Fave or Fail? (30 Jan-3 Feb 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! Emmerdale won another award this week and brought some fun to our screens as Doug, Tracy and even Moira brought the laughs.

Back to Badass

vlcsnap-2017-02-05-09h03m57s970It seemed like Moira finally had her mojo back this week and Natalie J Robb got to show us the full spectrum of who Moira is. In amongst the more heartbreaking and softer moments, such as the unexpected and lovely scene between her and Debbie and the scenes with Emma when she spoke about Holly, we saw Moira get her fire back. Moira seems to work effortlessly well with every character she interacts with – even the ashes scene with Victoria just about worked despite the bonkers sitcom nature of it. Her banter with Ross, the way she took none of Patrick-from-the-supermarket’s bullshit and was the perfect ballsy business woman. Although she’s on a bit of a breakdown and shouldn’t be facing things alone, it’s easy to fall in love with her fierce independence and ruthless, gutsy spirit. The car thieving definitely made me realise why her and Cain are so well suited and she doesn’t seem intimidated by anything. You keep fighting for your farm, Moira!

Harsh Words – Finally

emmerdale-thursday-2-feb-8pm-the-itv-hubThere was a scene this week which almost made my Scene of the Week choice, and that was the moment in the hospital between Lawrence and Chrissie where he finally confronted her about her vengeful behaviour. You might say too little too late considering his enabling of her dark side, but as he laid into her about her selfish behaviour, there was a sense of “Finally!” about the whole thing. For too long the Whites have acted without consequence and it seems like they might have some morals afterall. Some – okay, I said, some. Chrissie’s great when she’s unashamedly nasty but her bitterness and vulnerability in the scene was perfectly played by Louise Marwood, as she truly seemed like a broken woman, and it gave me hope that we might finally have a handle on who Chrissie really is.

Tracy’s Self Improvement Plan

emmerdale-friday-3-feb-7pm-the-itv-hub-2I’ve never minded Tracy but after the endless proposal stuff with David last year my interest nosedived, so thankfully she stepped forward with a fun story this week. Having decided she didn’t want to be seen as a bimbo and wanted to be taken seriously by people, Tracy decided to take steps to improve her vocab and read more. After David was slightly dismissive and confused by this new Tracy, she was even more determined to forge ahead, telling the kids in the shop how important school is. I loved seeing Tracy on a mission to educate herself, even with the setbacks and jokes at her expense. Even more so I love the idea of an Emmerdale book club, where Pearl is overeager and Doug bores everyone with non-fiction books he’s read. Community gatherings are my favourite!

The Torment of Doug

emmerdale-friday-3-feb-7pm-the-itv-hub-1I wouldn’t ever say I was a fan of Doug as such but his little comedy story battling the unknown enemy of Noah and Gabby was a simple and amusing subplot this week. Doug was his usual grumpy and earnest self, telling the kids to stop staring at their screens so they decided to get their revenge by writing some very cutting feedback and posting it into his honesty box, where he was selling veg. They left comments such as “this potato is more interesting than Doug” – and while Doug didn’t see the funny side, I did. Later in the week he tried a stake-out (but fell asleep) and then set up a CCTV camera. Sometimes it’s these simple comedy plots that work the best and I loved it.

Fails

Joanie Deserved Better

emmerdale-joanie-dies-youtubeAs is often the case when it comes to soap exits, the moment you warm to a character you previously were indifferent to, is usually the moment they leave the show. One last hurrah, as it were. That was the case for Joanie Wright, who had found her feet a little after ditching the spineless Zak Dingle – realising she deserved better, standing up to rotten men and forming a bond with Lisa. Having been unfairly imprisoned for punching the sleezy guy cracking onto Kerry (and then accidentally hitting a police officer) Joanie had almost been forgotten about by her allies in the village and then Lisa was given the job of collecting her and breaking the news about her reunion with Zak. Awkward. After an impassioned speech by Joanie (which was great, by the way) and a really frank conversation with Lisa, Joanie went silent and looked a little worse for wear, just as Lisa had decided to ditch Zak again. Then after the adverts we learnt that Joanie had croaked it. Just like that! No scene of the paramedics, no follow up. Gone. Joanie’s hardly a fan favourite, but even Kerry and Dan’s muted reaction left a lot to be desired. Maybe Emmerdale realised that breaking up Zak and Lisa was a bad decision and that there was no place for Joanie – but really, didn’t her death deserve a little more attention than this?

Zak Dingle: Human Trashcan

emmerdale-friday-3-feb-7pm-the-itv-hubSorry Zak, I do feel a bit bad considering this week you lost your wife – despite the fact you sent her a notice of divorce the day she was due out of prison – but you really are a bit of a dickhead. Not only has Zak flitted from Lisa to Joanie back to Lisa without little remorse or consequence, he admitted this week he hadn’t even written to Joanie as she suffered alone in prison. What a bastard, amiright?! I know it’s guilt, but so he should feel guilty! After giving Lisa an anniversary card she headed off to do his dirty work and confess to Joanie that her and Zak were back on, making Zak seem even more gutless. Unfortunately the damage has been done, and even his nice chat with Cain where he expressed his conflicting feels was too little too late. Too right you should feel guilty Zak, you treated Lisa and Joanie terribly and now Joanie’s dead! Bad form, Zak. Seriously.

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Fave or Fail? (2-6 Jan 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! Caravan fire aside, a great start to a brand new year on Emmerdale featuring some big, emotionally complex plots.

Faves

Important Stories

vlcsnap-2017-01-08-09h49m34s794There’s always been something unsettling about Pierce and his relationship with Rhona and this week saw the start of what seems to be a big story for them. After his cheesy proposal backfired, Pierce’s ego took a hit but after making up, he seemed to assume they were on the right track. Rhona however wasn’t as quick to move on from the awkwardness and tried to rebuff his advances. What followed was an uncomfortable and powerful scene as Rhona repeatedly told Pierce no, only for him to force himself on her. Rape within a relationship is a story rarely covered in soap, but so far Emmerdale’s attempts have felt well told. After the event Rhona was withdrawn and confused and after listening to frank discussions about sex from her friends and neighbours started to believe she was the problem and that she’d overreacted. From the outside, Rhona’s anguish feels very intense and the mixed messages about sex, consent and “being up for it” seem well portrayed. It’s an important story, one that treads a similar path to the ground-breaking story in The Archers last year, and I can only hope it continues down this powerful and informative road.

The History of Us

vlcsnap-2017-01-08-09h46m45s905One of Emmerdale’s real strengths right now is creating stories that are grounded in character. Like any other plot, it has its soapy devices (aka teasing the audience that Robert might be cheating for the 473rd time) but this week Aaron and Robert’s story really got to the heart of their relationship. As Robert snuck around trying to surprise his fiancé with a romantic trip to Las Vegas, Aaron and his family began to believe Robert’s meetings with Rebecca weren’t as innocent as they seemed. Even when the surprise was revealed (in ridiculously lovely scenes) and Robert reassured Aaron of his love, Aaron still suffered under his secret insecurities, plagued by doubts that someone like him could be enough to keep a man with Robert’s history satisfied and he hastily booked a weekend away for them. Oh Aaron! Don’t you just want to cuddle him? This plot has all the best ingredients of a winning soap relationship – a couple who bring their own complex and clashing issues to the table but whose love is strong enough to survive.

Enduring Love

vlcsnap-2017-01-08-10h00m44s151On a similar note, are Emmerdale’s other power couple. Despite my love/hate relationship with Cain at times, the power of the Coira chemistry is undeniable and I’m a complete sucker for their big emotional scenes and this Friday’s scene was no exception. Although fans are frustrated that they keep getting close to a reunion, the slow burn is irresistible and they do it so well. Cain took Kyle round to Butler’s Farm and admitted he misses her but she tried to push him away again, telling him that Christmas was a mistake and that he can’t use Kyle to manipulate her. But the best thing about these scenes – and about Coira in general – is that you know they’re both pining, they’re both in love, no matter what has happened in the past. I get the feeling that the road to a reunion won’t be smooth, but it’ll be worth watching and waiting for.

Megan’s Motherhood Worries

vlcsnap-2017-01-08-12h06m43s397In case you blinked and missed it on Friday, Megan got a proper storyline. I know what you’re thinking, a storyline for Megan about her fears and worries about Eliza’s development and her comparison to other parents and children deserves more than one episode and you’re right – it does. But we got what we got and I’m glad we did. Gaynor Faye is a really talented actress and Megan has the potential to be a very engaging character. A story about a mother’s worries about her child’s future when she may have a disability is an interesting plot and one I wished we’d had more of, rather than what appears to be a way for Frank to make his move.

Fails

Too Soon

vlcsnap-2017-01-08-09h42m29s816Zak and Lisa were the bread and butter of Emmerdale. Everyone took their break up hard and while some fans would love to see them back together, others are a bit warier. After the breakdown of Zak and Joanie’s marriage at Christmas, we saw Lisa determined that she wouldn’t take him back and I was right behind her. Zak needed to know after the devastation he’d caused both women and his family that he couldn’t just swan in and revert to his old life. I wanted to see Zak really work for his place at the head of the family and prove to Lisa he was worthy of her love and trust. Unfortunately Lisa’s resolve crumbled this week and the thought of Zak’s fire-y death brought them back together. While they might not be ready to remarry, Lisa was far too forgiving and it feels WAY too soon, almost like Zak’s been given a free pass – all while Joanie’s in a prison cell. It makes Lisa look weak and foolish and certainly has done no favours for complacent Zak, so it’s a real thumbs down for the rushed reconciliation.

Caring about Kerry

vlcsnap-2017-01-08-09h50m38s641The main problem with this week’s Kerry material? I just don’t care about her anymore. For far too long we’ve seen nothing but a selfish and unlikeable person and even when her opposition (in this case, Cain) is just as rude and unlikeable, you can’t exactly root for her either. Perhaps her collapse was a wake up call, but it has come far too late after her unentertaining escapades and suing at the Sharma’s factory. She seems to treat people horribly and it’s unpleasant to watch, even when we knew a breaking point was approaching. There are softer moments of course, and Laura Norton’s portrayal of fragility, particularly in Kerry’s vulnerable scenes with Dan might stop Kerry being completely unsympathetic, but she just isn’t very likeable anymore.

Fave or Fail? (26-30 Dec 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! Not the best week to finish the year, but there were heartwarming scenes from the Kings to see out 2016!

Faves

King of the Kids

emmerdale-wednesday-28-dec-7pm-the-itv-hub-2Like me, you probably groaned at the start of the week with more on/off Jimmy and Nicola drama but thankfully those angelically meddlesome children got involved and rescued the Kings’ marriage! The week ended on a happy note, with a ‘honeymoon’ meal and sight of Jimmy and Nicola swaying in each other’s arms – aww! The real stars of the show had to be the kids, especially the cheekily grinning Elliot who has become a bit of a rising star since his scenes at Christmas. Luca Hoyle is a real young talent and there’s something about his line delivery that really makes him funny, especially his straight-faced digs at Jimmy telling him that Nicola deserves something nice, better than a kettle, or it’s his butter-wouldn’t-melt smile dressed in a mini chef’s outfit. Emmerdale really do have the best child actors.

Sisters Before Misters

emmerdale-wednesday-28-dec-7pm-the-itv-hub-3We saw far too many of the female characters making digs at each other in 2016 so it’s been really refreshing to see Lisa support Joanie against Zak. In the immediate aftermath of Zak’s Christmas Day revelation, Lisa felt desperately sorry for Joanie, who she could empathise with greatly, knowing exactly how it felt to be discarded by Zak Dingle. Thankfully Joanie felt similar and assured Lisa she knew that it wasn’t her involvement that caused Zak’s horrendous treatment. Yes ladies! Lisa seemed to hold no grudges when it came to her allegiances, much to the surprise of her family, and Zak seemed misguidedly hopeful that Lisa would have him back straight away. Lisa’s attitude throughout the whole of 2016 has been admirable and it’s been good to see Zak get the fair blame for the ruining of two women’s lives.

Best of the Rest

emmerdale-thursday-29-dec-8-30pm-the-itv-hubIt wasn’t the strongest week to end on for Emmerdale, but there were some enjoyable moments in the week I wanted to touch on. Charity’s state of hangover – the sunglasses, the silent head-tilt in response to questions – was funny and perfect for her character. I really enjoyed the unlikely trio of Pearl, Dan and Harriet going to feed the homeless – more of these unusual character groupings please! Bernice and Nicola’s making up was a touching scene as they swore never to fall out over men again and told each other they loved one another – lovely scenes. Speaking of Bernice, she looked very glam at the Singles’ event and her Mr Blobby safeword moment was a definite highlight.

Fails

Too Little Too Late

emmerdale-cain-beats-up-dan-to-find-out-where-joanie-is-youtubeThere are times where Cain Dingle can be a very unpleasant selfish character and this week was one of them. Panicked that Joanie was going to take Kyle away for good (and he’d lose out on any Father of the Year accolades) he used threats and violence to try and keep his son in the village. The biggest issue with this plot is that Cain and Kyle have rarely shared any significant screen time together and Cain’s big revelation about being a father to him after he was caught up in the helicopter crash never amounted to anything, so his sudden determination to be a real father is hollow. With this in mind, it’s too little too late to become invested and it’s difficult to be on Cain’s side when he’s using his usual force and intimidation to get his own way. Does he even deserve Kyle, really, when he’s showed so little interest so far?

Ringing in the New Year

emmerdale-friday-30-dec-7pm-the-itv-hubFor a soap that’s had an amazing 2016, the final episode of the year really let them down. For starters, even though it aired a day before NYE it really lacked that ‘occasion’ feeling that the Christmas episode excelled in with the only celebration occurring at a very stilted feeling party at Home Farm. Chrissie and Rebecca squabbled like immature brats in another rinse and repeat story. Plus, wealth and influence aside, it’s still hard to believe anyone would want to attend a party hosted by a family that have managed to make no friends in the village. Are their canapes really so good that David, whose wife was sexually assaulted by a member of that family, would happily attend? It just doesn’t ring true. The episode also featured the end of Finn and Kasim’s escalated romance with Finn’s behaviour coming across as unlikeable and creepy. Outside of the party you had Joanie in jail making things worse for herself and accidentally decking a police officer, with Kerry her only real champion in the village aside from Lisa and Zak’s guilty efforts. This year should have gone out in a bang – a big party in the pub maybe with fireworks or a bigger village celebration – but hey, here’s to a great 2017!

Emmerdale’s Top 20 Moments of 2016 – Part One (#20-11)

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Another year of Emmerdale is over and what better way to celebrate than to look back at some of Emmerdale’s best moments from 2016. This post covers moments I’ve ranked from 20 – 11. Tomorrow I’ll post the moments I’ve ranked 10 – 1 and a quick run down of the worst bits of Emmerdale in 2016. I’d love to know what you think so feel free to comment below!

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20. David’s testicular cancer

Overall David’s testicular cancer plot was a mixed bag, marred by prolonged and irritating “comedy”, but it makes my Top 20 for Matthew Wolfenden’s committed and emotional performances. After a results mix-up, David was devastated to learn of his diagnosis, but moments of very “David” levity (such as his drunken and naked conversation with his balls) were balanced by his emotive conversations with Zak and the touching father-son relationship with Jacob. David’s treatment, supported in lovely scenes with his family, saw him meet upbeat Dylan, who later tragically died (predictable but still sad) and David eventually faced his illness with bravery and a middle finger up to cancer.

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19. Teenage Dream

This year saw the arrival of Liv and the recast of Gabby, giving us a very talented trio including Jacob. Their plots have been a little hit and miss on the likeability front but all of them have had tough emotional and sensitive storylines to shoulder and delivered at every turn. The casting for both Liv and Gabby has been fantastic and their friendship (when they’re supportive rather than destructive) has great potential. My hope for next year is that Emmerdale give all three (and especially the girls) room to grow from their experiences, rather than reverting to bad and immature behaviour when the plot needs some instant friction. As we’ve seen from interactions with the adults that surround them, they’re capable of being astute and considerate – they can be teens without being brats.

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18. Community Spirit

One of new producer Iain MacLeod’s goals when he took over the reins of the show was to give Emmerdale a greater community feel and I think it’s definitely improving. Apart from attendance at funerals and weddings we’ve seen more of an overlap between characters and stories existing outside of their bubbles. This subtle shift has included things like the charity fundraiser hosted by Megan, the fireworks night and the pub quiz – all with little character groups mixing and hovering in the background. This has also benefited the balance of characters with this year feeling as if everyone’s getting a chance to shine, rather than a heavy focus on a select few. The Christmas episodes too had a great feel for family and community but I’d definitely like to see more of this.

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17. Tracy Shankley’s vulnerability 

One of the real surprises of 2016 was Tracy Shankley and some show stealing performances from Amy Walsh. While Tracy can be a bit brash and Marmite, we got to see more of her vulnerabilities this year and some heart-tugging emotional moments that made me soften towards her. The jury’s still out on dad Frank, whose secret fell flat, but it’s been nice to see Tracy settle in to the village a bit more and her relationship with David has had some sweet moments too, but this is possibly overshadowed by the unlikely friendship she’s forged with Eric.

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16. Lisa Dingle’s big heart

Lisa Dingle had a rough old year. 2016 started with her having to watch Zak and Joanie cosy up and then marry, but things got even worse as Belle’s mental health problems saw her go missing. It’s been a busy and miserable year for Lisa but I remain forever impressed by the size of her heart and the wealth of kindness and compassion she bestows on others, and Jane Cox gives Lisa the warmth that we all love. This year we saw Lisa find a new friend in Ronnie Hale which was exactly what she needed. I can only hope 2017 is better for Lisa and that if she lets Zak back into her life, then it’s on her own terms.

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15. Chrissie White goes Gone Girl

One of my controversial choices for the Top 20 is Chrissie White’s foray into superbitch territory, which for a few weeks was fun viewing. On discovering that Andy had slept with Bernice again and wasn’t the perfect man she’d assumed of him, Chrissie decided to make him pay and began a twisted revenge. The scenes in which Chrissie double-crossed him and saved her villainy for us, the knowing audience, was a treat. Slightly camp, slightly outrageous but enjoyable to see Chrissie with her claws out rather than the simpering victim she had been before. Sadly this moment of twisted villainy didn’t last long and the magic was lost as the plot descended into a family war.

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 14. Adam and Victoria’s solid relationship

They might not be the most dramatic couple in The Dales but they’re easily the sweetest and one of the most settled. At the start of the year Adam had to face the heartbreak that baby Johnny wasn’t actually his son after all and it’s a real shame that this heavy emotional drama, which gave Adam and Vic some great material, was brushed under the carpet very quickly. After this they both settled into the background, but they remained a constant reminder of what a cute and well suited couple they are as they dealt with their families’ bigger dramas. Adam and Vic are a nice reminder of a solid and relatable couple and Emmerdale should use them a lot more!

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13. Rhona discovers Paddy’s affair

Okay so the Paddy/Tess affair was a real lowlight of 2015/2016, coming close to ruining Paddy’s character forever but the thrilling shock of Tess’s death and Rhona’s discovery of the affair almost made the hot mess of the storyline worth it. Rhona finding out about the affair came after the accident meaning she could never confront Tess and never really get any closure (which might be why she latched onto Pierce so readily). Paddy received the brunt of Rhona’s devastation, including a shock slap, but Rhona didn’t hold back on Tess either, calling her a bitch. After a quiet 2015, it was fantastic to see Rhona take such a prominent role in the show, particularly with Zoe Henry showcasing her skill at taking Rhona from the guts and fire of her anger to her anguished heartbreak.

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12. Laurel’s on-going struggle

Charlotte Bellamy continues to be one of Emmerdale’s biggest assets as 2016 was another big year for Laurel. Contending with Ashley’s illness and deterioration as well as her pregnancy is enough for anyone to cope with, but Laurel had the added battle with her alcohol addiction as the pressure on her mounted. Charlotte gives impressive performance after impressive performance, whether she’s being vicious under the strain of responsibility, or quiet and fragile at her breaking point. I can only imagine how crushing her reaction will be when Ashley dies and I’m sure Charlotte will be picking up lots of awards in the new year.

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11. Paddy’s return

This time last year the Paddy we knew and loved felt like a distant memory and many of us were united in the utter hatred of his affair plot with Tess (RIP). Fast forward to August, Paddy had been working in Germany and he came back to us, fresh and funny and like the man we’d thought we’d lost. Back were the one-liners, the stuttered buffoonery, the brilliant bromance with Marlon and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. The character and the audience really benefitted from the breather off-screen. Now the Tess plot is all but a distant memory and even Paddy admitted was the biggest mistake he’d made (shading storyline decisions maybe?), but I’m just glad he’s back to his best.

Come back tomorrow to read my Top 10 of 2016!

Emmerdale’s Christmas episode: The Best Bits

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! That is, unless your name happens to be Joanie or Zak Dingle. This year’s Christmas episode was a fairly low-key and happy affair with even the Thomas family finding happiness despite Ashley’s illness, but there was a lot to enjoy about the episode so I thought I’d share my best bits!

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The music montages! The REAL snow!

The episode opened like the perfect Christmas movie, with Mariah in the background and Aaron’s happy little family of Robert and Liv enjoying the flurry (and throwing a few snowballs in Carly’s direction). We cut to Zak seeing signs to do with Lisa at every turn, and Lisa herself snuggling with Alfie and Moira woke alone. It was the most festive opening to an episode you could ever hope for. And it continued throughout the episode, with a Last Christmas montage of dinners and happiness and loneliness, to a final music moment at the end with Zak slinking away cold and alone.

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The little touches

What made this Christmas episode so good was the little moments we could all relate to. Things like: Sandy wanting a selection box breakfast, Dan being more interested in Kyle’s present than he was, Adam’s saucy present for Vic that he didn’t want her to open in front of his mum, Jimmy struggling with the little screws and a lack of batteries, Chas’s insistence that everyone wear a paper hat, drunken charades! These all made our beloved characters come to like in instantly relatable and believable scenes. They were great character moments that made these feel like real family Christmases.

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The humour

With Christmas comes alcohol and giggles and there was no shortage in this episode either. From Pete’s awkward mince pie judging competition, which Ross made fantastically uncomfortable (plus Emma is just as good at comedy as she is unnerving villainy!), to Jimmy’s kettle angst, to Harriet’s realisation Pearl is trying to turn her into a Mini Me, to Chas being drunkenly touchy feely with Aaron and Robert in their loathed Xmas jumpers. Thankfully all the humour came from a fun place and didn’t involve Kerry madness, but let’s face it the turkey/peacock plot thread was a weird one!

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The heart

There were a number of moments where my heart was sufficiently warmed like a big mug of mulled wine in the Christmas special. Ashley’s brief reprieve where he joined in with the carol and Gabby found the heartfelt gifts he’d prepared when his condition wasn’t so bad were particularly emotive moments that brought home the tragedy of their family situation. Little Elliot King also warmed hearts as he cuddled up to Nicola, wishing that she was his mother. Total Christmas fluff and exactly what this episode needed.

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The end of Zak and Joanie (and Lisa fighting back)

One of the big plot points for the episode was the dissolution of Zak and Joanie, exactly a year since the wishbone debacle and the reveal of their affair (to which this year’s episode had a lot of callbacks!). Denise Black gave an impressive performance in the subtle way she showed Joanie’s heartbreak and isolation amongst the Dingle clan as Zak obliviously slipped into old habits and shut her out. Their end of episode confrontation was charged and finally gave Joanie the backbone she deserved in the face of Zak’s uselessness. Lisa too came out of the episode looking strong and powerful as she rejected Zak and fumed as she told him it was too late for his regrets. Well executed and a nice symmetry to last year’s scenes.

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Hope for Cain and Moira

Another storyline in the episode which offered a feeling of warmth was the thawing atmosphere between Cain and Moira. Despite her claiming their night together was a mistake, Moira still listened to the mixtape he left her and there was definite chemistry between them when Cain bought Kyle to see the reindeers. She might not be ready to let on that she listened to the mixtape, or give him another chance, but the feelings between them are lingering and there was all the slow burn magic between them that makes for a winning soap couple.

Fave or Fail? (21-25 Nov 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! Hooray – a fairly good week with some fantastic performances.

Faves

Forgive and Regret

emmerdale-emma-claims-that-james-commited-suicide-youtubeEmma is THE character to watch in Emmerdale right now, with Gillian Kearney’s captivating performances making for enthralling viewing as Emma’s convincing lies are woven with elements of truth. This week saw Emma unravelling further and steal sleeping tablets in order to make it through the inquest. Even with her boys around her Emma was a mess but she delivered cherry picked truths to weave a story about James wanting to commit suicide. Devious genius really! The best part about Emma is that she can simultaneously anger viewers wanting justice but when she’s at breaking point and destroying herself with guilt, she actually invokes sympathy. It’s incredible. Some of the best scenes of the week were when Harriet was offering Emma guidance and support at the cemetery and then later in the church where Emma almost seemed to have an epiphany and begin to turn to God and the church’s notions of forgiveness. It was an interesting twist to see Emma embracing forgiveness and perhaps follow a pious outlook. Are we going to see Emma turn to religion in a worrying way or is the fun new rivalry against Cain going to cause even more carnage?

Mission Baby Barton

emmerdale-adam-amp-victoria-22nd-november-2016-youtubeI’m not counting any chickens (we all know what happens to chickens in Emmerdale) because something’s got to make Adam take a temporary exit from The Dales with his spider-eating alter ego busy in the jungle, but loved up Victoria and Adam is exactly what we all need. When it comes to Victoria and Adam Emmerdale have it just right. They are cute together, well suited – they just work. Their rows seem to be concluded in a sensible, grown up way with talking and listening. They’re fun together and with Vic on a baby making mission, it couldn’t be cuter. Sure, I’m expecting it to get out of hand with the apps and the fertility diet but I’m hoping it’s not beyond repair because Emmerdale need happy, believable couples right now, ones that we can root for against all the sadness and drama. We all need it.

Home Truths

emmerdale-joanie-finds-out-zak-kissed-lisa-youtubeHow brilliant was Joanie this week dragging Zak for all he’s worth? And she didn’t hold back either – liar, coward, cheat, bad father. In fact, it’s almost like I gave her the list! Joanie found out all about Zak and Lisa’s illicit kiss this week and tried to be pro-active into getting Zak away from Emmerdale and its temptations. It was great to see Joanie really lay into Zak for his shitty behaviour and this is probably the first time I could ever say I enjoyed Joanie’s character – I was close to wearing a Team Joanie t-shirt tbh. Of course by the end of the week delusional Zak had convinced himself and her that moving away was what they all needed to have a proper fresh start. I mean, maybe you should have thought about that about a year ago, Zak. Just saying.

Pierce’s Problems

emmerdale-pierce-smashes-a-mirror-out-of-rage-and-anger-youtubeI still can’t get to grips with Pierce and I’m not sure exactly who he’s meant to be, but I can’t deny that Jonathan Wrather gave some great performances this week as Pierce’s past came to light. After Pierce’s over the top outburst the other day (triggered also by an over the top comment by Liv) where he scared Rhona and smashed the mirror, you’d think she’d be running for the hills. In fact, considering she lives with her young son and the level of Pierce’s volatile unpredictability is still fairly unknown to them both, she probably should still be running. However, putting those issues to one side, Pierce’s scenes with both Rhona and Paddy showcased an interesting dynamic yet still left plenty of questions. Some of those questions were picked at during the counselling session but long scenes of exposition and backstory don’t always work when you’re dealing with a slippery character such as Pierce who has had a very short history on the show. Luckily Jonathan Wrather gave it his all and Pierce’s backstory certainly carried more weight than the poor attempt given to Rakesh’s history the other week. Time will tell with what we can expect from Pierce. I’m still unsure.

Fail

Frankly Disappointing

emmerdale-bobby-punches-frank-in-the-gut-and-demands-his-money-youtubeWhen Frank’s panic eyes came out last week after bumping into old foe Bobby and we saw him get nervous it seemed like we were going to get some answers about Frank’s dark and shady past. However this week, when Bobby showed up in the village and got cosy with gullible Tracy to unnerve Frank, we learnt the real truth behind his tall-tale imprisonment story and it was pretty disappointing. Frank has had moments of real charm and edge so to learn that he’s just your bog-standard conman just seems pretty predictable and not as dark and devious as I’d hoped. Perhaps we’ll get lucky and he’ll have more deadly secrets lurking underneath his smooth charisma but so far it’s been a bit of a let down.

Fave or Fail? (31 Oct -4 Nov 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! It was James’s funeral (again) this week and we saw Emma get cruel in a bid to cover her crimes, but there were a lot of good deeds done this week too.

Faves

Unravelling

emmerdale-laurel-feels-helpless-as-ashley-gets-worse-and-worse-youtubeTowards the end of the week we saw huge performances from John Middleton, Charlotte Bellamy and Gillian Kearney as both stories converged in a way that’s already exciting. The camera! The camera! John Middleton continues to impress as Ashley’s dementia gets worse and worse, but it’s the impact on Laurel which might prove most interesting as the story moves forward. This week saw the strain of her family’s wishes piling on the pressure and by Friday, as she snapped at Ashley and then sat on the sofa beside him, there was a resignation to it which made me wonder if she might relapse again and lose her fight against her sobriety. Across the street Emma is on a meltdown over the loss of James and her part in it. I loved seeing her crack at the funeral and in front of Ashley because despite her cruelness you can’t help but feel her intense guilt, one that she projects onto others, especially “precious Moira”. Both these plots are powerful, steered by great performances and their merging makes them even better.

Unsung Heroes

emmerdale-thursday-3-nov-8pm-the-itv-hubIf this was a week for anyone, it was a week for those ‘good’ characters, the ones often overlooked and forgotten about. I’m talking about Noah being an absolute sweetheart and promising to look after mum Charity, making her a cuppa and giving her a box of tissues, even when she herself admits she’s not been the greatest mother to him. I’m talking about little good deeds of kindness like Liv making Lisa a dating profile and giving her a little boost of confidence. Then there’s ultimate sweetheart Sam who was prepared to cook Kerry a full breakfast and took her cruel rejection with a brave face, then later was the sweetest flirt ever in the shop and even helped Frank try and win Megan’s heart. And finally Finn, the most trod on Barton brother who had been visiting coma patient and the man he’d rescued in the crash, Kasim. Finn broke down this week with grief and finally snapped at Ross, giving him the cold hard truth that he’s been selfish. Finally someone said it!

Reopening Old Wounds

emmerdale-zak-kisses-lisa-behind-joanies-back-youtubeI’m not sure I’ve ever been as conflicted about a couple as I am about Zak and Lisa. On the one hand this week proved that they’re still a great team. They give you that warm and cosy feeling and really, I think we all know they are meant to be together. Let’s be real – Emmerdale should never have had Zak cheat in the first place, but he did and now he’s remarried so we can’t wipe the slate clean. That’s the issue isn’t it, for us and for Lisa? Lisa seems resolute that she doesn’t need a man and that she was finally getting over him when he had to go and ruin everything by kissing her. Zak made his choice and he hurt a lot of people. Really, there’s no way Lisa should forgive him and take him back. I know this and I fully support this but at the same time, Zak and Lisa apart just seems wrong. Still, them being apart and Lisa still smarting gave us some incredible shade when she had dinner with Zak and Joanie – that was classic. I have a feeling they will reunite one day, I just hope if they do that Zak works bloody hard to rebuild that love and trust because frankly Lisa deserves a lot better.  

Fails

Sharp Tongues

emmerdale-tuesday-1-nov-7pm-the-itv-hubI’ve got a real issue with two of Emmerdale’s brashest characters right now – namely Ross and Kerry. We get glimpses of their softer sides and the odd empathetic moment, but often I find their nastiness means their emotional moments don’t do enough to soften them. We know Ross is grieving for his father (see: his heartbreaking scenes with Emma) but his bragging to Dan, his snarling confrontation of Cain and his persistent misogyny is hard to overlook or brush off when he looks a bit mournful occasionally. There’s a similar lack of balance with Kerry. On the one hand her comedic lines and upset over her relationship breakdown make her more rounded, but using Sam and her general spiteful rudeness to others (she gave Lisa a hard time again this week) makes her seem cruel and unpleasant. We all know these characters aren’t angels and are vicious when they’re suffering, but there needs to be more balance to their barbed comments.

Dead Weight

emmerdale-thursday-3-nov-7pm-the-itv-hubHere we are again Rakesh, on the Fails list. Will you ever reach the dizzy heights of my Faves? Looking unlikely, isn’t it? If this week proved anything it’s that Rakesh is one of the show’s most underwritten characters and be honest Emmerdale, it’s that you’re struggling to care too, right? We finally got a glimpse into Rakesh’s sob stor- sorry, I mean backstory, only to find that it feels like a tacked on post-it note. Apparently his dad always made him feel inferior and apparently this has never come up in conversation with Priya before. It all seemed a very shallow way to try and make Rakesh’s behaviour in some way explainable but honestly the whole thing, like the rest of Rakesh’s plotlines, felt flat and uninspiring. Priya wanted them to have fun this week, a word I’d never have associated with Rakesh before – that marriage must be a laugh! They’re not a couple you can really root for because you wonder why they’re even together, no chemistry or connection, and despite Fiona Wade’s solid performances – they only serve to prove Priya would be a much better character away from Rakesh’s dead weight.

Scene of the Week (5 – 9 Sep 2016)

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We’ve seen a lot of scenes with the Dingles – and especially Lisa – being distraught over Belle’s disappearance but Jane Cox proves her talent as an actress with another heart-shattering performance in my Scene of the Week choice. Friday’s episode saw Lisa, having given up all hope on her daughter’s return, receive a phonecall from the police and struggled to answer it. Joanie tried to give her some strength and accepted the call on her behalf which made an interesting shift in dynamic between the two women. Lisa shakily received the news about Belle, almost unable to speak because she feared the worst and she’d already gone through the trauma of identifying a body. Even though the audience knew Belle’s fate, the moment we waited for Lisa to hear it was filled with emotion and tension. Jane was able to convey so much in just her facial expressions making this a stand-out scene at the end of the week.

Scene of the Week (22-26 August 2016)

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Zak’s been bogged down in the betrayal of Lisa and his family for so long now it’s hard to remember a time where Steve Halliwell got to deliver a heartbreaking moment, but my Scene of the Week choice is just that. While you’ve got to question how sensible it was to put your phone on silent and bonk your new wife when your daughter is missing, it was Zak’s reaction to the voicemail that made the moment so poignant. We all know Belle’s missing and in a very bad way with her mental health struggles but the voicemail really showed the weight of torment she faced from her delusions and confusion. Belle’s breakdown hasn’t been as powerful as it could have been, having been too repetitive and similar to her story last year, but this worrying message was really affecting as it was one of the few times we’ve seen Belle’s health spiral without the gimmick of ‘Ellie’. Even though we only heard her voice, this was a great performance from Eden Taylor-Draper too.

Fave or Fail? (8-12 August 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! An unmissable week in The Dales from Lisa’s heartbreak to Andy’s prison break!

Faves

Super Soapbitch

Emmerdale - Chrissie Blackmails Rakesh Into Betraying Andy - YouTubeIf there was any doubt before, Chrissie White has firmly secured herself the soapbitch crown as her ruthlessness took to new heights this week and it has been fantastic to watch. Her devious schemes and cold calculations led to a thrilling sequence of events and Andy Sugden on the run. With Lachlan cracking under the pressure, Chrissie’s grip on revenge only got tighter as she used her cunning to get Rakesh onside. Nothing like a bit of money and knowledge to give you all the power you need. With a sharper haircut and heavy eye-make up, Chrissie meant business as she told Rakesh to make sure Andy pleaded guilty or she’d let slip about his arson. Louise Marwood has been playing these scenes brilliantly, ensuring that Chrissie is a villain you just love to hate. Every scene has been tense, waiting for Chrissie’s plan to crumble, but it hasn’t and she’s been winning at every turn. It’s so much fun and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Twists and Turns

Emmerdale - Andy Escapes From Jail! - YouTubeThere have been some moments of pure shock and brilliance this week in Emmerdale which is making it completely unmissable. Of course the main drama has been surrounding the Chrissie and Andy drama and as we awaited his plea, I really couldn’t call which way he was going to plead. So tense! Then the biggest surprise of all was Rakesh telling Andy to shove him and run – that this was his only chance of ever being free – and we ended up seeing Andy make a thrilling escape and go on the run. Of course it’s quite implausible (especially Andy hiding in Adam’s scrapping truck) but when it’s exciting and unexpected as this was then it’s easier just to enjoy. Outside of this story is the revelation that Tracy and Vanessa are sisters. This is something that’s been speculated about for over a year but now that their dad Frank’s been introduced it’s going to be interesting to see how they react!

Getting Frank

CpmSUIdXYAExrcZFrank Clayton had his first scenes in Emmerdale this week as David visited him in prison. Him being Tracy AND Vanessa’s dad means there are already a great number of stories waiting to happen but I’m already interested in Frank. There was something quite charming as well unnerving about the man and although he seemed to have a good sense of humour, I definitely didn’t trust his simplistic story about how he ended up behind bars. With his release date looming I’m excited to see what kind of menace he might bring to the village considering he seems smart and outwardly charming – what kind of darkness could he be hiding?!

Fails

Give Lisa a Break

Emmerdale - Lisa Watches Zak And Joanie Get Married - YouTubeI love Lisa so this being under my ‘fail’ column isn’t an indication of how I feel about her (FYI I think she’s a wonderful, good hearted woman) but more that I wish she had an easier time of it. Having been left by Zak for another woman (her friend no less) she’s held her head high and shown countless examples how she is the better person. This week was the biggest test of all as she had to repair Joanie’s dress and cope with the actual wedding. You could feel the pain radiating off the screen and the sight of her walking away from the church as they said their vows has got to be one of the cruellest and heart breaking things to happen to such a sweet character. Lisa doesn’t deserve this. Lisa shouldn’t have to help with the wedding or give her blessing or let Zak appease his guilt. She shouldn’t have to suffer over her future identity and the Dingle name. No, Lisa deserves better. Lisa deserves happiness. Stop hurting Lisa, Emmerdale. Give her happier times! (I mean it’s unlikely considering Belle’s current mental health problems, but a girl can hope).

Pushy and Irritating

CphFvbKWYAEOg56David Metcalfe welcome to the bottom of the week’s Fail selections. Sigh. I was so on board with David and Tracy at first but I’m steadily going off the idea the more David tries to force her to agree to marry him. David’s a kooky, funny guy and it’s understandable that having cancer has made him reassess his life and the future but having already had several marriage rejections from Tracy, you’d think he’d tone it down. Sadly not. He hasn’t kept it light and romantic, it’s bordering on harassment and by now it’s just creepy and irritating. While he forges ahead with the proposals, even booking sessions with wedding planners Leyla and Megan, Tracy still isn’t keen. Sure, she doesn’t seem to mind some of the preparations and there’s a certain appeal to looking at dresses and venues but David’s pushiness is grating, especially when he met with Frank knowing she wanted nothing to do with him. Want a future with Tracy, David? Start listening to her.