Fave or Fail? (23-27 March 2020)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! This week saw Jamie and Belle reignite their affair and Brenda’s mistake had terrible consequences for Dan.

Faves

A Triple Christening

vlcsnap-2020-03-29-10h01m01s706There was a lovely community feel to Monday’s episode, as three christenings took place at the church and with the current real-world situation, it had the warmth and family spirit we need right now. The scenes also saw a welcome return of Zak, Aaron and Liv and an amusing set of “The Godfather” impressions as the men tried to out-do each other. It’s not often we see so many villagers gathered in one place and with all of the babies having bittersweet arrivals, it was nice to see the happy occasion, and despite Chas and Paddy’s tensions and Wendy being her usual self, the feel-good event was a nice watch.

The New Love Affair

vlcsnap-2020-03-29-09h58m37s325Jamie and Belle got it on again this week as their simmering tensions lead to a row, and then a shag, in the middle of a veterinary call out. With longing looks and repressed feelings, Jamie and Belle’s affair is certainly one of the most watchable in recent times, helped by their natural chemistry. It also helps that while the stakes are high in terms of Kim’s involvement and Jamie’s custody problems, viewers on the whole aren’t that invested in Belle and Ellis or Jamie and Andrea as couples. It’s not a Nate and Moira situation where their affair ruins a beloved couple. This also comes as a bit of a drawback as it means it’s hard to believe Belle wouldn’t just ditch Ellis (whose been written as a wet weekend since the actor change) and Jamie come up with a long term custody plan, and end things with Andrea. However, a slow burn affair of forbidden feelings can be a good watch when you want to see the two together, and if it stops Jamie whining for five minutes then even better.

Brenda’s Big Mistake

vlcsnap-2020-03-29-09h59m40s620Brenda made a dangerous mistake this week by not labelling her ingredients correctly on her café food, leading to a horrific allergic reaction for Dan. This storyline already had subtle build up previously when Brenda gave Dan vegan food with nuts in unaware of his allergy and he suffered a minor reaction. This week however, Dan went into anaphylactic shock and now is experiencing paralysis, sending Brenda into turmoil. After initially trying to cover up her mistake, Brenda admitted what she’d done to Dan and his family after a prompting from Eric. While a story that centres on the Spencers might not be everyone’s favourite idea, this story has been really effective so far, showing how a tiny action can escalate into something so serious which impacts many characters. Not every soap story needs extreme behaviour or guns, a smaller story like this is like a classic soap story which can have just as many twists and turns. I’m glad it’s also given a focus to older characters like Eric and Brenda who are often underused and underrated.

Fail

Too Much Too Soon

vlcsnap-2020-03-29-10h01m47s193This week, after sleeping together, Victoria ended things with Luke again, telling him it was too soon to get into a relationship. As Luke begged for another go and Wendy tried to get involved, it felt like a serious case of déjà vu. I imagine the intention here is to make Luke and Victoria the couple you root for, and to give Victoria time and space to recover from her rape trauma, but with their reunion boringly inevitable, these efforts to drag it out seem pointless. Vic, Wendy, Luke and baby Harry are already participating in the world’s most unlikely and icky happy families but the fact Emmerdale have gone this route undermines any efforts to make Victoria’s aftermath believable. When she talks of her struggle to move on, to feel anything during sex, you can’t help but think had Luke (her rapist’s brother) not been her chosen partner, this story would have held the weight and emotion it deserves. Instead, this is too tacky to get involved with.

With Emmerdale now showing only three episodes a week rather than six, The Woolie Weekly will be posting fortnightly, to cover a “week’s worth” of episodes as they were originally intended to air. Next blog update will be Sunday 12th April.

Fave or Fail? (30 Dec 2019- 3 Jan 2020)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! A brand new year began and two new babies made their mark.

Faves

Dad Dilemma

vlcsnap-2020-01-04-15h37m03s635The most compelling story this week was David and Jacob continuing to struggle in the aftermath of the baby’s arrival on their doorstep. Although David had made an agreement to be the baby’s father no matter what, things were tense as they waited for the paternity results. It was revealed, quite surprisingly, that David is the father of Maya’s baby and there was a flood of relief and discomfort. As Jacob attempted to return to a normal teenage life, David struggled, not knowing if he could accept his son with everything Maya had done. There were some moving and thought provoking scenes as David battled his conscience and spoke to Eric about giving the child up for adoption before ultimately realising he did have the captivity to love the boy in spite of everything Maya had done to their family. This story has had interesting developments and I almost wish the struggle had lasted longer even if it had made David look heartless. I’m also intrigued as to how or if this will impact on Jacob’s recovery. So far he seems pretty unaffected by Theo, especially

Baby Drama

vlcsnap-2020-01-04-15h39m00s782It was baby central in Emmerdale this week as it wasn’t just David dealing with a newborn but Victoria too, as little Harry Sugden was born. After Victoria’s traumatic year, the birth of Harry was initially played for laughs but when he came into the world, Vic was panicked she would see Lee’s face and be unable to love him. Of course Vic fell in love at first sight and her world has been brightened by his arrival. There’s still the Wendy issue although I’m holding out a possibly futile hope that they’re going to let Wendy go full on Emma Barton style villain and embrace it rather than be the victim. This story though has been a welcome lift for Vic and it was nice to see her reunited with her friends for support as well as the addition of Aaron’s believable struggles with Harry’s arrival.

Liam and Leyla

vlcsnap-2020-01-04-15h38m26s238Too soon – you might argue! And I’d probably agree with you there. I was a bit fan of Bernice and Liam’s relationship so this rush to pair him up with smitten Leyla does seem too soon. Bernice has only been out the door five minutes. However, reservations aside there’s no doubt they did make the perfect comedy pair this week – although admittedly I find Liam’s scenes almost always brilliant. This week he stepped in to help with a kids party at the salon, impressing everyone with his unicorn hair and gel nail skills. This was the perfect acting role for Liam and we all know how much he loves the am dram. Leyla of course couldn’t contain her feelings but this set Liam off into a path of confusion. These too could be a good couple given time, but even if there’s no viable romance, they’ve at least proved how much good fun they can be on screen.

Jamie Bites Back

vlcsnap-2020-01-04-15h36m40s558Not long after his arrival, downtrodden Jamie retreated into dullsville and for the son of one of Emmerdale’s most formidable characters, he didn’t have much personality. However this week saw Jamie grow a backbone and gain a bit more bite as he began to pick up the pieces of his shattered life. First it was Graham he confronted and later Rhona as he tried to get her out of the vets by revealing her shocking behaviour to retrieve Millie’s DNA. There’s been something pretty self righteous and unlikeable about Rhona of late and it made an interesting change to see Jamie take action. With him being one of the suspects in Graham’s murder, it seems hopeful we might hold onto this more forthright Jamie for a little longer.

Mates Before Dates

vlcsnap-2020-01-04-15h38m04s230Kerry got a spot of the green eyed monster this week as she noticed Mandy flirting with Dan. I’m not opposed to the idea of those two as a couple but with Kerry and Mandy forging a friendship it doesn’t look like that’s on the immediate cards. While some viewers are finding it hard to move on from what Kerry did last year to laugh at her latest shenanigans, at least Mandy is making her more entertaining. This week they both got smashed and woke up in the barn, forgetting all about their salon duties. I think less is more with these two but their fraught love hate friendship could work a treat in the salon.

9 Reasons Emmerdale’s 90s plane crash is still great TV – and what tips can modern episodes take?

Earlier this year ITV3 gave long term Emmerdale fans a real treat by airing classic episodes of the show weekday afternoons. Starting in 1989 as the Tates arrived and made their mark on Home Farm, the classic episodes have been a great watch for old and new fans alike.

Recently the infamous 1993 plane crash aired, an event which changed Emmerdale forever, and currently airing 1994 episodes, ITV3 viewers are reliving the aftermath. The plane crash was a huge event for Emmerdale and for the soap genre, but those who watched it on ITV3 recently will know it still stands the test of time.

So what made the plane crash so good? And what could modern day Emmerdale take from its success? Here are a few of its successes that would benefit any big modern-day stunt.

1. Losses that impact almost everyone

vlcsnap-2019-12-21-15h32m10s283.pngFor its time, the plane crash had a huge death toll. These days in soap a big death count can often feel like a desperate ratings grab rather than something with purpose, but the key to the deaths after the 1993 crash were their overall impact. Each death had a ripple effect on almost every family, rather than just shock value and meaningless casualties.

Kim Tate lost her horses, later leading to an emotional breakdown over her guilt for grieving when she hadn’t lost a family member; the Sugdens lost Leonard (Annie’s husband) and Mark (Joe’s stepson) – affecting Rachel and Joe’s relationship in particular;  Lynn lost her house; Elizabeth Pollard’s death impacted her children and husband Eric; and Archie – a friend and babysitter to Nick and Lynn and Seth’s dear pal.

Deaths like Archie and Mark felt particularly cruel – good guys in the wrong place, at the wrong time – and Elizabeth’s demise triggered a whole new path for Eric as he tried to evade Michael’s suspicions that he’d murdered Elizabeth. I don’t know if these characters were chosen for the chop because they were unpopular or seen as easy fodder, but the impact of their deaths ricocheted around the village. Compare that to say, the death of sweet natured Ruby in 2015’s helicopter stunt, whose – despite working for years in the café – only managed to bother the Spencer unit.

2. A long-lasting aftermath

vlcsnap-2019-12-21-15h28m58s883Weeks on from the plane crash and the aftermath of the disaster was still being felt in Emmerdale. Not just in the injuries and destruction and characters reacting to the trauma, but longer-term problems arising.

Journalists, interfering tourists, insurance issues, job loses – the aftermath managed to create stories of its own. While the night of the crash itself spanned three episodes, giving the scenes an unbearable claustrophobic tension, the aftermath continued for weeks, with Annie Sugden not waking from her coma until April 1994!

With modern day Emmerdale airing six episodes a week, there’s plenty of opportunity to prolong the tension of a life-changing stunt. Keep those characters in peril a little longer and make that stunt count!

3. Life changing injures

vlcsnap-2019-12-21-15h30m18s392One of Emmerdale’s biggest shock moments after the plane crash has got to be the discovery of Chris Tate in the rubble of the wine bar. Episodes later his father, Frank Tate, would learn that Chris’s injuries meant he would never walk again. Long term fans will know Chris best as the bitter, wheelchair using businessman. No miracle cures for Chris! This was a huge change for the character and one rarely seen in soap these days.

Granted, the explosion at Mill Cottage in 2016 saw Nicola’s arm become paralysed and it took three years for some soapy magic physio to give her arm back its movement, but that’s the closest recent Emmerdale has come to a long-term injury. Even the victims of the Hotten Bypass were up and about within a few episodes, and Debbie escaped the helicopter crash without much more than a scratch. If Emmerdale are prepared to take the risk of a long term injury, then that would raise the stakes and create interesting future storylines.

4. Impact on the children

Emmerdale 1st February 1994 - YouTubeTrauma rarely affects kids in soaps, which is probably a good thing considering how dramatic their everyday lives are. Even now, two years on, Emmerdale has just begun a story about Arthur’s trauma following his dad’s death, but what about someone like Kyle, caught up in the helicopter crash of 2015?

In 90s Emmerdale the children also felt the impact of the plane crash, even though some of them weren’t directly involved. There was little Robert, crying because of his fears that the school was haunted by the bodies of the deceased, young Alice trapped under the rubble for days, Scott wetting the bed and drawing violent cartoons – even needing counselling.

Getting the children involved is a great way to widen the effects of the stunt and gives it that authentic feel. With a modern cast full of great young actors, trauma is definitely worth exploring.

5. Real world grounding

vlcsnap-2019-12-21-15h35m26s168As mentioned above, the great thing about the Emmerdale plane crash in the 90s was the way they made it feel so real. It wasn’t just a stunt taking place in its own little bubble. There were news crews, radio reports, even tourists coming to look at the damage.

In more modern times Emmerdale have made use of real ITV news presenters and that adds to an impressive impactful feeling. When big and explosive stunts cause death and destruction it seems only right it should be grounded with an “outside” perspective of the real world and not just something that affects a small few in the village.

6. Helpful new characters

vlcsnap-2019-12-21-15h27m25s524It’s always tricky introducing new families into a soap, especially when familiar characters and families are so beloved. During the plane crash, Emmerdale had recently introduced the very middle-class McAllister family and Londoner family the Windsors were still bedding in.

Bernard McAllister was able to offer his help as a doctor and the Windsors were right by Kim’s stables when they went up in flames. These scenes made the newcomers both useful and heroic, giving them real purpose and embedding them into the village community. Rather than it feeling like these characters were used just to make them likeable and putting them in danger for that reason, it worked instead to throw them into the action from early on. Could this be a good method of introducing new families in future?

7. Missing characters with fates unknown

vlcsnap-2019-12-21-15h26m26s787With the aftermath of the plane crash spread over multiple episodes, there were lots of questions from both characters and the audience. Not every villager was accounted for – some were missing, injured and some we just hadn’t seen.

There was something especially exciting not knowing the fates of certain characters. There was Seth, for example, missing and not seen for days – most of the villagers assumed he was dead. Chris, whose shock reveal came days later, Nick, who the audience had seen blinded and wandering the moors alone looking for Archie, Mark whose watch was found before his body.

With the mix of characters in the dark and the audience left in suspense, this was a clever way of keeping the stakes high. Much like the way Emmerdale left us wondering which of the three Bypass crash characters were going to die, but on a much larger scale, perhaps future stunts shouldn’t rush to give us the whereabouts of missing and injured characters.

8. Mystery and panic

vlcsnap-2019-12-21-15h28m43s640Disasters and stunts set at night always have more of a dramatic feel to them. Visibility is poor, characters get lost and confused and panicked and generally there is more danger. An aspect of the plane crash that worked successfully was the mystery involved. Only as time passed and debris emerged did the villagers even know a plane had crashed.

The characters were drip fed information through finding parts of the plane and tension was high thanks to there being blockages in the road, confusion and the power being down. It’s not every day you can crash a plane on a village, but adding more darkness and confusion to a disaster like this could be a great way of increasing tension.

9. The redemption of “bad” characters and morally grey actions

vlcsnap-2019-12-21-15h25m58s913Life-changing disasters are a good way to make character reassess or have a change of heart and we’ve seen this plenty of times in modern episodes too.

During the plane crash we saw Frank Tate take charge to try and rescue the trapped and injured and he even found a dead baby – a grim detail that shook Frank to the core. The crash bought Frank and Kim back together again and managed to soften him into someone who was more than just a cold-hearted tycoon.

But the plane crash didn’t bring out the good side of everyone. Attention grabbing Lynn Whiteley tried to take the limelight and sold sob stories about the victims to the papers and bitter and estranged young mum Elsa tried to use Nick’s injuries against him in the battle for custody of their daughter. Almost every character – even those who weren’t personally involved – was plunged into a story that was related to the aftermath, or affected by the plane crash, and that’s exactly what huge stunts should be used for – maximum consequences, maximum drama

So, a plane can’t crash into the village every year, there can’t be a headline grabbing jaw-dropping explosion each October, but current Emmerdale can take the best elements of the aftermath, even in a small way to increase the impact of the stunts they do choose to run with.

Fave or Fail? (23-27 Sep 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! This week Millie’s accident lead to a paternity twist and Harriet was shunned by her so-called friends.

Faves

Harriet Bites Back

vlcsnap-2019-09-29-12h14m54s375Harriet had a bit of a tough week as she turned 50 and her relationship with Will came out in front of all the congregation. They’ve kinda wasted what could have been a delicious slowburn of love-turned-hate-turned-love between Harriet and Will (for a vicar and an ex drug lord they are actually very dull) but still, the hypocritical villagers decided to shun her for this relationship (baffling). Nevertheless a highlight this week was seeing a downtrodden Harriet confront Moira and ask her what we’ve all been wondering – what the hell is wrong with her? As Moira let rip, Harriet bit back, reminding her that she knew all about what had happened with Emma. It was less of a threat and more of a reminder of her double standards and it was good to see a Harriet that comes back fighting. Really, I’d have liked to have seen Harriet drag each and every villager for their hypocrisy, but this tense moment at Butler’s was the first time I’ve really thought “Yes Harriet! You tell her!”.

Dingles Reunited

vlcsnap-2019-09-29-12h14m14s806The kiss secret was out this week and Zak and Faith become enemy number one among the Dingles. Despite there being a complete overreaction to the kiss that meant nothing to either party, both Belle and Chas seemed to take the strongest objection to their betrayal. Thankfully the over the top outrage and bluster blew over quickly and Zak sought to repair the damage with Belle by explaining what really went on. Eventually Belle was won round by Zak’s honestly and his enduring love for Lisa. As the two shared a hug, united by missing Lisa, Zak apologised for upsetting Belle and asking for another chance. It was lovely to see the Dingles get some more screen time related to Lisa’s death as we haven’t seen much of how they are coping lately and Zak and Belle’s father-daughter relationship brings a lot of warmth to Wishing Well. It’s nice to see a family having a cuddle every now and then!

Doug’s Drugs

vlcsnap-2019-09-29-12h16m29s776Doug’s drug storyline continues to be one of the strangest stories in Emmerdale but it has its entertaining moments too. As the story ran alongside the exposure of Will’s drug trafficking past (the tonal shifts were a little jarring if I’m honest), Doug began to panic that his new hobby had grown out of control – literally! Doug now has his very own farm, but as he sweated about the police catching up with him, Rodney did his best to reassure him to continue. Seeing straight laced Doug unravelling is pretty amusing, although I wonder how long this story can continue before the laughs dry out.

Fails

Moira’s Meltdown

vlcsnap-2019-09-29-12h15m45s370Just what is happening to Moira? Her behaviour has become so unlikeable and erratic that fans are even jokily speculating her personality change is down to a brain tumour or an evil twin. This week saw her repetitive affair with Nate get almost busted again and discover that Matty had been smoking weed. This hit hard on the anniversary of Holly’s death and was even worse when she discovered Harriet’s latest love interest is a former drug trafficker. As Moira‘s rage exploded, she outed their relationship to the entire Harvest Festival, and Harriet’s reputation was shattered. While I think the villagers’ reactions bordered on the ridiculous (they’ve all done bad things) it was Moira’s response that did the most damage to her character. Sure we can reason that the pressure of the affair is getting to her, but it’s still not clear her motives for cheating in the first place. She’s off with everyone who speaks to her at the moment and it was only in those scenes with Cain by Holly’s grave that we saw glimmers of the Moira we know and love but even that seemed fleeting. Can Moira ever regain her popularity – or at least feel recognisable – again?

Who’s the Daddy?

vlcsnap-2019-09-29-12h13m54s663Andrea and Graham spent much of the week having the same conversation around Millie’s hospital bedside this week as they wrestled with their secret past and the question of Mille’s paternity. Viewers, however, might have been wrestling with a bigger question about the timeline of these characters and the baffling way it all ties together. Graham’s backstory is a muddle of different producers and cast changes so his engaging enigmatic early days seem a distant memory. Without an interest in Graham (and without Joe, Emmerdale are really trying their hardest to keep him relevant), all relies on newbie Andrea, who honestly feels too new to care too much about. It also requires us to see some sort of bristling tension between the pair, which until Monday didn’t really exist so the whole twist felt like an afterthought cobbled together plot based on fans’ speculation. This twist isn’t helped by Jamie, who has become a colourless drip and is unbelievable as a husband and a father, nor the painfully on-the-nose dialogue from Granny Kim who has now taken to her position as grandmother with aplomb. Had Andrea and Graham expressed sizzling chemistry or lingering looks throughout their time at Home Farm perhaps we could take an interest in this oncoming family explosion but the idea that Andrea was sleeping with both 17 year old Jamie and a drunken Graham at the same time is all a bit grim.

Fave or Fail? (9-13 Sep 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! This week saw the end of Marlon’s marriage to Jessie and Mandy made her return.

Faves

Marlon’s Marriage Breakdown

vlcsnap-2019-09-14-11h15m23s499Unlucky in love Marlon can add another failed marriage to his list as this week his relationship with Jessie came to an end after discovering she’d cheated with Al. There’s always been something mismatched and ill-fitting about Marlon and Jessie as a couple, despite Emmerdale’s hard push to make them work, but ironically, it’s been the breakdown of their marriage that’s been the most watchable. From their disagreements about money, lack of communication and openness between them, the cracks had already begun to appear before Al stuck his nose in. Some couples can come back from a fling, but not Marlon and Jessie. As the pair hashed out their problems in a well written and well acted scene, Marlon acknowledged that he deserved better than being a consolation prize and Jessie deserved not to be tied down to a place and a marriage that didn’t fulfil her. There was a real rawness to Mark Charnock’s performance that made Marlon’s decision both heart breaking and somehow satisfying and their marriage troubles made a surprisingly engaging story throughout the week.

Master Manipulator

vlcsnap-2019-09-14-11h19m53s817That Al is a nasty piece of work, isn’t he? But oh enjoyably so! This week Al continues to rile things up between Marlon and Jessie and undermine their marriage. And he managed it, with his smooth talking and suave confidence. He is already shaping up to be a villain we’ll love to hate. He had Jessie in the palm of his hand, wafting a job offer in her face and then landing her in it with Marlon, only to swoop in and seduce her. Al’s scenes with Jessie showed a long standing chemistry and the way he exposed Marlon’s insecurities so deftly was painful yet engaging to watch. What Al’s role will be like post-Jessie and without Ellis, it’s too soon to tell, but Al could easily be the new puppet master of the village and it’s about time we had a smart new villain like that.

She’s Back

vlcsnap-2019-09-14-11h13m36s202Mandy’s only been back for two episodes so far but viewers have been promised a longer stint this time after her very very fleeting appearance earlier in the year. Mandy is exactly the spark of life Emmerdale needs at the moment to inject a bit of fun and mayhem into the Dingles and whatever secrets her and son Vinny are hiding could bring even more trouble to their door. Bringing back beloved characters is always a challenge, but with Emmerdale still Dingle central there should be plenty of familiar faces for Mandy to reacquaint herself with. Lisa Riley’s enthusiasm for Emmerdale really rubs off on her performance and she already feels right at home. Bring it on!

Cannabis Club

vlcsnap-2019-09-14-11h13m54s681In the show that gives us endless scenes of the dire Moira and Nate affair, we need some light relief to save us from the tedium. That came in the form of Doug and his drugs again this week. Duncan Preston has some brilliantly comic facial expressions but Doug’s luck ran out when Pollard caught him lighting up this week. Rather than blackmail him into being his skivvy or similar, Eric wanted in on the action (for his dodgy hip of course) and had soon roped in Rodney to join in this new cannabis club. It’s nice to see the older villagers up to no good with a story that’s silly and fun.

Fails

Pointless Problem

vlcsnap-2019-09-14-11h11m32s253Moping Harriet got right on my nerves this week after Dawn revealed to Tracy that “Taz” is actually Will, her dad and Harriet’s partner. Harriet and the rest of the family acted as if this was a grave secret akin to a murder and the vicar was distraught at the thought of their new relationship (and history) being public knowledge. But…why? This dilemma and Harriet’s stress over it made little sense. This is a village where almost everyone has got off with a murderer or ex-con, would they really care that Harriet has fallen back in love with the guy she had been in love with undercover? Sure, he stalked her, and squashed her with a coffin, but if Harriet’s moved on, why would the villagers have an issue? This is, after all, the same Harriet who used to be in a serious relationship with notorious bad guy Cain Dingle. As if anyone would care who she chooses to be with! It makes no logical sense to make a mountain out of this molehill.

Fave or Fail? (3-7 June 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! As the village gathered to say goodbye to Lisa, we also saw the arrival of new Tates, Jamie’s wife and daughter.

Faves

Weird and Wonderful Funeral

vlcsnap-2019-06-08-21h08m50s152The village said their final goodbye to Lisa Dingle this week as her funeral took place. The first half of Thursday’s episode saw a more traditional service as the villagers gathered to pay their respects, but with Charity seeing out Lisa’s final requests, there was some Dingle craziness to be had in the form of a pig race. It was a lovely community moment and a bittersweet scene of outrageous fun which truly felt like classic Emmerdale. Of course, after the humour came the sorrow again as the family received their letters in an incredibly moving montage but the double episodes were a heartfelt tribute to the matriarch of the Dingles.

Victoria Shares Her Plight

vlcsnap-2019-06-08-21h16m53s983Victoria returned home to the village with Robert this week but the reality of her trauma soon set in. Uncomfortable about returning to her own house, Vic stayed with Robert and Aaron but tensions soon arose when she revealed she was keeping her baby. Vic was adamant in her choice, but Robert struggled to cope feeling helpless and guilty, and tried pressuring Vic into a decision. However the intention, Emmerdale’s writing when it came to abortion felt clumsily pro-life and that’s something which continues to grate, but Isabel’s performances continued to impress. Despite their strained relationship and opposing coping strategies, it’s been good to see more of Vic and Robert as a family and the divisive issues between them felt authentic. Also this week Victoria told friends about her attack and her scenes with Marlon especially were appropriately tender and lovely. It was good too to see mentions of empathy from the village’s other rape survivors, adding again to Emmerdale’s renewed sense of community.

Hiding Something?

vlcsnap-2019-06-08-21h08m27s638This week as Sam found comfort in Lisa’s final letter to him, both him and Lydia realised how important their relationship was and Sam wanted them to stop stalling and set a date for the wedding. It’s been years since Sam and Lydia got engaged but just as the touching moment seemed to indicate we might get a kooky and cute wedding, a look passed Lydia’s face. Is she hiding something? Back at the start of the year hinted there was more to come from Lydia but we’re only just seeing hints of it now. Lydia’s one of Emmerdale’s greatest recent creations and her Sam and Samson make the perfect quirky family. While on the one hand I’d love to see them settle down and be the new stable couple of Wishing Well, I’m also welcome to seeing more of them and that means drama. So what is going on in Lydia’s head? It can’t be a reluctance to marry Sam per se, maybe it’s related to her past. And if this means more Lydia – then I’m a happy viewer!

A New Era of Tates

vlcsnap-2019-06-08-21h18m53s701This week two new arrivals upset Kim Tate and it was quickly revealed that Andrea and little Millie are in fact Jamie’s wife and daughter. Say what? If you can get over the fact that Jamie, who is meant to be 22, has a family already, why the hell didn’t he mention them to anyone, not even Rhona? Something seems suss there! Still, Millie’s adorable and Andrea, though it’s an ask to believe she’s married to Jamie, already has a fun and bitchy antagonism with Kim. There’s definite promise there, far more believable than the attempt to make Kim and Megan enemies. Filling Home Farm with family seems like the best way forward as it doesn’t work so empty and isolated. But is there really much longevity in Andrea and Jamie as a pairing? However things work out between the two, Kim’s miles better with these kinds of stories than the outlandish mafia style characterisation she was receiving previously.

Fails

Kiss Chase

vlcsnap-2019-06-08-21h10m19s849Ugh. Really, David and Leyla? Again? If there are a worse parenting team in the village right now I’d be surprised because these two sure know how to make Jacob’s life a hundred times worse. Thank god for Eric who gave them a dressing down this week for shagging while Jacob’s head is wrecked. Really though, what are they playing at? I really thought this storyline might finally see David reach a turning point, that we might see some maturity and responsibility from him but nope, same old David. If his and Leyla irresponsible handling of the police wasn’t bad enough, this was peak selfishness. And why would Leyla even go there again, after everything? I could more understand if it had come from a place of grief but the pair’s self involvement was so tasteless and short sighted. If Jacob’s plight hasn’t made them grow up, what will?

Going in Circles?

vlcsnap-2019-06-08-21h14m00s534Emmerdale’s most important and controversial storyline is in danger of losing all momentum, as the Maya and Jacob story seems to have been derailed in favour for more twists and turns. From Maya’s disappearance and the flashback reveals we were all on tenterhooks desperate to see Maya’s downfall, but as time has dragged on, we seem to have lost the main crux of the story. While troubled Jacob is stuck in repetitive scenes where he rages against the injustice of being kept away from Maya, all the progression the police enquiry is happening off screen. Jacob’s loved ones continue to stretch believable by doing stupid and desperate things in the name of protecting him, but this far along in the story it’s becoming tiresome and sluggish. Emmerdale were onto a winner in the immediate fallout of the abuse discovery but now the pacing seems to have been diverted into stalling tactics. Even more bizarrely, obvious routes for this story to take, to show us its impact, have been avoided. The other teens, Liv, Gabby, Noah and Leanna are all but absent, Jessie – who should be playing a key role is AWOL and Liam’s reaction to the news has barely been touched on. If this story only impacts on the Metcalfes when all is said and done it’ll be a complete waste.

Fave or Fail? (29 April-3 May 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! Jamie Tate arrived this week and Harriet discovered Dawn’s dad Will is alive.

Faves

Twists and Revelations

vlcsnap-2019-05-04-22h06m27s987After last week’s episodes left us with massive unanswered questions, we were given time to speculate and theorise about what really did happen to Maya on that fateful night out. As the three women were eaten up with guilt, they attempted to shut down any suspicion and tried to cover up the mystery of Maya’s swift exit from Emmerdale, by getting rid of her things and burning Priya’s bloodied scarf. In typical ‘whodunnit’ style, there are lots of meaningful looks and panicked expressions and double-meanings in the dialogue, but rather than drag out the suspense, it’s been a fun way to keep us guessing. Even better this week was the surprise move of getting Liv involved and watching the four of them deal with all these revelations tumbling out and the moral dilemmas involved. With Eric and David both caught up and distracted by the crash drama this week, there was less pressure on the women to lie about Maya’s whereabouts, but anticipation is high for next week’s flashbacks!

New Boy in Town

vlcsnap-2019-05-04-22h09m44s827After much teasing James “Jamie” Tate arrived in the village this week, arriving smack bang in the middle of a crash that hospitalised Eric Pollard. Jamie’s card was already marked being the son of villainous Kim Tate, so the villagers weren’t prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt and David even went as far as punching him in the face! Not only was sweet natured sensitive Jamie a breath of fresh air in comparison to his cartoonish mother, and gave her character a dose of humanity, but he is a different sort of character for the village too. Jamie’s good and apologetic manner is pretty different from a village full of crooks and liars and it seems likely he won’t be clean cut forever, but so far impressions are good. I’m glad Emmerdale gave him an entrance that got him involved in multiple stories and fingers crossed this means he won’t struggle in the same isolated way Joe did and he lives up to the Tate name!

Stubborn Fools

vlcsnap-2019-05-04-22h13m13s822Faith and Eric’s communication breakdown was definitely a thumbs down to begin with this week. Their distance seemed to have sprung from nowhere and before long, Faith was ditching Eric to spend time with letchy Bear. When the two shared a kiss I was ready to riot, but then things changed. After the kiss Faith was adamant that Eric is the man for her and once she discovered his accident she was distraught and we really saw the depth of her feelings for Eric. Faith’s been pretty cold and unlikeable lately and this storyline was in danger of throwing away Faith and Eric’s lovely on screen relationship, but it swerved the predictable route of Faith throwing everything away on a new bit of attention. Sally Dexter’s performances this week answered all my fears and showed Faith’s vulnerable and huge heart which helped to soften her harsh selfishness. She didn’t just feel guilty, she was also terrified about losing the man she loves. Eric’s reveal that he’s losing his hearing helped explain what felt like contrived distance between them, but it did offer a chance for Faith’s secret kiss to come out at the wrong moment. I really hope they don’t go down the tired route of Faith getting tempted, or the kiss reveal ruining Eric and Faith for good.

Councillor King

vlcsnap-2019-05-04-22h10m59s435It was a surprise election result victory for Nicola this week as she was elected as a new councillor in the village. Unfortunately for Nicola, this was straight after she’d decided she’d lost and slagged off all of her constituents! This was an enjoyable, light-hearted story in the week, one which has a lot of potential going forward as the power goes to Nicola’s head and she has to deal with complaining mere mortals like Doug and his potholes! The fun factor for the this story was that it felt like a classic soap story, bringing a community feel back to the village and utilising the brilliant comedic talents of the Kings, Bernice and Liam who were a fab part of the campaign team and also the adorably joyful King kids. I’m looking forward to seeing how much of a nightmare Nicola becomes for the local council!

Fail

Last Chance at Love

vlcsnap-2019-05-04-22h14m14s887Perhaps it’s a bit unfair of me to stick Megan and Frank’s reunion in the ‘fail’ section of the blog, but of all the couples in Emmerdale, it’s them I struggle to have any enthusiasm for. If anything their biggest crime is just that they’re pretty dull and devoid of chemistry. This week Emmerdale threw every rom-com trope at them in the hopes of inspiring some sort of interest. They played a fake married couple for a wedding shoot and then in Megan’s hour of need, Frank was there as her white knight. On paper we should be thrilled they’re making another go of things, but after their on/off relationship fizzled into Megan hooking up with equally robotic Graham, both relationships leave me cold. Maybe if Megan and Frank’s relationship continues to play out in the background it won’t be too bad, they do seem quite well suited after all, but I can’t face the thought of either of them being tempted by residents of Home Farm – unless Frank miraculously becomes an interesting character overnight!

Fave or Fail? (18-22 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! Kim settled down and made new enemies in the village, and it was finally revealed that Joe Tate is alive and well.

Faves

Old School Vibes

vlcsnap-2019-03-23-11h59m08s161Did you notice the sheep this week? The stables and horses? The beautiful countryside scenes? If Kim Tate’s return has triggered one thing then it’s a return to the feeling of ‘classic’ Emmerdale. That’s not just using its farming and country USP, it’s also about the dynamics of the village in the wider context. Home Farm and the classism in the village has been lost over the years but Kim being a villain might just claw that back and give the estate a purpose again. From owning and controlling businesses, to employing staff to hosting events, Home Farm should be much more than a villainous lair. Also with Kim’s return is an antagonism we had in Joe’s early days that we lost quickly – livelihoods, businesses and property should be under threat from Kim’s whims, not just because she enjoys being ruthless but because the estate actually means something. Think Frank Tate wanting to buy up farms and land to make a profit and build a tourist site. Add this to Nicola’s mentions of the local council and we might be returning back to some of the same vibes as classic Emmerdale, where the village had drama, but it also used the setting and some realities of country life to explore different stories. Next stop a village fete? Here’s hoping!

Councillor Chaos

vlcsnap-2019-03-23-12h03m06s387Outside of Emmerdale you might have heard enough about chaotic politics, but there’s if there’s something with comedic potential written all over it, then it’s Nicola running for local council. Much like my enthusiasm for the old school feeling of classic Emmerdale, Nicola getting involved in community politics seems like a great way to unite and divide the residents in a way that brings authenticity to the village feel. Putting someone as naturally funny and dangerously ambitious as Nicola in this role is asking for trouble, but for us as viewers it could be comedy gold. Anything that sees the Kings take centre stage again is fine by me.

Workplace Drama

vlcsnap-2019-03-23-12h00m35s755If there’s one thing in recent years that Emmerdale hasn’t been mining for storyline potential as well as they could, then it’s the businesses of the village. Most of the time, work is the last thing on characters’ minds and it becomes something of a joke to see how little they actually go to work. Because of this, the work environments can often be used just as a set rather than have any baring on the day to day lives of the characters. With Kim back things might be changing on that front, with workplaces being put under extra pressure to fulfil contracts and make decisions on whether to get involved in Kim’s bidding. Even the lighter, comedic Sharma storyline this week was made better by a work crisis, rather than all the drama taking place separately from their work but using the office as its location. A factory crisis may not be soap’s biggest talking point but it does bring groups of characters together and make them feel more real.

Fails

Near Misses

vlcsnap-2019-03-23-12h01m41s727Maya and Jacob’s storyline might be the biggest storyline Emmerdale has now, but with it featuring almost every week, there’s a chance it might start feeling like overkill. Now that the pair have slept together, confessed their love and contrived situations to sleep together right under David’s nose, we’ve reached a bit of a stalemate. We know Emmerdale intend this story to be long running, but with the early slow burn abandoned, now the only real jeopardy comes from Maya being caught out – and that doesn’t seem to be happening any time soon. Surely there’s only so many times we can see Jacob almost reveal all, or Maya get perilously close to having her lies rumbled before the frustration turns into annoyance? It might reflect real life, but it’s a tough story to maintain with this same dynamic. Something needs to happen soon to take this storyline somewhere, because at the moment, Jacob is well and truly under Maya’s spell and a sluggish progression isn’t giving the drama the momentum it needs.

He’s Alive!!!

vlcsnap-2019-03-23-11h55m53s634Joe’s fate has been weighing heavily on the minds of viewers since his “death” in October, and the ambiguity of it all has made the storyline fallout feel sluggish and confusing. So this week’s reveal that Joe is alive should have been a huge climax, sending viewers reeling, but it was anything but thrilling! From cries that Joe’s fate was obvious and predictable, to it all feeling a bit half-arsed, is this really a story six months in the making – or was it hastily cobbled together last minute? The latter certainly feels most likely considering actor Ned Porteous didn’t even make a cameo and press reports reveal he’s got no plans to make a return on screen. Any viewer who was excited about Joe being alive is surely only going to be disappointed to realise he’s not actually returning. So in the end we were left with just a few photos of Joe and the whole pointlessness of it all. There are lots of questions unanswered (summarised perfectly in this article) but ultimately it completely undermines Graham once more. The menace of Kim’s threats were supposed to have lead him to almost killing the man that was a son to him, yet now he’s back at Home Farm barely bothered that she knows. What was the point? If Ned doesn’t come back then it’s time to recast and put this story to bed. It makes no sense and it’s dragging down all the characters involved.

Fave or Fail? (11-15 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! Kim made her big return to the village this week as Maya dropped the L-word to entrap Jacob.

Faves

Right at Home

vlcsnap-2019-03-17-11h21m39s127Admittedly when I read Amy Wyatt was making a return to Emmerdale I wasn’t that fussed, but a week in I already feel like her return was a good decision. She feels right at home. Unlike Kim, Amy feels very relevant to the current cast – she knows multiple characters in the village and her reappearance actually threw up story opportunities for several characters. Not only did Amy mean trouble for Cain and the Dingles in light of her eagerness to spend time with Kyle, but she’s breathed life into the Spencers’ household, given Eric back another daughter figure, caused friction with David and Maya and given Vic another friend. The custody battle for Kyle is a well worn story, but newbie Natalie Ann Jamieson has brought lots of warmth and sensitivity to Amy which helps to soften the harder edges that Kerry sometimes influences. I’m looking forward to seeing the future Emmerdale has in store for her and hope, unlike her last stint, it’s not all fixated around Kyle!

Support Network

vlcsnap-2019-03-17-11h27m19s794My favourite moments of Emmerdale show families coming together, remembering friendships and connections, and showing the far-reaching impact of storylines across the community. A good story is one that affects multiple relationships and characters, and Rhona’s accident is still having an impact now, weeks on. This week saw her have a hysterectomy (something Emmerdale have already revealed they’ll be exploring) but not only have we see its personal, emotional impact, we’ve also seen its effect on her relationship with Pete, her enduring friendship with Vanessa and this week its wider impact with the business and Moira’s farm. Unlike some soap accidents that have little follow up, Rhona’s debate over whether the vets should sue Moira and the farm will have consequences for both the future of the vets business (with opportunity for things to get messy if Kim gets involved), and even with Pete if his loyalties are tested. But perhaps the biggest strength of this story is down to the underrated talents of Zoe Henry who continues to be one of Emmerdale’s brightest stars. Any story that uses her at the forefront is going to be a hit!

Glimmers of Potential?

vlcsnap-2019-03-17-11h23m37s930It’s always difficult to bring back a character who has since been dubbed an icon, especially when the character is famed and remembered for just one aspect of their personality and the soap landscape has changed in their absence. In Kim Tate’s case, she’s renowned for being the classic soap superbitch, but the danger in her returning to her old stomping ground is that she becomes more of a caricature than the woman we love to hate. Kim’s return rides on a fragile premise – they retconned the entire Graham and Joe history to give her relevance – and she knows next to know one still kicking around the village. Emmerdale have to work quickly to give her enemies and make it feel worthwhile, rather than her antagonism feeling petty and pointless. A great villain is always a treat, but balancing the classic campy Lady of the Manor can often give way to OTT performances and dialogue that tries too hard to be cutting. There are promising signs in her latest return that Emmerdale are aware of this tightrope, and the mixed reception to her cameo last October, but here’s hoping they remember less is more when it comes to Kim. Her scenes with Charity, and in the pub with others were far watchable than her posturing at Home Farm and smirking in every scene. We could well do with seeing Kim’s more human sides soon, before the writers get too carried away with the cartoon villain one-liners.

Fails

Robot Wars

vlcsnap-2019-03-17-11h25m40s419Perhaps the biggest issue with Kim’s return is that she’s stuck, trying to shake some life into cyborg Graham. Such is Graham’s rigid and monotonous ways, Emmerdale has even started to reference it in the script! But when their scenes hinge on a bloated and retconned history, relying on an absent, scorching chemistry – it’s a tough ask. Kim’s treatment of Graham is more like a dog than a lover, and unless Graham’s into a BDSM set up, it’s baffling why he’s under her spell. Friday’s episode seemed to reopen the Joe death mystery AGAIN, but it felt like the first real hint to him being alive. This ongoing saga is as much clunky as it is sluggish so by the time we find out the final final truth, it’s a wonder if anyone will care. If Emmerdale really want Kim to work this time around, then the situation at Home Farm needs a fast rethink.

Fed Up with Faith?

vlcsnap-2019-03-17-11h26m49s708Oh Faith, there’s so much to love – the sharp tongue, the saucy humour, the outrageous behaviour, the wise straight-talking, the moments of fragility – and yet this week, none of that. We really saw the worst, most unlikeable aspects of her personality and it’s surprising how intolerable she became. Her vicious and hypocritical campaign against Amy might have been rooted in her own failings as a mother, but there was none of this nuance or depth and she seemed spitefully gleeful at the thought of sending Amy to prison. This combined with her strange and underwritten vendetta against Kim has brought out the worst in her character, and an aspect I hope doesn’t stick around – let’s have more of the fun Faith back please!