Fave or Fail? (12-16 Aug 2019)

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! Ellis’s dad Al arrived in the village and had a shady phonecall, and Debbie left for Scotland.

Faves

Call Me Al

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-09h00m52s495Jessie had one hell of a week as no sooner had she lost her job, but her household was rocked by the arrival of Al, Ellis’s father. Al didn’t make a great first impression on the family and Ellis didn’t seem all that keen to repair their bond either. There’s tension already, and Al is not a fan of Billy, but this is great news for the audience as a new character like Al, played charismatically by Michael Wildman, needs a great introduction. What’s even better is that Al seems a bit shady and all signs point to him being revealed as Kim Tate’s new business partner. Al could be just the new villain Emmerdale needs. Bring it on!

Sensitive Souls

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-09h04m14s417One of Emmerdale’s sweetest family units was rocked this week as Samson came home and learnt about Lydia’s tragic past. Sensitive Samson was horrified to learn Lydia had been keeping secrets, and worse, that they’d been kept from him. At the graveyard, Sam tried to talk Samson round in a lovely scene in the place where Alice is buried, and eventually Samson was able to empathise with Lydia’s plight. Realising that Lydia needs support, Samson listened to Sam as he said Alice would want them to be happy, and eventually the family were reunited, ready to plan a wedding. Fingers crossed things go smoothly from now on and we get to see Sam and Lydia made official!

Doug on Pot

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-09h01m33s577The most amusing and bizarre plot of the week was Doug, on pot. Straight laced, garden enthusiast would be the last person you’d expect to smoke a joint, but with Gerry’s stash playing on his mind – and his terrible back – Doug went to surprising measures to cure his pain. As we all know Duncan Preston has a long history of comedic acting so it was great to see this at play, even funnier when his oblivious loved ones have no idea and don’t notice the signs. High Doug was a lot of fun and seeing as he’s already getting the munchies, I’m sure he’ll be sneaking off for another spliff when the opportunity arises!

Goodbye Debbie

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-09h04m59s066Debbie’s exit this week, to cover Charley Webb’s maternity leave, has to be one of the strangest. Her exit potential could have nicely tied into her feud with Cain or hints about Joe, but all that was left aside, as Debbie took over a random garage in Scotland. As you do. Surprisingly I’ve really come to enjoy Debbie lately, as she’s been used in light, comic relief moments or more low key storylines. Debbie’s actually been – dare I say it – sort of fun? Her exit scenes were muted this week, with a lovely scene from Sarah and a slightly OTT reaction from Charity. It was a little hard to care about any emotional response to her leaving when we know she’ll be back, but my only hope is that when they bring Debbie back, they remember to give her a bit more of that dry humour. Maybe she could even smile!

Fails

Slim on Sympathy

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-08h58m53s948When Matty’s toxic masculinity story started I questioned, given his divisive popularity, whether he was the right character to be plunged into a plot where he has to be a real arsehole. This week, I still have my reservations. Matty’s friends showed up again being characteristically vile and Matty laughed along with them. Sure, he looks sheepish from time to time, and eventually he’ll see them for what they are, but is it worth Matty being this smarmy and horrid in the meantime? Watching him swagger and jeer like his unlikeable “mates” just really isn’t very unenjoyable to watch.

The Trouble with Faith

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-08h57m56s682There’s something about Faith this year that’s making her far more irritating than she is entertaining. Perhaps it’s because she’s been overbearing and interfering, rather than the light and shade we’ve had from her in previous years. A character like Faith can be more than just brash and we’ve seen her earn our affections during her mastectomy struggles through her romance with Eric and her family past in the Cain flashback. We’ve also seen a good dose of humour too. This week however we’ve seen more of Faith’s abrasive side as she muscled in at Wishing Well, landed an ill advised kiss on Zak and then outed Bear’s illiteracy secret. The kiss plot seemed like a complete overreaction to what was a brief, grief fuelled peck – and actually her reminiscing scenes with Zak were nicely done – and the cellar debacle felt completely contrived. Was this all just a circus to get her to annoy Charity in her new home? Faith can be great when the balance is right but this week, she lost her warmth.

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Fave or Fail? (22-26 July 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! In the week that Bernice organised the Wild West event, Kim discovered Jamie and Rhona’s plot against her.

Faves

Love for Liam

vlcsnap-2019-07-28-11h35m05s324Surely one of Emmerdale’s best decisions in the past year was turning Dr Cavanagh from a guest character into a fully-fledged permanent addition? These past two weeks have been proof enough of his success. Actor Jonny McPherson recently described Liam as a combination between Hugh Grant and Alan Partridge and that seems to be a winning formula. This week saw the fall out of last week’s split with Bernice and Liam wasn’t being won round easily, giving her the cold shoulder in the pub and holding back on his enthusiasm for the Wild West event. As Jimmy was roped in to helping reunite Bernice and Liam, he faked symptoms of a rare disease and Liam’s sarcastic response to the “diagnosis” was genius. Also perfect was Liam’s deadpan delivery of “The murder was of our love, the murderer was you, the mystery was why you ever thought me capable of harming a single, glossy hair on your head.” Emmerdale have got an absolute gem on their hands with Liam. He’s got the posh fop air of a romantic lead while also being a slightly nerdy comedy character and he’s one of the best things about Emmerdale right now!

Village Shenanigans

vlcsnap-2019-07-28-11h36m22s159After last week’s disastrous misunderstanding, Bernice had some big making up to do when it came to Liam. Determined to win him back, she put her plans in motion to organise a village murder mystery event in his honour, giving proceeds to charity and choosing a Wild West Theme. Bernice doesn’t do things by half and she spent most of the week roping in other villagers to help – giving her plenty of amusing interactions with characters who could barely tolerate her antics like Debbie and David. Spoiler fans will know the Wild West event is centre stage for Emmerdale’s big summer week next week, but this event planning has already given us lots of great community feel scenes. From Bernice brainstorming for theme ideas in the pub, to trying to get David to persuade Eric to dress up, it was an enjoyable watch. Emmerdale should do more village events more often. Where have the county shows gone?

Crisis in the Factory

vlcsnap-2019-07-28-11h43m19s547The Sharmas were thrown into crisis this week, with Jai, Priya and Rishi all having confessions to make. Jai wanted to come clean about him and Laurel, Priya wanted her family’s support over her eating disorder relapse – but it was Rishi who was hiding the biggest secret. Desperate to help Manpreet with her mounting debts, Rishi had let the sweet factory crumble, forcing him to take a secret loan from Kim Tate. Of course, having seen the Wild West Trailer we all know this is going to end in disaster but I enjoyed the family scenes this week, especially those which saw Jai try to comfort sister Priya. Although some viewers might have always questioned how the Sharmas managed to keep a rural sweet factory in profit anyway, we could have done with seeing a bit more of Manpreet’s struggle in the run up to this shock reveal about the business! Will it survive after next week’s shock events?

Fails

No More Mr Nice Guy

vlcsnap-2019-07-28-11h35m50s288This week marked the start of a new storyline for Matty as Emmerdale tackles toxic masculinity. This is a current and fascinating topic and Matty’s a believable character to get sucked into a world of lad culture and damaging behaviour – but is he the right choice or character? It’s completely understandable that Matty would want to impress these football lads, being that he’s not very secure in his own masculinity, but Matty seems to work best when he’s a bit fun and cheeky and his vulnerable scenes surrounding his transition have been good too. Knowing Matty isn’t always the most popular character, making him so vile so quickly with his new friends isn’t going to earn him any new fans and might his realisation about this new lads come too late in making him sympathetic. It’s a shame too this story has seen his other friendships drift away as he, Ellis and Vic were a great trio and his new venture with Ryan was an enjoyable change too. It’s a great topic for a story but it could damage Matty’s likeability.

The Beginning of the Affair

vlcsnap-2019-07-28-11h42m50s484This week Moira gave into all that lingering temptation – those drawn out hand touches, Nate wandering around in a towel – and reciprocated Nate’s snog in the barn. It seems Emmerdale are hinting that there’s a lot more to Nate than meets the eye, but even so, it’s Moira’s sudden sexual interest in the cardboard cut-out farm hand that’s hard to buy into. Moira and Cain have always had a rocky marriage but since he supported her through her breakdown over killing Emma, you’d think they’d be stronger than ever, but Emmerdale’s engineered attempts to give them strife seemed forced. Cain upping and leaving without a word, Moira continually pissed off, even when he’s trying to make amends? It all feels clumsy and shoe-horned when the acting skills of Natalie J Robb and Jeff Hordley could easily give power to well written strain. Even Natalie, who makes sexy look easy, is struggling to give the scenes with Nate any sort of spark. A roll in the hay with a buff and shirtless farmer should be electric but it’s plain awkward, especially when Nate’s attitude feels predatory and creepy. Not to mention that when Cain and Moira reconnected on screen this week, even in light of Moira’s wandering attention, their brief sparks could burn the farm down compared to Nate’s whimper. I’m dreading the rest of the affair if it’s more of the same – the payoff better be worth it.

 

Scene of the Week (3-7 June 2019)

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This week’s Scene of the Week choice was one of my easiest decisions in ages. An emotional montage full of beautiful performances and brimming with character and warmth? A big win all round. As Lisa Dingle’s funeral drew to a close, thankfully Lydia had rescued the personalised goodbye letters from the charity shop and handed them around to the gathered Dingles. What followed was a moving collection of scenes as each member of the family read their letter (with a lovely voice over from Jane Cox) with Lisa’s poignant advice and kind words ringing in their ears. From telling Charity to be happy, calling Sam her son, tricking Marlon with the rabbit stew recipe to helping to patch up Debbie and Cain’s relationship, this was a truly perfect scene. Each Dingle heard the words they most needed to hear and it was wonderful.

Fave or Fail? (25 Feb-1 March 2019)

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! Maya’s grooming of Jacob took more sickening turns, and Pete moved out of Rhona’s house.

Faves

Family Splits

vlcsnap-2019-03-03-14h15m28s306Once again it’s the fallout from Rhona’s accident which makes the top of my Emmerdale best bits. Since Emmerdale made the surprisingly magic decision to pair up Pete and Rhona, I’ve been impressed not only by the couple’s natural chemistry, but by the grown up and complex way they’ve explored their relationship. So often you see couples hook up with no thought for the impact on children or the longer term wishes of the individuals in the relationship and when characters have children, this just doesn’t feel very authentic. Pete and Rhona’s relationship has been different in that aspect as from early on, Pete’s relationship with Rhona’s son Leo has been important and well explored. The Pete and Leo relationship, which has seen Pete learn Makaton to bond with him and gain his trust, has been a big and heart-warming hit with viewers and this week we saw more of it as Pete and Rhona agreed to take a break. While both Rhona and Pete were reluctant to separate, Rhona knew they wanted different futures so the two of them made tough decisions while still making sad, longing looks at each other. There was plenty of awkwardness and Pete’s break with Rhona also meant a sad conversation with Leo. Emmerdale’s made this difficult situation feel believable and compelling – and that’s without even mentioning Rhona’s ongoing struggle with pain killer addiction. You can empathise with all parties and there’s a whole lot of tenderness involved. It’s a winner.

Crushed Hearts

vlcsnap-2019-03-03-14h24m24s506Watching Jacob and Liv’s budding relationship it hurts to know that without Maya messing with Jacob’s head, he and Liv could be a pretty sweet couple. Liv’s laid back personality fits with Jacob well, and his sensitivity means he’s attune to her feelings and understanding about her asexuality. Without Maya in the picture – they’d be good for each other. Therefore it’s heart breaking to watch them both trying, both liking each other, but with Jacob’s head all over the place. Maya’s grooming has a much wider impact than just on Jacob, she’s got everyone under the thumb and when her behaviour comes out, Jacob and Liv are going to be big casualties. This week’s scenes were tough watch, particularly seeing how Liv’s heart is on the line, and how much Jacob genuinely likes her and doesn’t want to hurt her, all the while trying to keep in Maya’s good books. Both young actors are giving vulnerable performances and you just know that the resolution to this story is going to crush them both.

Playing Hot and Cold

vlcsnap-2019-03-03-14h19m14s929With multiple stomach-churning developments this week, you can’t deny that Emmerdale are doing a successful job in showing just how twisted Maya is. This week was Jacob’s 16th Birthday and after an aborted attempt to sleep with him, Maya blew hot and cold in trying to keep him eager, while continuing to cover up their secret. Louisa Clein’s great performances make Maya maddening to watch, especially seeing how she manipulates everyone in Jacob’s life to keep them on side. Her innocent protestations show exactly how a predator like her operates and the authenticity of her part is what makes this story so horrifying to watch. It’s grim viewing to see her gleefully seduce a child and try and ignore reminders of his age, but if this story is prompting awareness of the hidden signs of grooming, then it can only be a good thing.

Fails

Custody of Kyle

vlcsnap-2019-03-03-14h22m30s647Kerry got dragged into the exhausting Dingle divide again this week as Debbie warned her Kyle wasn’t safe with Cain. On the surface we can all well believe Kerry would go gung-ho in protecting Kyle, but it’s a bit of a stretch when she’s barely interacted or mentioned him in a year. Of course, this is all just in preparation for Amy’s eventual return (another character forgotten until it’s convenient to remember her) but perhaps Emmerdale would have made it easier to invest had Kerry mentioned her family months ago, rather than this feeling like a rushed justification for Amy’s return. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad Kerry’s going to have more to do than just be a hanger-on of the Spencers, but this story has felt a bit hollow.

Short on Sympathy

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As the Cain “killed” Joe saga drags on, it’s a struggle to have any sympathy for any parties involved. On paper, believing your dad killed your fiancé should make you the ultimate victim, but with the Dingles standing by Cain and protesting his innocence, and Debbie refusing to tell daughter Sarah the truth, Debbie’s anger and upset falls on deaf ears. But as both Cain and Sarah criticise Debbie’s parenting, it’s difficult not to see their point. No matter how many scenes Debbie cries in, she doesn’t have the sympathy she ought to. Is this because she’s quite a sullen, cold character who’s difficult to like, whose crimes have been overlooked, or is it because the tables have turned? Debbie’s usually priority number one when it comes to the Dingles, but now Cain’s the person they’re protecting. It’s a struggle to truly sympathise with Cain being shut out by her too, because the accident of Joe’s death – while not his fault – came with months of cover up. Cain’s not likely to face justice and wants them all to move on, yet at times it’s as if he’s expecting Debbie to shrug off his role in Joe’s death like it’s nothing. This storyline is such a repetitive, endless mess with no conclusion in sight. If Graham’s involvement doesn’t come out soon I fear we won’t ever see the back of this.

Fave or Fail? (18-22 Feb 2019)

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! Emmerdale went back to its farming roots this week as a tractor accident had terrible consequences for Rhona.

Faves

Life Changing Accident

vlcsnap-2019-02-23-22h41m00s565Rhona suffered a nasty injury this week after a faulty tractor, driven by a worse-for-wear Pete, smashed into a barn. Following the accident, things escalated and Rhona was told she had fibroids in her womb and would need a hysterectomy to remove them. This immediately threw Rhona and Pete’s relationship into turmoil as they’d been living a laid-back romance and brushed aside more serious talks of the future. Not only did this story have the tension of who was to blame for the accident, but this also created interesting dilemmas in Pete and Rhona’s popular romance. Emmerdale haven’t utilised their farming setting in ages so it was great to see this used to explore conflict within a relationship. This story has already got fans speculating if and how Rhona and Pete could move forward, or whether it’s the end of the road for them with the kids factor being an insurmountable obstacle, and talking points like this are the backbone of great stories. It was great to see Pete find common ground in an unlikely heart-to-heart with Paddy and a welcome return of Zoe Henry’s stand-out performances. With a relationship on the line, Rhona’s painkiller addiction revisited and a hysterectomy affecting Rhona’s hormones, I can’t wait to see how this story progresses.

Friendship Focus

vlcsnap-2019-02-23-22h43m07s218Friendships and great partnerships can often be forgotten depending on the storyline, so I was thrilled to see so many Rhona and Vanessa scenes this week as their friendship is one of my favourites in Emmerdale. Although Rhona has support from Pete and her exes Paddy and Marlon, there’s nothing that quite matches the tenderness of her friendship with Vanessa. Emmerdale have dropped the ball in showing them together since they both became busy with their love lives, but I hope they don’t forget about them again. I loved their scenes before Rhona’s accident as they teased each other about their romances, but their emotional hospital scenes were a real highlight of the week. Going forward I hope Vanessa continues to be supportive of Rhona, especially now that her relationship with Pete has hit the rocks.

Serious Sharmas

vlcsnap-2019-02-23-22h43m50s007Manpreet’s story continued this week as she stole from the factory accounts and eventually came clean with Rishi. I’ve completely grown to love Manpreet’s role in the Sharma family, lifting them away from cartoonish stories and giving them grounded family drama. With suspicious Jai and Priya worried about her taking advantage of Rishi’s big heart, they took a tough love approach, but the writing for this storyline allow both sides their time to be understood. We can accept Manpreet’s struggle with her addiction and like her, but also empathise with Jai’s kids who are trying to look out for him. Involving Manpreet with the factory workers and seeing her socialise with colleague Liam also really helped to widen the Sharma’s circle as often their stories can feel isolated. I’m glad the Sharmas are getting to do more than mess around with fancy dress and Lycra, because they’re capable of the serious and heartfelt too.

Bonus Faves

  • I can’t let this week pass without mentioning how happy I was to see villagers actually at work! Manpreet’s first aid training, Liam’s GP surgery, the BnB hosting breakfast, factory and farming centred drama – it really felt like characters had a life, rather than waiting for the next story to drop. Using work to facilitate stories makes the village life feel far more authentic!
  • I was so happy to see Jimmy and Nicola reunited this week – and Jimmy throwing himself into make up sex was this couple to a T. Perfect.
  • Speaking of perfect, is there any couple more fun, more Carry On and more entertaining to watch than Bernice and Liam? Long live Cavastock, they are exactly what the doctor ordered!

Fails

Daddy Drama

vlcsnap-2019-02-23-22h43m27s515Paternity drama is ten a penny in soaps, but Emmerdale fell into predictable and irritating tropes again this week as Chas and Marlon continued to badger Paddy about finding out if Bear Wolf was his “real dad”. Having been unable to take Paddy’s word for it, Chas secretly sent off for a DNA result and endlessly discussed it with Marlon this week. Chas’s insistence was tiresome and unlikeable, particularly when Paddy rightly pointed out that biology made no difference to him, his dad was the man who raised him and Bear Wolf didn’t want to know. Chas nagging about this issue of “real”  was unnecessary. This story felt lazy, relying on dated concepts of biological ties being more significant, which coming from Chas didn’t work when she’s seen herself that Paddy’s been a far greater father to Aaron than his “real” dad Gordon. To make matters worse, after wearing Paddy down into reading the result, he found out Bear Wolf is his biological father meaning we’re destined to watch more of that awful character and this repetitive story. Oh boy.

No More Mr Nice Guy

vlcsnap-2019-02-23-22h40m15s142Ryan’s introduction to Emmerdale last year was a big hit with viewers but the countryside air must have got to him as this week we saw a nasty side to his personality that didn’t seem like the character we’d liked so much. Being an outsider in the village meant Ryan didn’t come with all the baggage and petulance that most soap characters have. He seemed like a cool, mature bloke, open minded with a sarcastic sense of humour – a refreshing change. This week, however, he reverted to a selfish sulky teenager and went as low as offering Dawn money for sex when his jealousy and insecurity took over. After oafish drayman Leon, Ryan was supposed to look empathetic, like a guy who’d just made a mistake, but his relationship with Dawn until this point had been compassionate and nuanced so his reaction to throw money at her was a big misstep. Exploring Ryan’s issues with his own self-worth and feeling insecure against Leon’s macho act needed the care and depth to do it justice. This week’s scenes didn’t have that, and it was difficult to empathise with him. Instead Ryan looked petty and cold and when it all came out, it was impossible not to be on Dawn’s side as Ryan’s remorse was lacking and he just seemed sulky. Even Ryan’s relationship with Charity, which had once felt fresh and different, is now repetitive. Like she does with Debbie, Charity’s begun to enable Ryan’s behaviour, mothering and interfering, and Ryan was once more independent than to tolerate that. Emmerdale need a serious rethink before they ruin Ryan’s character for good.

Fave or Fail? (21-25 Jan 2019)

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! Bob resorted to sleeping on a park bench this week and piggy delight Spamela ran riot.

Faves

Bob without Hope

vlcsnap-2019-01-26-17h03m25s399I have to commend Emmerdale in their speedy turn around in making Bob empathetic again. Bob was always a character I enjoyed but we really saw the worst of him during the Bob and Laurel debacle and I wondered whether I’d ever like his cheeky charm again. Cleverly Emmerdale has done a good job in showing down-on-his-luck Bob’s situation getting worse and worse and his pride holding him back from asking for help. Bob’s story has emotionally shown how quickly someone’s life can crumble and how even when working, they can find themselves destitute and homeless. With Bob feeling pressurised from all angles, he kept up a façade of normalcy so the warning signs were missed by friends and family. This story has built nicely and this week it came to a heart wrenching conclusion when Bob found himself in hospital. Performances by Tony Audenshaw and Lesley Dunlop were fantastic, helping to rebuild the pair’s fractious relationship and it was nice to see the ‘man club’ briefly reunite to help lift Bob’s spirits. Seeing Bob in such a bad way was a tough watch but I hope things don’t end there. Bob’s feelings of insecurity and inadequacy could highlight pertinent issues in male mental health struggles and as it’s one of their strongest stories for a while, it’s worth continuing.

Casual Becoming Serious

vlcsnap-2019-01-25-22h13m28s500I was firmly on the fence when it came to deciding who I wanted Victoria paired off with, but after umming and ahhing between the slow-burn friends turned lovers romance with her and Matty or the funny and endearing romance with Ellis, the latter might just have swayed me. This week saw Vic panic she was pregnant and despite their no-strings arrangement, Ellis seemed ready to step up to the plate if needed. The scenes were a lot of fun as the whole family got involved, but the resolution was much sadder for Victoria. While she knew Ellis and her were too new a couple and too different to have a kid, she still longs to be a mother after her failed attempts with Adam. Actress Isabel Hodgins gave a hugely emotive performance as Vic wept for the negative result and the realisation that all those issues about Adam, motherhood and her future were still unresolved. I like that there’s been no quick fix for her and that she’s still struggling in the fall out, even with lovely Ellis on her arm. As for these two? I really love them together and I actually think they could work well in the long term, even if Robert’s machinations might cause problems. It might be too soon for babies, but happiness for Victoria is top of my wishlist.

More Manpreet

vlcsnap-2019-01-26-17h06m54s257The Sharmas are some of Emmerdale’s most underused characters, but with Manpreet moving into the village, I’m hopeful we might see more of all of them soon. Manpreet has such a breezy, fun loving attitude to life and she’s a welcome addition to our screens. No only does she seem smitten with loveable Rishi but she’s got great chemistry with Jai and Priya too. This week saw her consider moving closer to Emmerdale for work, and the siblings tried to get Rishi to ask her to move in with them, a plan which eventually played off. Manpreet is a nice dose of the ‘everyday’ rather than a newbie destined for villainy or outrageous behaviour, but maybe it’s because of that she’s fitted in well. I can only hope this leads to more screentime for the Sharmas and less sitcom side stories!

Real Talk

vlcsnap-2019-01-25-22h15m41s984When Moira returned to the village this week after a brief trip to see Nana Barton, she found reassurance in a surprising chat with Aaron. In the midst of this bloated Cain and Joe story, Moira’s lost her way as a character and it’s hard to remember her as the down to earth farmer she was. Luckily, this scene with Aaron in the café was a welcome return to that, with Aaron helping her to see that despite Cain’s nightmare behaviour he really does love her. There’s nothing I enjoy more in Emmerdale that characters with shared experiences having a chat and if anyone knows about nightmare husbands then it’s Aaron. With him and Moira reflecting on the strained relationship at Butler’s farm, it just made me long for the scene partners we don’t usually see. Aaron and Moira have a shared history and they’re family, but we barely see them together. Conversations like these are a good way of not only keeping onscreen relationships fresh but they ground the characters in some much-needed reality.

Fail

Murder Mind Games

vlcsnap-2019-01-26-17h09m48s881The “Cain murdered Joe” plot is so messy I’m struggling to find any real enjoyment from it, despite loving most of the characters on Team Cain. With both Cain and Moira being killers (or “killers” in Cain’s case) the arguments in Butlers have felt far too blasé and seem like a game of murder Top Trumps. Moira’s reactions have been cold and detached like a bizarre mob wife, willing to support Cain regardless, but surely even Moira, with Emma’s blood on her hands would struggle with this? Even Faith, whose love for her son is high, seems willing to overlook what he’s done, despite the fact by the end of Joe’s tenure in Emmerdale he was liked by most of the Dingles. Only Matty was willing to acknowledge that this was a terrible crime, but even he was berated by Moira and co for betraying the family, even though his reaction seemed like the only sane one between them. Debbie’s barely frosty, chilled out enough to be cosy with Faith who hasn’t made her support of Cain a secret and this seems completely out of character when she was willing to leave the village for less a few years ago. With everyone unfussed about Cain being a murderer, or desperate to believe his innocent, there are zero stakes. What’s the point? What will change for Cain if Graham reveals the truth or if Joe rocks up – apart from Debbie cracking a smile maybe? And with Graham undoubtedly set to feature heavily when Kim returns, it doesn’t seem like he’ll be found out any time soon. If Emmerdale were unwilling to commit to Cain being completely destroyed and disowned in a story that saw him go down for a crime he didn’t commit then they shouldn’t have bothered. I can’t see a resolution here that will satisfy, I just hope we can forget this story ever happened ASAP.

Fave or Fail? (14-18 Jan 2019)

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! 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.

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!