Fave or Fail? (14-18 Jan 2019)

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

Faves

For Better or Worse

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

Maya’s Mind Games

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

Debbie Finds Out

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

Bonus Faves:

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

Fail

Dead or Alive

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

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9 Emmerdale Wishes for 2019

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

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Backstory for Vanessa

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

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Show Some Success

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

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Big Stories for Coira and Robron

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

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More Village Gossip

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

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A Funny Feel Good Wedding

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

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No More Special Episodes

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

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Keep Kim 3D

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

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Give Jai and Priya Something Gritty

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

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Reinvent Debbie Dingle

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

Fave or Fail? (17-21 Dec 2018)

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

Faves

The Perfect Couple

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

Gripping Story

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

Christmas Spirit

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

Sisters at War

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

Fails

New Lows

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

Getting Away With It All

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

Scene of the Week (17-21 Dec 2018)

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Eric’s dodgy ticker was going double rate this week when he returned home to find Faith wearing sexy underwear, having set the mood with candles and music. With open-mouthed Eric enthralled, Faith’s plan was working marvellously. Eric was all ready for a Christmas treat when Rodney burst in with fish and chips, shattering all Eric’s romantic hopes. Devious Faith kept a poker face and disappeared upstairs, letting the bromantic duo be the makers of their own destruction. This scene was laugh-out-loud brilliant. This three’s a crowd set-up has been the best kind of sitcom comedy and it was only made better in this scene by the actors’ hilarious expressions. In these dark times, these are exactly the kind of laughs Emmerdale does best.

Fave or Fail? (26-30 Nov 2018)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! After last week’s fail-free list, this week has three. Amongst the laughs this week, Noah rebelled and Vanessa and Charity decided to move in together.

Faves

Hopeless Romantic

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

Childcare Chaos

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

Golden Oldies

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

Fails

No Fireworks

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

What Was the Point?

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

Stuck in a Limbo

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

Fave or Fail? (19-23 Nov 2018)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! A great week of Emmerdale – not a fail in sight. In the week that Robert and Aaron decided to have a baby, Leyla helped with Clive’s con. 

Faves

Devious Duo

vlcsnap-2018-11-23-20h56m27s544Emmerdale struck gold this week with a surprising and massively entertaining partnership between two of the village’s most ambitious residents. With Robert’s babysitting efforts making him broody and keen for some more cash to pay for surrogacy, Nicola set the cogs turning about how to make Home James Haulage into a money spinner and the pound signs lit up in their eyes. The next day it looked like Nicola had royally screwed him over but the clever two had double crossing in mind and smugly celebrated their duplicity at the Mill. With Aaron rightfully worried about the dangers of Kim Tate and Graham, and Robert’s tendency to go too far, there might be danger around the corner but in Robert and Nicola they’ve got a winning formula. Both ruthless and devious with sharp tongued wit – this is a business partnership made in heaven. These two and their barbed comments could keep me laughing for weeks. And I don’t know about anyone else but I’d love to see a despairing Jimmy and Aaron make their own team as their spouses blunder on.

Heart to Hearts

vlcsnap-2018-11-23-21h06m38s259I might have bemoaned a lack of juicy and gripping stories in the Dales at the moment but one thing it has had, and especially this week is some wonderful character led moments and especially heart to hearts. First in the week was Nicola and Rodney who still hadn’t patched things up after Misty left town. We don’t often get the time to explore rifts and familial upsets to that degree and it was nice to see their father daughter relationship given the space on screen. There were others this week like Tracy and Vanessa, Paddy and Marlon, Rhona and Dawn but perhaps the most emotionally effective was between Chas and Eric. When underrated Eric pours his heart out it really tugs at the heart strings and Chris Chittell did a superb job especially when you consider most of the scene was him retelling an aspect of his past that we never saw. Eric offered his sympathy to Chas and spoke about the destruction of his first marriage and his spirit at the loss of their son. Not only did the scene have a lot of poignancy it actually added a lot more to Eric that we’d never known before and helped to explain why he had been so crotchety and mean when he was younger. I have a real fondness when Emmerdale gives us powerful scenes of two characters talking but even more so when it’s characters together you wouldn’t expect. Great stuff.

Dawning of a New Era

vlcsnap-2018-11-23-21h10m23s592Pete and Rhona had a shock this week when they found Dawn squatting in Dale View. Even though Dawn was brought in for Ross’s drugs story it seems like show bosses recognised Olivia Bromley’s talent and now have a new purpose for her. Dawn’s arrival immediately added friction to Pete and Rhona’s blossoming romance and this gave us some really strong scenes between the pair. Their relationship has become a surprise hit with Emmerdale viewers, and the drama Dawn provoked came entirely from their personality differences. Pete’s lack of empathy clashed with Rhona’s history as a drug addict and while she wanted to support Dawn, Pete was far less trusting. This confrontation, the first real stumbling block in their relationship, was the perfect example of character led conflict, dipping into the show’s history and adding depth to their relationship. As Rhona tried to explain her past to Pete to make him understand, you could see it from all sides and it was another of those quite conversation scenes Emmerdale does so well. Who knows what’s in store for Dawn or Pete and Rhona, but I’m a fan of all so this can only be a good thing!

Good Giggles

vlcsnap-2018-11-23-20h57m15s005We’ve got used to seeing Vanessa in a more serious, supportive role, whether that’s for girlfriend, Charity, sister Tracy or best friend Rhona, but this week she relished a more humorous role again and it was very welcome. Even though Vanessa gave her usual cheerleading support for Tracy’s new business venture, she still had time to make vegetable puns and give a scene-stealing walk by interrupting Rhona and Pete’s make out session. It can’t always be laughs, especially living in a village as tumultuous as Emmerdale, but Vanessa’s dorky fun streak is something I’d definitely like to see more of!

Grief Explosion

vlcsnap-2018-11-23-21h16m25s098Grief in soap is something tricky to explore. In real life there’s no time limit and it can be a slow and difficult process, which is why soaps often speed up this recovery period and the dead can feel forgotten about. It’s been different for Chas and Paddy’s story. Emmerdale are still showing Chas and Paddy’s struggle since losing Grace and although this has led to fairly repetitive scenes of miscommunication between them, I was glad to see this finally explode this week. The performances of sheer frustration, anger and grief felt authentic and gave a different slant on the familiar scenes of their relationship distance. The public confrontation was ugly and painful but it was far more watchable to have it be aired in this raw way than the bristling tension it had been before.

Fave or Fail? (22-26 Oct 2018)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! In the sad week that saw the villagers mourn baby Grace, Bernice finally dumped Daz.

Faves

Difficult Decisions

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

Unearthed Tragedy

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

Goodbye Grace

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

Becoming Family

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

Harsh Words

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

Bonus Faves:

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

Fail

Shady Cell Mates

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

Fave or Fail? (10-14 Sep 2018)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Bails got sent down this week and Emmerdale revealed what happened to Rebecca.

Faves

Worthy Winner

vlcsnap-2018-09-16-14h17m41s438It was perfect timing for Emma Atkins to win an award for Best Soap Actress (at the TV Choice awards) the same week as she gave a string of outstanding performances during Bails’ trial. She’s without question one of Emmerdale’s finest performers and she really got to show that off, and prove her worthy win, as Charity stood for questioning and then had to deal with the emotional aftermath of the guilty verdict. I’ve had issues with the pacing of this story (from the dragged out Ryan reveal, repetitive conversations and then a very rushed trial) and felt that the narrative has been far too similar to Rhona and Aaron’s stories, taking place very recently for this story to feel fresh. But despite the story’s weaknesses, Emma’s been fantastic. Even when Charity is saying nothing, when she’s brooding, Emma performs the moment with a storm brewing inside of Charity so powerful that viewers can feel it too. With Charity really struggling and putting on an act, I’m sure this is just the start of impressive moments from Emma.

Support System

vlcsnap-2018-09-16-14h16m51s043Despite some of the AWOL Dingles, I was glad to see Charity had a group of people surrounding her and giving her love this week, even faces like Tracy and Harriet who have been there from the start. Noah and Ryan’s bonding was great to see, and it was a powerful and moving moment to see them arrive in court, and give Charity that boost she needed. Although at times her loved ones have struggled with the right words and knowing how to best support her, the unflinching support from Vanessa this week was touching, even when Charity tried to push her away and bottle up her real feelings. It’s a long road ahead for Charity and I’m glad Emmerdale haven’t shown that a guilty verdict feels gratifying or like a relief for everyone, but hopefully the right people will be there for her when she needs it.

Three’s a Crowd

vlcsnap-2018-09-16-14h14m45s599It wasn’t a big story this week but I’ve been really entertained by the trio of Rodney, Eric and Faith as Eric realised he was enjoying having Rodney around, just as Faith was getting more and more fed up. As Eric and Rodders bonded over love for the same auction telly show, Faith was asked by Brenda if their set-up was polyamorous like she’d read in the magazines. But Faith’s hope for an end in sight seemed unlikely as Eric turned down the generous offer on his statue and pretended to want rid of Rodney. This story might not have the must-see tension of a trial or soapy disaster of a serial killer, but it’s everyday fun and we could do with more of that.

Tracy Unleashed

vlcsnap-2018-09-16-14h15m22s475I’m definitely not here for a Ross and Tracy romance, and Ross’s wild-eyed cocaine ravings aren’t a pleasure to watch either, but I loved the cathartic scenes of Tracy smashing up a car on Friday. Tracy’s become one of my absolute favourite characters and after her emotional and mature reaction to her split with David it was fun to see her let loose and have a bit of fun, releasing all that pent up anger. There was something childlike about Tracy’s joy in the scene that I loved and I hope there’s something brighter on the horizon for her.

Fails

Dingle No-Show

vlcsnap-2018-09-16-14h19m09s969They’re the first family to talk codes and rules, but when it comes to support, the Dingles can be flaky at best. Perhaps the lack of consistent family support for Charity can be blamed on real world production issues considering many of the main players in the Dingle family are involved in big stories of their own (be it Chas’s pregnancy, Sarah’s heart transplant or Lachlan’s chaos) but it feels like a massive oversight to not have them there by her side, especially when they’ve been missing in most of the story. Charity’s relationship with Chas has all but disappeared, Debs was too busy to be there for the trial and Aaron, who had been through similar himself two years ago, barely gave more than a passing comment. I don’t buy it. The idea that Charity is a strong woman who doesn’t need support might seem a believable perspective for them to take at times, but I didn’t believe that her loved ones would really behave in such an uninterested, nonplussed way knowing what she’d been through. It felt a contrived way to isolate Charity and exacerbate the aftermath of the trial. Take Marlon, for example, who is known for his huge heart, but spent the time he could’ve been with Charity, bonding with Ellis. It might be an actor availability issue but it didn’t ring true, not in this context.

Rebecca’s Fate

vlcsnap-2018-09-16-14h18m15s415In case you hadn’t already guessed the surprise twist, Emmerdale revealed that Rebecca is alive and well (ish) this week. Despite the fact Lachlan has no reason to keep her alive, especially considering he killed both his mother, grandfather and best mate and Rebecca knew all his secrets and conspired to lock him up in the first place, Rebecca’s been spared. This week we learnt that she’s been transferred from ramshackle shack to a bed in an unknown location where a creepy nurse is keeping her drugged and her hair well-conditioned. Yes, it’s as ludicrous as it sounds, like something from a horror B movie or American soap and while there’s always a level of outlandish soap stories, this exceeds that to stupidity. This latest development just feels like another way to extend the already stretched Lachlan plot, leaving viewers with more questions than answers. Who is the creepy nurse? Where did Lachlan find her? Why did she agreed to drug this distressed woman? Where is this random room located? How did Lachlan get her there? And so on. When Lachlan’s story should be hurtling towards a conclusion after last week’s climax, this just felt like filler. What makes the story even more tedious is that like the rest of her family, Rebecca was an isolated character with few meaningful connections in the village, meaning that when Rhona was mourning her this week, or Rishi talked about the girls in the factory being upset (characters she’s never interacted with) it just rings hollow.