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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9 Emmerdale Wishes for 2019

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We’ve just begun a shiny new year and it’s the perfect time to ponder what storylines or changes we’d like to see for Emmerdale in 2019. I had a good think, I asked on Twitter and here are my Top 9 wishes for Emmerdale in 2019.

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Backstory for Vanessa

Since becoming Charity’s girlfriend, we’ve seen a lot more of Vanessa but it would be nice to see more of her in her own right. Besides dad Frank we know very little about Vanessa’s family and past. Isn’t it about time someone from Vanessa’s past was introduced, or why not meet her mum? If the rumours are true and a Vanity wedding is on the cards then this is the perfect time to explore more about Vanessa.

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Show Some Success

Whether it’s a business going under, a plan going awry or exams being failed, we’ve seen a lot of failure over the years. Characters can’t always been happy and winning, but I think it’s about time someone had some good luck. 2018 saw Tracy start a new business and it would be great to see ambition pay off. Then there are characters like the Kings who haven’t been high-flying for years. Nicola is someone always looking for a bigger and better life – why not have her reach a level of success? And if the soap gods work their magic, maybe she and Jimmy realise that it isn’t what it’s cracked up to be!

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Big Stories for Coira and Robron

Two of Emmerdale’s biggest and most beloved couples reunited last year but since then their storylines have been bitty. Cain and Moira had Matty, Debbie and Graham to contend with, while Robert and Aaron supported their sisters and Rebecca through their big stories. But what next for the two big couples? Cain and Moira spent a lot of the year apart on screen so something that unites them and repairs the distance of their time apart would be good. For Robert and Aaron in their first year of married life, a story that changes the dynamic between them would be interesting to see – it’d be good to see Aaron getting in on the schemes for once! Whatever the stories ahead for both couples, it seems obvious that viewers just want to see more of their favourite couples together in great stories!

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More Village Gossip

Since losing characters like Betty and seeing less of comedic gems like Pearl, the village has been missing that key ingredient: gossip. Community is a huge part of village life and it was great to see more of that in 2018 but it’s not just parties and events that could tie characters and stories together – it’s also villagers having a natter about what else is going on the village! There’s plenty of scandal and drama along Main Street so there’s ample opportunity for big-mouthed characters to stick their oar in.  

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A Funny Feel Good Wedding

Happy weddings are a rare event for soap, but I’d love to see a wedding in 2019 for a fun loving couple. There’s Sam and Lydia, Faith and Eric or even new couple Liam and Bernice. These are genuinely funny, heart-warming couples who deserve a special day – and you just know the weddings would be full of laughs. It doesn’t all have to be disasters and slapstick, but imagine Lydia’s dance routine or Bernice going Bridezilla. And there’s always room for a classic soap twists and turns – let’s just see the villages having a good time.

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No More Special Episodes

I’ve loved Emmerdale’s attempt to reinvigorate the soap genre with special episodes, flashbacks and episodes that really dig deep into a character’s psyche. But now I think it’s time to give those kinds of episodes a rest and stick to good quality, linear storytelling. The more special episodes are made the less unique they get. Save them for when they really matter, Emmerdale!            

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Keep Kim 3D

My biggest wish for 2019 is that Emmerdale make the most of Kim’s return and don’t turn her into a caricature. Kim is an iconic Emmerdale soap bitch, but she’s not just a campy villain and I hope that when she returns the writers won’t lose sight of that and tarnish the fond memories viewers have of her original tenure. Keep Kim grounded, with flaws and vulnerabilities and that way her one-liners and sharp attitude will keep Kim at her best.

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Give Jai and Priya Something Gritty

2018 was a complete waste of the Sharmas. Priya briefly struggled with her mental health but that was glossed over quickly and Priya joined the rest of the family for silly sitcom subplots. Jai and Priya have a great sibling relationship and have been on the side-lines for ages so I think it’s about time they had a great, emotionally testing story.

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Reinvent Debbie Dingle

Oh Debbie, where to begin? She might be seen as the leading lady of the Dales, but unfortunately Debbie’s stories (and her personality) need a rethink. We’ve explored the same old ground for her when it comes to her love life and there isn’t much that manages to raise a smile. Even when she does something dark and reckless (like the acid attack story) her family manage to treat Debbie as a victim. With Joe gone and the truth about to be revealed, it’s time to shake Debbie up and give her something to do that we’ve not seen before. Could Emmerdale explore her bisexuality again? Give her a new friendship? A new job?

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.

Emmerdale’s Top 20 Moments of 2018 – Part One (#20-11)

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In a big year that saw arrivals, returns and exits, Emmerdale 2018 had many memorable moments. Here is my own look back at Emmerdale’s Best Bits of the year, starting with numbers 20 to 11. Come back tomorrow to see my Top 10 and a countdown of the year’s lowlights too. I’d love to know what you think so feel free to comment below!

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20. Brenda Bites Back

Brenda isn’t usually a character that makes my Top 20 list, but after being cheated on by Bob, Brenda’s really come into her own. Lesley Dunlop has shone this year in emotive performances as Brenda expressed her agony, but as the pain turned to bitterness, her wicked one-liners also proved entertaining. After Brenda’s devastating discovery of Bob’s affair she bottled her heartbreak and began a secret campaign against Bob and Laurel, saving the explosive showdown for much later in the year. Having hated Bob and Laurel, I was firmly Team Brenda all the way especially after their wedding day crumpled when she realised how unhappy he was with her. Since then, Brenda had to pick up the pieces with the kids and remain strong, even when weak-willed Bob came crawling. Maybe Brenda is the true hero of 2018 after all.

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19. Losing Grace

One of Emmerdale’s biggest storylines this year was Chas and Paddy and the loss of their baby Grace. This long-running story is one which resonated deeply with a lot of bereaved viewers and explored a range of emotions, from anger and denial to numbness, during the couple’s grief. For me, the moments Chas and Paddy suffered privately were their strongest, breaking down alone and too scared to talk, but their explosion at each other showed a believable ugliness in the aftermath. Supportive characters like Marlon and Faith were a welcome, warm tonic from the prolonged periods of sadness this story produced.

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18. Kim Tate’s Return

The hotly-anticipated return of iconic superbitch Kim Tate shook Home Farm and its visitors when, straight from her prison release, she rocked up in October. This was more of a teaser than anything long-lasting, but her sharp tongued cattiness was a fun injection of camp in the rather dry halls of Home Farm. Unfortunately Kim’s presence was bogged down by a plodding backstory with Graham and an anti-climactic masquerade ball, but her ruthless reintroduction was merely a taster of what’s to come, and I’m hoping for great things in 2019!

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17. Sarah’s transplant

As usual it was another year of misery for Debbie, but it was her daughter’s health crisis which was the most believable and compelling story. Young Katie Hill did a great job with this sad story, displaying a stubbornness just like her mother as she suffered heart failure and initially refused treatment. This story was rife with divisions as Sarah learnt Debbie was behind Ross’s acid attack, but it was characters like Joe, Charity and Faith who brought some much needed levity to the situation and helped show Sarah she hadn’t even begun living yet. This was another story grounded in reality, a horrible situation many parents face and the onscreen relationship between Charley Webb and Katie made the vulnerable hospital moments authentic and heartbreaking.

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16. More Community Spirit

If there’s anything a village should have, then it’s community spirit. Sometimes in Emmerdale that isn’t always the case, but this year there have been plenty of times we’ve seen a real community feel and I hope this carries on into 2019! Whether it’s impromptu strip shows with the men of the village, rebuilding Wishing Well cottage, a group outing to a gay bar, parties and celebrations, fireworks to remember Gerry, or even a big masked ball at Home Farm – there have been plenty of occasions this year for the villagers to mix. These events give characters who don’t usually interact the chance to chat, forming new friendships and fun interactions. More importantly it’s an entertaining way to make Emmerdale village feel more real and have stories intersect rather than filming blocks distract from the everyday authenticity of village life.

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15. Noah Tate

Noah had a big year as he tried to find his place in the world when 2018 began with the Dingles at war with his villainous big brother, Joe Tate. With mum Charity hating Noah’s bond with Joe, Noah became more determined to learn about his roots and soon the brothers were bonding well. Mischievous Noah brought out Joe’s softer side and the actors had a believable onscreen rapport. Actor Jack Downham impressed me several times throughout the year as he faced difficult times within his family, managing to be empathetic even when he can be a bit of a teenage brat. Since Joe’s “disappearance” and feeling isolated by Charity, Noah has really struggled. With Jack’s performances getting better and better, and Noah’s complex relationship with Charity being one of her most interesting dynamics, I hope big things are ahead for him in 2019.

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14. Adam Barton’s Exit

January 2018 feels like a long time ago now, but back then we lost one of Emmerdale’s original Barton boys as Adam went on the run for Emma’s murder, protecting his mum, Moira. Adam’s imprisonment was a bit of a mess story-wise, and even though his last episode was the trademark “on the run” Emmerdale exit, the final episode itself had an entertaining escape plan and finished with scenes that were full of heart. Actor Adam Thomas really pulled on the heart stings as he left Moira an emotional voicemail to say goodbye and shared meaningful final scenes with best mate Aaron and estranged wife Victoria. It might have happened months ago now, but much like it has for Victoria, it still made a lasting impression!

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13. Ryan Stocks

Perhaps the best part of Charity’s story this year was the arrival of the son she thought had died, Ryan Stocks. Ryan has been a breath of fresh air to the village and in Charity’s life, being full of cutting humour as well as having a kind-hearted nature. Charity and Ryan’s first meeting were some of the best scenes of the year, as she dealt with her shock and guilt and he showed her compassion. Newcomer James Moore has made a great impression on Emmerdale fans already and it’s been refreshing to have a prominent disabled character join the village in a likeable and quick-witted role.

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12. The Robron Wedding

Hearts soared this year as Robert and Aaron finally got their much-longed-for legal wedding in a touching special day. 2017’s wedding was hit with Robron fans, so any second shot was going to be hard to match, but Emmerdale pulled out all the stops for a classy affair this time, with romantic speeches, happy tears and matching décor. A happily married couple on their wedding day is a rare event in soap, but after the struggle to get there it was earned.

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11. Charity’s Flashback Episode

Last year’s trip into Cain and Faith’s past, complete with young recasts was such a success that Emmerdale went back in time again, this time to Charity’s dark past. Arguably the strength of Emma Aktin’s retelling of her abuse in earlier episodes rendered this flashback episode surplus to the story, but the special scenes illustrated Charity’s captivating history and the transitions between past and present were nicely done. This kind of episode relies on a killer performer and thankfully Emma fulfilled that role perfectly, but it’s probably time for Emmerdale to give the flashbacks a rest for a while.

Come back tomorrow for my Top 10 and my worst moments of Emmerdale 2018.

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? (26-30 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! After last week’s fail-free list, this week has three. Amongst the laughs this week, Noah rebelled and Vanessa and Charity decided to move in together.

Faves

Hopeless Romantic

vlcsnap-2018-11-30-22h11m01s121Bernice is one of my favourite Emmerdale characters by far, so to see her so crushed this week was heartbreaking. Samantha Giles is a really underrated actress, capable of both laugh out loud comedy as well as something far more poignant. Paired with dishy doc Liam Cavanagh, it seemed like Bernice had a real shot at happiness, if it weren’t for the meddling of Leanna and Gabby. Poor Bernice, desperate to impress Liam, was made a fool of by his daughter and then he had the audacity to side with his vicious daughter. Thankfully Gabby had a change of heart and saw how devastated her hopeless-in-love mother was and did her best to fix things. I really loved Emmerdale exploring their unconventional relationship and Gabby’s love for her mum was clear in scenes this week. I was glad to see that Bernice realised her worth too and didn’t rush to let Liam get away with his callous behaviour. She made him work for it – and too right. I’m a big fan of Bernice and Liam’s romance, but more than anything Bernice needs to be loved and appreciated for who she is. It’s time to shape up, Liam!

Childcare Chaos

vlcsnap-2018-11-30-21h52m15s956Who’d have thought that two weeks’ running chaotic childcare would be one of Emmerdale’s highlights? This week it was Charity’s turn, desperate to prove her mothering credentials to Vanessa, and enlisting advice from Mumsnet. Charity began the day with gusto, determined to be the hands on mother, the envy of all the forum posters. But naturally, mayhem ensued. Not only were we treated to some cracking dialogue as Charity marvelled at her discovery of the infamous mum’s forum, the adorable Moses and Johnny but also the winning formula of Marlon and Charity. Pairing up Charity and Marlon in the pub was a stroke of pure genius and since then the two have shared more comedy capers than ever. Mocking Marlon teased Charity with his wicked sense of humour and his amazing facial expressions were brilliant. The two of them trying to cover up Charity’s mistakes, as the kids locked themselves in the cellar was great fun. This is the type of everyday humour Emmerdale does best. 

Golden Oldies

vlcsnap-2018-11-30-22h09m38s462Rather than giving heartfelt advice this week, Eric was busy getting legless with Rodney and nursing the mother of all hangovers behind their Blues Brothers style sunglasses. There’s something endearingly brilliant about these two chaps getting drunk and suffering the next day, especially when they involved Faith. But Faith’s a smart cookie and she realised Rodney and Eric’s plans to keep Rodders in their household was all just a ruse, giving them both a knowing glance. Faith might think there’s a crowd but it’s brilliant dynamic. Still, much like Faith, I think it’s about time Eric grew up a bit and gave Faith some proper commitment. Isn’t it about time Faith made Eric a Dingle?

Fails

No Fireworks

vlcsnap-2018-11-30-22h12m55s173Sometimes you blink and miss a whole storyline. In Frank and Megan’s case, they were reunited and split before anyone much noticed. I’ve spoken before about this couple’s lack of spark and once again they split this week, even though we must be on double figures now. But far from the soap favourite trope of an on/off couple with a fiery and destructive love affair, Megan and Frank’s relationship is nothing more than a whimper. Considering Frank is an ex-con and Megan is a successful business woman, with a malevolent brother, you’d think their relationship could be electric. Sadly all it’s done is waste two decent actors in a soulless romance. Maybe this is the powers that be getting ready for a Kim and Frank romance, but I just hope they remember to make both Megan and Frank interesting in the meantime.

What Was the Point?

vlcsnap-2018-11-30-21h53m50s636All my favourite stories this week have been ones with warm belly laughs but when it came to the art con plot, this cringy conclusion felt more like a bad sitcom (complete with dodgy wigs and accents) rather than Emmerdale at its best. For all the screen time spent on Clive and his con, he buggered off almost as soon as he arrived making me wonder what his purpose was? Was it just to give Leyla something to do outside of David dramas – in which case, she can do much better than this unfunny story – or was it just to split Megan and Frank AGAIN? Sometimes Emmerdale comedy can hit the mark and make my affection swell, but other times it’s painful. The art con was the latter and had it not been for Leyla’s glamorous appearances, I might’ve skipped these scenes altogether. Not only does she deserve better, but we all do.

Stuck in a Limbo

vlcsnap-2018-11-30-22h13m35s334Although Emmerdale seem to think endless scenes of Graham’s drunken breakdown is worth watching, I can’t seem to muster any enthusiasm. Although self pitying drunks seem to be a prerequisite for Home Farm owners, Graham doesn’t even have the hammy comedic value of Lawrence and Graham’s disheveled growling isn’t much different from his monosyllabic butler schtick. Truth be told, Graham might be ex-SAS but he just isn’t all that interesting. We have seen the same scenes over and over and it just seems to be a way to kill time for Kim’s arrival. Not even the promise of Cain’s “involvement” in Joe’s death raises much enthusiasm because even that reveal has been dragged to a snail’s pace. Rather than have Cain and Debbie’s relationship implode and explore new ground, we’re stuck in limbo. Then there’s the biggest problem of all – we didn’t even see Joe’s death, so all this glowering and menace feels hollow when they’ve left Joe’s fate ambiguous.

Fave or Fail? (12-16 Nov 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 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? (5-9 Nov 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! Another good week in the Dales, as Bob stripped, then got dumped and Aaron struggled after Seb’s departure.

Faves

Better Together

vlcsnap-2018-11-10-21h30m11s028Since their longed-for reunion, Aaron and Robert haven’t really had a storyline to get their teeth into as a couple. They’ve been constantly occupied with family dramas and Lachlan’s reign of terror, but it feels like a while since we had a story about the two of them. Now that they’re married it felt right this week to have a dilemma that challenged them both, as a team. This week’s drama offered just that, giving good character-led struggles that leaned heavily on their pasts and childhood issues, as well as testing their communication skills as a couple. After last week’s sudden decision from Robert to let Rebecca take Seb, Aaron was left heartbroken at the decision. Having recently lost Grace, he struggled to cope with losing another loved one so quickly especially as he had become a dad to Seb. Aaron’s pain lead him to making the reckless decision to keep Seb and not take him to Rebecca and this added friction to his relationship to Robert. This time though it didn’t feel like angst for angst’s sake. Their rows didn’t resort to shouting and fighting and we saw a calmer, more reasonable approach. Is this a more mature Robron we’re seeing? The end of the week saw Aaron shocking Robert with a surrogacy plan and reluctantly backing off from Seb despite his anguish, but the drama seems far from over. Thankfully this story feels like it will continue to provide the pair for some juicy drama together, it certainly warrants time and talking, rather than being on the sidelines of other people’s stories. 

Big Laughs

vlcsnap-2018-11-10-21h33m47s214Comedy in Emmerdale can be hit and miss at the best of times but I thoroughly enjoyed Thursday’s efforts as the gents of the village took centre stage and stripped off! With Bob desperate to prove his worth in the pub (LOVE having him back behind the bar, by the way) he set pulses racing by hiring the popular Uptown Hunks. I’ve always been a bit undecided about Charity as landlady but her saucy enthusiasm and rousing of the crowds before the hunks took the stage confirmed to me that she really is right at home. Unfortunately for Bob, his oiled up strippers pulled out and he was forced to rope in his friends. From the OAP audience, asking for complicated orders and having palpitations over Pete, to the ladies of the Woolie enjoying every minute – it was such a fun episode. Of course these episodes would have been nothing without the awkward dancing from the men involved – Rishi, Jimmy, Bob and Pete. With everyone enjoying themselves it was a really fun watch and rather feel like a cruel mocking of these guys and their moves, they were well loved by all. Except of course for Bob, who’s fun was cut short by a mortified Laurel…awkward…

Harsh Truth

vlcsnap-2018-11-10-21h34m34s707It seems ironic that some of the best scenes of the Bob and Laurel debacle, have been their break up. After Laurel’s embarrassing public dumping of Bob, he spent the rest of the episode greasy and half naked pleading for an explanation. Not really how you want to have a deep and meaningful, is it? Sadly for Bob (and truth be told, I have started to feel sorry for him) Laurel was adamant that their relationship was over. Laurel was frank with Bob that she was still grieving Ashley when they got together and this admission, that she used Bob as a crutch, seemed like a genuine explanation for this weird relationship rather than the whirlwind romance we’d been expected to buy into. For many fans, their affair came too soon after Ashley’s death and their feelings felt at odds with the characters. This break up seems a promising move from the new producers, recognising that the Bob and Laurel relationship didn’t work and wasn’t well received. But the benefit to exploring this split means promising future storylines. How will this affect the children? Brenda? Doug? Will Laurel struggle, feeling like she has upset so many people? Will Bob return to the loveable fool he once was? There are so many possibilities here as well as dealing with the reality of an affair that should have never progressed to a relationship. 

Tag-Team Trouble

vlcsnap-2018-11-10-21h31m51s034Who’d have thought the new dream team would be precocious little April and disenchanted Millennial Ellis? This week April was desperate to hang out with too-cool-for-school (literally) Ellis and even gave an Attenborough style commentary as he lazed on the couch. Her hero worship and his teasing is a fun dynamic and I enjoyed seeing them hang out when she bunked school. As Ellis taught her the art of ordering a customised coffee, April used her own sneaky powers to mend the relationship between Ellis and Jessie. I’m not totally sold on Jessie and Marlon as a partnership, but I already love April wanting to be as cool and adult as Ellis. This is a great dynamic and one I definitely don’t want to lose. 

Bonus Faves

  • Once again this week, Emmerdale had a really strong sense of community. From the firework celebrations at the Dingles’ and the memorial garden, to the Woolpack stripper shenanigans, it was great to see so many characters together in one place. More please!
  • Liv’s assessment of terrible maths questions as Rob helped her with probability was right. Anyone counting a thousand coloured beads does need to get a life. 
  • Despite his sadness, it was good to see Aaron and Seb’s bond on screen more this week – he really does make a great dad.  The Dingles throwing Seb an early birthday party was a sweet move from Chas, especially at such a difficult time for her. 
  • There seems to be a lot of heart-to-heart conversations lately and I’m a big fan of these, especially when stories cross in believable ways.

Fails

Debbie Downer

vlcsnap-2018-11-10-21h34m07s574Debbie’s relentless role as the tragic heroine has gotten stale. She’s not the only villager to have been overloaded with miserable stories (a certain other Dingle springs to mind) but perhaps it’s time for a personality tweak. Debbie has little levity in her stories and no one in her life to have a laugh with, even her relationship with her kids is bogged down in tragedy. No doubt soon she’ll discover her dear old dad Cain “killed” Joe and depressed Debbie will become shouty Debbie. Some viewers are pleased Debbie is facing some consequences for ordering a violent attack (okay, she didn’t want acid but she did want revenge) but I think some time in prison could actually offer the chance to refresh her character a bit. Rather than Debbie get away with her crime or fall into familiar patterns of behaviour, I’d just like to see something different from Debbie. She won’t be smiling any time soon, but the woe-is-me personality could do with a shake up. 

Fave or Fail? (22-26 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 the sad week that saw the villagers mourn baby Grace, Bernice finally dumped Daz.

Faves

Difficult Decisions

vlcsnap-2018-10-27-12h25m46s395It might not be the storyline with the bells, whistles and plaudits, but my favourite plot at the moment is Rhona and Marlon’s story with Leo. Last week the troubled parents discovered their son was being bullied at school and although the fingers were first pointed at April, it was revealed she was just trying to protect her brother from the kids at school who were bullying him for getting “special treatment”. As Rhona and Marlon debated whether to send him to a specialist school, Rhona warred with the decision, turning to Pete for support (I’m still loving this surprising pairing) and found herself frustrated by Jessie’s influence too. This story resonates with so many parents having similar decisions to make, and feels like a very relevant modern story to tell, one we don’t usually hear about. This is Emmerdale making great use of character-led drama and using their actors in interesting and thought-provoking domestic drama. No sensationalism, just real life.

Unearthed Tragedy

vlcsnap-2018-10-27-12h21m25s838Lydia really struggled this week as in the midst of Grace’s funeral, she didn’t attend and later broke down to Sam when he confronted her. She had spent the day keeping busy with cleaning and fixing a brave face, all to mask her secret pain. Later, showing Sam the boxes she’d kept of her babies’ things, she revealed she had suffered two miscarriages in her past and found the funeral too difficult to attend. Lydia’s repressed grief was beautifully played by Karen Blick and managed to be moving, even in just a few scenes. This moment was especially poignant when you remember how much Lydia wanted to be a family with Sam and Samson recently when she had her health scare, but it adds more layers to her character who once was nothing more than a comedy character. With this experience, Lydia was able to help Chas move forward the next day and although I wish they’d hinted at this backstory earlier during Chas’s story, it continues to flesh out Lydia’s grief counselling expertise instead of it just being for laughs.

Goodbye Grace

vlcsnap-2018-10-27-12h19m48s128The Dingles said their goodbyes to Grace this week in the tragedy filled funeral. While Chas’s grief showed itself in anger and distress, Paddy’s was a stark contrast in his empty feelings of numbness. This full spectrum of reactions was a good choice from Emmerdale, continuing to make this story relatable for those who have suffered a similar loss. I wish we’d be able to see all the Dingles there as the sad event felt strange without some key members, particularly Zak and Lisa. Aaron’s speech was a particularly moving moment, though watching Chas’s sorrow play out for all these months has been a difficult watch so perhaps a double episode for the funeral was a bit much to dwell on the tragedy.

Becoming Family

vlcsnap-2018-10-27-12h18m19s869One of my favourite couples in Emmerdale has got to be Eric and Faith. It was always going to be a tough act to follow Val, but Eric and Faith have that wonderful blend of fun and loving support. This week Faith tried to shut him out at Grace’s funeral, but after a slight wobble, Eric realised he needed to be there by her side. In a lovely moment between the two, he came up beside her and held her hand, later revealing it was important for him to be there for her. Aww! With the two communicating and realising their importance to each other, could there be wedding bells on the horizon? With show producers hinting that there’s a Christmas wedding on the cards, I would be more than happy to see these two have a big celebration!

Harsh Words

vlcsnap-2018-10-27-12h22m05s656Leyla seems to lurch from one bad decision to the next in the blink of an eye. Her whole history is full of dodgy men and flighty choices, and she hasn’t really learned much from any experience! This week Clive’s ex showed up and confronted Leyla about a load of stolen jewellery. All Leyla’s mistakes came tumbling out this week as she revealed the business abroad went under after Leyla slept with Clive (one of her clients, a groom to be – yikes!) and his fiancée posted bad reviews of the business on Twitter. It all seemed to dawn on hapless Leyla, but it was Vanessa who gave her a strict talking to, trying to make her grow up and take some responsibility for her stupidity. Vanessa gave Leyla a potted history of her faults in a very entertaining scene of tough love. With Clive showing up the next day, it all seemed to fall on deaf ears, but it was good to see Leyla brought down to reality with some firm words from her friends.

Bonus Faves:

  • What is it with Brook House? First there was the reveal of Doug and Brenda’s dalliance in full company and then this week Bernice dumped Daz in front of a room full of people. The awkwardness gave us brilliant reactions again from the guests but more importantly Bernice FINALLY dumped Daz. At last!
  • Cain’s return home and straight into Chas’s arms when she needed him most was a really satisfying moment. Their sibling relationship is one of the show’s best.
  • Speaking of strong relationships, those emotional scenes through the glass between Debbie and Sarah managed to get me in the gut, even though Debbie’s spell inside feels right.

Fail

Shady Cell Mates

vlcsnap-2018-10-27-12h20m44s147So the elusive Clive showed up this week to surprise Leyla but he’s got heartbreaker written all over him. When he met Frank it was like seeing double – two smooth silver foxes with that gravelly hint of darkness in their voices. It wasn’t long before they were having suspicious and mildly threatening chats outside the pub in that mysterious way that alludes to trouble without giving much away. I struggle to get excited about any of this, including any dodgy connections to Frank, because if Frank is anything to go by, Clive could turn into another wet weekend. Just like Frank, Clive has a slimy edge to him and no one is buying this “changed man” routine, but Frank hasn’t exactly done much since his arrival. Frank’s potential and charisma has been completely wasted by keeping him on the straight and narrow, and tying him down to a dull relationship with Megan. Could Clive change that? Could we see some of this much promise dark side? Clive feels very temporary, like he’ll screw Leyla over and then flee the village, so I haven’t got high hopes, but I think it’s about time for another villain – and not a serial killer!