
  • Spamela Henderson the piggy of our dreams. Great idea Sam. The more animals in Emmerdale the better.
  • After seeing Kerry and Jimmy at the school careers fair – let’s have more of these sorts of community events!

Fail

Dead or Alive

vlcsnap-2019-01-20-10h59m04s801The biggest problem in the long running saga of Joe’s death is the biggest question of all – is he really dead? With Emmerdale seemingly unwilling to break any hearts and reveal whether he has actually carked it, and interviews with the cast hedging their bets, it’s removed any real tension. With half the audience expecting a “shock” last minute twist with Joe returning to Home Farm, it’s difficult to invest in the full fall-out of his absence. Had we seen Graham’s grisly dumping of the body then perhaps his meltdown and then Machiavellian plan to let Cain take the rap would have had more impact, but for now there’s the potential that all this gravel-voiced angst is for nothing. Admittedly it’s a plot that requires everyone to a) find Graham’s monotonous threats compelling b) to have invested in the Joe/Debbie love story and find her plight sympathetic and not at all hypocritical and c) believe Debbie’s hatred of Cain will last more than a few months – so it’s a bit of a losing battle for me. But if Emmerdale confirmed Joe’s status one way or the other then we’d get part that wishy-washy aspect at least.

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Emmerdale’s Top 20 Moments of 2018 – Part Two (#10-1)

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Here it is, my run down of the Top 10 Best Moments in Emmerdale in 2018. You can read numbers 11-20 here, but below are the things I enjoyed most about Emmerdale this year.

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10. Bernice and Liam

Three of Emmerdale’s best decisions in 2018 were these: making dishy Dr Liam Cavanagh a full-time cast member; Bernice ditching dull Daz and finally, making Liam and Bernice a couple. In just a short time, Bernice’s giggling crush on Dr C turned into a mutual attraction and the pair were carrying on like a couple of teenagers. Their relationship has managed to be both sweet and laugh-out-loud funny and uses both characters to their best. With Gabby and Leanna on their hands things won’t be easy, but as long as we keep having this Carry On humour and a relationship full of warm then I hope Cavastock last and last.

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9. Matty Barton

Matty has fitted into village life so well it seems strange to think he only arrived in June! Matty’s shock appearance at Butler’s and the subsequent fall-out was Emmerdale at its best. Matty’s reveal was great character led drama about a family and this continued as characters like Moira, Cain and Victoria reacquainted themselves with him. Actor Ash Palmisciano has brought so much warmth and humour to the role, that apart from it being interesting to have a trans character in the show and explore new ground in storylines, he’s also been great fun to have around, be it in the pub or in David’s shop. I’ve been torn between liking his friendship with Vic and loving the slow burn romance, but regardless, Matty’s one of the best newcomers in 2018.

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8. Pete and Rhona

When spoilers circulated at the beginning of the year claiming Pete and Rhona were going to hook up, put me down as someone that thought it sounded ridiculous! Fast forward 12 months and they are one of my favourite couples in Emmerdale. Pete was one of my most hated characters in 2017 after the Priya affair, and after Pierce, Rhona needed something fun and sparky, someone who would treat her well and communicate with her. Did anyone expect that from Pete Barton? These two have cracking chemistry, as well as Rhona performing miracles and actually making Pete seem mature and likeable. Who knew?! One of this year’s highlights was seeing Pete try and bond with Leo, even learning Makaton and it was moments like this that added real depth and heart into the pairing. I’m a big fan, Emmerdale – don’t let me down!

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7. Joe Tate Reveal

For one minute, just forget what a massive watered-down disappointment Joe Tate ended up being and cast your mind back to January 2018 where “Tom Waterhouse” revealed to a packed street that he was in fact “Joseph Tate”. It was the twist all viewers had been waiting for and delivered with such punch. Debbie and Charity’s world shattered and every criticism about the shallow Tom and Debbie fling and the golf course story all made sense. Joe swaggered around the village as the arrogant, campy soap villain, demolishing Wishing Well and injecting a real sense of Tate ruthlessness back into Home Farm, making the Dingles’ lives a misery. It was a glorious time of fun boo-hiss antagonism. It’s just a shame it all went so wrong…

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6. Ellis Chapman

Ellis only arrived in September, but already he has become one of my favourite characters in Emmerdale. When Ellis rocked up in September to see his mum Jessie, no one could have predicted how quickly he would settle into the village, but with a relationship with Vic, a job at the scrapyard and the best friendship with April he feels right at home. Not only does Ellis have the charisma and humour (and the dress sense) to carry any scene he’s in, he also has the slightly cynical, disenfranchised millennial vibe, which has been an entertaining clash with Marlon. Now that Billy’s finally arrived I’m expecting to see new sides to Ellis and I can’t wait.

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5. The Coira Reunion

It’s fair to say that Cain and Moira had a very rough start to the year, surrounded still by the lingering fall-out from Emma Barton’s death. But Coira were meant to be and their on/off tempestuous relationship could only end in one way. With Moira ready to leave the village for good, Cain made a last-ditch attempt to reunite with her, telling her to meet him at the bridge at 5pm. This was real rom-com stuff and when Moira finally arrived (late), Cain’s teasing quip melted all tension and the two kissed to seal their future together. Natalie J Robb and Jeff Hordley’s chemistry is addictively good and after a long wait, the reunion was so worth it.

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4. The Robron Reunion

Cain and Moira weren’t the only pair to have a reunion to rival the best rom-coms. After a year of hell for Robron, Robert was dragged to a gay bar by his girl squad to help him move on from Aaron. This hysterical ensemble of characters made for one of the best episodes of 2018, but the hilarious turned to heart-wrenching as Aaron realised he couldn’t be without his estranged terrible dancer of a husband. After all the best rom-com tropes, the crossed wires, a meaningful location (the garage!) and heart-stopping conversations, Aaron delivered a desperate speech to Robert, listing all the reasons he loved and appreciated him and the two were back together where they belonged. This had buckets of romance and emotion and proved that after all this time the Robron magic is still there.

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3. Emma Atkins’ Winning Performances

Arguably Emmerdale’s biggest character of 2018 was THE Charity Dingle. After fairly low-key stories since her reintroduction after prison, this year was a gamechanger for Charity. From discovering her son was still alive, to finding love with Vanessa, to getting Bails sent down for rape and abuse, Charity’s 2018 was huge. Elements of the Bails story felt repetitive and drawn out, especially coming so soon after two other big rape stories in Emmerdale, but Emma Atkins’ retelling of the abuse Charity faced stayed captivating. Through the ups and downs of Charity’s year, be it her sharp tongue, humour or fragility, the consistently brilliant performances from Emma Atkins have been a constant. Charity’s entertainment factor is endless and her caustic humour can liven up even the dullest week of stories.

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2. Thomas Atkinson’s Killer Portrayal

The second week of January 2018 featured one hell of a car crash as Lachlan White tried to kill his entire family, wanting “make all the monsters disappear”. We’ve been waiting years for Emmerdale to fully embrace Lachlan’s cold-hearted and entitled darkness and this year Lachlan went from deranged to serial killer as his behaviour escalated to tormenting, gaslighting, imprisonment, torture and multiple murders. Yikes. The story suffered from lags and disappointments, but actor Thomas Atkinson was incredible in the role, progressing from a lost-boy out of his depth to stone-cold evil. At his best, Thomas made Lachlan creepily empathetic and then, in the next breath twisted and cold. In the end, the story let him down but some of Emmerdale’s best scenes in 2018 had Thomas at the helm.

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1. Tracy’s Powerful Year

So, my top spot? The brave and beautiful Tracy Shankley. The year began with another lazy cheating plot as David slept with Leyla (offscreen) and shattered Tracy’s heart, but worse was to come when a man from her past appeared, pallying up with David and blackmailing Tracy over her secret past as a prostitute. As David turned a cold shoulder and blamed her, ashamed of her past, Tracy – with the help of some allies – realised she deserved far better and dumped him for good. Amy Walsh is one of Emmerdale’s best, delivering raw and vulnerable performances and making Tracy an incredibly empathetic and strong woman. I’ve loved her empowered speeches this year as she made so many right, but difficult choices, and she has been my stand-out star of 2018. It was a real shame her storyline about prostitution was rushed and that Amy Walsh has been overlooked for award nominations. Here’s to a bigger and better year for Tracy and her new business in 2018 and please Emmerdale, please, don’t reunite her with David.

Thank you for all your support of The Woolie Weekly in 2018 and Happy New Year!

Emmerdale’s Worst Moments of 2018

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It hasn’t been the greatest year of Emmerdale stories and when the big plots drag, or have anti-climactic endings it’s even worse. There were some low points which didn’t make the list but need a mention – like Rodney and Misty’s horrendously cringy sex life and David Metcalfe being a scumbag – but those aside, here’s a look some of the worst parts of Emmerdale in 2018.

Come back later for my Top 10 Emmerdale Moments of 2018!

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7. Amelia’s Kidnap

When Amelia’s disappearance began it was genuinely interesting. At first we had no idea what had happened to her – was she dead? Was it an inside job? After a disappointing paternity twist, a shocking missing child plot could have been really exciting. But after the TV appeal and with Kerry the only watchable part of the story, the rest was left to more of Dan and Daz’s boggle-eyed fighting. Within a week all mystery was good and it was revealed Amelia was groomed by Beth, whose father had been killed in action by Daz. Beth’s threats were laughable, Amelia’s fixation with Beth was unbelievable when we’d seen none of its build-up. This just wasn’t the right story for the Spencers and unfortunately it went on and on.

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6. Lachlan’s Anti-climax

One of Emmerdale’s biggest stories in 2018 was Lachlan’s descent into serial killing. With Thomas Atkinson at the heart of the stories, many of the disappointments were saved with his chilling performances, but this story dragged on for far too long. For months Lachlan’s evil behaviour stalled and characters conveniently went on holiday just so he could get away with his crimes. When it came to the end, everyone expected a huge Cameron Murray-style climax, but his showdowns were staggered across a week, followed by a stint in jail and his eventual exit was a tame affair of some wise-cracking detectives telling him he’ll be in prison for a very long time. Spoilers tell us he’ll be making a return to terrorise Belle soon from behind bars, but I’m not convinced even a delayed climax can save story that stalled and swerved any real excitement.

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5. Ross’s Acid Attack

Ross’s acid attack story began as a contemporary story with some stellar scenes in the aftermath, but quickly the direction veered away from a sensitive handling of a modern day issue and got bogged down in guns, gangsters, drugs and Debbie Dingle. Making Debbie, a pivotal character in the village, the accidental mastermind behind the attack meant she could never really face justice for the action and Emmerdale did their very best to absolve her of blame. At times her guilt was empathetic but many viewers felt there was too much focus on her role rather than Ross’s recovery. While Ross’s identity and self esteem struggled, it was the regression to form that was so disappointing. Rather than the attack letting us see the more vulnerable, likable aspects of Ross, we saw him become a cocky thug, taking coke and destroying all his relationships. This might have been a prolonged reaction to his attack but it was ugly to watch and made Ross’s last months on Emmerdale unpalatable.

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4. Bob and Laurel

It seems like the new producers of Emmerdale have seen sense and ended the Bob and Laurel relationship and this was arguably one of 2018’s most hated plotlines. Last year in my rundown of 2017 I praised seeing more of Bob but this year I’ve eaten my words as we saw selfish Bob destroy his marriage for a midlife crisis affair with Laurel and become a really unlikeable man. There were elements of empathy and good viewing within this story, it just became difficult to buy into this apparent deep emotional love Laurel and Bob shared when there was no chemistry on screen. At one point during the year it seemed like Bob and Laurel spent every episode sucking face and when we knew how it was hurting Brenda, and later the kids, it became even more unwatchable. Much like how showrunners backtracked on Zak and Joanie, it seems everyone saw sense and Bob and Laurel’s romance is well and truly over now, thank god.

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3. Home Farm Flops

One of 2018’s biggest disappointments was how fast Emmerdale destroyed Joe and Graham. From the masterpiece of the Joseph Tate reveal, he was the perfect antagonist, held back from the edge by the mysterious Graham. But just months later, Joe turned lovesick puppy for Debbie, forgiven by all the villagers he’d wronged and eventually killed by right hand man Graham. Graham, who’s dark past was revealed in great scenes with Debbie early in the year, is stuck in the big house isolated and twiddling his thumbs until Kim’s return. Apart from Emmerdale sucking all life and interest from Joe during his short time on the show, my interest in Graham has quickly waned as Emmerdale have swerved any real depth to him by keeping him aloof and monotone. Not only have they given him a lifeless romance with Megan, but following on from the same mistakes as The White family, Graham’s only interesting feature is his exposition-heavy backstory. There’s only so long you can stay interested in a character as robotic as Graham and I’m afraid I’ve lost all patience.

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2. Rebecca and the Crazy Nurse

When Rebecca became Lachlan’s prisoner in the woods, we finally saw a side to her that had been missing in her previous storylines, she fought back, determined to survive and see Seb again. But after her many many near death experiences, Emmerdale revealed Lachlan had kept her locked up with a deranged nurse who kept her drugged and tied to the bed. Rebecca managed to escape and returned to the village in a nightie at the graveyard like a ghost. She then proceeded to retell her whole trauma to police, despite having severe memory problems due to her executive dysfunction. This ill-conceived story was like something from a terrible American soap opera, not just outlandish and implausible, but a laughably stupid turn of events from what had been an enjoyably grisly part of the Lachlan story.

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1. Killing Gerry

Emmerdale’s decision to kill off Gerry wasn’t just the worst thing they did in 2018, in fact I think it’s one of Emmerdale’s worst decisions in recent years. Gerry was the sacrificial lamb to Lachlan’s reign of terror, but what a waste it was. Gerry was a loveable cheeky chappy who had so many interactions in the village and unlike some “comedy characters” he was a genuinely funny guy. He had a lovely relationship with Doug, wound up Aaron, befriended Liv, walked Tip the dog for Jai and had a very keen interest in older ladies. His connection to Lachlan might’ve meant his death was inevitable but much like losing Val in 2015, I think it was a big mistake. It’s hard to replicate a character like Gerry and I think it’s a huge loss to the show. RIP Gerry lad, miss you.

Fave or Fail? (17-21 Dec 2018)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! As the villagers prepared for Christmas, Sarah trashed Home Farm and Bernice slapped Nicola.

Faves

The Perfect Couple

vlcsnap-2018-12-22-11h39m37s680Eric and Faith are one of Emmerdale’s finest assets. Both actors are capable of intense emotional drama (as we also saw when they first got together and Faith worried about her scars) but their comedy has warmth and big belly laughs. With Rodney hanging around like a bad smell, Faith was getting seriously fed up with their bromance and set out to cause friction between Pollard and Rodders. After her interrupted seduction plan with Eric (see my Scene of the Week) failed, she tried to bribe Eric to do the job for her. But when Rodney believed he was being invited for Xmas dinner, the only trick Faith had was a rouse with Eric on board. Knowing the awkwardness would cause Rodney to leave, Faith set to work pretending to seduce Rodney (as his escort alter-ego Hunter) only to be rumbled by Eric. The plan worked perfectly and the saucy couple had the house to themselves again. Eric and Faith have great chemistry and their wickedly fun scenes gave Emmerdale a huge source of fun this week. This pair are a dream to watch and I hope they last and last. Emmerdale is a poorer show without them.

Gripping Story

vlcsnap-2018-12-22-11h40m34s782The Maya and Jacob story really stepped up a gear this week as we continued to see Maya’s manipulations at play in her efforts to groom Jacob. The writers are mastering Maya’s subtle techniques as she piled on the pressure to keep Jacob quiet and guilt him into feeling bad. She’s belittling him, as well as keeping the other adults at bay, ensuring Jacob feels isolated and gaslighted. Poor Jacob is already heartbroken by her behaviour but as he tried to make Maya jealous, things got even messier as he involved both Liv and Gabby. With Liv struggling with her asexuality, and Gabby always holding a torch for Jacob, the fall out looks like it’ll be ugly and complicated. Now that Maya’s moved in with all of David’s exes, I worry that Maya’s smart enough to turn the whole situation around on Jacob and act like Little Miss Innocent. It’s an uncomfortable, difficult watch but increasingly gripping. Emmerdale needs more stories like this.

Christmas Spirit

vlcsnap-2018-12-22-11h37m57s803The village certainly wasn’t lacking a festive feeling this year as we saw Christmas jumpers a-plenty, beautiful decorations and a lovely community spirit. I’m glad my funny favourites Sam and Lydia are playing a big role over the Christmas period as Sam chasing round “Chrimbo” the turkey was typical Dingle silliness and Christmas is a good time to see as many of the villagers as possible having a good time. I loved seeing the Christmas choir and all the everyday preparations, as it’s these elements that give the village that authentic feeling. Jessie and Marlon might not be my favourite pairing, but I’m looking forward to all the Christmas clichés and traditions among the unconventional surprise wedding.

Sisters at War

vlcsnap-2018-12-22-11h41m56s769After Nicola’s determination to be in Graham’s good books (to further her and Robert’s scheme), she’s ended up falling out with her sister Bernice after she handed her an eviction notice. Nicola and Bernice are two of my favourite Emmerdale characters and their barbed bitterness has already been entertaining as they grumbled over the prospect of spending Christmas together. This week’s scenes produced some hilarious singing rivalry in the church Christmas choir as well as using Laurel as a go between when they refused to speak to each other. I loved Diane getting involved too, threatening to give Nicola a fat lip in the funny way only Diane can. Christmas Day around the turkey is bound to be good fun!

Fails

New Lows

vlcsnap-2018-12-22-11h35m32s328Daz’s attempts to leave the village must have reached double figures now, but once again he stuck around after Amelia begged for him to stay. The question here should be: why? Daz’s biggest fault thus far has mostly being criminally dull, but he sunk to a new low this week as he let Amelia confessed to his hit and run crime. Why has she forgiven him so easily? Sure he might be her bio dad but he’s not been a constant presence in her life. Why would she go so far to protect him and then beg him to stick around? This was a really flimsy story. Luckily for her Graham lied to the police so the kids could go free and Daz was saved any consequences, but Dan’s anger was minimal at best. Were the producers just rescuing us from another big Spencer brotherly split? It seemed like Kerry was the only one rightly outraged as Daz shrugged off his behaviour, but the way the rest of the family acted, you’d be forgiven for thinking Kerry was in the wrong. I can’t understand all these second chances for Daz. He offers little to the Spencers, and he offers even less to Emmerdale. Who knows, maybe there will be another bus ticket with his name on soon…

Getting Away With It All

vlcsnap-2018-12-22-11h35m45s801If there’s any character who needed a change of pace it’s Debbie Dingle. It was always going to be difficult to punish Debbie after the acid attack and it seems like Emmerdale tied themselves in knots to try and make her seem as guilty and remorseful as possible. But since Joe’s exit, feeling betrayed, Debbie’s chip on her shoulder has got even bigger. She might not have meant for acid, but her and the family’s indignant response to her facing the consequences have been a bitter pill to swallow. Even young Sarah has taken on her mother’s most unlikeable traits. This week Debbie walked free and many viewers felt frustrated at the lack of justice, made worse by the face the trial happened completely off screen. Were we meant to be relieved she got off? Debbie seems to have learnt nothing from her selfish actions and this is making her character stagnant and unlikeable. If anything I’d have liked to see Debbie face community service, just to shake her up and set her on a different path. All this woe-is-me bitterness is only going to get worse when she finds out about Joe. Debbie’s personality needs an overhaul and it’s a shame Emmerdale wasted the opportunity.

Fave or Fail? (3-7 Dec 2018)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Not a great week of excitement in the Dales as the teens continued to run wild.

Faves

Manipulative Maya

vlcsnap-2018-12-09-09h42m54s416Maya’s grooming of Jacob has been subtly played so far by Emmerdale but this week saw her kiss him and try and afterwards persuade him to stay quiet. Sensitive Jacob has been overwhelmed by his feelings for Maya and she’s done very little to put a stop to it and has instead planted more seeds of hope in his mind. Not once has she highlighted his age or her profession as a reason for backing off, instead focusing on her role as David’s girlfriend. Knowing how close the father and son are, she’s well aware that Jacob doesn’t want to upset David and will keep it secret for his sake. It’s a deeply uncomfortable story to watch and keeping Maya as this doe-eyed indecisive woman is a clever move away from cartoonish stereotypes of grooming behaviour. Hopefully this story will enlighten viewers about how these dangerous relationships can occur in plain sight. This is the type of story Emmerdale should be telling. I’m not quite convinced that the performances are as strong as they need to be for the impact this story should have, but I’m glad Emmerdale are giving it a go. 

Brenda Bites Back

vlcsnap-2018-12-09-09h40m52s952One of the rare highlights in the Bob and Laurel debacle was seeing dark!Brenda as she rallied against the pair’s betrayal. This week we saw her biting back again as Bob tried to lean in for a kiss. Brenda had been softening to the idea of reuniting her family but the reality of Bob treating her like a plan b really got to her and she raged against him in the cafe. I had begun warming to Bob again but his smug belief he could turn back the clock and get his feet under the table again was maddening. Brenda isn’t a favourite of mine but it’s been enjoyable to see her with some fight left in her, standing up for herself and refusing to be a consolation prize. I really enjoyed the way she laid out exactly what Bob had done to her and the family and why she was still broken over it. I was fully Team Brenda throughout and I’m glad she got to stand up to Bob rather than let him have it easy. 

Neglected Noah

vlcsnap-2018-12-09-09h43m13s808You’ve got to feel bad for Noah. Not only did he lose his only ally in Joe, but mum Charity’s parenting and support is really lacking. With her planning a move with Vanessa, Noah was all but forgotten about and in frustration he began acting out. The teen rebellion isn’t exactly thrilling TV, but Jack Downham plays Noah with heaps of sensitivity that you can’t help but feel sympathy for him when he’s continuously left out in the cold. His scenes where he tried to reach out to Charity were some of his best but by the end of the week he faced an uncertain future as he handed himself into the police. Although I like his sweet and troubled side, there were hints of him living up to his Tate genes this week, complete with smirk, and I wonder if a adolescence of trouble awaits. 

Fails

Who is Doug?

vlcsnap-2018-12-09-09h41m43s888Doug’s going through a bit of a crisis at the moment and truth be told I’m struggling to recognise him. Fact is, I’m not even sure what Emmerdale are doing with him. Not so long ago Doug enjoyed a low-key romance with Diane and was content to support Laurel and tend his garden. This week Doug was almost a different bloke. Diane doesn’t get a mention these days and Doug is all about Brenda. I wasn’t even sure what their arrangement was. Friends? Lovers? Friends with benefits? It was unclear. But this week, Doug wanted more and he wasn’t going to sit there and watch Bob worm his way back in. I’m not exactly a Doug and Brenda shipper but surprisingly Doug’s sudden desperation to be with Brenda was quite a sweet watch this week. But his steamroller focus on fighting for her and hitting Bob came a bit left field and I’m not sure I believed it from mild-mannered Doug. It’s a wonder Doug wants to get involved in the Bob and Brenda situation considering Laurel’s recent dumping of Bob anyway, but I can’t help but feel Brenda is just settling rather than having genuine feelings for Doug. Who knows what’s next for Doug but I much prefer Doug giving guidance to the young uns than this week’s weird behaviour!

Teen Takeover

vlcsnap-2018-12-09-09h42m08s303We haven’t even got to the school holidays yet but the teens have taken over, with bratty Leanna leading the pack. While Leanna makes a great queen bee bitch type character and Noah’s acting out makes sense – their childish rebellions aren’t exactly the most riveting storylines. This is already the third time they’ve joyridden a car and unlike teens of Emmerdale past, these characters aren’t very engaging so their bad behaviour has been tedious to watch when it’s dominated screentime. While it’s good the stories are spread around this feels a bit like overload for the younger characters rather than exploring what the next generation are capable of. Considering their dangerous driving just lead to more stories for Daz and Graham – was it even worth it? Speculation on Twitter briefly explored the possibility that the hit and run victim might have been Joe and I can’t help but think, however unlikely, that would have been a better twist. 

Serious Spencers

vlcsnap-2018-12-09-09h41m18s617You’d think after Amelia’s kidnap they might give the Spencers some lighter storylines, after all this is where the family fit best. I’d much rather Kerry and Dan stick to TMI declarations about their sex life rather than being bogged down in misery. This week saw Daz commit a hit and run and let Amelia shoulder some of the blame. Not only is Daz one of the show’s most dreary and boring characters but now we face weeks of Daz looking guilty, Dan shouting and Amelia whining. Much like the kidnap plot, Kerry might be the saving grace but she alone will struggle to make this watchable. This really isn’t the big story that Emmerdale needs to keep viewers glued. On paper it might sound like the perfect plot to tear a family in two but we’ve been there done that with the Spencers and as a family unit they’re just not engaging enough to sustain this level of heavy drama. 

Fave or Fail? (12-16 Nov 2018)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! In a week of Debbie’s short lived pregnancy drama, Graham turned to drink again and Jacob kissed Maya.

Faves

The Ick Factor

vlcsnap-2018-11-17-21h15m01s991Emmerdale’s new and controversial story really got going this week as Jacob kissed Maya and she didn’t put much of a stop to it. Being a teacher Maya should be well equipped to deal with the crushes of hormonal teens, but with Jacob, her behaviour has become too close for comfort. Is she really that naïve, or is there something more deliberately manipulative at play? Maya’s motives don’t seem all that innocent, but the questions this story pose gives this story bags of potential. I hope that Emmerdale continue to play this in the same subtle way they have been, much like the early days of Pierce’s character, and let the storyline live up to all its complex potential.

Amy Appreciation

vlcsnap-2018-11-17-21h16m48s128When it comes to talented actors whose characters deserve a juicy story, then Amy Walsh is top of my list. Tracy has had quite a busy and miserable year, from her traumatic past coming back to haunt to her split with David, but these have been short and intense bursts of drama for her. Amy Walsh hasn’t been nominated for awards and is often overlooked when it comes to accolades. Surely it’s time that changed? With Tracy’s aunt dying this week, Amy did a lot with a relationship we’d never heard of and it seems like Emmerdale is lining up a new business story for her. I just hope this leads to something big for Tracy, she’s far too good for the background.

It’s No Joke

vlcsnap-2018-11-17-20h42m44s487Truth be told I wasn’t completely sold on Manpreet and Rishi as a pairing and I could see her being a much better fit for Jai, but this week gave me a new perspective. While the Sharmas often make me smile, it’s a shame their stories have been diminished to silly sweet factory farce, but when it comes to Rishi – Manpreet is deadly serious. Emmerdale could have gone down a predictable route with their relationship and made her embarrassed to be with Rishi’s larger than life personality, but instead she loves him for it. The scenes where Manpreet reassured Rishi and gave him a confidence boost were exactly what he needed after the trolling. And the fact Mapreet wants to take things slow and sensible is a good indication that Rishi’s zany ways isn’t going to make this crash and burn too fast!

Fails

Lost the Plots

vlcsnap-2018-11-17-21h18m11s634It wasn’t the strongest week for stories in Emmerdale and it left me feeling like there’s a real shortage of “must see” ongoing plots at the moment. There are always ups and downs in terms of excitement but I’m struggling to think of a story with any momentum.  Emmerdale has no shortage of great characters and it’s them, rather than the stories, that make it watchable right now. This week’s biggest stories involved the aftermath of Joe’s death but Graham and the Home Farm dramas seem to be killing time until Kim shows up and that feels like a risky move when her return lacked the oompfh it needed to shake the cobwebs from that group of characters. Debbie and Cain also seem in limbo while Joe’s fate is still a secret. There are a number of stories that seem to be just beginning, but where are the gripping plots taking shape or hurtling towards an exciting conclusion? We’ve had lots of teasers about returning characters in the New Year but I’d love to hear from the new producers what thrills await!

The Long Con

vlcsnap-2018-11-17-21h17m10s449You’d be forgiven for thinking you were watching a low budget version of the Thomas Crown Affair if you’d caught a glimpse of Friday’s episode, as Clive and Frank began an art-based con. It’s hard to muster much enthusiasm for any story that involves a smarmy new character conning a woman we don’t know and Frank, who’s been dull since day one. There was nothing to invest in here. All those scenes spent whispering and glaring in the art gallery held zero interest and even characters like Eric and Leyla, who could’ve provided some fun, were pushed out the way for more chat about forging art. It seemed endless! Clive and Frank are too similar and too flat to spark any interest together and since his arrival, Frank’s dark potential has been sidestepped for low-rent schemes. So why should we care about more of the same from Clive? One of Emmerdale’s most boring plots in a while and a terrible waste of Leyla and Megan.

Fave or Fail? (15-19 Oct 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 Cain did a bunk from the village and Sarah finally got a new heart.

Faves

Diane’s Dominance

vlcsnap-2018-10-21-18h02m40s981My absolute highlight this week had to be Diane. If it wasn’t her amazing face pulling, then it was her brilliant lines of dialogue and her sarcastic commentary on Bernice’s love life. Diane is a gem of a character and her relationship with her on screen kids (including her step kids) is a highlight. Not only was Diane there to give Vic a hug and express her concerns to Robert, but her onscreen relationship with love-life-disaster-zone Bernice was cracking with funny dialogue followed by some comfort and empathy. The two have a fantastic rapport and I’m glad we’ve seen a bit more of them lately as Bernice struggled to keep a lid on her blossoming feelings for Liam and push Daz onto Diane’s plate. I loved Diane’s outrage at being used as a scapegoat when Bernice was trying to get rid of Daz, but it wasn’t long before Diane got her own back by sending him to the BnB when she knew Bernice and Liam were there. My dream would be to get Diane back behind the bar but if that’s out of the question then just more of her would be a great start!

Vic Gets a Storyline

vlcsnap-2018-10-21-18h08m32s105Since Adam’s departure, Victoria’s main role besides her job in the pub, has been looking after Rebecca, but let’s face it, even when her husband was around Vic didn’t have much in the way of a storyline. Once Vic had discovered Moira was behind Emma’s death that all changed and this week, Vic took a central role in Emmerdale in her quest to find absent Adam. I was really glad to see Victoria’s feelings and pain got a real focus, rather than keeping her in the background supporting others. This week, feeling betrayed by Robert and Aaron, Vic did some digging and ended up in a perilous situation when she got scammed by a lowlife posing as a PI. When the truth about Adam’s location came out, devasted Victoria broke down when she learnt he’d moved on and found someone else. This was a horrible dose of reality for Victoria as she had still be pining for Adam and unable to move on herself. Actress Isabel Hodgins played these scenes with real heartbreak and despite Vic sometimes being like a bull in a china-shop, I found her really empathetic. After a pep talk with Diane, Vic was quick to get glammed up and try and move on with Ellis, but it’s clear even that might be a struggle.

The Beginnings of Something Darker?

vlcsnap-2018-10-21-18h03m28s238No one quite knows what newbie Maya Stepney is up to just yet, but with a casual disregard for her rules and responsibilities as a teacher, as well as blurting out cruel retorts to ex-stepdaughter Leanna, there’s a hint of a dark side there. Now that Jacob is crushing hard on her, his teacher and his dad’s girlfriend, there’s lots of speculation that this story is heading in a dark grooming storyline. This would be a really interesting and horrible to watch direction but one that would prove a challenging storyline for the characters involved. Done well I think this could be exactly the kind of gritty story Emmerdale would excel at.

Bonus Faves:

  • Matty, Ellis. Ellis, Matty. Vic’s got a tough choice on her hands and so have I! I love both guys and their charm and chemistry with Vic. It’s hard to decide who would make the better pairing
  • Another great scene with Jack Downham this week was the moment Graham gave him Chris Tate’s cufflinks – great bit of Tate family history too
  • Bernice and Liam’s cute but comic hook ups continue to be a massive highlight. With Liam using words like ‘beguiling’ you can see why Bernice fell hard and fast!

Fail

Feeling Distant

vlcsnap-2018-10-21-18h10m26s677We all know Cain Dingle isn’t a man to wear his heart on his sleeve and talk about his problems, but I’m a bit disappointed to see him go all cold and distant when it comes to Moira. If anyone knows about big dark secrets then it’s her and she’d easily be on his side if a war brewed with Debbie. This being soap, Moira’s bound to discover Cain’s guilty secret eventually but I can’t help but feel there’s been a disappointing lack of Cain and Moira content ever since they reunited. When Cain supported Moira during her Emma confessions, we saw the powerful onscreen chemistry that makes Coira so beloved but lately they’ve hardly been seen together and this is a real missed opportunity. If Cain and Moira don’t get some decent screentime when this all comes out in the open then I’ll be very disappointed!

Fave or Fail? (1-5 Oct 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 a week of tragedy for the Dingles, everyone united for the happy event of Aaron and Robert’s wedding.

Faves

A Moment of Happiness

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h45m06s201A rare, happy event bringing the village together in celebration of the love between Emmerdale’s most talked about couple – what could be better? The long-hyped, long-awaited Robron legal wedding finally arrived and despite being tinged with tragedy, it didn’t disappoint. Not only was this episode a real fan pleaser, it had a warm community feeling and showcased just how far the characters had come to make their family official. It’s not often any more that the village gets its bunting out for a big old party outdoors, but this was it. It wasn’t just an episode of romance and a display of the chemistry which has made Robron so beloved, it was also the funny and sweet little details (Bernice’s insistence that she was behind the reunion; Doug’s little thumbs-up to Liv after her speech) that made it a great watch. Weddings in soap are often all explosions and affair reveals, so it was a welcome change to see a wedding be such a success. And while the day ended in a panic attack for grief stricken Chas, the event worked well as a happy interlude to the week’s tragic events.

Family Tragedy

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h41m07s776Chas and Paddy had an unbearable week as their daughter Grace was born and died very shortly afterwards. It’s a moving and important story which resonates with many parents watching who have shared a similar pain and Emmerdale have done a good job at showing its long-term impact on Chas and Paddy’s lives as they try to move forward. Emmerdale opted for an experimental fantasy sequence in the episode of Grace’s birth as her parents imagined what her life would be life. The idea behind those moments was touching, but perhaps the overshadowing stylistic choices should have been dropped in favour of the more intimate and raw family scenes. Both Chas and Paddy struggled in the days that followed, with both of them grieving and lashing out in different ways, but it’s when they united, in spite of their grief, that the performances really excelled. This storyline also gave Emmerdale a real sense of family and village life, as it wasn’t only immediate family who were heartbroken, but other parents in the village too. It’s strong stories like this, which impact upon the whole community, that are vital parts of Emmerdale’s success.

A Whole Lot of Faith

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h49m42s806Faith is often one of my favourite things about a week of Emmerdale. She’s brash and loud, dirty minded and full of humour (just check out her dancing with Rob at his own wedding!), but she’s so much more than that. She perfectly encapsulates the light and shade of great soap matriarchs by being there as a pillar of support for her family too. Faith doesn’t sugar coat, but she gives her loved ones exactly the words they need to hear. She was the friendly ear for Chas, Paddy and Aaron this week but perhaps her most moving moment was the scene in which she gave Chas a congratulations card for becoming a new mum. It was an emotional gesture and one which I thought was one of the most resonating moments of the whole tragic storyline, such a touching and understated thought. Faith’s a true gem of a character and one I now can’t imagine Emmerdale without.

Rom-Com Queen

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h42m24s566I feel like all I ever do on this blog is sing Bernice’s praises, but I’m at it again, after another week of classic Bernice moments. Back from her relaxation trip, Bernice grimaced and groaned her way through another encounter with Daz, practising her dumping routine right in the middle of the shop. Luckily dreamy Dr Cavanagh was on hand to lift her mood and the two had a flirtation and illicit make-out sesh in the salon. Naughty! Every interaction between these two (and yes, we’re opting for #Cavastock) is brimming with comedy and teenage crush levels of awkward with Liam filling the bumbling Hugh Grant role oh-so perfectly. They are smitten and utterly charming together, which happens to make all of Bernice’s attempts to get away from Daz even funnier. This was a brilliant, silly antidote to the tragedy of the week.

Leyla’s Return

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h43m17s352Leyla returned to the village this week after actress Roxy Shahidi’s maternity leave came to an end, and it was a real pleasure to have her back. Her showdown with Tracy wasn’t pleasant to watch as her lack of compassion preceded catty comments and escalated into full blown misogyny, but it didn’t take long for Leyla and Tracy to realise the real enemy was David. With the two bonding over common ground and clinking glasses to a future without him and rubbish men, it was a fun and satisfying watch. We certainly could do with more scenes exploring friendship these days. Despite a rocky start, I’m really glad Leyla’s back as her quirky comedy and facial expressions offer something different in the village. I’m very intrigued if Leyla’s mystery fiancé transpires and if so, what’s next on the cards for Miss Harding!

One Last Shot

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h53m13s131For many viewers, Ross Barton was at his best in the days of Donna Windsor, watching him soften through his feelings for someone else and lose that aggressive façade. Now, we might be nearing the end of actor Mike Parr’s time on the show, but it feels like the Ross and Rebecca relationship is bringing out the best in both characters as they try and rebuild their lives and showcasing the Ross Barton many viewers fell for all those years ago. Ross being Ross, Dawn’s appearance at the end of the week is sure to spell trouble in terms of his growth, but it’s been a welcome change to watch a more sensitive and caring Ross help Rebecca find faith in herself and confidence again. With his exit looming, it’s surely doom to fail, but for now their sweet and tentative scenes are a nice break from Ross’s cokehead, wannabe gangster efforts.

Fail

Not About That Thug Life

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h40m31s598Truth be told, I had to go back and rewatch all of Joe and Graham’s scenes with Connor the cardboard gangster this week, because I ended up zoning out. In a week of Emmerdale where we were treated to moving storylines and emotional character moments, we were also stuck watching this caricature terrorising Home Farm. Threatening he was not! For me, both Joe and Graham have lost that special something that once made them compelling newbies in the big house and unfortunately now their samey scenes are just cloak and dagger conversations that are at times impenetrably cold. With Connor desperate for revenge and Joe cowardly offering up Graham like the sacrificial lamb, this should have been a huge test and turning point of the pair’s unconventional bond, but with Connor cartoonish and the conversations between Joe and Graham stilted and mysterious it was a struggle to care. The rapport between the two is as bristling as ever and with Kim Tate’s arrival imminent, maybe all isn’t lost, but watching their scenes can feel like scrabbling in the dark to find something interesting to care about.

Fave or Fail? (13-17 Aug 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! As Ross threw a terrible drug-fuelled party, Sarah agreed to have a heart transplant.

Faves

Generations of Support

Emmerdale - Sarah Gets Some Life Lessons From Faith - YouTubeSarah has a big support network around her at the moment (if you discount her MIA dad and the other Sugdens, despite the odd cameo from Diane) but it was her scenes with Faith that were the big highlight of the week. Sure, a hospital escape and a pub visit at 9am might have been stretching the suspension of disbelief, but Faith and Sarah’s honest talks were an example of familial moments Emmerdale does so well. With Sarah set on dying, Faith tried to show her that she hadn’t even begun to live, reminding her of all the things she was giving up on. I loved that the script wove in Faith’s health history and Chas’s story too, making these interactions feel truthful and real, even in a family as big and dramatic as the Dingles.

The Return of Bad Boy Cain

Emmerdale - Cain Issues a Chilling Threat to Frank If He Calls the Police - YouTubeWe got a glimpse of mad, bad Cain this week after Frank tried to confront him over the most anti-climatic car crash in recent times. After the crash, Frank threatened to call the police on Cain and we saw a smidgen of the darker Frank lurking underneath. Frank’s been a bit of a bore since his arrival, but something more sinister would be a good route to go down, especially if it revives Cain with a bit of menace himself. I’m all for family man Cain, but there was something deeply satisfying about watching him put Frank in his place the next day by listing everything he’d do to Frank if he went ahead with his threats. You get the sense actor Jeff Hordley relishes these moments of a confident and threatening Cain and that comes across – it’s a joy to watch too. It’s about time he had another adversary.

Difficult Future Ahead

Emmerdale - Paddy and Chas Find Out What Lies Ahead for Their Child PREVIEW - YouTubeChas and Paddy’s emotional story was made sadder this week by the introduction of a woman named Joanne. Joanne told her story about the loss of her child as a way to give Chas and Paddy not only comfort and advice, but a slice of reality. I haven’t felt especially connected to this story (perhaps there’s just been too much bumbling from Paddy and bloodyminded-ness from Chas, I’m not sure) but using Joanne and a talented guest actress made the story feel very personal and real. I think opening up the story to other characters helps lift the situation from being too repetitive and insular and it’s a sign of a good script and actress that Joanne’s story resonated in such a short space of time.

Jacob’s Return

Emmerdale - Jacob Finds Out About Tracy's Abortion - YouTubeJacob came back from visiting mum Alicia this week (Alicia we miss you!) and reminded everyone – especially David – how to be a half-decent man. David being David had Maya semi-naked under the counter of the shop (health and safety nightmare surely?) and had to quickly explain to Jakey that he’d moved on in record speeds. I really loved the scenes between Jacob and Tracy this week as he reached out and tried to support her and I’ll always be glad of anyone giving David some home truths. Maya is an interesting one though, isn’t she? Overly earnest and way too keen – there’s got to be something darker lurking under the surface.

Fails

Ross the Cokehead

vlcsnap-2018-08-19-14h14m05s118When Emmerdale revealed they were giving Ross the head-hitting acid attack storyline, I don’t think anyone imagined that Ross becoming a cokehead would be the direction the story would take! This was a story that would change Ross, showing us a more vulnerable side to him and take the character in a new and refreshing direction. But if Ross’s alpha male status was brash and unlikeable when he first arrived, then this week it became a whole new level of arrogant and dickhead. As Ross got wasted, throwing a party and causing arguments with Pete and his only friend in Ryan, it feels like all the worst aspects of Ross turned up to eleven. When we know Ross is on his way out, it seems a real shame to leave the character on such a sour note – is this really how we want to remember him?