Fave or Fail? (5-9 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! As Rakesh was exposed as last year’s arsonist it was another fairly low-key week. 

Faves

Marlon Madness

w61mpIn the immediate aftermath of Carly’s exit, Marlon found himself in Lydia’s bedroom, dressed in her puntastic nightie. And who would you call in this nightmarish and confusing situation? Your trusty best friend of course! Marlon’s bizarre escape and Paddy’s distraction techniques was a strange start to the week and a bonkers comedy sequence that they only pulled off because Paddy and Marlon are the kings of physical comedy and it was alongside some brilliant visual gags in Lydia’s bedroom. Maybe from now on they should just leave the crazy slapstick stuff to Marlon and Paddy.

Brotherly Bond

Emmerdale - Ross and Finn Take Ownership of a Cannabis Farm! - YouTubeLooking past Finn’s questionable decision to become the world’s worst escort, we saw some great scenes between him and Ross this week. I’ve always thought the Barton brothers are actually at their best when they’re getting on, rather than at each other’s throats. There’s just something about all that testosterone and aggression that sets my teeth on edge. But this week saw Ross get all protective and fairly sweet towards his little brother and it’s a dynamic that just works. Later, the scenes turned comical when Finn managed to get rid of the dealers all with a handy toy police badge, prompting Ross to ask him how he learned that. His brilliant response? “Suranne Jones. Scott and Bailey.” I can’t help but think a bit more heart and a bit more fun for the Bartons could be a nice change before everything comes out about Emma and James!

Parents and Kids

w61ssIt wasn’t a major story of the week but there were some nice scenes between some of the parents and kids this week. There was a surprising and touching scene between Sam and Samson about his mother Alice (who longterm viewers of Emmerdale will know died tragically from cancer) and the books and diaries she kept. Scenes where characters remember their long histories on the show is the best thing about the soap genre – we’ve watched this history happen! And then there was Marlon and April who had a rocky week in the wake of Carly’s departure, but their emotional scene on the swings as Marlon read April Carly’s goodbye letter was a lovely moment between them.

Fails

Awkwardly Unfunny

Emmerdale - Nicola Chases A Beaver - YouTubeBritain’s Best Soap had a plot this week where a grown woman was tormented by beavers. Yes, this actually happened and it was as stupid and as unfunny as it sounds. Emmerdale’s comedy is hit and miss at the best of the times (and obviously depends on your taste!) but this really was a low point. Nicola King’s admirable ambition (something we rarely see in the writing of Emmerdale’s female characters) is often treated as the butt of the joke but this week saw that mockery taken even further with the revelation that she was terrified of beavers. Armed with this knowledge the factory girls, led by Kerry, decided to torment Nicola, even going so far as to dress up as one. There’s a good reason why we’ve never seen a woman in a mobility scooter chase a giant beaver down the street. It’s just not funny.

Sizzle? Cringe!

Emmerdale - Priya Proves Pete Wrong By Kissing Him! - YouTubeHaving listened to months of hype about Emmerdale’s sizzling new affair (a hapless man torn between too women – now there’s a surprise) it finally began this week. I’m not about to turn this post into another moan about Emmerdale reaching dismal lows in the faithfulness of its couples and yes, cheating and affairs are no new ground, but if you’re going to tease a hot new affair, then at least make it good. Alarm bells rang when it was revealed that “alpha male” Pete was going to be our cheating stud (yes, that is the sound of my eyes rolling) because really, apart from the charged passion with his Auntie Moira have we ever seen him smoulder? But still, okay silver linings, it would at least drag Priya from the life-sucking blackhole that is Rakesh. And then it arrived on screen and any tepid enthusiasm was squashed. Pete and Priya was a blank slate, they’d never had any significant interaction so this affair needed a little chemistry-infused build up, right? Wrong! Within minutes of a casual chat, Priya and Pete were talking openly about their lives and problems like old friends and then snogging faster than you can say we-threw-these-characters-into-a-hat-to-find-our-affair-candidates. Did Priya feel guilty for sleeping with her BFFs boyfriend? No chance. Did moral dullard Pete feel a tiny bit bad that one tiff with Leyla had him smirking post-coitus with Priya? Did he hell! They literally couldn’t give a sh*t. Who are these characters? They’re not ones I recognise. Leyla deserves better, we ALL deserve better. This is our big summer plot?

Fave or Fail? (1-5 May 2017)

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! Not the most exciting week of storylines in the Dales, but it wasn’t a quiet one for Moira, as she gave Charity a Glasgow Kiss.

Faves

Emmerdale Farm

Emmerdale - Who Did Moira Shoot - YouTubeOne of the many things I love about Emmerdale is its USP – its gorgeous rural setting. But in recent years storylines have moved away from the country life and the farming profession. While stories about stolen cows aren’t the most exciting thing to ever happen in the Dales it made a nice change for there to be some actual farming plots in Emmerdale this week. Who can resist an overall clad, gun-toting Moira, or Charity chasing lambs and threatening them with mint sauce. Granted, more of stroppy Ross isn’t exactly my favourite thing, but pairing him up with Charity gave a nice excuse to revisit their sparky chemistry and I’m always happy to see these two plotting and sniping. Then there was Leyla, reluctant in the fields but making a hilarious distraction as a damsel in distress and a very welcome addition to gruff Barton rivalry. Not a favourite story by any means, but I’m always happy to see more on the farm.

Extra Laughs

w55deIt wasn’t the most thrilling week of Emmerdale, I’ve got to be honest. Most of the big stories seem to be on pause (that is unless you count the Jai and Megan custody battle as a big story!) but still, this week has been a step away from the more dark and hard-hitting plots. One thing that certainly injected life into this week’s episodes were the continued inclusion of Lydia, and the appearance of other zany guests like David’s derriere devotees at the book launch. The off-the-wall and exaggerated humour might not be for everyone, and it certainly works best in small doses, but these guest characters and their ability to rub our regulars up the wrong way works a treat. Take for example, leather clad Scotty B who kept calling David “Dave” or Voltaire quoting Lydia who takes five sugars in her tea. Their eccentricities make for a few good laughs and for me they’re a welcome slice of humour between the drama.

Never Too Young for Trouble

w55nsMost of the year it seems like Noah and Samson are kept in cupboards, steering clear of any major drama despite being part of the Dingles. Friday’s episode saw them have a little subplot of their own as Noah convinced Samson to steal from an unsuspecting Sam. There was something really enjoyable about these scenes with these rarely seen boys, Noah talking openly about how he uses Charity’s credit card and Samson feeling guilty. His and Sam’s relationship has been seen more lately as Sam tried to prove himself as a cool dad, much to Samson’s continued embarrassment but it’s been a nice change to see a little more of them. Once again Emmerdale proves it has the best young cast and I’m sure it won’t be long until they’re causing more havoc like the Dingles do best.

Fails

Never-ending Story

w55dtWould you believe me if I told you Tracy’s erotic novel saga has been running for three months? Three months! What started as a fun and frivolous story involving the ladies of the village and the brilliant Pearl and her saucy suggestions has now become a never-ending story for David and Tracy. The comedy in the plot has almost all but dried up and now all it does is highlight the things about the couple that are repetitive and unlikeable. Tracy looking stupid or being laughed at by others, moaning at David for not believing in her and then having moments of no self-belief. And David, one minute the proud and supportive husband and next belittling Tracy and holding her back. The erotic book plot should have lasted a few weeks or moved at a quicker pace, but now it’s dragged on for three months and has been reduced to a humourless vehicle for David and Tracy at their worse. Can we have new material please, not a sequel?

On Repeat

Emmerdale - Robbers Beat Up Eric With a Baseball Bat - YouTubeIt’s not just the sluggish David and Tracy book plot which had a repetitive nature this week, as a number of stories seemed to tread familiar and stale ground. Last week I berated Megan’s storyline for being boring and it didn’t get better this week as her and Jai went head to head over Eliza’s custody. Debbie and Charity fell out for the six hundredth time when Charity schemed with Ross for extra cash (pot kettle Debs) causing Charity and Moira to clash again. Dan’s paramedic tales came to the forefront again as he stepped in to help Eric after a moment of fear held him back from helping, but will this end up going nowhere once more? Cain and Harriet’s fling was discovered which was a good thing considering their scenes have consisted of being cock-blocked by Emma and vestry snogs for weeks and Emma’s treading water, clinging to Bible verses as another Barton war wages. She needs to step it up a gear! For all these stories and characters an injection of something new or unexpected is needed to liven things up a bit!

7 of Emmerdale’s Most Underrated Characters

 

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Emmerdale is fortunate to have such a brilliant cast of characters that picking favourites is always a challenge. In fact I can count the number of characters I actively dislike on just two fingers. But often it’s the biggest and most popular characters and actors who get all the attention, so here at The Woolie Weekly I thought I’d invite my blog readers to share their favourite “underrated” characters, alongside one of mine, and tell us why they love them.

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Vanessa Woodfield

If you follow me on Twitter you’ll probably have guessed that Vanessa is my choice for my ‘underrated’ fave. Vanessa isn’t as quiet storywise as other characters on this list, but she often plays a supportive role in storylines. Vanessa has such a fiesty spark and a great sense of fun, as well as being a loyal friend and a good mother. With Pierce on her case now I seriously worry for her safety!

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Leyla Harding

Submitted by ‘robroninterest’: “Leyla is mostly used for comic relief, but I would like to see more of her serious side. It was a pity that the ‘romance’ with Pete was rushed, they could have been a more interesting couple and struggled more to get together. Leyla can be a fragile character, that can once in a while do without the comical streak. I want drama Leyla.”

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Pearl Ladderbanks

Submitted by anonymous: “Pearl is amazing, funny, smart, but I also love her sensibility toward other characters, her jovial spirit and her curiosity about other villagers’ lives.

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Bernice Blackstock

Submitted by chloakerz: “As if I’d pick anyone but Bernice! I hope she gets to shine in the conclusion of Ashley’s story but other reasons why she deserves more screen time are: 1) she can do serious AND comedy which is a winning combo 2) putting her in the mix with the Whites (before they sucked the joy out of everything was genius) – she was in her element as lady of the manor 3) her relationship with Andy is perfectly classic chalk and cheese (Katie who?) 4) she loves wine ) ‘I will make you bald!’ truly iconic: need I say more? 6) if Emmerdale made Bernice and Robert BFFs I can die happy – so much snobby potential!

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Marlon Dingle

Submitted by anonymous: “Marlon, every time! He’s the sweetest, most precious villager who doesn’t have a bad bone in his body. He’s so often overlooked and ridiculously funny. The kind of pure character we all need to keep storylines fun and bright. He has been through a lot as well and still manages to be upbeat and happy. A true village legend.”

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Victoria Barton

Submitted by anonymous: “Victoria sees the good in most people but also doesn’t take any shit. Her and Adam seem to be two of the few ‘nice and normal’ characters remaining in Emmerdale. But that doesn’t mean she isn’t interesting. She’s grown up on the show but hasn’t been in the spotlight storyline wise for ages.

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Adam Barton

Submitted by anonymous: “Adam Thomas is one of those rare actors who can not only do brilliant, warm comedy that puts a smile on your face but he can do dark, angry or heartbroken to just as high a standard all while being effortless. He’s got a comfortable natural acting style and he’s so underused. He has so many connections in the village and could do so much. The writers don’t seem to realise that!”

 

 

Fave or Fail? (6-10 March 2017)

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! Dark times for many villagers, but we also saw the return of Lydia and Zak learnt about safe spaces – so not all bad times.

Faves

Dangerous Games

Emmerdale - Thursday 9 Mar 8pm - The ITV Hub (1)Vanessa and Pierce were thrown together for Minion cake making this week, the day after Pierce proposed properly with a ring to Rhona, but their bonding didn’t exactly go to plan and the week ended with Ness vowing to show Rhona Pierce’s true colours even if it killed her. Not the sort of thing you should be saying in a soap, Vanessa! But it wasn’t just the tense and bitter battle between Rhona’s best friend and fiancé that was such compelling viewing, but Pierce’s subtle control of Rhona that continues to be intense and unnerving. This week he convinced her to strip and have sex on camera, trying to make her feel boring for not wanting to go along with it initially. It’s that kind of scream-at-your-TV drama where you want to reach in and grab Rhona, show her what Pierce has been doing behind her back, shine a light on his subtle powers of persuasion as he drills away at her doubt and insecurities. It’s only going to get worse, where we’ll feel frustrated and worried all at once, but if it continues with this sort of nail-biting intensity then it’s going to be really and unbearably good.

Private Struggles

vlcsnap-2017-03-12-17h31m44s161I made my thoughts and concerns about Aaron’s prison hell storyline very clear earlier in the week, but one positive aspect to this storyline has been seeing the individual struggles of Robert and Liv as they try and cope without him. Monday saw a special episode divided between the three of them as we discovered Robert was unable to sleep in their bed and was struggling with the pressure of relying on short phonecalls with his husband to get him through the day. Liv was being picked on and felt isolated too, made even worse when she had to keep the secret of Aaron’s drug taking later in the week. Ryan Hawley and Isobel Steele managed to be quietly heartbreaking in their scenes but it’s also given a chance for the characters to grow closer in Aaron’s absence which has felt organic and heartwarming to watch. While my reservations about the long term implications of this storyline direction still stand, the impactful performances are worthy of praise.

Better Together

Emmerdale - Thursday 9 Mar 8pm - The ITV HubThe Metcalfe family contingent (and I’m including the wider circle of Eric, Leyla and co) were a highlight this week as Jacob’s anxiety issues came to light when he panicked about losing his lucky coin. Not only were these scenes touching, as the family (and even Emma Barton) rallied to help and reassure Jacob, we thankfully had this family to give us some much-needed lighter moments in another heavy and dark week of plots. Sure, seeing David’s bare bum is getting a bit repetitive but it’s always good to have Pearl and Tracy’s saucy book plot slipping into the week’s stories, especially with Tracy’s endearing enthusiasm and preppy outfits. I really hope Jakey’s anxiety issues don’t just disappear either, because it’s an interesting issue to explore in a young character, particularly one in the midst of a difficult family illness.

Some Self Awareness?

Emmerdale - Wednesday 8 Mar 7pm - The ITV HubI couldn’t help but notice that there appeared to be a change of heart this week from a few characters and displays of self-awareness which felt like an admission of storyline missteps. Take Chrissie, for example, who finally backed down over Ronnie (over the Home Farm family fall out #802) and decided to move out of the big house and stand on her own two feet. Whether she actually follows through with the drastic action is another matter but might we finally be seeing more to her than just Daddy’s spoilt little rich girl? I won’t hold my breath, but at least she admitted it. Then there was Finn whose acknowledgement of his crazy ways and escape to Australia feels like a way for the audience to wipe their memories clean of the disastrous “stalker Finn” plot than actually something he would choose to do. And with another appearance of the fantastically bonkers Lydia, maybe the powers that be at Emmerdale are actually aware of what is and isn’t working on screen – and this can only be a good thing.

Fails

Only Scratching the Surface

Emmerdale - Thursday 9 Mar 8pm - The ITV Hub (2)Ronnie and Lawrence almost broke up this week, then almost got engaged when Ronnie decided he didn’t like who he had become (the Whites have that effect on people) and Lawrence realised he couldn’t live without his silver fox odd-job man. Don’t get me wrong – I love their backstory of pain and pining and I love that Emmerdale is showing an older gay couple, but the handling of Lawrence’s sexuality since getting together with Ronnie has been such a disappointment. Last year when Ronnie returned to his life Lawrence was forced to confront the things he had been running from and him deciding he wanted to be with Ronnie properly it was a satisfying moment. Since then it’s sort of fizzled out. Despite living together and being in love, we’re still no closer to Lawrence dealing with his intimacy issues or even touching on his years of self-denial and self-hatred. Even though those elements are familiar ground (with Aaron and briefly with Robert) – are we meant to believe Lawrence’s journey of acceptance is over? Narratively it feels unsatisfying and half-finished – does Lawrence still have intimacy issues? Is he comfortable with being seen or labelled as a gay man? I can’t help but feel Lawrence and Ronnie’s story would be richer if their present was given the same depth and care as their past.

Off Balance

vlcsnap-2017-03-12-17h31m21s065Phew. Emmerdale has got really heavy and dark lately and it’s not a complaint, rather a concern. I’m all for dark and gritty storylines with an emotional truth at the centre, but right now the balance between this weighty drama and lighter fluff seems slightly off. This week saw: Aaron’s harrowing ordeal and his family’s grief, Pierce’s coercive control of Rhona and menace towards Vanessa, Jai’s drug struggle (as well as Aaron’s) alongside his and Moira’s grief, Jacob’s anxiety all alongside the deeply upsetting and ongoing story of Ashley’s dementia. While all these storylines are worthy issues to be explored and have fantastic performances and scenes – is Emmerdale becoming a bit too heavy and miserable of late? And this is just a glance at one week – we’re not even covering David or Sarah’s cancer to mention two other serious plots. Emmerdale does the lighter storylines – the comedy and the fluffier romance so well, but sometimes sitting down at 7pm does require a stiff drink! Maybe what I’m asking for is more Bob, more Bernice, more Pearl – more of the laughs and the fun. Bring on Gustav and the sexy book and the village choir – we could do with something to smile at.

Fave or Fail? (19-23 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! In the run up to Christmas, Ashley’s special episode proves that Emmerdale’s showing us the very best in soap.

Faves

The Dementia Special

vlcsnap-2016-12-27-17h08m13s047Emmerdale have had an outstanding year and if their award cabinets aren’t waking up the country to the fact that it’s on top form, then hopefully episodes like Ashley’s special will do the job. Emmerdale employed a range of excellent techniques to try and showcase life with dementia for the audience, really helping to portray the struggle and confusion life can take when you can’t see the world as others do. As Ashley tried to get home to his mother, a hipster record shop baffled him, but luckily the shop worker was a good man and gave Ashley some spare clothes and tried to help him. Along the way Ashley met with people he saw (and the audience saw) as strangers, but through clever reflections and subtle signs, they were revealed to be familiar characters, recast. These recast actors had a real challenge on their hands but they fitted seamlessly into the story, managing to inhabit these well-loved characters in their own way. The episode also had nods to Ashley and Laurel’s past, such as her bumblebee pin (the costume she wore when she first arrived in Emmerdale) and Ashley’s desire to stop Laurel leaving for Finland – a storyline that happened in 2004! The episode also featured scenes shot in Esholt, the first time since 1998, and the old Woolpack pub. Not only did Emmerdale go to an incredible effort to tell Ashley’s story in a fresh and creative way, but it was told with real emotional punch and if there is any justice then they will surely pick up awards for this storyline in the new year.

Fighting Fire with Fire

emmerdale-moira-and-cain-kiss-after-an-epic-fight-youtubeMany Emmerdale fans have been missing the winning partnership of Cain and Moira (Coira to the initiated) ever since they split earlier this year, but this week saw them temporarily reunite and the scenes were electric! With Moira on full meltdown mode, even going as far as to sleep with her own nephew(!), she refused many of Cain’s attempts to help, despite him telling her he just can’t stop caring about her. After Moira drove drunk and fessed up to her liaison with Pete in an effort to push Cain away, the pair’s tension exploded, giving us an impressive display of the fiery on-screen chemistry between Jeff Hordley and Natalie J Robb and reminding everyone why they’re so popular. With the destructive and vicious extent of their passion on show, there were harsh words exchanged, slaps thrown, tears and Cain’s violence resurfacing. After their history together and a tumultuous year behind them, it’s no wonder their scenes were so tempestuous but their confrontation really did unleash all the frustration that’s been building. Moira brought out a better side to Cain, but it seems like neither of them are in a good place right now and their happy marriage seems out of reach, but as we saw at Christmas there does appear to be some hope left…

Caught in the Middle

emmerdale-wednesday-21-dec-7pm-the-itv-hub-2You’ve got to feel for Leyla this week. Even though she didn’t help herself when it came to meddling in Tracy and David’s life, it’s clear she’s worried about her makeshift little family. Leyla’s pinned all her hopes on a happier future with handsome and straightforward (or so she thought) Pete, but I bet she didn’t think she’d be contending with Pete’s own Auntie for his affections. YIKES. There was an enjoyable level of awkward irony as we watched oblivious Leyla suggest Pete and Moira “kiss and make up”, but as the week progressed it was easy to feel sorry for her. As the audience reeled from the Pete and Moira sleeping together shocker (which – OMG! – was such a surprising reveal), Leyla remained in the dark, focused on her lovely relationship with Jacob. The two shared some really touching this scenes as he tried to encourage her to share Christmas with their family and she supported them in the hospital. I can’t help but think Leyla needs someone much lovelier than flaky Pete and his cursed family.

Fail

Broken Marriage, Broken Record

emmerdale-wednesday-21-dec-7pm-the-itv-hub-1It’s no secret that Jimmy and Nicola’s marriage is one of my favourite pairings in the Dales. They’re funny, compatible and kinky at times! But lately their on and off fights and make ups seem never ending and we must have had a variation of the same fight about six times in the last six months. With Nicola’s paralysis and the jumble of kids they’ve seemingly collected, you’d think there would be a much better selection of heartfelt drama they could tackle, but instead we get a lot of the same fights with Nicola and Jimmy stuck in cartoon roles of nagging wife and buffoon husband. Sure, I like this dynamic and I like Jimmy hopelessly arriving at her door with an enthusiastic “Nico!” and buying her completely unromantic presents, but I’m tired of their repetitive make ups and break ups. I’d be hopeful for the future after the Christmas Day episode, but with Nicola finding out she’s wearing Pearl’s lost necklace, Jimmy’s been kicked to the curb again.

Come back tomorrow evening for my review of Emmerdale’s Christmas special!

 

Fave or Fail? (12-16 Dec 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! Paddy Kirk is at his comedy best and little Arthur knows how to tug on the heart strings – ouch!

Faves

Loopy Lydia

vlcsnap-2016-12-17-20h01m47s936I can’t remember a plot in Emmerdale which gave me as many big laughs as the Paddy and Lydia storyline this week. We met “bereavement Lydia” (as Eric likes to call her) back when Jimmy got caught up in his lies about Nicola and she was hilarious then, but even better this week. With Lydia arriving at the vet’s with her “depressed” parrot Steve and her terrible chat up lines, she seemed like a great match for the equally awkward flirt, Paddy. But as the date progressed and Lydia’s mothering of Steve, talk of urination and wild-eyed obsessive future planning (scheduled dates until Feb), Paddy started to panic. Not even a private tour of a lawnmower museum could save it and he tried to back out – with hysterical consequences. This is Paddy at his ultimate best and a fantastic use of a guest actress, whose exit and mic drop will be remembered for a good while yet!

Arthur’s Agony

vlcsnap-2016-12-17-19h58m57s555You’d have to have a heart of steel not to be moved by darling little Arthur Thomas this week. Caught in the middle of his hugely family struggle, Arthur is doing his best to just be a happy go lucky little boy. We saw in Super Soap Week how much he adores his dad and how he’s trying his best to look after him, but as Ashley’s condition has worsened it’s beginning to really upset and worry him. This week Doug blew the secret of Ashley hitting Laurel and fearful Arthur panicked that it might happen again. By the end of the week he’d perked up a little, with a helping hand from Marlon and the pirate ship crew, but when Ashley was hospitalised again, we saw more upset piled on his little shoulders. Arthur knows and dreads what’s coming in the aftermath of Ashley’s TIA and it’s obvious the future is going to be seriously heartbreaking. Huge kudos to actor Alfie Clarke for his emotional performances in this tough story.

Moira’s Meltdown

vlcsnap-2016-12-17-20h10m16s342Moira’s grief escalated this week as the loneliness of Christmas caused her to hit the bottle. Despite Emma’s best efforts to support her enemy-turned-best-friend, Moira found her interference too much and pushed her and Pete away. While Gillian Kearney continues her brilliant portrayal of unstable Emma – lurching between a need for Moira’s friendship to ease her guilt to punishing her for rejecting her – it was Natalie J Robb really shining again this week. I loved the simplicity of Moira grieving on the floor, rebuilding the shattered pieces of Holly’s decoration and sobbing as the saccharine Christmas song played behind her. It was fun too to see the harsher and feisty side of her, especially with the drink talking, as she faced off against Cain and the Bartons, but Natalie’s portrayal means you’re always going to empathise with Moira.

Playing Parent

vlcsnap-2016-12-17-20h06m22s224Aaron had a tough week trying to put his foot down with Liv (her fragility beautifully played by Isobel Steele) and despite a rocky start, they managed a break-through, but it was Chas and Aaron’s relationship that was a real highlight for me. After a very difficult year and a long battle of their own parent-child relationship, the connection they have now is strong and touching. With Lucy Pargeter soon to be on maternity leave, losing Aaron and Chas’s relationship is going to feel tough – particularly when we’re given such heartwarming scenes between the two lately, such as her pride of him and her sage advice not to sabotage his own happiness. Lovely scenes!

Fails

Meddling Mess

vlcsnap-2016-12-17-18h11m29s789Leyla was the meddler and the target this week as she began vowing to get rid of Frank and ended up being messed with herself. While I loved the friendship scheming and backtracking between Leyla and Vanessa, Tracy and Carly’s mean tricking meant Pete and Leyla’s new relationship was derailed by embarrassing miscommunication. While it was great to see Leyla so involved in the week’s drama, the farce with Pete fell a bit flat, despite some funny dialogue. There was something silly and out of character to see Pete acting so OTT and dopey and it really jarred when you compared it to his dramatic material at the start of the week (grieving son he was not!). Tracy’s frustrations at the living arrangements are understandable but it all felt quite mean spirited in the end.

On the Rob

vlcsnap-2016-12-17-20h02m29s172I enjoy the sight of Aaron Dingle committing crimes just as much as his fiancé seems to, but this week’s events were tarnished by clunky plot devices. With Liv needing stability, Aaron and Robert had already decided to find the three of them a permanent home – one problem, their best option (burnt out and rotting Mill) was out of their price range. Well, apparently. Conveniently. Last we knew Robert was sitting on a tidy sum courtesy of his divorce settlement and father in law.  Yet this money has disappeared with no explanation, forcing Aaron to battle with his beliefs and decide whether to use his abusive father’s money. Another plot convenience meant loaded Rebecca White talking VERY LOUDLY about her money in front of Aaron and having a cosy drink with him and Robert – so Aaron was able to hear this and want revenge for her bad taste joke – when it’s very hard to believe after her schemes to split them up, they’d ever be pally. In what was, effectively, a plot to get Aaron to come to terms with using Gordon’s money and establish a better relationship between Aaron and Rebecca (while still showing Aaron’s insecurities), I can’t help but wish there had been a more believable way to show this. Would Aaron really be as clumsy in crime when he has so much to lose these days?