6 Perfect Reasons To Vote Emmerdale at the Soap Awards

Last year Emmerdale took home the big one – Best British Soap – at the British Soap Awards, for the first time in its history. The last twelve months in Emmerdale have been brilliant, so here are just a few reasons why Emmerdale is still the best soap and why you should vote for them at the Soap Awards.

Dealing with Tough Issues

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Emmerdale has been praised for its heartfelt stories about issues that have grounding in reality and deal with difficult subjects such as marital rape and dementia – and rightly so. Episodes like Holly’s tragic and shock death from a heroin overdose and Ashley’s passing were emotive and touching, particularly as they connected with an audience who had suffered similar tragedies in their own lives. These stories are soap at their finest and are especially effective when we have spent years watching these characters and their lives play out.

Super Soap Week

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It’s hard to imagine that Emmerdale’s Super Soap Week will ever be bettered. It had it all: a unique storytelling device, beautiful camera work, character focused episodes and then a blockbuster style stunt like nothing we’ve ever seen in soap before. It brought together a range of villagers in stories which covered multiple genres and saw their lives collide – literally. It was visually impressive, ambitious and a real treat for any Emmerdale or soap fan.

Complex Characters

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Emmerdale is blessed with a fantastic range of vibrant characters but it doesn’t make caricatures of them. Characters we think of as the fools can still face heartbreak; the bad guys can have a soft side. Bad deeds are done and bad decisions are made, but mostly the people we see onscreen feel human – like people we know and actions we can believe. Even some of its morally grey characters like Robert or Emma, have complicated emotional cores that are a joy to watch unfold. And even Emmerdale’s out-and-out villains like Pierce are more than just there for cackling and evil deeds – they showcase the dark side of human nature.

Flawless Performances

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There’s a reason why Emmerdale’s so full of great characters and hard-hitting storylines, why the cast is so beloved by all who watch and that’s simply down to how hugely talented the actors are. We’re moved to tears of sadness and laughter, we’re shocked and angered. We could hand out fifty awards and still feel like the cast deserve more. From the stunts to the quiet moments of pain and heartbreak, the Emmerdale actors nail it all. A vote for Emmerdale is a vote for this talented bunch and all the crew behind the scenes who make their performances even more powerful.

A Big Sense of Humour

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It’s not just emotional and hard-hitting issues Emmerdale tackles, but they often give us a great dollop of humour in its storylines. They might not all be rib-tickling but Emmerdale has enough brilliant comedy performers that there’s bound to be at least one villager that raises a laugh. Whether it’s the physical comedy, the one-liners or innuendo, Emmerdale isn’t short on laughs and it’s a warm and familiar comfort returning to these fun characters night after night.

Family Dynamic

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Family dynamics are a huge part of soap and Emmerdale’s use of family in the last year has helped to make its stories unbeatable. Soap families are notorious sprawling and unconventional, but there’s been no shortage of warmth and love between its family units, even those units which are forged through ties of friendship and loyalty rather than blood. We’ve had the BnB squad in Diane, Doug and Eric; we’ve seen the Thomas family facing a hard year, but the extended family brought humour and fun to Ashley’s bleak storyline; we’ve seen Aaron cement his new family with a wedding to Robert and a house for them and Liv; Tracy bonding with her birth father Frank and new-found sister in Vanessa, but her bond with Eric has been touching to see grow; The Dingles were severed last year with Zak’s betrayal but with Lisa taking him back and Debbie’s return, Faith’s arrival they’re as big and brash as ever. The Emmerdale families are so full of loveable relationships and surprising bonds that it makes deciding which family you’d join – if you could – an impossible choice!

Fave or Fail? (27-31 March 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! This week saw Harriet and Cain snog and Faith reveal her cancer in a powerful moment.

Faves

Light and Shade

w51thWe all know Ashley’s story is ending very soon, but one of the strengths of this hard-hitting dementia plot has been Emmerdale’s handling of what could be quite a draining watch. With long running illness plots the danger is that the story gets bogged down in misery, but this hasn’t happened in Ashley’s story. The moments of grief and emotion have been used poignantly and amongst this has been heart-warming and fun family moments with a large group of characters. This week saw the Thomas collective and friends join together for a talent show to cheer up Laurel. Bernice’s Barry Manilow, Doug’s musical carrot (“I am some kind of tit!” – yes, we know), Nicola’s high spirited one-arm dance – all of this was juxtaposed with Ashley’s sing-a-long at the care home, ending in him coughing up blood. It’s because these moments of light, family warmth are shown alongside Ashley’s decline and brief moments of hope, that they’re so effective. Seeing all of Ashley’s family and friends together, all responding in different ways, all bringing their own histories and personalities into the story, makes this plot relatable to so many other families watching. Next week is going to be heartbreaking.

Genuine Shock

w51faithAdmittedly I’m the sort of Emmerdale fan who’s addicted to spoilers so there’s little that’s usually a surprise to me, but I was genuinely taken aback by the reveal of Faith’s mastectomy this week and found it to be a very powerful moment. After Chas and Faith’s turbulent heart to heart, Faith flinched when Chas went to hug her, prompting another emotional outburst from Chas with her believing that Faith thought she was toxic. What transpired was a scene alone in Faith’s bedroom and a silent shot as she stared at herself in the mirror, revealing her mastectomy scars. The moment was shocking, poignant and a brave move for a soap. Although Faith is a controversial figure both on-screen with her family and off-screen with viewers, she already feels like a complex and well draw character despite not having been on screen for very long and having already shared scenes with many characters, it seems like she is already finding her place in Emmerdale.

Bob’s Your Uncle

Emmerdale - Bob Is Shocked When Ashley Starts Coughing Up Blood - YouTubeI’m not convinced there’s enough love for Bob Hope on the internet. Not only does he make unforgettable Americanos and think of himself as a bit of a smooth mover but he’s got to be one of best shoulders to cry on right now. This week Carly opened up to him about losing Billy and his support was compassionate and tender – exactly what she needed from her dad. Later in the week, Bob was a great friend for Ashley and even entertained the other residents in the care home with his singing. Bob is one of those villagers who seems to brighten up the screen and this week proved more than ever that he’s more than just a coffee maker and we need to see him get stuck into as many stories as possible!

Fails

Something Missing?

Emmerdale - Did Harriet Enjoy Being Kissed by Bad Boy Cain - YouTubeOn paper, unconventional vicar hooks up with local bad boy sounds like the recipe for a red-hot affair story and when we all suspected that cool woman of the cloth Harriet was going to get frisky with Cain, there was definitely potential. Could ‘Charriet’ be the next big thing? Well…for me it was a bit of a let down if I’m honest. The build-up to their church aisle snog felt a little forced and their confrontational attitude the other week sprung up from nowhere for two characters who have barely interacted in their years onscreen. Understandably they wouldn’t get on and yet it all felt far too shoe-horned just to make their antagonism greater for a shock snog. And really, there’s no denying they’re both sexy but their chemistry didn’t quite translate as well as it could. That’s not to say this plot won’t heat up but there was just something missing. Might it be because it just feels like Cain is treading water until they reunite him with Moira?

Seeing Double

EmmerdaleIf you’ve been following this blog for a while you’ll have noticed my change of heart when it comes to Jai Sharma. I’m fickle, okay? Once I couldn’t stand the guy and I wouldn’t have minded if there was a fire at the sweet factory, but now? Now I love Jai. This week saw a return of a more Jai centred story as he attended an NA meeting at the village hall and talked about his struggle with addiction and the loss of Holly. All powerful and moving stuff, even if these issues – like Carly’s struggles – feel a bit disjointed seeing as they’ve not been touched on regularly enough. However what was less convincing was the arrival of Nell aka Holly Barton’s doppelganger. We understand quite clearly that she was meant to remind Jai of Holly and encourage him to reach out but did her look-a-like status need to be so embarrassingly blatant? The clothes, the age, the voice, the hair. It was all a bit much and had the subtly of a hammer to the face. We’re not idiots, Emmerdale, we can connect the dots without the need for a Holly clone! Less is more.

Emmerdale’s Top 20 Moments of 2016 – Part Two (#10-1)

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Winner of Britain’s Best Soap, Emmerdale is firing on all cylinders with some incredible storylines this year. I’ve already given a run down of the lowlights and my Top moments #20 to #11, but here’s my Top 10 moments in Emmerdale in 2016. Here’s to an ever better 2017!

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10. Andy’s exit

Everyone was shocked to hear that Kelvin Fletcher was leaving Emmerdale after twenty years of playing Andy Sugden and it still doesn’t feel quite right without him. With Chrissie on the warpath, Andy faced a bleak future of serving time for a crime he didn’t commit, made even worse when managed to break from his holding cell in court. Yikes. Sure, the whole escape fiasco was soapy and ridiculous but Andy’s emotional goodbyes with Bernice and brother Robert let Andy go out on a dramatic high. His final few episodes saw the Sugden brothers at their best – immature swipes at each other and a rocky history but ultimately full of love. Here’s hoping Andy doesn’t have to stay on the run forever!

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9. Remembering Edna Birch

Emmerdale legend Shirley Stelfox sadly passed away this year and Emmerdale honoured the iconic Edna Birch with a moving and fitting tribute. Ashley and Laurel returned with the upsetting news that Edna had passed, leading to a touching exploration of faith and friendship as Sandy in particular suffered with the news. The villagers gathered for her funeral and tried to find closure in their sad goodbye. There were some especially lovely scenes with Sandy and Ashley as they came to terms with her passing and left her infamous hat to float downstream on the river. Shirley and Edna will be sorely missed.

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8. Lawrence’s tragic past

We’d known since Lawrence’s arrival at the end of 2014 that he’d been imprisoned for homosexuality but it wasn’t until this year that the tragedy of his past had properly been explored. After marrying Bernice he seemed fairly content, even if he was unable and uninterested in being intimate with her, but that all changed when Chrissie’s paternity came into question and Ronnie Hale came on the scene. The scenes in which we learnt of Lawrence and Ronnie’s romantic past and Lawrence’s agonising prison torture were brilliant, giving us the insight into Lawrence background that had only been teased before. Hearing Lawrence talk about his love for Harold and the electric shock therapy he had suffered was a particularly poignant moment in this interesting story and one which reminded the audience of others who endured a similar background and was new ground for soap.

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7. Bernice’s doomed love life

This year saw Bernice cement herself as one of my favourite characters in the village with her glorious displays of laugh-out-loud comedy and tear jerking heartbreak. Having resigned herself to a sexless marriage last year, she battled with the reality of this when Lawrence wouldn’t admit to his past when former lover Ronnie returned to his life. The breakdown of her marriage and the pain of loneliness saw Bernice drunk drive a bulldozer into the Mill and later collapse in tears. Bernice had a horrible time of it and found comfort again in the arms of the man she pined for, Andy Sugden. It was an unlikely pairing but one with chemistry that had been bubbling for some time and besides, who doesn’t want to see Bernice happy? But with Andy on the run it couldn’t happen and Bernice was forced to let him go and team up with Robert to help bring down the Whites, giving us some hysterically memorable scenes of Bernice armed with clippers: “I WILL MAKE YOU BALD!!”

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6. Emma Barton

Love her or loathe her, Emma Barton has had one hell of a year on Emmerdale and we’ve finally seen her fulfil the potential that’s been brewing since day one. Earlier in the year, when Emma lied about having a life-threatening illness (but then quickly confessed) I had high hopes for what the year would bring, as long as they didn’t make her too cartoony. I’ve been thrilled with how things progressed and while there were real moments of OTT crazy in Super Soap Week (chicken blood on the wedding dress for one) all of Emma’s extreme behaviour comes from a very real place. Gillian Kearney stole the show in Super Soap Week as she made Emma’s psyche (all she wanted was for James to love her, jeez!) gripping viewing. Sure, viewers are frustrated and want the truth to come out, but seeing the cracks appear and the horrifying lengths she’ll go to in covering up the truth are just cementing Emma as a real favourite of mine.

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5. Aaron and Robert becoming a proper couple

For beloved couple Aaron and Robert, 2015 was all about sex, violence, murder attempts, more sex and misery, but by the end of the year the love between them was thin on the ground. This year, however, saw a huge turnaround for the characters and their relationship as Robert offered Aaron unwavering and unconditional support throughout his childhood abuse revelations and the trial. Aaron drew great strength and comfort from Robert’s presence and reassurance, and needed him in ways he couldn’t lean on his family. In Robert too, we saw a refreshing new side as Emmerdale toned down the panto and restrictive villainy (we don’t talk about the teeth incident) and let him become more human – showing a wealth of love and loyalty in Aaron’s plight. It’s a testament to Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley’s chemistry that they were able to rebuild Aaron and Robert’s rocky relationship into a love story rooted for by so many. As the year progressed and Robron reunited, it was a joy to see their mix of passion and affection grow into a family unit, becoming one of the show’s best couples and their romantic journey in Super Soap Week (leading to a proposal) was a massive highlight of the year. Bring on the wedding!

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4. Holly’s Death

I’ll admit I was filled with dread when I heard of Holly’s return and those first few months – as she got involved with lightweight gangsters, made a move on Cain and got involved with petty revenge on Charity – did little to endear her to me. However, as Holly fractured the Coira powerhouse and turned back to drugs, the performances from Sophie Powles and Natalie J Robb shone as some of the best in the show. It was gritty, brutal and showed how destructive drugs can be to a family. Sod’s law had it that just as I had begun to warm to Holly and was fond of her surprising relationship with Jai (JAI – I liked Jai!!!), Emmerdale pulled out the rug from under us and Moira found Holly dead in her bed. We’d all been expecting an exit, but none of us saw that coming so soon! There was something eerie and different about the episode’s opening that left everyone curious, but kudos to Emmerdale for pulling off a true shock. Once again viewers were treated to stunning performances and the weight of Holly’s death made a huge impact, not just in the fictional world, but also to viewers who saw the reality of drug addiction at its worst, even when a person appears to be happy and coping. This was another moment which saw Emmerdale soaring in 2016.

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3. Aaron’s childhood sexual abuse

Another incredibly powerful and emotive storyline of 2016 was the reveal that Aaron had been repeatedly raped as a child by his father, Gordon. Gordon’s arrival in December 2015 sent Aaron spiralling into self-harm, resulting in him collapsing from septicaemia and eventually confessing about his abuse to Robert. By then we’d already seen consistently impressive performances from Danny Miller, but this storyline surpassed all of those, as time and time again he delivered each heart-crushing moment with a rawness that sent shivers down spines. The storyline was grim, uncomfortable and sickening at times but the script and the actors never shied away from the horror of the story and offered outstanding performances from all the main actors involved. With justice being served in a satisfying way, and Aaron having hope for a happier future, it felt like an unnecessary twist to have Gordon commit suicide, but ultimately this storyline was tackled in a moving and truthful way and seemed a fitting backstory in light of Aaron’s adolescent struggles.

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2. Ashley’s dementia

Ashley’s dementia was an obvious highlight towards the end of 2015, but this year has really seen its progression and the deterioration, particularly in recent months, has been an affecting and ground breaking storyline. At the heart of this storyline, John Middleton has played every moment of heartbreak with nuance and a real understanding of the tragedy involved in dementia. Getting a long-term illness right in soap is a difficult business, when the realistic speed of illness can jar with a pacey need for dramatic twists but Emmerdale has struck the balance just right. At every turn, we’ve seen the wider impact on Ashley’s family (on his children and their behaviour, on Laurel’s alcoholism and struggle to hold everything together – with all of these featuring stellar acting), his identity and faith – as well as sitting alongside the soapier elements such as Emma’s big secret. Ashley’s special episode was a superb decision by the producers, giving the audience a ground-breaking insight into life from the perspective of someone with dementia and highlighted all the strengths of this hugely important storyline.

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1. Super Soap Week

Expectations were sky high for Emmerdale’s special week in October and as information and spoilers were drip-fed to us, excitement built. Surely it couldn’t be as good as we were hearing? Wrong! In breath-taking scenes, Emmerdale secured itself at the top of the soap game with a week that would be remembered as some of the best material in the soap genre. With each episode showing the same day from the perspective of different characters we had insight into characters in a way we’d never had before, allowing long scenes and meaty material showcasing the incredible talents of all the cast involved. For Emma Barton and Robert Sugden, these episodes offered real defining moments as the former reached her incredible and unnerving potential and the latter had his long awaited and important heart-to-heart about his bisexuality. The week had it all, like six blockbusters strung together – romance, comedy, horror, drama and action – and for the first time ever we got to see the Hotten Bypass! The episodes were shot with glossy film style cameras which gave the week a real movie feel and the epic stunts were jaw-dropping and awesome in the real sense of the word. The best thing about Super Soap Week is the way the stories interlinked and made everyone’s brains go into overdrive as we tried to piece the story together, meaning you had the urge to rewatch the episodes multiple times to pick up on all the details. It was truly unmissable and aside from the stunt (which was a huge spectacle in itself) the plot was driven by real character moments and a sense of jeopardy.

Scene of the Week (21-25 Nov 2016)

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“We’ve just got to live the best life ever and not waste a single second of it. Not just for them, but for us.” Who’d ever thought these wise words would come from the mouth of Adam Barton? Not me that’s for sure. The Barton family collective have had a hellish year after Holly and then James’ death and through all that this was a very welcome change of pace to see two of the Barton boys reflect on life and death and the process of grieving. As a miserable Pete struggled to see the point of life, dwelling on the things his father would miss out on, Adam reflected on how he was grateful to spend time with his sister again and the importance of family. It’s not often you see these scenes of quiet contemplation, particularly with these two characters, but in what’s been a patchy aftermath to the crash, it was needed.

Fave or Fail? (3-7 Oct 2016)

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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 where Emmerdale celebrated more soap victories, the Bartons coped with the loss of Holly.

Faves

Powerful Aftermath

133-adam-amp-victoria-3rd-october-2016-part-1-of-4-youtubeAfter last week’s emotional and shattering episodes surrounding Holly’s death, Emmerdale didn’t drop the ball in the aftermath. We saw a full spectrum of grief from the Bartons this week as Moira and Adam coped with their loss. Both of them sought answers and in Adam’s case – he wanted revenge and a sense of justice. But much like real life, both of them struggled through guilt, feelings of blame and confusion wishing they could have done more before realising that they had to stop taking out their tensions on each other. As the week progressed there was a brief feeling of resolution, that there is no sense or reason for tragedy such as this. It was a very truthful and heartfelt portrayal of the devastation death causes in a family and was a powerful aftermath to this storyline, showcasing what Emmerdale does best.

Human Again

135-adam-amp-victoria-3rd-october-2016-part-3-of-4-youtubeJai was another person who found it difficult to cope with everyday life after Holly’s death. When the police arrived he lied and we saw him put on a front. But alone, this broke and he too battled his own addictions, seeking help from a support group. We learnt a lot more about Jai and Holly’s relationship in these scenes and thankfully saw a much more human, likeable and empathetic man than we’d seen in a long time. Jai’s scenes with Moira were particular powerful as they discussed the realities of vulnerability and addiction and there were poignant moments of grieving as the two of them bonded over Jai’s stories about Holly’s strength and plans for the future. This was a great example of Emmerdale utilising two characters who rarely interact and giving Jai a more tolerable, sympathetic direction rather than the sneering villain routine of last year.

Paddy vs Pierce

emmerdale-tuesday-4th-october-2016-video-dailymotion-1There are elements of this Pierce storyline that are a little hard to buy, but overall you can feel the tensions brewing and Pierce’s grip on Rhona tightening by the week and that’s why this drip-feed of control is working well. Okay, Vanessa’s change of heart is possibly the hardest thing to believe seeing as she saw a flash of Pierce’s darker side, but she’s also seen Paddy’s desperation to win Rhona back, so maybe she would believe him capable of crossing a line. Pierce’s quiet control – a hand on Rhona’s shoulder, a suggestion here and there, planting the nightie to set Paddy up – these are all clever and devious subtleties that make a great slow burn. I expect as Pierce’s influence spreads wider we’ll be screaming at our TVs, wanting to rescue Rhona and hoping someone will believe Paddy and for that I can’t wait!

Compelling Performances

emmerdale-theres-nothing-left-in-emmerdale-for-charity-youtubeI have many mixed feelings when it comes to the Charity/Cain/Moira saga and at times I think both women would be better without him, but the performances between all three actors are undeniably compelling whether you’re a Chain, Coira or even a Choira fan! This week, with Moira struggling in grief, Charity was battling her own issues of insecurity and belonging and wanted to escape Emmerdale. Cain has his guilt issues to deal with and a complicated history around addiction, and he decided he too needed a fresh start. There’s nothing simple about this trio and their feelings. Moira is boiling with rage and resentment on the surface but crumbles when alone and Charity feels a complex mixture of envy and inadequacy but her moments of selfishness seem understandable even when she’s not especially sympathetic. Their histories are rich – Cain’s with Charity, frankly disastrous – and this adds weight to their performances. Ultimately it feels like there’s unfinished business with Coira, whereas Charity is clinging to the past and will break her own heart. Either way, the actors know their characters so well – it’ll hurt whatever happens.

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Missing Something

emmerdale-6th-october-2016-part-1-video-dailymotionIs it just me or has Chrissie White lost her fun factor? Perhaps her superbitch ways were divisive but they were quite entertaining when she went all Gone Girl on us. Then there was the misjudged blackmail plot with Rakesh which I’ve tried to cleanse from my mind and now Chrissie seems to be buying up half the village. It’s no secret that the rich Whites are rather distant from the rest of the village but I can’t really understand why Chrissie would want to own a garage that makes no money, or a random cottage? She’s apparently not short of cash or businesses – what with her salons and the estate to run – so the big question is why? Is it to give the family more status or connections or a bigger purpose – good if so – or is it just to have her swan around sneering at others and holding all the cards? That’s a lot less fun that the camp ice queen routine. The only way I can imagine this being slightly more interesting is if she hooks up with Ross Barton, after all he’s the only man in town who she really has sparks with.

Scene of the Week (3-7 Oct 2016)

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Last year, guilt, regret and empathy weren’t words you could associate with Jai Sharma but we saw a much more human side to him this week as he struggled in the wake of Holly’s death. Although most of the drama centred on the Bartons, Jai’s perspective was an important one for the family’s closure. Jai’s heart breaking guilt was played out in a quiet and tragic way at Butler’s Farm as he opened up to Moira about the night before Holly’s death. As Jai explained his addiction triggers to Moira, he revealed that he felt responsible for Holly’s overdose because he’d had to leave her at the wedding alone. The writing in the scene felt crushingly real and a painful reminder that happiness and strength doesn’t prevent the temptation of drugs and that the battle is not easily fought. Another praise-worthy scene during this tough storyline – good job, Emmerdale. Watch it again here.

Fave or Fail? (26-30 Sep 2016)

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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! This was one truly unforgettable week with the shock death of Holly Barton – I’m still reeling!

Faves

Holly’s Tragic Death

emmerdale-moira-discovers-hollys-dead-body-youtubeIn a tragic twist that no one was expecting (at least not so soon) Emmerdale was rocked by the sudden death of Holly Barton. In true soap fashion it happened at a time where everything had started going right for her. She was clean, fighting her addiction, had earned herself a great job working for Take a Vow and had begun a touching romance with Jai Sharma. So what a shock it was on what everyone had expected would be a standard Thursday double bill with (repetitive) Charity and Cain drama, that Moira found her daughter dead in bed. Only the day before I was feeling fond of Holly’s touching relationship with her mother and last week I was praising the new and heart-warming Jai/Holly romance and then suddenly she was gone. Holly has never been a favourite of mine but her death was executed in such a tragic and poignant way that no one could fail to be moved. The episode opened in rather an unusual way – we all should have guessed doom was approaching – with scenes of Moira walking the farm to Nina Simone’s Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, as Charity and Chas sang it to a grumpy Cain. Then as Moira took Holly a cup of tea (and she suddenly had more interactions with her friends than in the many months before!) we definitely realised something was up. This delayed sense of dread was gripping, making Moira’s discovery even more heartbreaking. Their mother-daughter relationship had been at the heart of Holly’s return so for Moira to find her and later, to climb in beside her and talk to her as if she were a scared young girl were especially effecting. It’s a crime that Natalie J Robb hasn’t been given any awards yet for her consistently brilliant performances and within this double episode alone she covered a whole spectrum of grief and if there’s any justice, these scenes will be remembered and rewarded in time.

Adam’s Anguish

emmerdale-adam-loses-it-after-hollys-death-youtubeIt wasn’t just Moira’s plight that was so moving and effectively performed – it would be wrong to ignore Adam’s role in the episodes. All too often Adam Barton is on the sidelines of stories and rarely given a chance to shine but this week truly proved Adam Thomas is capable of tackling emotional and gritty storylines. From the cleverly silent scene of him hearing the news from wife Victoria, to him facing the brunt of Moira’s pain, to his confrontation in the pub with Cain that resulted in gutwrenching performances between both actors, he too gave complexity to the impact of Holly’s death.

A Wider Impact

emmerdale-thursday-29th-september-double-episode-video-dailymotion-1One of the most successful aspects to the shock of Holly’s death was the wider effect it had on the rest of the village. It’s not uncommon to see tragedy and big events barely denting the rest of the village (helicopter crash? Pfft barely any aftermath) so it was a very effective decision to buck this trend. Many of the villagers are parents or have lost their children in tragic circumstances. We saw both Megan and Brenda mourn the loss of their children, we saw Cain spending time with Kyle (and reminding him about his shoelaces – a tying technique Holly had taught Kyle), Chas wanting to see Aaron and Vanessa rushing home to hold Johnny. All very subtle ways to show the impact of Holly’s death and all things that made the emotion and events feel so real. It wasn’t just parents that were affected – Jai was understandably rocked by the news and had to cover his true heartbreak. It was touching to see on Friday that the Dingles rallied round to help at the farm, that flowers and casseroles were delivered as the big families of the village came together. This is soap at its best – character based, believable responses, plots and character histories merging and powerful emotional drama at its core.

Sensitive Soul

emmerdale-kerrys-fling-with-ross-got-her-pregnant-youtubeAway from the tragedy in the Barton household, it was nice to see a different side to Dan and Kerry this week. Most of the time they’re used for light relief, but as with most of Emmerdale’s funny characters, they’re capable of dramatic performances too. Now that Jimmy and Nicola have seemingly worked through their marriage problems (and btw those bereavement group scenes with ‘Ricola and Timmy’ were hilarious) and Kerry has agreed to (legally) marry Dan, you’d think everything was rosy. But unfortunately for Kerry, she discovered she was pregnant, with the soap classic “Who’s the Daddy?” dilemma. It’s nothing original and I don’t really want to see Kerry and Dan split, but Laura Norton has taken us away from the brasher side of Kerry this week and really impressed with her vulnerable portrayal. Sometimes Kerry can have a nasty edge so it’s been good to see her much softer as she struggles with her dilemma.

Fail

Running Round in Circles

em14_0005Emmerdale caused a big stir this week for reasons other than Holly’s death and that was down to the misjudged plot of dog-napping. One of Ross and Charity’s idiotic schemes of course! It’s not this plot as such that gets my thumbs down (this is after all a soap full of criminals, including someone convicted of sexual assault, walk freely around the village every day…) but that the whole story felt flat and repetitive. How many of these similarly criminal schemes gone wrong have we had with Charity, and with Ross? Too many now. It’s just getting boring. Both characters seem stuck in a rut and I can’t help but feel something needs to shake them both out of their usual storylines. It was saved slightly because Charity and Ross are blessed with a decent amount of chemistry (and are connected by their adorable son) and sometimes it feels like Emmerdale would be better off exploring their relationship rather than the tired Charity/Cain pairing (oop controversial) or the yawnsome Ross and Debbie “love story”. It just all feels a bit ‘been there, done that’.

Scene of the Week (26-30 Sep 2016)

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I could have picked any scene from Thursday’s incredible double bill, but the breathtaking final scene is one that has stayed with me since. There was something beautiful as well as harrowing in that final shot of Moira being held up by Cain. Everything from the performance to the writing and direction was a real heart in mouth moment. Natalie J Robb gave it her all as Moira ran after the undertaker’s vehicle, unwilling and unable to say goodbye to her daughter. Once she’d chased them down the track, screaming and sobbing, she collapsed and just at the right moment, Cain appeared and took her in his arms. It seemed fitting, for all their torment and heartbreak that he was there to support her at the right moment when she needed someone and as the camera panned away it served as a reminder of what a strong partnership Moira and Cain were (and could be again? – who knows…).

Fave or Fail? (19 – 23 Sep 2016)

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 week that saw David and Tracy get hitched, the best drama came from some unexpected romances.

Faves

Sparks Fly

emmerdale-holly-tells-jai-shes-leaving-youtubeThere might have been love chemicals in the water this week as three potential romances started brewing. First up and perhaps somewhat controversially it was Jai and Holly. It’s still jarring to see Jai so nice after last year (but let’s be real, lots of characters had an iffy 2015 on the villainous front) but if you can overlook the age gap between him and Holly, then their flirtation at David and Tracy’s wedding was well done. Neither of these two characters are favourites of mine but it was a welcome change to see them both smiling and sharing rather sparky conversation. However, with both of them having difficult times in the past with drugs, them hooking up might not be for the best. Then there was the brief tease of Pete and Leyla, whose terrible attempts at flirting came with sparkly eyes and hair flicking, but fizzled out by the end of the week. I still think there’s potential there! Finally, a pairing that looks to continue next week is Megan and Frank. It’s easy to see why she’d be charmed by him and it’s great to see Megan, an underappreciated character and a great actress, have more screentime!

Team Sugden

vlcsnap-2016-09-25-09h44m26s079I’ve often lamented Emmerdale’s lack of a proper story for Victoria Barton (nee Sugden) and this week we saw her get feistier as she learnt the truth about Chrissie White’s plot to frame her brother Andy. I love when Vic and Robert share scenes as they make a great sibling duo and her being able to juggle her catering business as she rescued him was an amusing watch. Even better was when she heard of Chrissie’s true colours and delivered a winning impression of Chrissie’s snooty flattery, before vowing revenge on the Whites. She’s smarter than Bernice and less reckless than Robert, so with any luck she’d be able to do a better job at taking down the Whites! If anything, this week confirmed that we need to see more of Victoria in action rather than being kept in the dark or standing on the sidelines.

Paddy Power

vlcsnap-2016-09-25-09h45m02s185Paddy’s possessive behaviour this week continued but again it was played for laughs. From rowing with Pearl about coasters to dressing up in a crown and throwing water at Chas to protect his castle – it was laugh out loud funny. But as Chas got through to him he broke down, gutted that he really had lost his chance and it was all over with Rhona. We saw his true vulnerability too as he was upset about potentially being cut out of Leo’s life too and the scenes of his realisation that he needed to move on were touching. A far cry from his behaviour at the start of 2016! As Chas offered her support it really made me cherish their friendship, my only hope is that they don’t turn this great friendship into an unnecessary romance.

Jimmy’s Sticky Situation

vlcsnap-2016-09-25-09h45m23s977It was a silly and bizarre little plot in this week’s Emmerdale but Jimmy King’s comedic expressions always gives me a good giggle. As Nicola and Jimmy tried to get their marriage back on track, he decided to attend a toddler club with Carl for a bit of peace. Only, unfortunately for Jimmy, it was at the same time as a meeting for coping with grief and a case of mistaken identity lead to Jimmy pouring his heart out about his “dead” wife as well as fitting in a good moan about Nicola. Nearly getting caught lying the next day by Bob, Jimmy had to think quickly on his feet and pretend his “late” wife was a pastry chef and sweet treats like that brought back too many memories. Sometimes it’s these small and silly stories with Jimmy that deliver the best awkward laughs and this is certainly one of them!

Fail

Sitcom Overload

emmerdale-tracy-is-covered-in-mud-on-her-wedding-day-youtubeMy interest in David and Tracy has waned since his refusal to take no for an answer and the increasingly irritating proposal schemes but thankfully with them getting wed this week it might quieten down. While I loved the gathering of characters for the “Hag” party and the wedding, there seemed to be one too many farcical scenes which leaned more on the sitcom than it did on the soap. While it’s fun seeing parties and costumes now and again, David and Tracey keep making a habit of it and it loses its comedy factor – maybe it’s time the fancy dress box had a rest? Then there was Frank’s kidnap of Tracy on her wedding day, a car crashing into a lake, a trek through a field, a mud-splashed dress, topped off by a performance of Steps as the final proposal effort. All things that might have been funny on their own (and the Steps routine did raise a smile, granted) but together it was all a bit too much. Besides, the Tracy/Frank/Vanessa story deserves more than having these silly slapstick adventures.