Scene of the Week (28 May-1 June 2018)

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This gut wrenching scene was a powerful moment at the end of Thursday’s episode. While Marlon, Paddy and Faith celebrated the baby girl news in the pub, complete with Marlon’s enthusiastic dancing, Chas broke down alone. Given the heart-breaking news about the baby’s condition at the appointment without Paddy, Chas was unable to tell him when she got home. This scene was one of those moments of brutal contrast Emmerdale does so well – the happy obliviousness juxtaposed with tragedy – making all our hearts break for Chas’s situation. Lucy Pargeter’s performance in this moment, said so much about Chas’s state of mind and I’m sure she’ll continue to impress as this story continues.

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Fave or Fail? (14-18 May 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! We lost Gerry this week after he was brutally murdered by Lachlan White. Miss you already Gerry!

Faves

Gerry’s Tragic Ending

vlcsnap-2018-05-19-20h52m07s849Oh Gerry, sweet Gerry! I’m sure I speak for most people when I say: I miss you already! What a cruel and horrible way to go, especially when he seemed to have such a big heart and a happy-go-lucky personality. His final scenes, despite a build up that was a bit too heavy handed and obvious, were unbearably tense and uncomfortable to watch. Both actors did an incredible job in creating a huge feeling of dread throughout in scenes which were claustrophobic to watch. It was a memorable and heart-breaking moment which gave Emmerdale the bit of ‘oompf’ that it’s been missing since the start of the year and it gave Lachlan’s story sudden momentum, making the desire for justice more significant. Was one good moment and a boost for the soap’s resident villain enough to warrant losing such a popular and versatile character though?

Killer Performance

vlcsnap-2018-05-19-20h54m44s545Once again I’m so impressed by Thomas Atkinson’s performances as the psychopathic Lachlan White, easily making this a highlight of the week. Not only does he manage to be cold and remorseless, he’s so compelling to watch that you’re almost willing him to get away with his crimes just to see him commit more! He’s at his best when he’s in this heightened state of dark and conflicted but I can’t help but feel if they let this story rumble on too long, he’ll lose his edge and that would be a real waste. He shouldn’t fade into the background, this should be the start of his descent.

Ain’t No Party Like a Woolpack Party

vlcsnap-2018-05-19-20h50m45s490In between Lachlan’s murderous deeds this week, in true light and shade soap balance, Chas and Paddy threw an engagement party. Sure the whole “curse” thing was a bit stupid but it did provide a setting for a huge gathering of cast and that’s always fun. From Faith and Lydia starting the karaoke (nice lungs from the Kings too), to Paddy’s awkward attempts to separate Brenda from Bob n’ Laurel, to his and Robert funny yet badly communicated cover story for Aaron’s absence. I loved that this one setting managed to have so many story cross-overs all happening at once and added to that awful sense of dread knowing it wouldn’t be long before someone discovered Gerry. More parties and community cross-overs please!

Put a Ring on it

vlcsnap-2018-05-19-20h57m05s897It’s been three months since the romantic Cain and Moira reunion and I really feel like we haven’t seen enough of them lately – even more surprising considering Moira outed herself as Emma’s killer and they now have baby Isaac to look after! So it was enjoyable to see a bit of fun and romance this week from Coira as they celebrated their wedding anniversary. It’s always good to see Cain get a bit soft and misty eyed around Moira and the sparks were firing as ever when they exchanged their rings. But cute scenes like this often indicate hard times are approaching – does this mean there’s heartache headed their way? I hope not!

Bonus Faves:

  • Doug getting an actual story – even though he’s actually innocent!
  • Pearl vs Vanessa in the vets – love a good comedic class
  • Brenda’s brutal café signage and decision to milk Bob for all he’s worth
  • The Hope kids (hilariously) unleashing their anger on Laurel by shouting at her in the street
  • Gerry’s flirty phone call to a customer (which sadly ended up sealing his fate)
  • The fleeting and flirty Robron moment just to prove they can have happiness, only if it precedes tragedy ofc

Fails

Predictable Paternity

vlcsnap-2018-05-19-20h55m22s167Ugh retconned paternity twists – who cares? Dan and Daz’s brotherly rivalry flared up again for Round 400 meaning more tedious shouting and hastily fleshed out backstory that we don’t care about. Whoever thought this story, one that’s been told countless times more successfully, needed telling again? Can we skip to the part where Amelia finds out so we can be done with this and get the Spencers back doing what they do best with some light hearted easy drama?

A Big Mistake

vlcsnap-2018-05-19-20h54m14s599It seems clear that Emmerdale needed Lachlan to kill someone we all really cared about so that we become engaged in his rather meandering descent into true villainy, but did it really have to be Gerry? This feature from Digital Spy summed up the travesty in killing such a likeable, funny guy and I’m already feeling the loss of Gerry (and Shaun Thomas from the show). Comedy can be so hit and miss but with Gerry Emmerdale had a natural. He was cheeky and endearing, fitting in seamlessly with so many stories and characters. We knew so little about him too, meaning there were years of untapped stories just waiting for Emmerdale to explore there. Not only does this seem like a really short sighted decision, but when Lachlan’s story climaxes – is it really going to be worth losing such a beloved character like Gerry? Gerry was the obvious and predictable target and if this story is going to drag onto the point of apathy it’ll feel like even more of a waste. Gerry could have been saved with a more original approach to this story and I bet the powers that be will come to regret this move in months to come.

6 Emmerdale Performances Worth Voting For

The longlist for the British Soap Awards is now open and our Emmerdale favourites are up for the coveted accolades. With six of Emmerdale’s best performers up for awards, I thought I would choose six scenes from the past year to showcase why they deserve a vote or two.

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Best Actor

Ryan Hawley (Robert Sugden)

Robert tries to let go – Christmas Day 2017

With almost all of the special Christmas episode centred on Robert, Ryan Hawley had a huge task carrying the episode after another eventful year of playing heartbroken and vengeful. The final scene of the Christmas Day episode saw a broken Robert defeated and tearful, having given up on reuniting with Aaron for the sake of his well-being. It was a gut-wrenching and beautifully played moment played between him and Danny Miller, showcasing their chemistry and the subtle agony Ryan is able to play on Robert’s face. For a character who can be the viciously smug seducer, Ryan has excelled at showing us Robert’s vulnerable, raw sides this past year.  

Vote for Ryan – Best Actor

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Jeff Hordley (Cain Dingle)

Cain’s flashback – November 2017

Loveable rogue Cain Dingle is never far from a car boot kidnap, but with the arrival of his mother Faith and a new son in Isaac, Cain was thrown into turmoil about his childhood. Exploring Cain’s past through a specially constructed episode using recast younger actors, Emmerdale explored the heart breaking harsh upbringing Chas and Cain endured. Cain is a man who holds his emotions tight so when Jeff Hordley gets to show us Cain’s exposed pain, we feel every tear. In Cain’s childhood home, Jeff managed to evoke a lifetime of agony and confusion in a single look and his onscreen dynamic with Sally Dexter makes you believe in them totally as mother and son.

Vote for Jeff – Best Actor

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Michael Parr (Ross Barton)

Ross’s Acid Attack Prognosis – Feb 2018

We were so used to seeing hard-man Ross let nothing stand in his way until he became a victim of mistaken identity and an acid attack at the start of the year. It’s been a complete change to see Ross lose his confidence and bravado and that switch from arrogant bloke to vulnerable and uncertain man has been one actor Michael Parr has relished. As doctors revealed his prognosis, it Ross being left alone when Michael really shone, shedding all of the Ross we’d come to know and showing us this broken man instead. As Ross continues to struggle with new challenges and a difficulty to accept his future, it’s been a welcome and impressive transformation.

Vote for Michael – Best Actor

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Best Actress

Emma Atkins (Charity Dingle)

Charity’s Abuse Reveal – April 2018

Since her return in 2016, Charity has mostly been used for (brilliant) comic relief and razor sharp lines, but this year has seen her take on a hugely emotional storyline as Charity opened up about her past. The story might only just have begun but Emma Atkins’ performance when Charity told Vanessa what she’d suffered at the hands of DI Bails, was powerful and harrowing. Emma’s incredible portrayal dug deep into the heart of Charity’s character, breaking down the walls Charity has built around herself and it’s clear that these levels of performances will continue to resonate as Charity’s story progresses.

Vote for Emma – Best Actress

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Lucy Pargeter (Chas Dingle)

Chas’s pregnancy decision – February 2018

There’s never been a quiet year for Chas Dingle, but things are looking a bit happier for her lately as she’s settled down with Paddy. Things didn’t get off to the smoothest of starts for the pair though and Chas was thrown into turmoil in February when she discovered she was pregnant. Despite Chas’s pregnancy decision being a divisive story among villagers and viewers, Lucy always gives Chas a vivacity and strength even when Chas herself is struggling. There are raw emotions in her performances which meant you couldn’t help but be on Chas’s side during those emotional scenes when she explained why she couldn’t go through the pregnancy. Even though Chas has now changed her mind and wants to keep the baby, I don’t expect it will be plain sailing. Chas Dingle never has it easy…

Vote for Lucy – Best Actress

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Natalie J Robb (Moira Dingle)

Moira’s guilt – December 2017

Wow, what a year Moira had. If 2016 wasn’t traumatic enough for her, the end of Moira’s 2017 was lifechanging. After being caught up in the events of Emma’s breakdown, Moira found herself giving birth to a shock baby. But that wasn’t all! As flashbacks revealed, Moira was also responsible for Emma’s murder, after being goaded by her to do it. Natalie J Robb’s captivating performances made Moira’s guilt, grief and PND so agonising. It was a shock to everyone that Moira killed Emma, but Natalie made Moira’s actions believable for the audience and unbearable for her to deal with, having knock-on effects to her feelings towards Isaac too. These were powerful scenes of guilt and confession, made even greater by the partnership between Natalie and Jeff.

Vote for Natalie – Best Actress  

And you can of course vote for Emmerdale as Best Soap too! Longlist voting closes Tuesday 24th April 2018.

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

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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)

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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! Tracy stood up to David’s cruelty and hypocrisy this week as Ross tried to cope with his scarring.

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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?

Fave or Fail? (19-23 Feb 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 week that saw Aaron and Robert finally reunite, Tracy was threatened with secrets from her past.

Faves

Make Your Dreams Come True

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h47m14s763If you heard the sound of happy crying on Thursday night then it was probably me. After months and months of agony and teasing, FINALLY Aaron and Robert were reunited and sought to face the future together, better than ever. It’s no secret that Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley’s chemistry has earned them thousands of fans worldwide so the pressure was on for a satisfying and romantic reunion. We got it – and then some. It had all the classic tropes of a romantic movie, with heartbroken Robert struggling to move on and Aaron realising he couldn’t live without Robert. It wasn’t just the fact they’d patched up and declared their love, it was all the special details included that made it so poignant for fans. From the fun scenes in the club, to the meaningful conversations in the garage (a location pivotal in their love story) – there wasn’t a moment wasted with all cards on the table. There wasn’t any silly misunderstandings or finger pointing, it was rooted in their intense past and entirely faithful to their characters. After so much agony and angst, it was a surreal joy to see their family happily reunited. Aaron was grinning – and you don’t see that often! It felt important and truly memorable. Moving forward, we know it can’t be plain sailing but by god, Emmerdale, don’t ruin this. You’ve got something really special.

Amazing Amy

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h47m51s372On any other week, Tracy’s storyline would have been top of my Faves list because if there’s anyone who deserves ALL the awards then it’s Amy Walsh. She’s been an absolute revelation this week, as Tracy was blackmailed over her prostitute past by the vile Phil. Amy conveyed Tracy’s abject fear brilliantly and her heartbreak at David’s cold shoulder was especially moving. Tracy’s scenes with Frank saw a new and improved sensitive side to his character as he was able to comfort her without judgement, until David’s treatment of her. Amy’s performances have been powerful and empathetic in this dark storyline, cementing her as one of Emmerdale’s best actors. We all wanted to rush in and rescue her this week, but I don’t think it’s going to get any easier for her as she tries to get justice. I just hope Frank and Vanessa will be there for her when David inevitably lets her down.

Squad Goals

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h45m35s230How great was Thursday’s episode at the bar? Fans of Robert have been crying out for him to have some actual mates for ages and Emmerdale also relished the opportunity to revisit the brilliant double act he has with Bernice, as well as giving him an ally in Vanessa. Aside from the girls’ great attempts to cheer him up, the comedy between the girls was something special. This episode was chockfull of one-liners and each character added something to the group to make it warm and funny. It’s great seeing our favourites outside of the village so it felt like we were really spoilt and even better that we got to see a group of girls having a great time and getting along. No bitchiness, no falling out over men, just bad dancing and cheesy music requests. More of this. PLEASE!

Getting Serious?

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h48m42s367With Charity back from her holiday this meant the Vanity hook ups could resume much to both their delights, but as the week progressed it was clear they were after a bit more than no-strings fun. While I’ve criticised Emmerdale in the past for its slow and most off-screen portrayal of Vanessa and Charity’s relationship, I was glad to see it given a little more prominence this week. I loved seeing the women have flirty fun (with drunk Vanessa being an adorable bonus) and Charity soften to the idea of something more serious. When the writing is there, Vanity is sparky and fun, bringing out new sides to both characters. There’s still room for more though, and I want to see it!

Bonus Faves

  • Gerry and Jacob’s lovely attempts to cheer up Liv (ice cream Gerry, leave out the vodka) and talk sense into Gabby. Jacob continues to be wonderful and the Liv/Gabby drama continues to be believable and well done
  • Ross’s continued struggles
  • Aaron’s lovely attempts to help Liv with her sexuality
  • Bernice’s funny but very blunt relationship advice
  • Priya and Kerry’s badgering of the DJ for 90s classics leading to them being kicked out – TV gold!
  • Robert and Liv repairing their fractured relationship. They have always been one of my favourite relationships in Emmerdale so it was touching seeing them move on and become a family again – that hug!
  • Joe’s redecorated Home Farm and it looks amazing
  • Faith using the loo when Chas was in the room – they’ve got a brilliant mother/daughter dynamic
  • Jimmy’s sycophantic “Thank you, Mr Tate!” combined with Robert’s bristling fury at Joe calling him “Richard” – this new rivalry will be amazing

Fails

David is the Worst

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h49m11s488There is always stiff competition when it comes to “worst man in Emmerdale” but surely David Metcalfe wins this one hands down? As if his cheating on insecure Tracy wasn’t bad enough this week he behaved so hideously that I’m firmly Team Tracy Deserves Better. With predatory and disgusting Phil blackmailing Tracy, David caught them in a compromising position and then learnt the truth about Tracy’s past. Instead of being warm, loving and supportive of his wife he was cold and accusatory, unable to even look at her in the same way when he found out about her history. While it would understandably be a shock, David’s attitude towards her prostitution (and his selfish attitude in general) has soured my view of him completely and that’s without considering his recent lying and cheating. With Tracy’s other family members showing compassion and understanding, David is a far cry from the type of man Tracy needs. It’s going to take a lot for me to warm to him again.

Emmerdale’s Top 20 Moments of 2017 – Part Two (#10-1)

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Here it is, my Top 10 of the Best Moments in Emmerdale in 2017. You can read numbers 11-20 here, but below are the things I enjoyed most about Emmerdale and the reason I think it’s been so successful in 2017.

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10. Lydia Hart

Kooky Lydia made several appearances in 2016 and I was quickly taken with actress Karen Blick and her great grasp of comedy, so it was a complete joy to see her become a show regular in 2017. Lydia quickly established herself in the village, living with and bringing laughter back to Laurel’s house, becoming a cleaner for the factory and the Whites and pairing up with Sam. Lydia feels right at home in the village and although her oddball humour hasn’t disappeared, Emmerdale managed to make her more human by exploring the long term impact of losing her husband. I can’t wait to see Lydia and Sam get married in 2018!

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9. Creativity and Risks

Soaps are such a long running staple in British households that sometimes it feels like so many stories have already been told. What I’ve enjoyed about Emmerdale recently is its attempts to take risks and be creative within the realms of soap. Whether it’s taking the time to explore on story in depth and dedicate a whole episode to that tale, to arrange stories in non-linear ways to keep viewers guessing, or use flashbacks and different storytelling devices to explore a character in depth. Emmerdale have used all of these effectively in the year to take a closer look and examine the characters with love and I hope they continue to make original choices in future.

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8. Super Soap Week 2.0

Little was going to top 2016’s Super Soap Week – an impressive, visually stunning treat – but 2017’s Barton centric week was full of thrills, shocks and centred on the fantastic Gillian Kearney. From barn explosions, killer confessions, a shock birth, a shooting, hallucinations, a kidnap and a murder – they packed a great deal into one week, perhaps a bit too much at times!

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7. The Thomas Kids

Emmerdale’s cast is fantastic, but even more impressive is its cast of child actors. In 2017 actors Rosie Bentham and Alfie Clarke impressed everyone with their ability to give such touching and heartfelt performances through the Ashley’s dementia storyline. The Thomas family scenes resonated deeply with so many viewers and much of this was down to the moving portrayals of grief by Ashley’s children, Gabby and Arthur. Even after Ashley was gone, the two didn’t take a backseat and played a key role in Emma’s storyline too, with Gabby even a suspect in her murder. Both Rosie and Alfie are talented individuals and I really look forward to what 2018 will bring!

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6. Big Performances

Above all else, Emmerdale in 2017 was the year of fantastic performances. What I loved about the year’s stories is that it gave so many of the actors a chance to shine in some stand-out moments, rather that a small handful of actors dominating. 2017 saw big emotional and dramatic roles for lots of the cast, earning acting awards for a variety of the cast and giving everyone a juicy role. You just have to scroll through my Scene of the Week choices to witness the range of performances throughout year – almost everyone had their chance to shine in the spotlight in 2017 and I hope that continues in 2018.

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5. Rhona’s Rape

Emmerdale told a very powerful story of control, abuse and rape in 2017 as Rhona was raped by Pierce on their wedding day. The effectiveness of this storyline came from the slow burn nature of Pierce’s control and darkness, and the positive way Rhona took control of her life in the aftermath. Jonathan Wrather was chilling and compelling, playing Pierce as remorseless and dangerous in his inferiority complex. Zoe Henry was breathtakingly good, from Rhona’s traumatised state all the way through to her bravery during the trial and I appreciated the way Emmerdale didn’t let this story drag or fall into cliché by having people not believe her, or by letting Pierce back into her life.

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4. The Robron Wedding

Despite what transpired in the rest of 2017 for the fan-favourite couple, the Robron wedding was still a huge highlight of the year. It had everything: warmth, humour, family and romance. In true Emmerdale style, Dingle mania took over and the boys escaped to the garage to exchange their vows in private which was a glorious throwback to the origins of their relationship. These episodes, even with their bittersweet tinge, showed exactly why the pairing are so beloved and why the onscreen chemistry between Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley withstands the most trying of storylines. Here’s hoping 2018 focuses on happier times for Robron!

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3. Emma’s Unravelling

Emma Barton was by far one of my favourite soap characters of 2017 and despite her needing a climatic end, I already miss her. Gillian Kearney played all her complexities perfectly and made her so compelling to watch. Having taken up Christianity after James’s death to absolve herself, Emma’s inner conflict continued to struggle as she compartmentalised her desperate behaviour against her newfound religion. She could be reckless as well as being fragile and her obsessive nature made her unpredictable too, meaning even little Arthur became a victim of hers. Her downfall did come a little too slowly, but with Gillian’s captivating and often sympathetic performances, I didn’t mind that we got to see as much of Emma as possible in 2017!

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2. Faith Dingle

It’s hard to believe that Faith Dingle has been on our screens less than a year because truly I can’t imagine Emmerdale without her. Bold, brash, larger than life, with a wicked tongue and a huge heart, Faith has breathed new life into Emmerdale. From the troubled relationships with her children, to her own heartbreaking breast cancer secret, Faith isn’t just about the big laughs and outrageous comments. Faith is the kind of character Emmerdale does best, delivering barbed comments and saucy winks, as well as revealing someone with a dark history and deep insecurities. Sally Dexter has made Faith into such a memorable character, even managing to nab all the best lines. Bring on 2018 and more of Faith!

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1. Ashley’s Demise

Without a doubt, Emmerdale best story of 2017 and the one that will be heralded for years to come is Ashley’s death. This long running story is one that touches the hearts of many families struggling with the same illness and was told with honesty and warmth. Actors John Middleton and Charlotte Bellamy gave exceptional performances as the couple separated by this tragedy, with the acting and writing exceeding itself week on week. It was painful at every turn, and yet Emmerdale managed to keep moments of humour to balance the strain on viewers. This family and these characters felt more like people we knew rather than figures on TV and our hearts broke over and over as the situation worsened and Ashley finally died. It’s also been good to see that Ashley is never forgotten – his presence and the impact of his death is still something that features in the storylines and the behaviours of those who loved him and I’m sure that will continue in 2018.

Fave or Fail? (25-29 Dec 2017)

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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! From Monday’s Christmas special to Lachlan’s dark side being exposed – the last week of 2017 was an eventful one!

Faves

Christmas Extravaganza

vlcsnap-2017-12-31-18h01m29s087Emmerdale’s Christmas special was a mad hour of nightmares, festivities and emotion and you can read my breakdown of everything I loved in this post here. There was little else that could make my top spot this week. Perhaps the thing I loved most about this episode is that despite the creative and risky storytelling choices, at the heart of it was a concentration on emotion and character. Not only did the special episode give them a chance to do something a little bit weird and stylistic, but it also gave the audience greater insight into one of their best and most complex characters in Robert. It was an episode full of everything Emmerdale does best, full of heart and humour and I loved it!

The Dark Side

vlcsnap-2017-12-31-18h01m56s966One of the few saving graces of the White family drama this week came from Lachlan. Thanks to chilling and unnerving performances from Thomas Atkinson, he took Lachlan to new dark levels as he threatened Chrissie and blackmailed her into getting him a flat. This was one of the first times we really saw Lachlan’s unfiltered psychotic behaviour in display in front of his mother and the first time Chrissie was really alarmed. Seeing Lachlan like this finally made that twisted mother/son dynamic interesting and begs the question why they didn’t go down this route sooner. There was so much potential there for Chrissie to enable her son’s out of control behaviour while he terrorised her but that now seems like a missed opportunity.

Nan Knows Best

_1074 Aaron amp; Robert 26th December 2017 Part 3 of 3 - YouTubeWhen it comes to her grandkids we usually see Faith Dingle supporting Debbie’s corner, but this week it was Aaron’s turn as she was able to over him a boost to his self-esteem. Insecure and anxious about his self-harm scars, Faith was able to relate, after her mastectomy surgery gave her confidence a knock and made it difficult for her to get intimate. Despite them being family it made a welcome change for these two characters to have a meaningful scene together and although it was emotional, Faith is the right kind of loud and supportive nan figure Aaron needs in his life. Here’s hoping they share more screentime in 2018!

A New Reign?

vlcsnap-2017-12-31-18h03m26s311Apart from wandering around the village in his furs, we haven’t seen a great deal of Jimmy towards the end half of the year but 2018 looks like we might see a bit more of him. This week more of the community got involved in the golf course debacle, making the story a lot more interesting than just a Dingle protest and Jimmy was approached by councillor Morris in the hopes he would fight the developers corner. Jimmy’s family history was played on, reminding us all that Jimmy’s legacy is a lot more than just a haulage business and Tom King got a mention too. As much as I love Jimmy the fool and his relationship with Nicola, it’s about time the King family history was remembered and we started seeing a more ruthless return.

Fails

Just Leave

vlcsnap-2017-12-31-18h04m26s230When it comes to the White family it’s always the same old story and with their exits teased about 9 months ago, I’m bored rigid of them. There only seems to be two types of drama whenever they’re about – either it’s internal conflict, family members at war, or it’s something Robert’s done and this week was more of the same tired story.  With Rebecca yo-yoing for the 600th time between Emmerdale and elsewhere, having done a u-turn on her opinion of Robert twice in a week and the rest of the family (Lachlan not withstanding) whiplashing between forgiveness and condemnation of Rob again – they decided they would leave the village. About time too! But really, with all their weak-willed, wishy-washy behaviour you wonder why they didn’t do it years ago. Who cares anymore? They add nothing to the village or the programme. Just leave already.

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!