Fave or Fail? (31 July-4 August 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! 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)

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! 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 (26-30 June 2017)

sceneoftheweek

s64

We were deprived of our full quota of Emmerdale episodes this week (boo football) but that didn’t mean we were short of stellar scenes and this is just one of them. After Rhona revealed to the whole pub that Pierce had raped her she was at a real low point, feeling like she needed to start afresh in a place that didn’t know her. Thankfully for her, village matriarch Lisa was a great comfort to her, especially as a fellow rape survivor. The women had a number of scenes together in Tuesday’s episode but I wanted to make these lake side scenes as my Scene of the Week choice for several reasons. These scenes tackled Rhona’s insecurities and with Lisa’s support she was able to express openly how she had felt immediately after the attack. Lisa was there as a figure of hope and reason for her, wisely telling her that their relationship status didn’t excuse Pierce’s actions. Rhona too was able to highlight her fears about the reality of the jury’s judgement on her private life and it was a stark reminder of the scrutiny other rape survivors face in court. Shot in the beautiful and luscious green outdoors these were wonderful scenes tackling sensitive issues in a delicate and honest way. Great job, Emmerdale.

Fave or Fail? (13-17 Feb 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! A great week for the women of the village and the literary world as Tracy and Pearl’s book took the village by storm!

Faves

Filthy and Funny

vlcsnap-2017-02-18-18h02m40s246By far my favourite story of the week was the Pearl and Tracy write a porno plot. It has all the right ingredients – funny dialogue, a new and golden partnership, a community feel and complete warmth. With Pearl deciding Tracy wasn’t so good on the plotting parts of her book, she offered her services – with Brenda getting carried away too – and Gustav’s Appetite was born. Is there anything better than Pearl sneakily writing at work (amazing password by the way: hong kong ding dong) and Tracy needing to write in an extra small font to keep David from prying? Once the other women of the village got a taste for Gustav they were enthralled and the fun spirit of the book club returned. It had characters mixing that don’t normally, Tracy wearing sexy writer specs, positive sex discussion and encouragement of Tracy and a good dose of David being mocked and jealous of a fictional character. This was Emmerdale gold.

Asking for Forgiveness

emmerdale-thursday-16-feb-8pm-the-itv-hub-2Continuing to be one of the most fascinating and complex villains in Emmerdale is Emma Barton. She admits herself that she does crazy things for love and for reasons she thinks are right but her justification and extreme actions are just part of what makes her so interesting. She doesn’t seem to have bad intentions and her remorse and guilt are the things keeping her so edgy and obsessive. Perhaps it’s her softer, anguished moments amongst the madness that makes her so interesting and her focus on wanting forgiveness and not knowing how to get it is a fascinating element to the story. We saw her go to church again this week and ask for a more active role in the community, needing to give something back, and this quest can only make for more complex developments and more chance for Gillian Kearney to shine.

You’ve Got a Friend

vlcsnap-2017-02-18-20h39m32s363One of my favourite women in The Dales, Vanessa Woodfield, showcased exactly why you’d want her as a friend this week. With Rhona on edge and feeling guilty about Pierce’s erratic behaviour, Ness was quick to remind her that it’s the men in Rhona’s life that have screwed up and she’s not to blame. Like every good friend, she advised Rhona to take time off and not to give Pierce the satisfaction of feeling the guilt. Vanessa already seems to be slightly suss of Pierce’s motivations and changeable behaviour, but this hasn’t stopped her trying to support Rhona and be positive even with her reservations. It’s a difficult situation for any friend with concerns, but I think anyone would be grateful to have a friend like Vanessa.

Fails

Too Far Gone?

53-finn-amp-kasim-13th-february-2017-youtubeFinn Barton’s crazed stalker plot took it up a notch this week. Not content with following Kasim around like a puppy and stalking his social media, he loitered on his road with lame excuses about getting his stuff back. And then things went even further when he hid in the bushes and then broke into his room and trashed it, even spraying grafitti on the wall saying “Yestergay”. Yep, that’s right, Yestergay. Of course, after an attack of his conscious he went back with Tracy and tidied up – and even she thought he’d gone too far. Now, while later in the week he cracked and revealed his shock and upset about what he’d become (see my Scene of the Week) I can’t help wondering if the plot pushed Finn way too far because sympathies are shakey. How could we possibly be on Finn’s side, even knowing his grief? It all seemed a bit too much, even with his mother’s genes. Here’s hoping Finn can get back on track but will he recover from this plot misfire?

Human Disaster

emmerdale-thursday-16-feb-8pm-the-itv-hub-3Give yourself a pat on the back, Zak. Once again you’ve found yourself at the bottom of the Fails list. Instead of being a rock for Lisa, sticking up for her under Faith’s barbed jibes, he says nothing, exposing himself time and time again as a weak willed coward. To make things worse this week, besides embarrassing Lisa, he failed to remember social services were coming and then managed to fuck up their visit by announcing selfishly that didn’t feel they were the right guardians for Kyle. Zero consideration for Lisa or the family, nope, Zak Dingle does what Zak Dingle wants. And by the time he figured he might as well look after Kyle, to win Lisa round again, he realised the final decision is now out of their hands. What a walking disaster. Seems like he only backtracked to win over Lisa again so really everything is once again all me me me. Ugh, be gone with you, Zak!

Fave or Fail? (30 Jan-3 Feb 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! 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.

Fave or Fail? (9-13 Jan 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! It was a great week for the ladies of The Dales, with Bob’s appearance in Hunk Night being unmissable!

Faves

Hunk Night

vlcsnap-2017-01-14-21h57m02s833Hunk Night meant lots of great things in Friday’s episode (and no I’m not talking about the tacky and oily “hunks”). Firstly it gathered a big collection of the brilliant Emmerdale ladies looking glam and having a great time and who doesn’t love an excuse to see lots of characters on screen together having fun? It also created great little character moments like Ronnie ignoring Lisa’s important chat for a sneaky ogle and Zak backing out quickly in typical uncomfortable straight man fashion. It meant Bob got to shine (more on that below) and if was fun and loud – all the things we need on a Friday. It’s other purpose, dark and full of dread, was building the tension for Rhona’s story as Pierce grew more controlling. The tension was built and the juxtaposition between the party and Pierce’s mood made the after-party scenes difficult viewing

Party Bob

vlcsnap-2017-01-14-21h55m17s486I’m going to say it now to sort the wheat from the chaff – if you don’t love Bob Hope then we can’t be friends. For too long we’ve seen Bob stuck in the café like he was chained to his percolator, never to breathe fresh air again but the last few weeks he’s actually been around more and even being life and soul of the pub. On Monday we saw him serving behind the bar and dancing with the dream team of Charity and Chas (who were amazing this week too) but on Friday was where he really shined. We might be used to Bob giving friendly advice when he serves the lattes – and he was lovely with Rhona this week – but we learnt on Friday that Bob is definitely not shy and LOVES a bit of Hunk Night. You had to feel for poor mortified Carly but I loved Bob getting into the spirit of things and stripping to his boxers for a dance and happily talking about his stripper past with Chas. More of Bob getting his groove on and enjoying the party please! In fact, get him back in the pub working or otherwise!

Top Boss

vlcsnap-2017-01-14-21h57m23s455After Nicola’s accident at the Mill in the summer, her confidence took a real knock and after ups and downs with Jimmy we’ve seen her mojo take a kicking as she struggled to cope with the day-to-day activities at home. But this week we saw a positive change as Nicola regained her independence and her enthusiasm for work when she saw the state of the office Home James was operating out of and wanted to give it an overhaul. Is it any surprise when it’s home to four grubby blokes? Not only did this mean some fun comedy involving Jimmy and Robert, but it also meant Nicola is back to her organised and authoritative best. How long is that scrapyard going to look that neat and tidy though, really?

Great Performances

emmerdale-the-night-before-lachlans-trial-youtubeI’ve written before about my many issues with Lachlan White and Emmerdale’s missteps but despite this, Thomas Atkinson continues to deliver solid performances. Lachlan’s twisted to say the least and it’s in those scenes – when he’s trying to blag himself the family spoils, getting beaten up on purpose and showcasing his cruel plans to his mother – that his villainy is really watchable. Emmerdale’s characterisation is confused with it comes to the Whites but I can’t help but feel Lachlan on full-throttle bad – since they never made him remorseful – is the way forward, because with his history, eliciting sympathy cannot work. If Emmerdale went full on Joffrey Baratheon, then Thomas would ace it.

Fail

Courtroom Anti-climax

vlcsnap-2017-01-14-22h11m22s781This week was White drama heavy, centring on Lachlan’s court case over the shooting of Lawrence. It only happened in the summer, even though it feels about four years ago now due to the amount of time this story has dragged on, but with the court case done and dusted in a day the conclusion was finally approaching. It’s hard to sympathise with any member of the White family, often because when they’re not committing crimes (without punishment or much remorse) they’re not embracing their bad deeds but feeling sorry for themselves, in their privileged money pit. Boo and hoo. This trial was even more muddled than usual. Lachlan wasn’t guilty of attempted murder, but he did shoot Lawrence and the whole family conspired to frame Andy and they’ve all be remorseless about it. He might not be a gun-toting attempted murderer but he’s not an innocent young boy either, so hearing his family talk about him like that is bizarre. Therapy is what he needs, not enabling. All in all the drama surrounding Lachlan’s confession and verdict didn’t really seem to offer any sense of justice. The unfortunate problem with this long-running plot was that there’s a real lack of tension when you know Andy’s name being cleared is meaningless (actor Kelvin Fletcher has left seemingly for good) and the Whites won’t really be punished and will continue hovering between camp villains and victims. There seems like there’s a lot more potential there – particularly when it comes to a wealthy family protecting their psychopathic son against all odds, fully aware of and making no excuses for his behaviour – without trying to squeeze out sympathy for them.

Fave or Fail? (2-6 Jan 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! 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)

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 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)

top.png

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!

top2020.png

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.

top2016.png

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.

top2005.png

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.

top2007.png

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.

top2023.png

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.

s19

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.

top2018.png

 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!

top2026.png

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.

top2022.png

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.

top2009.png

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!

x1

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.

x2

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.

x3

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!

x4

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.

x5

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.

x6

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.