Fave or Fail? (22-26 Oct 2018)

faveorfail

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

Faves

Difficult Decisions

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

Unearthed Tragedy

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

Goodbye Grace

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

Becoming Family

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

Harsh Words

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

Bonus Faves:

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

Fail

Shady Cell Mates

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

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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.

Fave or Fail? (27-31 Aug 2018)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! This week Ryan finally met the Dingles and Joe planned a proposal.

Faves

Honest conversations

vlcsnap-2018-09-02-14h02m46s891I was so impressed with the writing for Pete and Rhona this week as they navigated the serious issues in their relationship. Perhaps they should have talked about this before moving in together, but love can do that to logical thought. After last year’s cheating debacle I never thought I’d ever like Pete Barton again. It wasn’t funny or sexy, it was sleezy and unpleasant and that did nothing for a character who most people had previously just written off as boring. But a year on and a mellowed Pete has grown up and thankfully the writing is putting a lot of effort into making his and Rhona’s relationship one of honest and frank conversations. Their conversations were an extension of last week’s chat about trust and the future and how Pierce has damaged Rhona’s self esteem. The pair of them also have great chemistry and Pete’s earnest attempts to make a real effort with Leo were heartwarming and the kind of character led writing that gives me hope for the quality of writing going forward. With Pete seemingly keen on kids and Rhona unsure, this gives them plenty of room to explore natural conflicts in their relationship and I really hope they keep this up!

Matters of the Heart

vlcsnap-2018-09-02-14h07m13s501Poor Rodney! After Misty left for Thailand last week, with some more than gentle nudging from Nicola and Bernice, Rodders learnt the truth about his daughters’ conspiring and took it very very badly. It wasn’t just heartbreak Rodney felt and he was quickly rushed to hospital after collapsing. Things were made even worse for him when he saw Misty had already moved on and into the arms of a young attractive traveller. What a bad week! It’s been years since actor Patrick Mower has been given any decent serious material so this was a welcome change from the norm and even though I hated the cringe-fest of his randy relationship, I really did feel for the guy. But with Misty gone, Rodney got back to familiar and more enjoyable ground by returning to his love/hate relationship with Eric.

Ditch Daz

vlcsnap-2018-09-02-14h06m14s413Thank goodness for Bernice finally seeing the light on dull Daz and realising she deserves a guy with a bit more life to him. There were hilarious scenes this week as Nicola expressed her continued dislike of Daz and her sister tried not to grimace when Daz made her cringe. Then there was Pearl, always a favourite of mine, distrusting and brilliantly cold to him. Bernice already has her eye on dishy Dr Cavanagh and I’m in full support. Daz is a drain and it’s about time we saw Bernice with someone special!

Dingle Welcome

vlcsnap-2018-09-02-14h03m45s468After what feels like years, Ryan Stocks finally got introduced the Dingles after an awkward showdown in the pub. Emmerdale have stalled this story more times than I can count and the back and forth hasn’t done the story any favours. Luckily the performances from actors Emma Atkins and James Moore in particular have been worth watching. Unsurprisingly Debbie reacted badly and the rest of the family were left open-mouthed with confusion at the start until they all came around, baring Noah. The next day a lot of other Dingles gave Ryan a warm welcome and Charity was made up. I can’t help but worry that after all that build up, they’ve rushed through his initiation into the Dingles and it really should have been given more than two episodes. Seeing as how many fans were eagerly awaiting the scenes of Ryan bonding with the rest of the clan, don’t say it’s be over before it’s begun.

Fail 

Love Changes Everything

vlcsnap-2018-09-02-14h04m04s709This week, sparked by lonely musings from Priya, Joe decided to propose to Debbie. Trying to do the right thing, Joe approached Sarah and asked her permission first and she was pretty thrilled for someone who hated Joe five minutes ago. But there sums up the entire problem with Joe and his whole existence. Sure, it’s not the first time love has changed someone and forgiveness has been found after evil deeds (a certain Robert Sugden anyone?) but the difference with Joe is that his brilliantly villainous intro was quickly abandoned, his many rivalries forgotten or forgiven and a rapid and all consuming love for Debbie changed him. I’m not a Joe/Debbie hater and in fact I think they have a good chemistry, but they’d have an even better chemistry if Joe’s whole personality and motives hadn’t been diluted to nothing. I’ve said before on the blog that slow burn romances are a big favourite of mine and someone like Joe who was so cruel and cold needed a long and slow redemption story if that was the intention. As it stands the proposal seems rushed and I can’t help but watch Joe now and see the complete waste of his potential as the biggest richest villain in the Dales.

Fave or Fail? (26-30 March 2018)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! This week Ross’s recovery took a setback as Jimmy tried to get one over on Joe.

Faves

Graham’s Past

5dbb676d-df3d-4ad6-b11f-945ca76099acActor Andrew Scarborough delivered a show stealing monologue this week as we finally learnt more about Graham’s tragic past. There was a lot of pressure for the mysterious Graham to have an interesting backstory and it be linked with his dedication to Joe, but Emmerdale really delivered. It’s difficult to make an exposition heavy scene work and to make us truly care about a past we had no part in seeing or experiencing, but Andrew made Graham’s painful reflection come to life and truly made me eager to see a lot more from him in future.

Surprisingly Sweet

vlcsnap-2018-03-30-21h56m21s236If you’d told me six months ago that my new favourite couple in the village would be Pete and Rhona, I’d have never believed you. Even when their out of the blue date was in all the magazines I was sceptical, but seeing them on screen they’ve been surprisingly sweet to watch. There’s an easy and adorable chemistry between the too which has softened Pete and made Rhona much happier – that’s a winner in my eyes. Pete seems to have grown up a bit as their relationship has progressed and it looks like some real feelings are developing between them. Is it too much to hope for that their budding romance could go the distance?

Softer Side

vlcsnap-2018-03-30-21h56m42s533Another couple who have been a hit with fans is Charity and Vanessa, who finally seem to be getting a bit more depth to their relationship. This week saw Vanessa’s work mistake catch up with her and it was enjoyable to see Charity step up and support her girlfriend in a way that felt entirely true to her character – comedy tash and all. This relationship is bringing out a softer, warmer side in the usually cynical Charity and it was nice to see Debbie show her support too. I hope their relationship continues to get focus particularly as we move closer to Charity getting a big storyline of her own.

Nobody’s Fool

vlcsnap-2018-03-30-21h57m20s815There were plenty of times this week where we were all willing Jimmy King to open his eyes and be less oblivious to Joe Tate’s plotting, but thankfully by Friday he proved he’s a lot smarter than he seemed. Kidding us all that he was a gullible fool, Jimmy teamed up with scheme supreme Robert in a bid to take down Joe. Thank goodness Jimmy’s backbone wasn’t entirely removed, but keeping us in the dark to their clever plan right until the last minute made the reveal a lot more fun. Even better was bringing back Robert’s kooky actress pal Kath, to help screw over Joe. Now that the rivalry is heating up, it looks like the twisted games are going to get a lot more messy – and fun to watch.

Challenges and Setbacks

vlcsnap-2018-03-30-21h59m03s236Ross had another tough week after returning home from his skin graft op. Pete, who I’m growing more fond of in this supportive role, tried to get Ross back to his old self and out in public, but a humiliation saw his progress shattered. The progression of this story has worked really well so far, showing Ross grow in confidence only to meet defeat and cause his acceptance to suffer. His spiralling and struggle follows a believable trajectory of good moments and bad, and those quiet and sad moments between the two brothers where their openness battles against a masculine front are the strongest elements of this difficult story.

Fail

Easy Ride?

vlcsnap-2018-04-01-12h18m08s777Did anyone else think David got a bit of an easy ride this week after his cheating came to light? I wasn’t expecting flogging in the streets and sure Tracy’s epic speech told him exactly what we’d all been thinking but by the end of the week I hoped he’d get a bit more of a cold shoulder from those around him. He had a few choice words from Jacob who was understandably hurt and upset, but by the end of the week even Tracy had softened a bit as David and Jacob jetted off on holiday. It’s a good thing he’s out of Tracy’s face for a bit, but even Eric – who is usually good at giving David a good talking to – didn’t seem as angry and disappointed as I expected him too, especially knowing how David reacted to Tracy’s past. Will David return from his holidays hoping it’s all forgotten?

Fave or Fail? (12-16 March 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! Lisa’s health suffered when Gabby and Liv’s actions backfired and Joe discovered Debbie’s dark secret.

Faves

Dingle Divide

vlcsnap-2018-03-18-09h51m53s334Poor Lisa Dingle faced a health scare this week after Gabby and Liv’s prank went wrong. With Gabby determined to teach Daz a lesson, Lisa got caught in the crossfire and ended up in hospital and now the family are hellbent on revenge. There is one slight issue and one big secret, however – Liv is the one that did the actual spiking. It’s a story helmed by two great young actresses that causes friction not only between the extended families but will now surely divide the Dingles too when they find out the truth. I love stories that get the whole village involved, especially when it’s someone as beloved by the community (and viewers) as Lisa. With regretful Liv sure to spiral, this will give great dramatic material for Isobel Steele and might be the big consequences that Gabby and Liv need to learn from their mistakes.

Wicked Games

vlcsnap-2018-03-18-09h52m54s476Joe Tate learnt the shocking truth about Ross’s acid attack this week and decided to play a vengeful game with Debbie in order to keep her dark secret by blackmailing her into playing his girlfriend. Twisted, much? Joe’s manipulative wickedness adds a cruel spin to the story which might otherwise just be a quite repetitive and depressing story of Ross’s suffering. Health stories by nature can be slow so I’m glad of other elements to keep it interesting while still showing enough sensitivity and education through Ross’s recovery. Joe’s turning up at the hospital and forcing Debbie to reveal their new “status” to an already hurting was an especially bastardy move. Joe’s definitely the boo-hiss villain that makes soap so entertaining. But there’s a fine line between love and hate and Joe’s feelings for Debbie seem to be walking that tightrope, will hers follow?

Happier Times

vlcsnap-2018-03-18-12h23m44s125Smiles never last long in Emmerdale, but how nice to see resident misery magnet Aaron with some happiness this week. With much of last year bogged down in an angsty hell, it’s been good that the character has been shown to have a bit more of an adult life, not just in parenting and responsibility, but with his relationship with Chas too. With Chas absent a lot of last year, the mother son scenes were thin on the ground, but I’m glad we’ve moved to a more mature, less dependent relationship between the two. It feels fresher and far more enjoyable to see him carving a life for himself too.

Through the Tough Times

vlcsnap-2018-03-18-09h54m59s362Hooray for Eric again this week as not only did he invite Faith to move into his lovely barn, but he was a great support to Tracy. With Val and Finn gone it’s sad that we’ve not seen much of the BnB lately – we really did take those days for granted. But after David’s awful behaviour and his daughter-in-law needing a break from the shop, Eric was quick to offer her a better position working for him. I think this is exactly the boost Tracy needs. Eric has faith in her (no pun intended) and I love their supportive relationship, on both sides.

Fails

Recipe for Disaster

vlcsnap-2018-03-18-12h25m55s685This week, despite all the warning signs, Chas and Paddy decided to go ahead with the pregnancy and bring a Chaddy child into this world. As nice as it was to see Chas get some focus again, the writing choices felt heavily pro-life and dated, leading us to the inevitable outcome where they chose not to terminate. Still, we all know happiness for anyone – especially Chas – is short lived so all this champagne popping seems a bit pre-emptive, particularly when you remember Paddy was torn between two women five minutes ago. This has disaster written all over it and while I’m not a fan of the ill-suited couple, I dread the likely drift back towards Paddy and Rhona. It seems clear he’s still in love with her so how long before Chas’s heart is broken and the Dingles have another enemy on their list?

Fave or Fail? (5-9 March 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! Tracy stood up to David’s cruelty and hypocrisy this week as Ross tried to cope with his scarring.

Faves

Inner Strength

vlcsnap-2018-03-09-22h11m09s581Tracy was amazing this week and has fast become one of my favourite characters in Emmerdale. Buoyed by the knowledge that Phil had changed his plea to guilty thanks to another complaint and the piece in the local paper, Tracy was feeling much more positive about life. Until she discovered husband David was ashamed by her past and was trying to cover it up. Feeling hurt and betrayed, Tracy was helped by those around her to find the courage to stand up to David and confront his cruel and unempathetic treatment of her, as well as his hypocrisy for supporting other women in his life but not her. So far Tracy has stayed strong and resilient, telling him she can’t un-see the parts of him she doesn’t like, but I just hope she doesn’t backtrack because she deserves far better.

Cain’s Domestic Struggle

vlcsnap-2018-03-09-22h09m30s817Who’d have thought that Cain attempting to cook a meal and clean the house would have been such a huge hit this week? With Faith cramping his style, Cain wanted her out and attempted to impress Moira with his domestication. Of course, Cain being Cain it was a disaster and he roped in both Marlon and Lydia to help him out. Cain rarely gets the comedy scenes (see also: Robron’s scenes with Faith this week) but that’s why it was such an unexpected joy. From a great silly set up, to the clash of personalities and funny lines – it was a brilliantly cheerful and genuinely amusing set of scenes. And despite his uncovered deception, it clearly worked a treat on Moira too as she let him move back home.

Tracy’s Support Network

vlcsnap-2018-03-09-22h15m24s919How nice it was this week to see so many characters rally round in their support of Tracy. Even characters like Rhona who don’t know her as well, offered their empathy and the women of the Dales were able to use their previous negative experiences with men to help her find her strength. As mentioned in my Scene of the Week choice Charity’s speech was a particular highlight, even if Vanessa’s approach was far too forgiving of David’s attitude. Family members like Jacob and Eric were rightly horrified at David’s reaction and made up for his failings by saying the things he ought to have. All these scenes have made a welcome change from the usual way women in soapland turn against each other in action or judgement and I’m thankful that it’s only David who is this caveman anomaly.

Ross’s Recovery

Emmerdale - Cain Helps Ross to Finally Reconnect With Moses - YouTubeRoss’s road to acceptance and recovery had its ups and downs this week and it took some tough love and reverse psychology from Cain to help him move forward. After Ross’s violent outburst at Debbie at the start of the week (which was unfortunately horribly aggressive to watch and detracted a bit from the empathy I had towards Ross) Cain wanted words. But knowing Debbie’s role in the acid attack made Cain cautious and less vengeful and instead tried to help Ross bond again with son Moses. This is story is at its best when it lets Ross be vulnerable and scared and considering Moses might just be the cutest kid in Emmerdale, their scenes were especially touching and a real highlight of the week.

Sharma Drama

vlcsnap-2018-03-09-22h13m10s113I’ve had my ups and downs with the Sharmas over the years and think the family have suffered from dull factory stories or too much panto villainy from Jai. Thankfully those days are behind us and this week saw Priya come under suspicion for hurting Eliza after her breakdown last week. Despite initial finger pointing and doubt, what I liked about this story was its lack of sensationalism. Priya wasn’t kicked out of the family home and Jai didn’t refuse to speak to her – Priya took the decision herself to move out and even though the suspicion caused a rift in the family, there wasn’t any shouting and screaming, destroying that sibling bond. I like Jai and Priya’s relationship a lot so I hope this story doesn’t escalate into a war.

Fail

No Going Back?

vlcsnap-2018-03-09-22h10m23s643It’s hard to imagine how David will go back to being a likeable silly chap in the shop again after his continually awful behaviour towards Tracy. She’s always felt looked down on by him but this week proved he really does think less of her and is ashamed to be with her. Viewing his attitude towards her past, his mortification and the way he dismissed her struggle was uncomfortable to watch and made me hope she never takes him back. As if him cheating on her for no reason wasn’t bad enough, this disgusting treatment of the woman who’s meant to be his wife shows no obvious route of redemption. He’s been tactless and insensitive in the past but has this taken him too far?

Scene of the Week (15-19 Jan 2018)

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What a moment! Graham Foster, action hero! We know so very little about Graham but what we do know now is that when it comes to big dramatic moments, he can already bring it! With Wishing Well moments from destruction, we all thought hope was lost – especially for poor Samson and Noah trapped inside. But as panicking Eric could do little else but flail his arms around at the demolition men, elusive Graham saved the day. By now we know that Graham is trying to be the angel on Joe Tate’s devilish shoulder, but we didn’t realise just how far he was willing to step in and sabotage his evil plans. In this scene, which was like something out of an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, Graham confronted and then beat up the builders without so much as a sweat. He’s a man of mystery by day and a skilful fighter by night and this twist was an easy Scene of the Week choice.

Emmerdale’s Worst Moments of 2017

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Emmerdale had another huge year full of great storylines and incredible performances, but it wasn’t all perfect. Here’s my look at where it went wrong in 2017.

Make sure you read my Top 10 Best Bits of 2017 later today!

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5. Anti Climaxes and Dragging Storylines

One of the biggest issues of 2017 was the pacing of storylines. Huge and long running stories that ended on a whimper, or stories that dragged on and on forever. There were notable exceptions of course, but sometimes stories ran on way past their sell by date. Even some of the best stories, like Emma’s downfall, could have benefitted from a faster, punchier conclusion. Smaller subplots like Tracy’s erotic novel ran for months, squeezing out every last second of humour until nothing was funny anymore; Rakesh took months to leave after his lies were exposed; I felt jaded by Vic and Adam’s lovely marriage ending several times in repetitive ways; similarly fatigued by Robron’s nine-month relationship breakdown (and Robert’s never ending revenge); Dan and the teen gang/Josh story lasted weeks and went nowhere having no impact on any of the families it involved; much like Jai’s drawn out relationship with Nell (which did benefit from some brilliant final moments) it’s had no long term effect on the characters, making any investment in the story pointless. So here’s hoping for 2018 that the fat is trimmed and stories aren’t stalled to delay shocks and twists, before they become anti-climatic.

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4. Sizzle Free Love Affairs

My biggest wish for 2017 was less cheating after the adultery-fest of 2016 and while that didn’t really happen, 2017 saw the rise of something just as disheartening: the sizzle free love affair. We had Cain and Harriet getting jiggy in the vestry – a combo of good and evil that should have been sinfully seductive viewing but fell flat in Cain and Moira’s shadow, especially when Harriet seems to be selling herself short. We had Megan and Frank – a dry and boring relationship which even Frank’s fling with Charity couldn’t liven up. Then there was Chas and Paddy – a strange and incompatible mismatch which requires strong cringe glands. And finally, the plot that soured our summers, Pete and Priya. Tipped as this big sexy affair for the summer, both characters suffered from horrible personalities and sub-zero chemistry levels. All the bum grabbing and clothes tearing in the world couldn’t save them.

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3. Finn the Stalker

It feels like forever ago now, particularly as poor Finn is now six feet under, but one of the worst plots of 2017 had to be Finn the stalker. Finn had been a fairly loveable, sweet geeky guy until this story saw him become clingy and crazy in his attempts to be with his boyfriend Kasim. Despite the unhinged behaviour being explained as Finn trying to cope with his dad’s death, Finn grew desperate and unlikeable in extreme ways (graffitiing the word “Yestergay” on Kasim’s wall for one) which made little sense and ruined what people loved about the character. Thankfully after a short trip to Australia, Finn’s personality went back to normal and we could all just forget about the bad plot. It’s just unfortunate that after all that, he ended up dead. Finn deserved better.

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2. The White Family

The White family were featured as one of my worst parts of 2016 and here they are again! Things didn’t improve from the previous year, as throughout 2017 the Whites continued to be isolated from the rest of the village and relied on exposition-heavy backstories to provide depth and create more inner-family conflict. Their entitled attitudes and unlikeable personalities meant their circular and tired arguments didn’t make for engaging viewing. Even Robert’s tedious and endless revenge panto plot didn’t improve things as it lobotomised the family making them look more gullible than ever before. Ultimately it felt like the confusion about what to do with the family ran on for another year as their limbo between victims and villains never settled. Another year of wasted potential. Their bad deeds (erm Andy, Alicia to name a few) were barely mentioned and their real points of interest (Lawrence’s sexuality, the family’s nastiness) ignored. If only they’d embraced the Whites as true, self-righteous villains (like they’ve just started to with Lachlan) then we might have seen something good.

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1. Robron Smashed to Bits

Oh boy. Where to begin.

After Aaron’s traumatic child abuse story of 2016, he was owed some happiness in 2017, right? Wrong. After a romantic and heartfelt wedding, Aaron was packed off to prison where he was tortured and abused in well-acted but nasty scenes that felt like a cruel step too far. At the time I questioned the darkness of these scenes after the hopeful future that was earned after Gordon’s trial. Once again throughout the year, Aaron might as well have been used as a voodoo doll. If people weren’t desensitised and sick of Aaron’s misery then 2017 might have pushed them over the edge.

On the outside, Robert was in bits and after learning that Aaron was taking Spice (a well meaning and educational drugs plot this wasn’t), Robert imploded their relationship by sleeping with continual thorn-in-Robron’s-side Rebecca. This was never going to be a popular move just three weeks after the wedding, but at every step the story became more wearing, more frustrating and more miserable. The handling of Robert’s bisexuality had already been praised in the LGBT community but the clumsy way his sexual identity had been inexplicably and repeatedly linked to being faithful in the dialogue meant his cheating was hard to not see as a huge backwards step and a muddled, dated message to the audience. Having spent so long redeeming Robert in the eyes of the viewers, Aaron and his loved ones it was depressing to see that destroyed.

It didn’t stop there, of course. We had the inevitable pregnancy, more drugs, more self harm, more arguments and finally a big split. Rebecca’s personality shifted when the story required, having been introduced as a flighty vixen in 2016 eager to get Robert for herself, Rebecca became the eternal martyr lurching through multiple personalities when the story required it. Rebecca’s point of view was barely featured, meaning her flip-flopping decisions never showed much more of a purpose than to cause more grief between the already fractured couple. Beyond frustrating.

Having once had soap’s hottest property in the palm of their hand, even the most ardent Robron fan was exhausted and despondent. So after all that and promises behind the scenes for a reunion in 2018, is it too much to hope for a less torturous 2018?

Emmerdale’s Top 20 Moments of 2017 – Part One (#20-11)

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It was another huge year for Emmerdale as they swept award show after award show. In 2017 some big storylines dominated, such as Ashley’s death and Emma’s demise, but here is my own look back at Emmerdale’s Best Bits of the year, starting with numbers 20 to 11. Come back tomorrow to see my Top 10 and a countdown of the year’s lowlights too. I’d love to know what you think so feel free to comment below!

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20. Marlon’s Fun Factor

Marlon Dingle, one of the most GIFable, most quotable villagers and just sneaking into my Top 20 Emmerdale highlights this year. It’s been a varied year for Marlon as he coped with losing Carly from his life, being a support for Laurel when she was at her most vulnerable and for Rhona after her rape ordeal. But despite all the hard times, Marlon was also a constant source of joy. The iconic bromance with Paddy was back in full physical comedy force providing us with plenty to smile about in what has been another intense year for the villagers. Marlon’s bizarre escape from Lydia’s bedroom was certainly a memorable moment. At the end of 2017 Marlon was single and ready to mingle, perhaps with Leo’s new headteacher Jessie and I reckon that might lead to good things in 2018!

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19. Doug’s Comedic Touch

In amongst the tragedy of Ashley’s death and beyond, Doug Potts proved a surprising highlight of 2017. It isn’t really a shock that Duncan Preston’s got such great comedic timing considering his performance background, but Doug’s role as grumpy old man in the village has proven a great foil for others this year. Whether it’s mayhem at the BnB, the kids messing with his vegetable honesty box, dancing lessons with Lydia or getting sloshed with Robert – Doug gave us lots of little fun moments this year. Additions like Doug’s “musical carrot” during the Thomas talent contest helped the balance of light and shade during the Ashley story, making its heartbreak all the more effective too.

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18. Unhinged Lachlan

My issues with the White family are endless (and pretty much the same as last year) however there was one glimmer of something watchable this year in the shape of unhinged Lachlan, played brilliantly by Thomas Atkinson. At his best this year, Lachlan was cold, remorseless and spiteful and it’s where he excels. From purposely getting beaten up in prison, to hiding in his own attic lair – I only wish Emmerdale would have gone a lot darker a lot sooner with him.

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17. Bob’s Bigger Role

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ll know I’m always wishing for Bob to get out and about a bit more, and stop being tied to that café! Well this year I got my wish and we’ve seen a lot more of Bob as he managed to get heavily involved in some of Emmerdale’s biggest storylines – it wasn’t all stripping and singing you know! From visiting Ashley in the care home, to Carly’s exit, to investigating Emma’s evil deeds, Bob got about a bit. And literally too – as we found out at the end of 2017 that he had a one night stand with Laurel. Despite us all being angry at Bob for what he’s done to Brenda, it’s been a welcome change to see him at the heart of a story rather than simply serving coffee!

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16. Vanessa’s Sexuality Exploration

I’ve always had a soft spot for resident vet, Vanessa Woodfield, and I was pleased to see her get an interesting story this year as she explored her sexuality. It wasn’t long ago she had troubled and mixed up feelings for best friend Rhona during Rhona’s drug addiction, but Emmerdale never really explored what this meant for Vanessa’s sexuality. But after a surprising hook up with Charity in the pub cellar, Vanessa began questioning her identity. So far we’ve had some nicely played scenes of her getting advice from friends and embracing her new feelings and it’s been refreshing to watch this gradual and honest story unfold with minimal angst. Will Ness find love in 2018?

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15. Leyla Harding

Leyla had a quiet start to 2017, giving us the snark and glam outfits we know and love, but by the summer she was front and centre of the show. Despite Pete and Priya’s affair being a real low point of Emmerdale, Leyla’s big heart and kooky bad luck with love endeared her to us even more this year. The double jilting at the wedding was as ridiculous as it sounds but genuinely very funny, but there were softer, sadder moments too as Leyla’s confidence took a real kicking. The betrayal gave her some really strong material as she fought it out with Priya, but frankly she’s too good for both her and Pete. With actress Roxy Shahidi off on maternity leave very soon, it’s a good thing we had a lot of Leyla this year to make up for the lack of her in the next one!

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14. Jai’s Redemption

It’s hard to believe that someone like Jai, who spent much of 2015 and some of 2016 being incredibly unlikeable, could turn it around and become one of my favourites this year. Since Holly’s death Jai has tried to make himself a better person and we saw plenty of opportunity to see his softer side as a family man this year. Midway through the year Jai dated Nell (Holly’s doppelganger) in what was quite a weird and initially unengaging story, but the twists and turns in the final act of this story were jawdroppingly brilliant and a time where we were all firmly on Jai’s side. Who can forget that shocking moment in the department store when Jai saw Nell’s dead baby photo were in fact a stock image? Sadly Nell’s last episode was a let down and it hasn’t had any real impact on Jai long term, but I hope 2018 can keep up this new and improved Jai.

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13. Gerry Roberts

Who could predict that one of Lachlan White’s cellmates would become one of the best new additions to Emmerdale in 2017? Cheeky Gerry Roberts made a big impression this year as his puppy-dog enthusiasm gave some much needed levity to the show. After perking up life at Home Farm, Gerry made a pitstop at the BnB to rile Doug, before becoming firm friends with Liv and blagging himself a way in with the Dingles and a job at the scrapyard. Gerry is a newbie done right – lots of interactions all across the village and plenty of fun. Now that he seems here to stay I can’t wait to see what Gerry gets up to next year!

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12. Moira’s Difficult Year

Moira never really has an easy time of it. Last year her marriage shattered and her beloved daughter Holly died, but it wasn’t that much brighter this year either. Moira kicked off the year rebuffing Cain’s hopes for a reunion (having slept with him and Pete around Christmas time last year) and fighting for her farm. And then things went quiet, aside from an exhaustion collapse and we were all left wondering whether there was more to it. Come October, when Super Soap Week 2.0 rolled into town, Moira was thrust into the spotlight, giving birth to a shock baby after escaping a barn inferno and a face-off with nemesis Emma. It was one big moment after the next, followed by a harrowing PND story and then the mother of all reveals as we learnt Moira was the culprit behind Emma’s murder. It was a huge and unexpected turn of events for Moira’s character but actress Natalie J Robb has relished each opportunity to wring every emotion out of Moira. Moira’s been everything this year – badass and fierce, to vulnerable and broken. She’s a character that works on all levels. And of course, always bubbling under the surface is the winning partnership with Cain. Will 2018 see them reunite?

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11. Eric and Faith’s Budding Romance

A real highlight of Emmerdale 2017 was the development of Eric and Faith’s relationship and I already feel like they have the makings of a true soap power couple. When Faith arrived there were already sparks, so much so Doug kept calling her Eric’s girlfriend, but it took a little while for them to grow close. Faith brought fun to Eric’s life, helping him to loosen up and he gave her the affection and confidence to feel attractive again after her mastectomy. They’ve had their misunderstandings and strife like any soap couple but they’re a ying-and-yang match with great chemistry and an irresistible, engaging dynamic. I hope 2018 brings them back together, for good!