Fave or Fail? (31 July-4 August 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 Robert move out of The Mill as Laurel did her best Broadchurch and Lawrence nearly died – again.

Faves

Love’s Young Dream

vlcsnap-2017-08-05-22h06m55s933Sometimes, away from the affairs and the angsty love stories you just want to watch a couple that are funny, endearing and sweet. Lydia and Sam got together properly this week and it was all kinds of adorable. Ever since they dated you could tell they were an oddball match made in heaven and this week things stepped up a gear after they went to a dance together. N’aww. With Samson as ship captain and giving his dad pep-talks we were treated to some really lovely scenes between father and son, as Sam surprised his boy by knowing what “friend-zoned” meant. Of course true love doesn’t run smoothly so after all his doubts, Sam misread the signals and thought Lydia wanted to date Paddy again. But thankfully this was all rectified in a brilliantly funny scene when she told Paddy to go away and leapt into Sam’s arms for a snog. I love how Lydia gets involved in so many of the plots with all her odd jobs and quirkiness, but putting her with Sam is a great move. For me they just work and they’re pretty heart-warming together. I really hope it lasts!

True Detective

vlcsnap-2017-08-05-22h09m13s273Laurel was in full Miss Marple mode again this week as she tried to uncover the truth about Emma Barton, even though she faced doubts and setbacks as she neared closer to the deadly secret. Every face-off between the women is gripping TV and superbly acted as determined Laurel tries to rattle an unravelling Emma. It’s frustrating to watch manipulative Emma at work, convincing others of her innocence and using Laurel’s alcohol addiction against her, but it’s still exciting to see the close calls and watch Laurel pick through the evidence and to try and take her down. It’s got to be close to the boys finding out now and I can’t wait! I hope Laurel can claw back some allies or at least find out something else to cement her suspicions, but with Emma looking the innocent grieving wife and Laurel seeming to others like she’s slipped back to drinking, it’s not looking hopeful.

A Wasted Life

vlcsnap-2017-08-05-21h53m29s448This almost made my fail list, simply because I’m gutted to see the end of Ronnie Hale. He deserved better. Last year his tragic backstory came to light – years of pining for a tortured and closeted Lawrence White – and they were powerful scenes with so much potential. Irritatingly Emmerdale side stepped this potential and Lawrence seemed to get over his hang-ups in the space of a few episodes and their struggle was never touched on again. Ronnie was a rare thing in the White family – kind hearted, sensitive and actually made a friend in the village, lovely Lisa Dingle. Ronnie and Lisa’s friendship was quickly formed but always felt genuine and warm. But as Lawrence’s true colours came to light this week Ronnie realised he’d wasted his whole life pining for a man who’d had a much darker life than he had realised. You’d think living with that lot he’d have worked it out by now? BFF Lisa came to collect him and drove him to the station where he walked sadly to his train, giving up all hope on life with Larry (even though he was suffering another near death experience at the time). Poor Ronnie. He was a sweet man, far too good for the likes of that family and John McArdle played his scenes with heart and passion. I’ll miss Ronnie and his friendship with Lisa and like this tweet by @WomanUndercover said – I hope he finds a handsome man on the train to spend his life with.

Fail

Same Old Story

vlcsnap-2017-08-05-22h10m09s671Since day one the main problem with the White family hasn’t changed, caught between villains one minute and victims the next, their main source of drama seems to be inner-family conflict. From time to time someone in the village or a guest character arrives to fan the flames but it soon leads to an intra-family feud. This week Lachlan kidnapped Tim (Chrissie’s bio uncle) with the help of Gerry (the only person who’s been a fun addition to the household) and all Lawrence’s secrets came tumbling out. What happened next? Oh only the same thing we’ve watched every few months! A dark family secret, Chrissie being horrified and disowning the family, Rebecca cluelessly trying to fix things and Lawrence almost dying. AGAIN. At this rate I’m half expecting Lawrence to collapse and regenerate. We know that most of them are approaching their exit, but this is tired ground and I’m past the point of caring. The family’s more interesting aspects – Chrissie’s ruthlessness, Lachlan’s unnerving darkness and Lawrence’s tortured past – seem completely abandoned in favour of tedium and now Robert’s scheming looks set to tread even more repetitive ground. Bored now – can’t the Whites hurry up and go?

Fave or Fail? (26-30 June 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! We were robbed of episodes this week as football took over, but with Rhona’s story and Arthur’s discovery it was a good week!

Faves

Survivor Solidarity

w64lrI can’t tell you how glad I am that Emmerdale decided to make Lisa a confidant for Rhona. When Emmerdale remembers its own history (like when Zak comforted David during his cancer or even this week when Pearl talked about her rapist son) it really excels and makes the most of the long running nature of soap. Lisa wa able to empathise with Rhona’s struggles like no other villager could, not even her friends, and it was so important for Rhona to have a safe person for her to express her fears and most difficult feelings to. Lisa’s comfort was wonderful, telling Rhona about how brave she was, all the while being able to reason with her irrational fears about being judged by others. It’s scenes like these that Emmerdale does so well, ones that are heartfelt and real. Lisa was the perfect choice of character for Rhona to lean on – she’s been there and she’s survived – and she gave Rhona the strength she needed to get through another difficult week.

Dangerous Discovery

Emmerdale - Emma Talks To Arthur About The Video - YouTubeThe reveal of Emma’s deadly secret is drawing closer and closer and it’s time to get excited! This week little Arthur feeling worried that he’d soon be orphaned (poor lad) decided to watch his dad’s videos alone on the pirate ship for comfort. And what video did he end up seeing? Dun dun dun! Emma upsetting Ashley and talking about the Hotten Bypass bridge. Uh oh. Arthur spent the rest of the week running away from and looking positively terrified of Emma every time she was in the vicinity until he tearfully told her that he’d watched the video. As Emma got panicky and Laurel vowed to get to the bottom of why Arthur was so upset, the tension mounted ever closer to that glorious reveal moment! But I also have to commend the ever brilliant Alfie Clarke whose expressive face makes everything from his rosy-cheeked upset to his terror so believable, but I am worried about poor little Arthur now!

Gaslighting

Emmerdale - Pierce Isn't Harassing Rhona, Pierce's Mother Is! - YouTubePierce and his wicked mother Martha made a return this week and the latter proved she was just as twisted as her son. Poor Rhona spent most of the week paranoid that Pierce was breaking into her house and gaslighting her, but when he smugly revealed to Paddy that he’d been in Amsterdam, Rhona was worried everyone thought she was losing it. Pierce is a mastermind manipulator and that was in full display in his meeting as he made Paddy look unhinged and Rhona the unreliable narrator. It’s clever but oh so maddening. His mother Martha isn’t much better as she later revealed to Rhona that she was behind all the tampering in her house and would do anything to protect her son, threatening Rhona that she had to drop the charges and walk away. With two powerful and evil manipulators at the helm this is hell for poor Rhona, but this is making for one fantastic story – the kind where you’re screaming at the telly, begging for justice.

Sisters Before Misters

w64npTuesday’s hour long episode had a great Girl Power vibe and I really loved it. Apart from Vanessa’s usual support of Rhona and the new comfort from Lisa, other female friendships came into the spotlight. Nicola played a big part in this as she agreed to look after Laurel’s kids if anything should happen but it was her new and surprising alliance with Priya that I really enjoyed. Now free from the shackles of Rakesh, Priya acknowledged her foolishness for letting him dictate her life for so long. Together her and Nicola were a supportive force as they agreed to put useless men behind them and stand strong. I like both characters as the two of them are strong minded business women so I’m glad they’ve gotten over their rivalry, even if I’m with Jai on this – how long will it last? But on the plus side, it did at least make Priya see sense when it came to Pete and she took a stand. Sadly, I can definitely see that resolve folding. Ugh.

Fails

The Thrill of the Chase

Emmerdale - Debbie Finds Out Ross Has Totally Moved On - YouTubeI won’t pretend my heart is filled with joy at the prospect of a Debbie and Ross reunion and I much prefer their characters apart however I was slightly dismayed at the direction their relationship has taken this week. It even surprised me that I didn’t mind their more fun scenes together (anything that get Debs to do anything but frown is a good thing) but then by the end of the week a different dynamic emerged. If you can cast your mind all the way back to 2015 you’ll remember Debbie left town on discovering Ross shot Robert and she’d had enough of his bad boy ways. Fair enough! So why now, when he should be making the effort (if he wants her back) to prove he’s a decent bloke, is she chasing after him? Not to mention his attitude seems way off if he really does care about her the way we’re supposed to think he does. He’s cocky and dismissive, even seeming unfazed when she seemed to soften. So if we really do have to see a re-run of Debbie n’ Ross – surely Debbie deserves more than being at the whim of Ross’s ego?

FYI: There will be no Woolie Weekly posts for the next two weeks as I am on holiday, but I will be posting a summer quiz next week so I hope you enjoy that!

Scene of the Week (5-9 June 2017)

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Lydia Hart has been something of a Marmite character in Emmerdale, who – just like the British classic – I love. But having started as an oddball guest character, built around her quirky ownership of cockatoo Steve (now stuffed, RIP) and niche interests, there was a question mark over how well she would integrate in the village full time. Well after this week’s surprisingly moving scene with Laurel it’s safe to say Lydia has been humanised, made more real and yet retaining the quirkiness that secured her a full time spot in the Dales. After interfering in Laurel’s grief process in a way that was a bit full on, even for me a card-carrying Lydia champion, the pair sat down for a proper chat. In this scene which left me feeling a little choked, Lydia revealed that her references about grief were not about Steve the cockatoo, but Steve her late husband. Suddenly a believable and touching backstory opened up in front of us, making Lydia fleshed out and letting us know the grieving woman under all that kookiness. Karen Blick too proved she is more than capable of bonkers humour alongside emotional performances – she’s brilliant.

Emmerdale Reigns Supreme at the British Soap Awards

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Officially Britain’s Best Soap for the second year running is the brilliant Emmerdale. Not only did they win the top prize of the night – again – but they also collected five other awards including all the fan voted awards. And even better, after winning the NTA, the RTS and the BAFTA too, this is the second time in soap history a soap has won the grand slam collective. So three cheers for Emmerdale – keep up the good work.

Here’s a look at the prizes they won on Saturday night.

Best Single Episode: Ashley’s Point of View

Who can forget the fantastic, unique and original episode last December when we saw the world through Ashley’s eyes? Emmerdale did an incredible job giving us a closer insight on how confusing the world can be for someone with dementia. Using special camera techniques and look-a-like actors to give us that creeping familiarity was a genius touch and all the doppelgangers did an amazing job. They even used the old Emmerdale village in Esholt and the original Woolpack to give it an even cleverer touch. Ashley’s special episode is even used in dementia training now so I couldn’t think of anything more deserving for the accolade.

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Best Storyline: Ashley’s Dementia

The story of Ashley’s dementia touched the hearts of many viewers especially considering it’s an illness that affects so many families. It was completely heartbreaking to watch Ashley’s decline and the touching scenes of his family attempting to cling on was easily some of the best soap material ever scene. John Middleton gave many acceptance speeches that night but there was truly nothing more emotional than his tribute to a man currently going through the same illness as Ashley who has found a new love of singing.

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Best Actor AND Best Male Dramatic Performance: John Middleton

What a man John Middleton is. Gracious, humble and a legend. He gave the performance of his career in the Ashley storyline, a story and a character than has been praised so widely by fans and critics alike. John was such a deserving winner of both awards and gave very kind and thankful speeches every time he collected his awards, making sure to credit all those behind the scenes and the fans too. Ashley’s story and the man himself will never be forgotten and judging by his speeches, the awards couldn’t have gone to a nicer man.

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Best Actress: Charlotte Bellamy

There was no one more surprised than Charlotte herself when she won the fan-voted award of Best Actress, but she shouldn’t have been so shocked – she’s been exceptional. Not only has she given a relatable performance as a wife and a mother struggling to hold family life together during her husband’s dementia, Charlotte give Laurel and her alcohol addiction such depth and heart. She’s consistently brilliant and it’s about time she was rewarded!

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Best Soap: EMMERDALE!

Matthew Wolfenden’s reaction said it all! Emmerdale was voted as the winner of Best British Soap for a second year running – and so deserved! The last 12 months have brought us countless amazing performances, gripping storylines and some of soap’s best moments ever. From Holly’s death, to Ashley’s dementia, to the incredible Super Soap Week, to the Robron wedding and Rhona’s rape – Emmerdale had a great year. Can they make it a hattrick? Let’s hope so!

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Fave or Fail? (29 May-2 June 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 are the reigning champions of the British Soap Awards (but this was a really boring week – sorry).

Faves

Solid Support

w60lHooray for some of the women of Emmerdale this week who managed to lend a friendly ear to a few of the clueless males in the village. Where would they be without you? There was Laurel who did manage to tie herself up in everyone’s favourite story twist – yep, double cheating two for the price of one – but it wasn’t all bad because she actually managed to talk sense into Marlon and help him avoid a complete meltdown. For a bit at least. There was Priya who wisely suggested Jai give Nell some space and also Moira who very sweetly encouraged Jai in his new romance, telling him she was glad he was moving on. Friendly advice and community support – now if only they took notice!

The Long Goodbye

w60cmI’ve already written about Carly’s weird exit but its heavy focus in the week’s stories seemed a strange choice when we knew she was going. Saying that, Carly and Matt had a sparky and fun chemistry that made their backstory and her eventual reasons for leaving a little bit more believable. Most of Carly’s depth and storylines have arisen from exposition heavy scenes and a weighty backstory – the Matt stuff has been no exception. Luckily the actors had a good rapport and if circumstances had been different Matt would have been a good addition to the show. The inevitable implosion of Marlon and Carly’s ill-fated romance did feel a bit clumsy and rushed, but it was sold well in all its uncomfortable glory.

Sweet Factory Silliness

w60njJimmy and Nicola deserve far more than the tropey nagging wife/useless husband routine and while I’m glad they have a very healthy sex life, it’s a shame that they’ve been reduced to continual stories about their kinky adventures when they’re capable of much more. However I always enjoy Nicola’s scenes and Jimmy looked amusingly dopey in his factory hat. The swan disaster comedy plot was pretty silly and pointless but Bernice arriving to save the day and painstakingly decorating hers did raise a smile at least (more from the Blackstock sisters please) and in a week as dull as this one, it was needed!

Fails

Ropey Romance

w60jnThere’s a real lack of compelling, emotionally engaging and dramatic plots in Emmerdale at the moment and what we’re left with is these lowkey and dull stories at the front of the show. Away from the silly humour and Carly’s exit this week was the (not so) great Jai and Nell love affair. I was a quiet champion of the Holly and Jai relationship last year but this Nell business just isn’t working for me and he almost comes across as her dad rather than her lover. Nell is sulky, immature and unconvincing leaving a big question in the interpretation of their scenes – does Jai just feel sorry for her? Guilty even? The love declaration just came across as insincere and desperate which I don’t think was what they were going for! It’s all mildly creepy and leaves Nell looking a tad unstable. She’s not the only Emmerdale lady with weepy and unconvincing motives but this plot is definitely not interesting enough to be front and centre of Emmerdale.

Not Star-Crossed

Emmerdale - Lachlan Chooses Sookie Over Belle - YouTubeIt seems like Emmerdale has toying with the idea of Belle and Lachlan forever but this week things seem to be progressing towards romance in an uncomfortable way. After her romance with Dr Bailey it’s safe to say Belle’s taste in guys isn’t great but there’s a bigger issue in this Lachlan story and the way Emmerdale are telling it as if they’re star crossed, teenage misfit lovers. No. Just no. Lachlan isn’t just a spoilt and messed up kid, he’s a remorseless sex offender and despite her questionable taste, Belle’s meant to be the smart one in her family. If stomaching Belle’s pining and jealousy of Lachlan seemingly moving on without her isn’t bad enough, then there’s the snobby behaviour of his mother Chrissie who is trying to keep the pair apart. No Dingle is good enough for her precious sex offender son amiright? It kinda feels like we should be wanting this teen love to triumph but how can we root for Belle and a sexual offender? Since the refusal of Emmerdale to ever decide on Lachlan’s psyche and zero intentions to have him show remorse for his crimes, we’re continually in a limbo of discomfort where a character like him cannot remain in the programme with stories like this.

Fave or Fail? (22-26 May 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! Robert confessed his betrayal to Aaron this week and we enter another stretch of Emmerdale’s Worse Storyline Ever™

Faves

Rollercoaster of Emotions

vlcsnap-2017-05-28-17h47m43s531Let’s not get into this Aaron/Robert/Rebecca baby plot, which has to be one of my most loathed soap plots of all time, but let’s talk about the one saving grace of this story and that’s Thursday’s reveal. It’s been a ticking time bomb for months but finally this week, torn apart by guilt, Robert confessed his betrayal to a devastated Aaron. The Robron relationship has had more ups and downs (and to be honest, more downs) than Space Mountain but if anything this set of episodes proved why they continue to drag Aaron and Robert from one torturous story to the next and that’s how well the actors sell the heartbreak and the passion in their character’s relationship. With a script that dug right into their deepest flaws and issues, the intense argument saw Aaron and Robert communicate like never before as they got to the heart of why Aaron’s prison spell and Robert’s huge mistake had caused such a colossal impact on both characters. It was an honest, intimate and powerful display of their complex relationship one that owes a great deal to the long-standing chemistry between Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley and a partnership which I hope doesn’t suffer too much in this unpopular storyline.

Light Touch

vlcsnap-2017-05-28-17h38m02s763Lydia continues to be an injection of fun into Emmerdale and her budding romance with Sam Dingle has been a joy to watch. In just a few weeks she’s managed to integrate with lots of different characters with her cleaning job, but her comedic role in the Thomas household has worked surprisingly well to lift them after the serious and rather bleak Ashley plot. Away from Lydia was the stained-glass window mix up on Friday which saw Kerry’s creative unicorn and Adonis Ashley contribution be installed instead of Arthur’s intended window, thanks to an email error by Sandy. Bernice arrived during the chaos and of course made my GIF of the week. Far from making light of Ashley’s passing, these lighter moments have shown that laughs are possible after a death and he definitely would have seen the funny side. I’m glad that Emmerdale are able to remember Ashley, that the Thomases are allowed to grieve and but that life goes on, with smiles and even with a stuffed cockatoo in tow.

Moira Mystery

vlcsnap-2017-05-28-17h29m58s379Maybe I’m reading into things with Moira this week but I definitely felt like there was more to her exhaustion collapse and jumpy behaviour around Faith. It might not be the pregnancy plot we all predicted would happen when she slept with Pete and then Cain back in December, but it does make you wonder. Still, mystery aside, I love seeing Moira in farming mode and her interactions with Faith (like berating her for flirting with Adam) are really good fun. But what was also nice this week was the reminder of Holly and the realism of her presence continuing to impact upon Moira when in soaps death is so quickly forgotten. The scenes between Adam and Moira as they came together again after their fallout was a touching moment and part of the family warmth I’ve come to expect from Emmerdale at its best.

Fails

Carry On Car Theft

vlcsnap-2017-05-28-17h30m52s257It was only last week Debbie made my ‘Faves’ list as I praised the new and more light-hearted direction her character was going through, but this week the fun turned farce as Charity got on board for some carry-on capers. The Charity and Debbie relationship is one which has a natural spark and their bickering in a crisis is much more enjoyable than when they’re feuding about Charity’s wrong doings, but this week’s scenes crossed the line into just plain stupid. Charity can be a great comedy character and she’s proved she can work well as pub landlady but surely there’s got to be a better story for her than an “oops we’ve knocked a man out cold let’s shove him in the boot” episode filler. I love the Debbie and Charity interactions but these scenes dragged on, thinning out the humour in them, but if it keeps Debbie away from mopey love-life stories then I won’t complain too much.

A Massive Failure

vlcsnap-2017-05-28-17h40m02s250Where to start? I hate this storyline and to be honest I don’t know any Emmerdale fan that doesn’t. Granted, throwing a one-night-stand into the mix a mere three weeks after your most popular couple get hitched was never going to be received with open arms but the progression of this story has only got worse from then on. Putting aside the repetitive and tired clichés of this story, the unrelenting torture of Aaron and the tiring on/off conflict between Aaron and Robert, which is testing even to the most ardent of fan, we come to the biggest problem of all in the writing of Rebecca White. Introduced as the “good” White sister willing to take down her family and seduce Robert in the process, we’ve seen her turn from independent go-getter and vixen to saintly victim throughout this storyline. Not a day goes by when she hasn’t had a dramatic change of heart and this week we had the full spectrum. From wanting Rob to not wanting him, from not wanting the baby to desperately wanting to be a mother, to staying out of Robron’s way to actively telling Aaron to leave Robert. Her motives are all over the place and I don’t think it’s hormones. Her character makes no sense and her flaky lack of coherency and agency screams of a character who is written on the spot, bowing slavishly to the plot and because of this she’s not a character I believe, let alone like. Her weepy protestations of her innocence are thin and insincere and not like any woman I know (thank god). Sorry Emmerdale, there’s no getting round this, this is a massive failure for all characters involved.

 

 

Fave or Fail? (8-12 May 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! Rhona confided in Vanessa this week in outstanding scenes and the teen gang plot remained uninteresting.

Faves

Avoiding the Predictable

Emmerdale May 10 - YouTubeRhona’s story returned this week as she came back from her holiday with Leo and thankfully Pierce wasn’t anywhere to be seen. After Emmerdale’s fantastic and emotional portrayal of Rhona’s bravery in the aftermath of her rape I was concerned they might be tempted of going down a very soapy route of having her forgive him, or cope by being in denial over the attack and make her friends increasingly oblivious as Pierce continued to abuse her. After all he was very manipulative after the attack and warning her she had no chance in winning a trial against him. You could see how he’d chipped away at her and I worried that he might have destroyed all her resilience. But so far, and to my relief, this doesn’t seem to be the route they are taking this story. Rhona is being brave and strong, trying to cope with this alone despite the fear and the shame affecting her deeply. Even though she has returned to taking painkillers, Vanessa’s support is hugely important and I’m glad Emmerdale haven’t gone down a cliched route of her keeping quiet – right now this is not about any further evil deeds Pierce can do, this is about Rhona and the long-term impact his behaviour the rape has had on her.

Friendship

w56rvI got a reminder this week about how the long-term friendships on Emmerdale are something I love watching. There was a return to the Victoria and Finn friendship, that we haven’t seen in forever, one which feels far more heartfelt than the other pals the two of them have made. The actors have a nice chemistry and if Vic’s going to stay single for a bit then I hope we can return to having more scenes of these two together. And of course the biggest friendship factor this week was “Team Rhona”. Paddy, Marlon and Vanessa were all worried on her return and while they all took different and cautious approaches as the week went on, it was Vanessa who eventually got through to Rhona and allowed her to open up fully. The scenes following Rhona’s confession were beautifully acted and written with Vanessa saying all the things Rhona, and every other woman suffering in the same way, needed to and should hear. I was moved to tears as Vanessa offered to be there for talks or even a cuddle and her strong response to Rhona’s relapse was another fantastic moment in this story. Emmerdale characters and stories work best when they have a network of loved ones around them – family, spouses but also friends – and I hope we continue to see these believable friendships in all the on-going stories.

The Little Things

w56cTwo little moments in the week struck me as the perfect example of how well Emmerdale can squeeze in some great comedy. Take the tragic passing of Lydia’s cockatoo Steve and how this affected her interview up at Home Farm. Not only was the anecdote of his death as bonkers as Lydia herself, but the next day a spot of confusion had Chrissie assume Steve was Lydia’s dead friend rather than a bird. We don’t often get to see Chrissie in humorous scenes but her reaction to Steve being stuffed really tickled me and made me wish for more scenes where we get to see Chrissie as a bit more human rather than stuck with the White contingent. Then there was Sandy, technophobe and only two clicks away from a dodgy video. Laurel had to quickly cover Arthur’s eyes and then uncover them so he could get rid of the offending porn video. It was a throwaway scene but one with such warmth, humour and one that was very welcome after all the sadness in the Thomas’s household.

Fails

Underwhelming

Emmerdale - Adam Has Broken Victoria's Heart for the Last Time - YouTubeAdam and Victoria broke up (for good?) this week and after their previous “split” a few weeks ago, which while convoluted had some great performances, this week’s developments just felt underwhelming. Adam was in full on Neanderthal mode, blaming everyone but himself for kissing Vanessa– including his own mother – and these sorts of situations never put him in the best light. Vic took a hard line on the cheating (although it’s not been all that long since she forgave him worse) but it’s hard to know whether her resistance to forgiving him will last, particularly seeing as Emmerdale’s commitment to exploring Adam and Victoria’s relationship (good or bad) seems half-hearted at best. But perhaps the impact of this storyline has been significantly lessened by the oversaturation of cheating/mistake-kiss plots in the recent year. I’m SO tired of it and it doesn’t seem to be ending any time soon. Surely even the scriptwriters are bored writing the same apology and forgiveness scenes for their couples?

Teenage Terror

Emmerdale - The Robbers Return to Intimidate Eric - YouTubeWho wouldn’t be scared by a gang of teenage thugs, ones who use threats, intimidation, theft and knives to terrify their victims? Dan suffered that very ordeal this week and was faced with the dilemma of whether to go through with identifying them to police or not, a dilemma which was particularly troublesome when their threats included hurting his daughter, Amelia. Despite this, teenage gangs never really translate well on screen and while hypothetically I can believe these characters would be intimidated, there just doesn’t feel like there’s any real threat when we watch it on screen. Stories of intimidation and insecurity are ones which need a slow-burn build up to feel real, but these Waterloo Road rejects throwing a sandwich and circling round Kerry doesn’t really cut it. Unfortunately that hasn’t helped to served Dan’s repetitive story and it’s not keeping my interest.

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? (10-14 April 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! Another week showcasing the full spectrum of soap – from the beautiful, honest and emotional to the cheap, tacky and unbelievable.

Faves

The Last Goodbye

vlcsnap-2017-04-16-17h08m49s721For me the strengths of Ashley’s story were the far-reaching impact on his family and friends and the performances of the main actors involved and this week we had the best of these as the community gathered for his funeral. Everything from Harriet’s crisis of confidence, to Gabby’s heartbreak and grief that she didn’t get to say goodbye on her own, to Laurel’s strength, to Doug’s speech, to Arthur’s poem – the reactions showed a full spectrum of grief and it was full of heart and warmth. Emmerdale has been rightly praised for the sensitivity and believability it has told this story with, staying away from cheap twists and playing each character’s reaction with relatable honesty. The writing and performances have cemented this as soap best and shows what Emmerdale is capable of.

Girl Gang

vlcsnap-2017-04-16-18h50m46s743Faith has managed to establish herself as a lively and interesting character in the village and she’s only been here five minutes, but what I loved most this week is this kind of girl gang her Sarah and Debbie have formed at Moira’s. Debbie’s a hundred times better when she’s not tied up in gangster heists or moping over Ross and Sarah and Faith’s relationship is blossoming into something lovely. This week Debbie and Faith butted heads over Sarah’s health but Faith also managed to get Debs to lighten up and the scenes where she tried to bring the holiday vibes into Sarah’s world was funny and heartwarming. I loved their sunbathing, cocktail drinking role play and it was even better to see the usually dour Debbie getting involved in the dress up.

Sweet Dreams

vlcsnap-2017-04-16-17h07m25s177The Ashley and Laurel dream sequence was a controversial choice for a moment of closure for a story which has been grounded in so much reality from the start, but with John Middleton and Charlotte Bellamy’s emotional performances and so much history involved, I think Emmerdale made it work. It’s not the first time Emmerdale has done a dream sequence – Eric seeing Val and Marlon seeing Tricia spring to mind – and it’s a gimmick that maybe didn’t work for everyone but I’ll admit I thought it was very moving and a fitting end to the chapter. There’s a certain amount of comfort to be had in Ashley’s speech to Laurel about moving on and it’s not a luxury many of us have when losing a loved one, but fiction often gives us the wish-fulfilment real life can’t. It was a scene filled with history and continuity but at the heart of it a believable couple saying a heartfelt final goodbye when his decline had prevented them from doing so. Even more impressive was that this scene was done in one take, making those flawless performances even more impressive.

Fails

Insensitivity

vlcsnap-2017-04-16-18h52m02s139Readers of this blog will know I have a huge soft spot for comedic goofball Rishi but at this point I’m starting to feel like I’m cursed and it’s Emmerdale’s mission to make me hate all my favourite characters. This week saw Rishi and Faith go on a date but after some crass and uncalled for comments from Charity, Faith panicked and ended up confessing about her mastectomy to Rishi. Faith’s dilemma is one faced by other women going through the same insecurity after surgery but did this story really need to be rushed through with all the sensitivity of a hammer to the face? I know Charity isn’t the most understanding of women, but would she have really laid on the warning so thickly, making out as if Faith was some disfigured monster? Would Faith have really told him on date number one? Rishi ran out in a panic straight away and then mouthed off about it loudly in the pub for all to hear, including Faith. We know Rishi can be an idiot but this plot development was rushed when this story needs time and care to do it justice.

The Recipe of Success?

vlcsnap-2017-04-16-17h14m25s464The perfect recipe for a terrible storyline? Take one beloved couple and destroy their re-built foundations of trust and loyalty. Add several backward steps for a complex and interesting character you spent eighteen months redeeming. Villainise said character by using a reconstructed history and new character whose personality changes depending on plot to make her the hapless victim and him the heartless bastard. No grey areas. Pretend condoms are 100% effective. Make a sensitive hero of your sleaziest male character to demonise said complex male. Remove female character’s agency. Add blackmail. Remove reactions of suspicion from the spouse and make them dote heavily on duplicitous male to up the stakes. Flee the country and pretend this all goes away. Wonder how the hell this is ever going to be salvageable for the beloved couple.

Scene of the Week (10-14 April 2017)

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With Ashley’s funeral taking place this week understandably there were many scenes I could have chosen as my stand-out but it was this one, focusing on the wider impact of Ashley’s death and the beautiful cinematography that won my choice. As Ashley and Laurel said “goodbye” in her dream, we saw Arthur reading his poem to Gabby, Bernice and Doug in a moment that couldn’t fail to tug at the heart strings. Scenes at night, and this one which begun outside the window, gave a special and almost filmic quality, as did the moments of black as the lights were turned off. Then there was Harriet having a solemn moment of contemplation before the candle was blown out and finally Laurel, turning away from the bottle and watching an old home video and finding comfort in images from the past. It was a very quiet and moving closing scene to the episode and one befitting of silent credits too.