5 Longterm Ways to Fix Robron

Last week Emmerdale super couple Aaron and Robert split up, with Aaron unable to cope with the pressures of his marriage, in light of Rebecca’s pregnancy. It seems only five minutes ago their engagement sealed off a perfect movie-style romance in Super Soap Week and their wedding was an unconventional TV treat. Now their marriage is broken, fans are fed up and it seems like everyone’s tired of their endless angsty storylines. What went wrong?

Aside from the Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley magic, here’s just a few ways I think Emmerdale can attempt to fix one of their most popular couples and make viewers start caring again.


Back to Basics

It’s never been smooth sailing for Robron and their relationship was always unconventional, but it seems like The Powers That Be have really lost sight of what made the pair so popular. Part of the pleasure in watching a soap is seeing characters and relationships develop. With Robron it was the interest in watching someone as angst ridden as Aaron fall for someone with their own troubles, like Robert, hoping that one day they’d make a go of it. As the story progressed fans didn’t just like watching their two personalities clash and challenge each other, they liked their passion for each other and the fleeting shot at happiness. That they understood each other and supported each other. But lately there’s been a real drought in hope and happiness and we rarely get to see them enjoy each other’s company. Aaron’s history of tragedy made fans long for his happiness and despite Robert’s bad boy instability, he gave him that. It was never going to be easy; part of the enjoyment was watching them work for that. We fell in love with their sexy and tumultuous romance, but their bond and happiness at being together has taken a real knock in the quest to give them more obstacles.


Give The Misery a Rest!

Arguments, angst, fighting and tears. It’s been the story since day one, but after Aaron’s horrible abuse trial ordeal I think everyone hoped it was about time for a break from the misery. Danny Miller’s tears are award-winning but there comes a point where the heartache reaches saturation point and people are desensitised by Aaron’s latest pain. Soaps don’t really do happiness, unless you’re a comedy couple, but everyone needs light and shade. Even Robron’s wedding was doused in sadness knowing Aaron was heading to prison a day later. Emmerdale couldn’t even give him a day! So this one’s a pretty simple fix really – give them some happier times! We’ve had the same old arguments for well over six months now and it’s time Emmerdale figured out how to find a better balance. We know they’re meant to be, but we’ve stopped seeing that side of them – unless we’re due a four episode argument and another break up, of course!


Explore New Ground

Their Super Soap Week special showed us that Aaron and Robert are a lot more than angst machines – they’ve got a great comedic partnership too. Not only would a bit of humour give the actors something fun to do, it would be the “light” we’re crying out for. It doesn’t always have to be violence, cheating, drugs and death, you know! But not only that, Aaron and Robert have slipped into a pattern, and a bad habit of behaviours that form many of their stories. It goes something like this: Robert does something bad or something Aaron doesn’t like (intentionally or not), Aaron gets angry and upset, they argue and Robert begs for forgiveness. Sound familiar? How about something different to watch, eh? Test the characters in different ways, explore sides to the lads and their relationship we haven’t seen before. Both of them are complex – there’s a lot to delve into rather than the same old ground.


Break The Bubble

This is a problem shared by many of the characters in Emmerdale, but one – if fixed – could lift Aaron and Robert out of their rut. Often characters stay in their “bubble” – take David and Tracey, for example, who often seem superglued to the shop, but the last few months, with most of their drama revolving around their marriage and personal issues Aaron and Robert have only interacted with a select few characters. Friendship and family should be the central factor in Emmerdale, but with Chas and Liv gone, Paddy busy, Aaron’s a bit of a forgotten Dingle and the Sugdens are even more fractured – Robron seem stuck in the same conversations with the same few characters. Again and again. So this rescue remedy is all about variety. Some of their more surprising interactions (Aaron’s awkward friendship with Finn, Robert allying with Bernice) have been a welcome change from the angst, but we could really do with more integration into village life and less rehashing of the same issues without resolution.


The Rebecca Problem

Since her arrival last October, when she tried to tempt Robert back to bed, Rebecca White’s sole purpose in Emmerdale seems to be just to trigger repetitive and tiresome problems between Aaron and Robert. And let’s face it, it hasn’t exactly made her popular with fans of Emmerdale’s super couple. But if you thought we might one day see the end of their age-old arguments about Aaron’s insecurities and Robert’s cheating past, Rebecca’s pregnancy doesn’t offer much hope of that! So does this mean we’re destined to watch a future of her being the third wheel, rolled out whenever they need a bit of drama (read: argument they’ve had a hundred times before)? Well let’s hope not, eh? Because then we’ll never get the above fixes. There are a number of ways this story could go – but one thing’s for sure, Rebecca’s continued presence as a convenient thorn in their side isn’t doing any character favours and I’m longing for change, however that may be.

Fave or Fail? (6-10 March 2017)


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.


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.


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? (20-24 Feb 2017)


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 hugely emotional and fantastic week in Emmerdale as Aaron and Robert married and were tragically torn apart just a day later.


The Wedding of the Year

21022017-208You can read exactly why I loved the Robron wedding here, but how could anything else top the week? The episodes were filled with love, warmth, humour, emotion and were a worthy celebration of one of the biggest and most-talked about romances to hit the Dales. For two characters with such a turbulent past, they were never going to have a typical wedding but the payoff was completely worth it to see them at their peak of love and happiness – even if it did only last a day! It was special, romantic and intimate and really got to the heart of both men and the reasons why their love story is so cherished by fans and their relationship is so successful. Here’s hoping Emmerdale keep them together for as long as possible – and that when Aaron gets out of prison they can sign on the dotted line and make this Mr Dingle and Mr Sugden thing properly official.

Prison Blues

vlcsnap-2017-02-26-15h19m03s835While I’m always going to advocate giving Aaron Dingle some happier times in his life, it’s easy to see why the writers put Aaron through hell so frequently when it makes such good TV! Just a day after getting married, Aaron and Robert were cruelly torn apart and Aaron was sentenced to 12 months inside. To go from the romantic joy of the wedding to the agonising scene of their goodbye was pure torture but so superbly acted by Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley that you could almost forget you weren’t living through this tragic separation too. (Who’d think we’d ever be crying over a bottle of shower gel and an exchange of names? Not me!) Once inside Aaron faced the difficult decision to hide his sexuality in scenes which were particularly painful to watch knowing how far Aaron had come in his own life in terms of acceptance. The prison scenes are already an uncomfortable and claustrophobic viewing experience so I can only imagine how much worse it will get, and when paired with Robert and Liv’s misery – it’s really hard hitting on the emotions.

The Thomas Family

emmerdale-thursday-23-feb-8pm-the-itv-hub-1It feels like I write about how good the Thomas family are every week, but I just can’t help it. With Ashley now living in a care home (and what heart-wrenching scenes those were at the end of the week), the Thomas family are adjusting to live without Ashley at home. This week it was hard for Laurel coping on the anniversary of Daniel’s death and the realisation that Ashley wouldn’t remember. After confiding in carer Will there was an awkward mix-up for Laurel as she panicked he was interested in her after the mysterious Valentine’s Day flowers too. Once again it was the adorable Arthur who was behind the sweet surprise and I didn’t think I could find him any cuter until his confession to Sandy and their mission (on Sandy’s scooter) to get to the pub on time. Sandy too has a wicked sense of humour meaning the Thomas family are just so watchable at the moment.

New Blood

vlcsnap-2017-02-26-15h26m39s547Faith hasn’t entered Emmerdale quietly – she’s big, bold and abrasive and probably not to everyone’s cup of tea – but being thrown in at the deep end has had its advantages. Even though she’s already gone off screen to take Sarah to Prague for her treatment she’s made a lasting impression already. It’s really helped that Faith has made herself notorious – interacting with a huge range of characters and flirting with every man in her radius – rather than sticking to a small bubble of characters. She already feels fully integrated and we already have a good sense as to who she is. It’s been a while since we’ve had a character as brash as her, perfectly able to get stuck into the drama and be believable as an awful mother to Cain and Chas, while still being entertaining with some great one liners.

Shock Discovery

vlcsnap-2017-02-26-15h27m27s143Right in the middle of Tracy’s hilarious porn writing plot (loving that Pearl-inspired beret btw, Trace), and David’s amusing jealousy of the fictional Gustav, came an unexpected plot twist. David found a lump in his testicles – and quickly the smiles faded as they realised his cancer might have returned. It was a real shock emerging from this frothy comedy plot and one which took me by surprise. Not only did this bring another quiet and nuanced performance from Matthew Wolfenden as David tried to keep calm, but as Jacob suffered with what seems to be some sort of anxiety, it left me looking forward to seeing more of Joe-Warren Plant as hopefully his storyline progresses to new territory.


Dragging Her Down

emmerdale-thursday-23-feb-8pm-the-itv-hubPerhaps my biggest shock this week was that I was in agreement with Jai Sharma as he quite rightly assessed that Rakesh just drags Priya down. Couldn’t have put it better. Priya can be fun, feisty and is a smart and gorgeous woman so what the hell is she doing still wasting her time with a lowlife like Rakesh. Really though, what does she see in him? Secret liaisons and office desk hook-ups are soap bread and butter and illicit flings are one of my favourite things to watch, but even when they’re trying to be sexy like this week, they just don’t really cut it. To make matters worse, it’s frustrating that Priya has forgiven him so easily for the events of the summer. Why reunite them when their relationship does Priya no favours (and yes, I’ve given up all hope on Rakesh ever being engaging). Priya deserves better and so do we. Or at least a decent storyline (and partner) for her.

9 Reasons The Robron Wedding Was One Of The Best Soap Weddings Ever

In one of the most hotly anticipated soap weddings ever, Aaron Dingle and Robert Sugden finally tied the knot and in true unconventional Robron style. Despite their first ceremony being interrupted by the police, their special day was a romantic success – even with Aaron’s sentencing looming – so here’s a look at just some of the reasons why the Robron wedding was a treat.

References to the past


Having been at the love game for well over two years, Robert and Aaron have a colourful history and the wedding episodes had some great references to their memorable past. Not only were these fun references to spot (and if you’re a hardcore shipper you’d be hard pressed not to get a kick out of lines such as “dirty little grease monkey”), but for two characters who’ve been on this rocky journey for a long time it felt fitting to have call backs to their significant moments – such as their familiarity with kidnapping and car boots! It was never going to be a conventional wedding for Robron so the garage setting, marking one particular milestone of their passionate affair, seemed so very right for them.

Fitting for the characters


One of the most successful aspects to the Robron wedding was its unexpected and unconventional moments. It’s taken Aaron and Robert a long time to vocalise their feelings for each other, so having them perform their own marriage ceremony alone was a heartfelt and intimate moment one that could never be bettered by a formal or traditional ceremony. Ultimately the legality of it seemed meaningless because the commitment and sincerity of their vows shone through – even in the dimly lit garage setting! There’s never been a soap wedding in a car garage before but there’s no question that Robron managed to pull it off in their own special way. Their beautifully written vows highlighted the couple’s complicated issues and troubled past and there’s no question that this wedding was perfectly in keeping with their characters.

Satisfying romance


Now that he’s stopped trying to cover his tracks in deadly plots, Robert Sugden has firmly established himself as a swoonworthy romantic hero. No complaints here. But what’s been a lovely and surprising development is Aaron’s growth as an out and happy (ish – well, it is Aaron) gay man. With his history of self-hate it was hard to imagine him ever being comfortable in a relationship, but with Robert, Aaron has found true contentment and the wedding was a heartwarming showcase of this growth. Not only did we see some serious heart-eyes and giddiness from him, we even saw him kiss, flirt and DANCE in public. When you grow up with soap characters it’s always satisfying to watch them come full circle, particularly with someone like Aaron whose had such a tragic life.

The emotion


Like other great soap weddings, the Robron wedding wasn’t without its own drama but the main focus of the event and the episodes was the men’s love for each other and quite rightly, was just about the two of them. That being said, it wouldn’t be the Aaron and Robert we know and love without a twinge of tragedy. The final scene of the episode saw Aaron open up and find comfort in his new husband’s arms, both heartbroken that their happiness was soon to be taken from them. That poignant moment was bittersweet and made their earlier happiness even more significant. And what’s a wedding without a good cry, eh?

The performances


I couldn’t write a list about the best bits of the Robron wedding without mentioning actors Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley. We’ve seen Aaron and Robert deal with a whole spectrum of emotions and feelings towards each other from love to hate and everything in between but their chemistry skyrocketed this week as Aaron and Robert fully committed to each other. We’ve known for years that they nailed the passion of the affair and fraught moments of high drama but in the quiet intimacy of the wedding we saw the actors at their very best.

The Dingle décor


It was a given that any wedding involving the Dingle family was going to cause chaos and even with Robert showing a touch of the Groomzilla, no one really listened to his request to keep the decorations looking simple. It wasn’t long before the Woolie looked like every season and holiday had vomited all over the bar and Robron were forced to walk up the aisle with snowmen, doves and grim reapers watching. And yet, while looking ridiculous and fun, the outrageousness kinda worked! It was great too having the little character touches – like Sam misunderstanding the request to bring empty jars and bringing full, pickle jars instead.

The mishaps


With every great soap wedding comes disaster and for Robron, first of all it was the struggle of keeping Aaron away from the secret wedding. Initially it was Paddy, the naysayer who definitely did not want his surrogate son marrying “Mr Shifty”, but after a slight change of heart it was him and Adam (the self-titled “wedding champions”) who let Aaron loose. Oops. Cain happily stepped up to the plate and readily locked Aaron in the boot of his car. As Cain does best. But even with all that out the way, it was Granny Faith who caused the biggest issue when the police rocked up, leaving the ceremony in tatters after the brilliantly camp and soapy moment when she was accused of murder.

The gathering of family


If you’re a regular reader of this blog you’ll know I love when events get the villagers gathered together or plots interlock and crossover. Well what’s better than a wedding for that? Not only did we have the Dingles and what’s left of the Sugdens (come back Andy!) and co together in one room, meaning a mish-mash of personalities and storylines, we also had the other plot lines running alongside the wedding, like Sarah’s illness, Kyle’s custody and Chas and Paddy’s ill-fated attempts at romance. It was great fun to see all those big characters in one room and in fun celebration scenes.

The laughs


Despite tears being shed, there were plenty of laughs to be had at the wedding too. From Cain’s kidnapping, Faith’s theatrics, to the guests’ dance moves – there was a lot of fun to be had. Perhaps the best part of all had to be the Dingles ambushing poor Robert with their infamous welly of ale. As soon as the marriage was announced Zak stepped up with the boot to make Robert a proper part of the family, with the chants forcing him to drink from the welly. No crazy Emmerdale wedding would feel the same without some sort of weird tradition – only the Dingles could get away with it!

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


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


 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!


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.

The Emmerdale Christmas Gift Guide


It’s that time of year again and you know what that means in soapland. Tears, shocks at the dinner table and all the Christmassy tropes you can think of. But what we rarely see in soapland is what the rest of us experience every year, that cold sweat and panic, the chaos and mayhem, the bank-breaking last minute splurge – Christmas gift buying!

So here’s a fun, tongue-in-cheek little gift guide for a few Emmerdale villagers and a few of the best fan suggestions about what they’d buy the characters for Xmas!


Chrissie and Rebecca

It’s hard work being the resident ice queen in the village and Chrissie’s gonna need something glamorous to swan around in this winter, so this feather cape ticks all the right boxes. She could also do with a new vase to replace the one that got smashed in the whole framing-Andy-saga and I reckon this teardrop copper vaseteardrop copper vase would look perfect in Home Farm. As for the book? The Parenting For Dummies guide might be a little bit too late, but thanks to the reader who suggested that gift!

Boho traveller Rebecca might be sticking around in the village for now, but in case she gets the wanderlust again, this Lonely Planet Travelist guide would be the perfect gift. Life as a daddy’s girl doesn’t come easy when you’ve got all that cash to keep safe, so how about this cute embroidered purse? And she might have just got the message about a certain ex but just in case, soppy rom-com He’s Just Not That Into You might serve as a reminder that there’s more to life than pining over a guy.


Liv, Aaron and Robert

Living with her food-loving family, Liv will be very familiar with the hangover classic, a Full English Breakfast and these cool pencils would be a fun gift, even better because she can use them to sketch everything and anything in the book 642 Things to Draw. To cope with the Yorkshire cold, the d*cks at school and the patriarchy, this cutting slogan bobble hat is a great gift.

There’s one thing on Aaron Dingle’s mind at the moment and that’s moving to the Mill with his fiance and little sis and that’s only going to mean trouble, so the essential gift for Aaron right now is this pocket survival guide. Being that he’s pretty settled and happy living in the pub, he might just miss it a bit but these alcohol scented toiletries will take him right back there. Nice! As for the straight-to-the-point bathmat, I think it’s pretty clear who’d be buying him that.

The biggest Christmas wish for Robert from readers of this blog (apart from a real divide over whether his shirts are awful or awesome) was for friends, so how about the classic self-help book How to Win Friends and Influence People? It sounds perfect for him. Divisive issues aside, it just wouldn’t be right not to give Robert an (ugly) patterned shirt for the festive season and finally, an apt little notebook for all his terrible plans.


Gabby Thomas and Emma Barton

I’m still recovering from the shock revelation that Gabby isn’t actually a vegan after all but on the off chance she fancies trying it for real, this tasty looking recipe book honestly makes going vegan look good. I think we can all remember eyebrow!gate earlier in the year, but now that Gabby’s put down the marker pen she could have a go with a proper kit to give her an enhanced natural look. On a sadder note, this memory box would be a great gift for the Thomas family who will need to treasure all their happiest family memories as Ashley’s illness worsens.

Emma’s recent attempts to gain forgiveness and form a friendship with enemy-turned-BFF Moira gives meaning to this Sisters Before Misters mug – I love it! This sweet pair of angel wings wouldn’t look amiss on Emma, with her innocent smile hiding the truth of James’ death, and would certainly fit with her attempts to embrace a more Christian outlook! But, the perfect gift for terrible cook Emma Barton is a recipe book, but not just any cookbook, a book full of chicken recipes called A Bird in the Hand. Essential.

The Best of the Rest: Gift Suggestions from Readers of this Blog

  • Lachlan: Rat poison
  • Zak: glasses “to see what’s right in front of him”
  • Rodney: a gift voucher for Hotten’s finest hairdresser “on condition that ponytail doesn’t make it out of there alive”
  • Aaron: a new car, considering his last one ended up at the bottom of the lake!
  • Paddy & Marlon: matching Star Trek mugs (aww)
  • Chas: a better business partner (ouch!)
  • Bob & Brenda: tickets to the Woolpack, just to see them out of the cafe
  • Moira: a low-cut blouse!
  • Pearl: a Cucumber/Banana DVD boxset (well, we know she loves “the gays”)

Fave or Fail? (12-16 Dec 2016)


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!


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!


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?

Fave or Fail? (14-18 Nov 2016)


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 weird week full of OTT and out of character behaviour, believe me, the highlights are thin on the ground – don’t even bother catching up!


Liv and Let Liv

emmerdale-18th-november-2016-video-dailymotion-2It seems like Emmerdale have finally got the balance right when it comes to Liv. Once it seemed like her tearaway troublemaking was only used to stir up trouble between Aaron and Robert and enable Gabby’s bad behaviour, but at last it finally feels like she has found her place in the village. Isobel Steele has been superb from day one and her likeness to onscreen brother Aaron is uncanny so it feels right that she has formed a close bond to Paddy and is trying to help him through his love woes. We’ve seen Liv get more involved in the lives of the Dingles (especially her almost mother/daughter relationship with Chas) and I love that she’s become the “go-to” girl for technology and advice for some of the villagers but still retains that snarky, sulky attitude that makes her Liv without some of the earlier brattishness that she was introduced with. I’m really looking forward to seeing Liv get a big storyline in the future!

We Need to Talk About Lachlan

684-aaron-amp-robert-16th-november-2016-part-2-of-2-youtubeDespite the continued dominance of the White family shooting saga (will it never end?!) I am still pretty interested in Chrissie and Lachlan’s dynamic. I can’t really work out if Chrissie is genuinely scared of him (she, like Lachlan can act her way out of any crisis), but the idea that she is, particularly when he seems worryingly cold and disturbed (and willing to use this to his advantage when it suits) makes for a fascinating mother and son relationship. I can’t help but feel the dynamic would be even more engaging if Chrissie was fully aware of and enabling of his disturbing behaviour in her protection, rather than believing him to be a precious victim. However, the same sticking points with the Whites that I mentioned last week (villains or victims? Remorseful or remorseless?) mean that I struggle to ever fully engage in their plots but there was something still interesting about Lachlan’s sociopathic lying and delusions that Chrissie could easily fix this for him. Thomas Atkinson’s performances under questioning and in his cell were particularly good. Ultimately though, I can’t help but feel Emmerdale are tying themselves in knots to keep the Whites in the show, when Lachlan’s sexual assault charge should have been the end of his character and this, combined with muddled motivations makes it near impossible to empathise with this family.

Other stray moments I liked:

  • DS Mudd! All Emmerdale coppers and detectives seem snarky and fun. I like him
  • Priya’s passionate defense of Kerry and ending the contract with gross sleaze George
  • The continuing tension between Pierce/Paddy/Rhona
  • Gabby’s been a fake vegan all along!
  • There’s a glimmer of promise with Frank’s dark past
  • Bob and Brenda injecting a bit of normalcy into a weird week


Kissed Off

682-aaron-amp-robert-15th-november-2016-part-2-of-2-youtubeRegular readers to this blog will already know my deep and unapologetic love for Robert Sugden and my unashamed passion for all things Robron and yet this week I was left feeling completely confused and bewildered by the bizarre twist in the #AvengeAndy plotline. After the glorious Super Soap Week, Robert’s motivations and point of view couldn’t be clearer, or so I thought. For one of the first times since Robert’s reintroduction in 2014 we finally got a peek into that messy head of his. He confirmed himself as bi, that he was fully committed to Aaron (apologies to all those girls and boys holding a candle for him) and that no one else came close. We also knew that he was hell bent on getting justice for his wronged brother Andy – okay, all good so far. Until now we’d watched him play Rebecca against her family and firmly reject her advantages so it jarred completely to see him get cosy with her and share a kiss, seemingly with his new priority to be steal back Home Farm. Huh, what?! Since when? Watching Robert this week felt like an imposter and certainly not the devoted man we’d seen most of 2016 and it didn’t make any real sense following on so close to his promises to insecure Aaron during their engagement. Not only did it leave a sour taste, rewriting Chrissie and Robert’s history and tainting Robert’s character development, but the fact it’s had no follow up since makes the whole thing even more bewildering. And memo to Emmerdale: can we give it a f*cking rest with these kissing/cheating plots? Is no couple safe?!

Compo Kerry

emmerdale-kerry-breaks-into-and-ransacks-the-factory-youtubeI’ve had a love/hate relationship with Kerry for a good while but this week’s plot might just be the final straw. Since her meltdown last week and inappropriate behaviour at work, things got worse when she decided to break into the factory at night. Farcical doesn’t even cover it. If this was Emmerdale’s attempt at comedy capers it failed, making Kerry’s fake injuries and embarrassing excuses just horrible to watch. At times I was even siding with Jai, JAI!!! The other week, when Kerry’s self-pity had a semblance of reality, I empathised. Now, her bad attitude and unprofessional behaviour makes me question why she wasn’t just fired last week. She’s not sympathetic and she’s not funny right now either. If this is all an attempt to make her reach breaking point and have an epiphany, then it might be too late – is there anything likeable about Kerry left?

Other Fails this week:

  • I know Bernice is lonely but for the love of GOD don’t let her fall for Jimmy. Please, I beg of you
  • The Chrissie and Diane scenes would have been a whole lot better without Diane’s ridiculous gun grabbing. OOC cringe! Is it really believable that Diane would actually sympathise with her when her vicious lies have left Andy on the run? I don’t buy it
  • Lawrence joking about attractive men seemed jarringly out of character considering his sexuality struggles
  • Once again Emmerdale diabetes confusion strikes again!



Fave or Fail? (31 Oct -4 Nov 2016)


Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! It was James’s funeral (again) this week and we saw Emma get cruel in a bid to cover her crimes, but there were a lot of good deeds done this week too.



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

Unsung Heroes

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

Reopening Old Wounds

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


Sharp Tongues

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

Dead Weight

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