Fave or Fail? (31 Dec 2018-4 Jan 2019)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! New year but not so happy, as Matty faced a horrific attack and Dawn overdosed.

Faves

Matty’s New Year Hell

vlcsnap-2019-01-06-14h01m34s182Showing Matty facing a transphobic attack, and his emotional and physical struggles in the fall-out, was original ground for Emmerdale this week, but a story worth telling. I love stories that dig deep into a character and this story did just that. Alongside Matty’s resilience, he leant on his support network and aired his pain in a series of emotive conversations. Enjoyable stories also use supportive characters in interesting ways and Cain was a welcome, refreshing presence in Matty’s life. It was also a smart move to link Matty’s desire for revenge with Cain’s PTSD over Joe’s death and use this as a bridge between stories. We’re used to seeing Matty as a happy, well-liked guy in the village so the attack really resonated and the fear in Ash Palmisciano’s performance was chill-inducing – hopefully an eye-opener for viewers ignorant to transphobia.

Tender Loving Care

vlcsnap-2019-01-06-13h56m01s854Without question Bernice and Liam’s relationship is one of my Emmerdale favourites and this week was a perfect example as to why. After Bernice’s age obsession and amusing health kick (in which poor Liam faced a future of quinoa), she took things too far and got Kerry to inject her face. After hospitalisation her relationship with Liam was fragile after her stupid mistake but after a brief wobble he called her beautiful and perfect, wishing she would realise he loves her as she is. As the pair realised he’d said those three special words they shared a kiss. I’m a sucker for their sweet and funny romance and unlike other Dales couples, their love has blossomed into something that feels right for both characters. There’s enough personality and comedy in this partnership for it to last and last, and I would love to see them make a go of this troublesome big happy family!

Hospital Heart-to-Hearts

vlcsnap-2019-01-06-13h59m35s261I loved seeing Bernice’s family rally round her this week in the wake of her horrible allergic reaction. Not only did this give Samantha Giles something serious to get her teeth into, but I enjoyed all the conflicting personalities in the big family scenes. One of the week’s most surprising and touching moments was Nicola and Leanna bonding, as Nicola opened up to the meddling teen, in an effort to stop Leanna trying to split up Bernice and Liam, telling her how she’d devastated Rodney by trying to ruin his relationship. With Leanna’s own backstory making her more sympathetic this week, she shared a touching scene with Bernice as the two made progress in forming a bond. This week was full of great character moments and conversations and this story had plenty.

A Change in Cain

vlcsnap-2019-01-06-14h01m54s752Several Emmerdale fans mentioned it this week – but it was a funny turn of events when viewers are sympathising with poor beaten-to-death Cain, because he was unable to use his trademark violence – and all because Cain thinks he killed Joe with one punch! We’re so used to seeing Cain pulping someone black and blue that seeing him be the target was shocking viewing. The change was quite a shock, and an interesting direction for him, but not one I hope will last. It’s not one of my favourite stories, particularly as the warmth from Cain and Moira’s marriage seems to have evaporated since she became a mob wife, but Jeff Hordley’s shaken performances have been well worth watching.

Starting Over

vlcsnap-2019-01-06-14h03m53s148Not only has Dawn become an engaging and likeable new character in the village, she’s even brought Harriet to life. I don’t want Emmerdale to rush their almost mother-daughter reunion, and nor do I want it to be as on/off as Charity and Ryan’s is, but good scripts and poignant moments as the women shared their history have helped to flesh out Harriet’s character so she’s less of a cardboard vicar. Even as Harriet revealed their connection to others, I felt invested in her attachment to Dawn and her guilt and even though the box of memories has never been seen before, I could buy into Harriet’s recently written backstory as having always been an element of why she became a vicar. I’m surprised by how good this story is, but I don’t want a quick fix after years of resentment from Dawn.

Bonus Faves:

  • The Matty/Vic/Ellis supportive trio is one I hope lasts and lasts – I hope their romantic intentions don’t get in the way of this great threesome of friendship.
  • Ryan and Dawn’s budding relationship is really endearing – don’t rush this Emmerdale!
  • The final episode of 2018 had a really good New Year’s Eve feeling – lots of celebration, a heart-warming moment for Charity and Ryan and a horrible moment for Matty to kickstart a new story.

Fails

Minor Fails

  • I know its purpose was to trigger Bernice’s paranoia, but did Priya’s flirtation with Dr C have to be so embarrassingly over the top? All her porno moans reminded me of that terrible time she was at her worst with Pete. Ugh.
  • Charity’s hypocrisy over Dawn might have been to protect Ryan but her lack of empathy felt particularly prickly after everything she went through last year. And did we really need a repeat of her on/off developments with Ryan? Just as things were looking up!

Mums at War

vlcsnap-2019-01-06-13h58m48s852Billy’s arrival has already caused quite a stir but the fall-out is really missing the mark. The root of the problems is the history between Aaron and Billy, but instead of letting those characters resolve their past or prolong their rift, Emmerdale has opted for the least interesting path of all and let their whiny mothers fight it out, acting as if their sons are helpless children. Both Jessie and Chas’s personalities grate when they’re looking out for their “boys” and it’s more like mums at war in the playground, both blindly raging on. Headache inducing. Emmerdale has a good story here for Jessie’s desperation for Billy not to become a statistic, but instead of this driving the story it’s her insistence that Billy has done nothing wrong and that Aaron is also a thug. Billy might be trying to change, but us viewers saw the impact of Aaron’s prison bullying and it’s not easy to watch it being dismissed so easily by those who are Team Billy. Marlon too is in a tough position, but asking us to invest in his support of Billy against the Dingles requires a firm belief in the “true love” he has with Jessie and I don’t think I’m there yet. Billy? Aaron? Ellis – does this affect his job or his relationship with Vic? Robert – who uncharacteristically beat Billy? Nowhere to be seen. The really gritty, interesting dynamics here are just being passed over.

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9 Emmerdale Wishes for 2019

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We’ve just begun a shiny new year and it’s the perfect time to ponder what storylines or changes we’d like to see for Emmerdale in 2019. I had a good think, I asked on Twitter and here are my Top 9 wishes for Emmerdale in 2019.

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Backstory for Vanessa

Since becoming Charity’s girlfriend, we’ve seen a lot more of Vanessa but it would be nice to see more of her in her own right. Besides dad Frank we know very little about Vanessa’s family and past. Isn’t it about time someone from Vanessa’s past was introduced, or why not meet her mum? If the rumours are true and a Vanity wedding is on the cards then this is the perfect time to explore more about Vanessa.

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Show Some Success

Whether it’s a business going under, a plan going awry or exams being failed, we’ve seen a lot of failure over the years. Characters can’t always been happy and winning, but I think it’s about time someone had some good luck. 2018 saw Tracy start a new business and it would be great to see ambition pay off. Then there are characters like the Kings who haven’t been high-flying for years. Nicola is someone always looking for a bigger and better life – why not have her reach a level of success? And if the soap gods work their magic, maybe she and Jimmy realise that it isn’t what it’s cracked up to be!

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Big Stories for Coira and Robron

Two of Emmerdale’s biggest and most beloved couples reunited last year but since then their storylines have been bitty. Cain and Moira had Matty, Debbie and Graham to contend with, while Robert and Aaron supported their sisters and Rebecca through their big stories. But what next for the two big couples? Cain and Moira spent a lot of the year apart on screen so something that unites them and repairs the distance of their time apart would be good. For Robert and Aaron in their first year of married life, a story that changes the dynamic between them would be interesting to see – it’d be good to see Aaron getting in on the schemes for once! Whatever the stories ahead for both couples, it seems obvious that viewers just want to see more of their favourite couples together in great stories!

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More Village Gossip

Since losing characters like Betty and seeing less of comedic gems like Pearl, the village has been missing that key ingredient: gossip. Community is a huge part of village life and it was great to see more of that in 2018 but it’s not just parties and events that could tie characters and stories together – it’s also villagers having a natter about what else is going on the village! There’s plenty of scandal and drama along Main Street so there’s ample opportunity for big-mouthed characters to stick their oar in.  

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A Funny Feel Good Wedding

Happy weddings are a rare event for soap, but I’d love to see a wedding in 2019 for a fun loving couple. There’s Sam and Lydia, Faith and Eric or even new couple Liam and Bernice. These are genuinely funny, heart-warming couples who deserve a special day – and you just know the weddings would be full of laughs. It doesn’t all have to be disasters and slapstick, but imagine Lydia’s dance routine or Bernice going Bridezilla. And there’s always room for a classic soap twists and turns – let’s just see the villages having a good time.

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No More Special Episodes

I’ve loved Emmerdale’s attempt to reinvigorate the soap genre with special episodes, flashbacks and episodes that really dig deep into a character’s psyche. But now I think it’s time to give those kinds of episodes a rest and stick to good quality, linear storytelling. The more special episodes are made the less unique they get. Save them for when they really matter, Emmerdale!            

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Keep Kim 3D

My biggest wish for 2019 is that Emmerdale make the most of Kim’s return and don’t turn her into a caricature. Kim is an iconic Emmerdale soap bitch, but she’s not just a campy villain and I hope that when she returns the writers won’t lose sight of that and tarnish the fond memories viewers have of her original tenure. Keep Kim grounded, with flaws and vulnerabilities and that way her one-liners and sharp attitude will keep Kim at her best.

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Give Jai and Priya Something Gritty

2018 was a complete waste of the Sharmas. Priya briefly struggled with her mental health but that was glossed over quickly and Priya joined the rest of the family for silly sitcom subplots. Jai and Priya have a great sibling relationship and have been on the side-lines for ages so I think it’s about time they had a great, emotionally testing story.

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Reinvent Debbie Dingle

Oh Debbie, where to begin? She might be seen as the leading lady of the Dales, but unfortunately Debbie’s stories (and her personality) need a rethink. We’ve explored the same old ground for her when it comes to her love life and there isn’t much that manages to raise a smile. Even when she does something dark and reckless (like the acid attack story) her family manage to treat Debbie as a victim. With Joe gone and the truth about to be revealed, it’s time to shake Debbie up and give her something to do that we’ve not seen before. Could Emmerdale explore her bisexuality again? Give her a new friendship? A new job?

Fave or Fail? (24-28 Dec 2018)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! This week Jessie and Marlon got married on Christmas Day and Bernice had a meltdown over turning 50.

Faves

Family Fall Out

vlcsnap-2018-12-29-13h38m47s054Billy’s arrival in Emmerdale this week gave a welcome injection of drama into the Grant/Dingle household, which until then had been rather pedestrian. In just four episodes Billy has given us a Dingle rift, challenged loyalties, tested Jessie and Marlon’s relationship and hinted at a long-term rivalry between brothers Ellis and Billy. Already Billy seems like a complex and charismatic individual, capable of trouble, but also able to fleece his mum where needed. His arrival has added some much needed depth to Jessie too, causing her to make questionable decisions but for believable reasons. Billy hasn’t done or said much yet but it’s clear there’s a lot more to him and that kind of intrigue is exactly what Emmerdale needs as we head into the new year. He’s really shaken things up and if that also means a lot more Ellis, then it’s really promising!

Bernice’s Birthday

vlcsnap-2018-12-29-13h34m32s196This week had episodes full of classic Bernice hilarity as her feud with Nicola continued and she despaired over turning 50. After another bust up with her sister on Christmas Day, Bernice spent the rest of the week feeling fragile about her impending birthday, especially now she’s with a younger man. When she found out Liam and Nicola had been talking about her birthday, she charged over to see her, crying “Snake!” and proceeding to get smashed on white wine with Matty. Samantha Giles delivers Bernice’s amazing one-liners and brilliantly bonkers behaviour with fantastic timing and the scenes got even funnier when she walked in on her surprise party and popped all the balloons. We’ve been treated to so many funny OTT Bernice moments over the years and these were up there with some of her best.

Made for Each Other

vlcsnap-2018-12-29-13h39m34s308As Marlon and Jessie made their vows during the Christmas Day episode, after Jessie had planned such a huge surprise wedding, I couldn’t help but wish it was Sam and Lydia in their place. Not only had Sam’s enthusiasm about marrying Lydia been so endearing, and his subsequent disappointment so crushing, but they’re a couple who we’ve known for much longer. If any Dingle wedding should have been a big feel-good bonanza, it should have been them. With young Samson realising how upset his dad was, he spoke to Lydia and got the pair of them to have their own sort of ceremony outside, complete with cracker ring. It was a short but sweet moment, but it carried a lot more emotional weight than the big wedding carrying on in the barn next door. Maybe next year, eh?

Christmas Celebrations

vlcsnap-2018-12-29-13h43m44s580Christmas was mostly centred on Jessie and Marlon’s, but we did get a nice glimpse into other Christmases in the village. The opening montage showed us all the traditional Christmas festivities, with present opening and the kids playing with their toys. I really enjoyed seeing all the dysfunctional family Christmas dinners and disasters as it’s these slices of real life that make Emmerdale feel like an authentic, real-world place. The wedding itself was a highlight if only to see Cain Dingle on the dancefloor, but it was Christmas in the midst of Nicola and Bernice’s war that was most fun for me. I could have done without vomiting Marlon and friends of Jessie who we’ve never heard of before!

Bother for Bob

vlcsnap-2018-12-29-13h38m12s127Emmerdale have managed to achieve the impossible with Bob – they’ve actually made him likeable again! After the disastrous Bobel affair, sympathy for Bob was low and we lost the cheeky café owner for someone far more cold and selfish. Now that Bob’s down on his luck, with nowhere to go and short of money, it’s hard not to feel sorry for him. You could argue Bob made his bed, but over Christmas week we really saw Bob struggle and feel unable to ask for help. Bob’s always trying to please and after letting the kids down, he did his best to give them the presents they wanted, resorting to degrading work, pawning the watch the kids gave him and only managing to buy them one gift, second-hand. With his disappointed kids and high living costs at the BnB, the pressure is piling on Bob, but I’m just glad he finally feels like the man we know and love again.

Fail

Anti-Climax

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Billy’s Christmas Day arrival didn’t just cause friction in the Jessie and Marlon household, but sent Aaron into turmoil when he recognised Billy as someone who helped torture him in prison. This was an unexpected plot twist and as well as splintering Marlon’s Dingle loyalty, it gave Aaron some horrible reminders of what he went through in prison. This was made even worse when Billy moved in next door and Aaron faced the prospect of seeing his abuser every day. Though we’re well used to Aaron-angst, the surprises continued when it was revealed Billy was attacked and Robert faced a GBH charge when he handed himself in. While audience speculation was rife that Rob was covering for someone else, the story’s conclusion fell flat as Billy dropped the charges just a day later. Surely Emmerdale could have milked the tension a bit longer? It all felt a bit stop-start after a gripping beginning. The Billy drama rumbles on in Marlon’s household and is brimming with potential, but considering Robert’s extreme act and potential life-changing consequences, the resolution for Robron felt far too abrupt and was a waste of potential.

 

Fave or Fail? (17-21 Dec 2018)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! As the villagers prepared for Christmas, Sarah trashed Home Farm and Bernice slapped Nicola.

Faves

The Perfect Couple

vlcsnap-2018-12-22-11h39m37s680Eric and Faith are one of Emmerdale’s finest assets. Both actors are capable of intense emotional drama (as we also saw when they first got together and Faith worried about her scars) but their comedy has warmth and big belly laughs. With Rodney hanging around like a bad smell, Faith was getting seriously fed up with their bromance and set out to cause friction between Pollard and Rodders. After her interrupted seduction plan with Eric (see my Scene of the Week) failed, she tried to bribe Eric to do the job for her. But when Rodney believed he was being invited for Xmas dinner, the only trick Faith had was a rouse with Eric on board. Knowing the awkwardness would cause Rodney to leave, Faith set to work pretending to seduce Rodney (as his escort alter-ego Hunter) only to be rumbled by Eric. The plan worked perfectly and the saucy couple had the house to themselves again. Eric and Faith have great chemistry and their wickedly fun scenes gave Emmerdale a huge source of fun this week. This pair are a dream to watch and I hope they last and last. Emmerdale is a poorer show without them.

Gripping Story

vlcsnap-2018-12-22-11h40m34s782The Maya and Jacob story really stepped up a gear this week as we continued to see Maya’s manipulations at play in her efforts to groom Jacob. The writers are mastering Maya’s subtle techniques as she piled on the pressure to keep Jacob quiet and guilt him into feeling bad. She’s belittling him, as well as keeping the other adults at bay, ensuring Jacob feels isolated and gaslighted. Poor Jacob is already heartbroken by her behaviour but as he tried to make Maya jealous, things got even messier as he involved both Liv and Gabby. With Liv struggling with her asexuality, and Gabby always holding a torch for Jacob, the fall out looks like it’ll be ugly and complicated. Now that Maya’s moved in with all of David’s exes, I worry that Maya’s smart enough to turn the whole situation around on Jacob and act like Little Miss Innocent. It’s an uncomfortable, difficult watch but increasingly gripping. Emmerdale needs more stories like this.

Christmas Spirit

vlcsnap-2018-12-22-11h37m57s803The village certainly wasn’t lacking a festive feeling this year as we saw Christmas jumpers a-plenty, beautiful decorations and a lovely community spirit. I’m glad my funny favourites Sam and Lydia are playing a big role over the Christmas period as Sam chasing round “Chrimbo” the turkey was typical Dingle silliness and Christmas is a good time to see as many of the villagers as possible having a good time. I loved seeing the Christmas choir and all the everyday preparations, as it’s these elements that give the village that authentic feeling. Jessie and Marlon might not be my favourite pairing, but I’m looking forward to all the Christmas clichés and traditions among the unconventional surprise wedding.

Sisters at War

vlcsnap-2018-12-22-11h41m56s769After Nicola’s determination to be in Graham’s good books (to further her and Robert’s scheme), she’s ended up falling out with her sister Bernice after she handed her an eviction notice. Nicola and Bernice are two of my favourite Emmerdale characters and their barbed bitterness has already been entertaining as they grumbled over the prospect of spending Christmas together. This week’s scenes produced some hilarious singing rivalry in the church Christmas choir as well as using Laurel as a go between when they refused to speak to each other. I loved Diane getting involved too, threatening to give Nicola a fat lip in the funny way only Diane can. Christmas Day around the turkey is bound to be good fun!

Fails

New Lows

vlcsnap-2018-12-22-11h35m32s328Daz’s attempts to leave the village must have reached double figures now, but once again he stuck around after Amelia begged for him to stay. The question here should be: why? Daz’s biggest fault thus far has mostly being criminally dull, but he sunk to a new low this week as he let Amelia confessed to his hit and run crime. Why has she forgiven him so easily? Sure he might be her bio dad but he’s not been a constant presence in her life. Why would she go so far to protect him and then beg him to stick around? This was a really flimsy story. Luckily for her Graham lied to the police so the kids could go free and Daz was saved any consequences, but Dan’s anger was minimal at best. Were the producers just rescuing us from another big Spencer brotherly split? It seemed like Kerry was the only one rightly outraged as Daz shrugged off his behaviour, but the way the rest of the family acted, you’d be forgiven for thinking Kerry was in the wrong. I can’t understand all these second chances for Daz. He offers little to the Spencers, and he offers even less to Emmerdale. Who knows, maybe there will be another bus ticket with his name on soon…

Getting Away With It All

vlcsnap-2018-12-22-11h35m45s801If there’s any character who needed a change of pace it’s Debbie Dingle. It was always going to be difficult to punish Debbie after the acid attack and it seems like Emmerdale tied themselves in knots to try and make her seem as guilty and remorseful as possible. But since Joe’s exit, feeling betrayed, Debbie’s chip on her shoulder has got even bigger. She might not have meant for acid, but her and the family’s indignant response to her facing the consequences have been a bitter pill to swallow. Even young Sarah has taken on her mother’s most unlikeable traits. This week Debbie walked free and many viewers felt frustrated at the lack of justice, made worse by the face the trial happened completely off screen. Were we meant to be relieved she got off? Debbie seems to have learnt nothing from her selfish actions and this is making her character stagnant and unlikeable. If anything I’d have liked to see Debbie face community service, just to shake her up and set her on a different path. All this woe-is-me bitterness is only going to get worse when she finds out about Joe. Debbie’s personality needs an overhaul and it’s a shame Emmerdale wasted the opportunity.

Fave or Fail? (10-14 Dec 2018)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Debbie’s trial began this week and Graham cleaned up his act.

Faves

Consequences of the Past

vlcsnap-2018-12-16-13h32m37s427Dawn is a great new addition to Emmerdale, whose troubled life is played sympathetically by newcomer Olivia Bromley but it looks even more promising now that she’s got a complex history with another villager, vicar Harriet. Dawn’s stunned reaction to Harriet, or “Michelle”, lead to the interesting revelations that Harriet worked undercover as Dawn’s dad’s girlfriend for a big drugs bust. His arrest had many consequences for Dawn, who struggled in care and has recently turned to drugs and prostitution to get by. Dawn’s arrival has thrown Harriet, who believed she was doing the right thing at the time but now faces a moral quandary. While this story has mostly been told in scenes that rehash the past, there’s potential to make Harriet reassess her life choices. This is a topical story too, for those whose lives have been rocked by undercover relationships. I’ve never found Harriet a particularly compelling character and Emmerdale have never given her much to do beyond the church, but this is the perfect chance to peel back the layers. It’s going to be good to watch Harriet and Dawn’s relationship change, but it’s a shame they killed off Dawn’s dad because his arrival could have really shaken Harriet to the core and given her more conflict in her current life rather than just her past.

Family Feels

vlcsnap-2018-12-16-13h40m49s891After recent dithering and dilemma, Jessie took a big step this week and decided to spring a surprise wedding on Marlon. I’m not totally sold on Marlon and Jessie as a couple, but I love their budding family unit and especially the big dose of fun Ellis brings to the household in his banter with April. I loved the scenes this week as they prepared fajitas and Jessie plucked up the courage to ask for April’s permission. With Billy’s arrival bound to cause big upsets in the family, I hope we continues to at least see Ellis bringing his happy-chappy charisma to the village!

Reclaiming the King-dom

vlcsnap-2018-12-16-13h35m11s709Jimmy returned to Emmerdale after a long haulage job took him away and much had changed on his arrival, not only Nicola’s hair do but her career too! Already Nicola’s efforts have been uncovered by Graham, whose giving her increasingly difficult tasks, but it’s been nice to see the Kings with a story again. There’s always something entertaining about these two, even though they do seem to fall into familiar tropes within their marriage as Nicola’s nagging and ambition always results in Jimmy’s weary cries. Nicola’s partnership with Robert is well matched good fun and her marriage to Jimmy is by far one of my favourite relationships in the show. When the rest of Emmerdale is a bit dull story-wise I don’t get tired watching these characters. For a change I’d love to see the Kings gain a little bit of power and I hope the fallout doesn’t damage their lives too much.

Fails

Dull Dates

vlcsnap-2018-12-16-13h39m06s932Megan might not be the most popular character in Emmerdale, but you’ve got to feel bad for the woman. She might have a taste for smooth-voiced men who think they’re sophisticated but they’re also complete bores. She’s been finished with Frank for all of five minutes but now she’s cosying up to Graham and curing his drinking problem. They might have their silver fox charms but their personalities don’t exactly set the relationships alight with chemistry. Rather than hanging off the arm of a schmoozer, I’d love to see Megan in a relationship with a bit more bite than bore. It’s about time her character was given a bit of a shake-up.

Forgotten Child

vlcsnap-2018-12-16-13h34m44s047Even though Noah’s back-chatting and misbehaviour has got him in trouble with the law, Charity’s parenting efforts keep missing him off her list of kids that need her. She might be pre-occupied moving in with Vanessa, but everyone seems far more concerned about Charity’s relationship with Ryan, than the son who needs her the most. Ryan’s an adult, but Noah’s in a precarious hormonal stage and has struggled losing his brother. And yet he’s rarely given a second thought by anyone. It made matters worse this week when Charity hit Marlon after he accused her of being a bad mother and he gave her some harsh home truths. He might have crossed the Dingle line, but didn’t he have a point? Charity’s parenting leaves a lot to be desired and she’d be the first to say it. Her flaws are why she’s such a great character, so why did Marlon have to apologise? Someone needs to give her a wake-up call about Noah before it’s too late.

Fave or Fail? (19-23 Nov 2018)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! A great week of Emmerdale – not a fail in sight. In the week that Robert and Aaron decided to have a baby, Leyla helped with Clive’s con. 

Faves

Devious Duo

vlcsnap-2018-11-23-20h56m27s544Emmerdale struck gold this week with a surprising and massively entertaining partnership between two of the village’s most ambitious residents. With Robert’s babysitting efforts making him broody and keen for some more cash to pay for surrogacy, Nicola set the cogs turning about how to make Home James Haulage into a money spinner and the pound signs lit up in their eyes. The next day it looked like Nicola had royally screwed him over but the clever two had double crossing in mind and smugly celebrated their duplicity at the Mill. With Aaron rightfully worried about the dangers of Kim Tate and Graham, and Robert’s tendency to go too far, there might be danger around the corner but in Robert and Nicola they’ve got a winning formula. Both ruthless and devious with sharp tongued wit – this is a business partnership made in heaven. These two and their barbed comments could keep me laughing for weeks. And I don’t know about anyone else but I’d love to see a despairing Jimmy and Aaron make their own team as their spouses blunder on.

Heart to Hearts

vlcsnap-2018-11-23-21h06m38s259I might have bemoaned a lack of juicy and gripping stories in the Dales at the moment but one thing it has had, and especially this week is some wonderful character led moments and especially heart to hearts. First in the week was Nicola and Rodney who still hadn’t patched things up after Misty left town. We don’t often get the time to explore rifts and familial upsets to that degree and it was nice to see their father daughter relationship given the space on screen. There were others this week like Tracy and Vanessa, Paddy and Marlon, Rhona and Dawn but perhaps the most emotionally effective was between Chas and Eric. When underrated Eric pours his heart out it really tugs at the heart strings and Chris Chittell did a superb job especially when you consider most of the scene was him retelling an aspect of his past that we never saw. Eric offered his sympathy to Chas and spoke about the destruction of his first marriage and his spirit at the loss of their son. Not only did the scene have a lot of poignancy it actually added a lot more to Eric that we’d never known before and helped to explain why he had been so crotchety and mean when he was younger. I have a real fondness when Emmerdale gives us powerful scenes of two characters talking but even more so when it’s characters together you wouldn’t expect. Great stuff.

Dawning of a New Era

vlcsnap-2018-11-23-21h10m23s592Pete and Rhona had a shock this week when they found Dawn squatting in Dale View. Even though Dawn was brought in for Ross’s drugs story it seems like show bosses recognised Olivia Bromley’s talent and now have a new purpose for her. Dawn’s arrival immediately added friction to Pete and Rhona’s blossoming romance and this gave us some really strong scenes between the pair. Their relationship has become a surprise hit with Emmerdale viewers, and the drama Dawn provoked came entirely from their personality differences. Pete’s lack of empathy clashed with Rhona’s history as a drug addict and while she wanted to support Dawn, Pete was far less trusting. This confrontation, the first real stumbling block in their relationship, was the perfect example of character led conflict, dipping into the show’s history and adding depth to their relationship. As Rhona tried to explain her past to Pete to make him understand, you could see it from all sides and it was another of those quite conversation scenes Emmerdale does so well. Who knows what’s in store for Dawn or Pete and Rhona, but I’m a fan of all so this can only be a good thing!

Good Giggles

vlcsnap-2018-11-23-20h57m15s005We’ve got used to seeing Vanessa in a more serious, supportive role, whether that’s for girlfriend, Charity, sister Tracy or best friend Rhona, but this week she relished a more humorous role again and it was very welcome. Even though Vanessa gave her usual cheerleading support for Tracy’s new business venture, she still had time to make vegetable puns and give a scene-stealing walk by interrupting Rhona and Pete’s make out session. It can’t always be laughs, especially living in a village as tumultuous as Emmerdale, but Vanessa’s dorky fun streak is something I’d definitely like to see more of!

Grief Explosion

vlcsnap-2018-11-23-21h16m25s098Grief in soap is something tricky to explore. In real life there’s no time limit and it can be a slow and difficult process, which is why soaps often speed up this recovery period and the dead can feel forgotten about. It’s been different for Chas and Paddy’s story. Emmerdale are still showing Chas and Paddy’s struggle since losing Grace and although this has led to fairly repetitive scenes of miscommunication between them, I was glad to see this finally explode this week. The performances of sheer frustration, anger and grief felt authentic and gave a different slant on the familiar scenes of their relationship distance. The public confrontation was ugly and painful but it was far more watchable to have it be aired in this raw way than the bristling tension it had been before.

Scene of the Week (19-23 Nov 2018)

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Nicola had chaos this week when she was forced to juggle two jobs and three kids – four if you include big kid Robert Sugden, who was on a mission to wind her up. Mischievous Robert used the King kids to irritate their mum and distract her from business with the haulage firm. This scene was brilliant fun, and as Nicola got more irate, Robert shrugged off any interest in helping her out, teaching the kids to throw insults and paper balls instead. It got even funnier when Ellis stepped in and blew Nicola’s cover with Rishi. Robert was quite the dab hand with the babysitting, but his dead-pan refusal to help against Nicola’s raging desperation was a great mix. We’ve seen glimpses of Nicola and Robert’s comedy potential before but it’s always been fleeting – this was a true display of what a funny duo they could be. With the terrible twosome now on their own mission to take over Joe’s Waterhouse business, Emmerdale would be crazy to squander the humour they have in this pair.

7 Recent Storylines With Potential That Just Vanished

I’ve noticed a strange trend in 2018 – the disappearing storyline! While other plots drag on for months and months, some stories with potential just seem to vanish into thin air. Now, I’m not talking stories that took a disappointing turn (like Ross’s acid attack) but these are moments that were delivered with great performances, lots of excitement and press and then…vanished!

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Moira and the impact of killing Emma

Making Moira a killer was a huge decision and one that sent a chill of terror into Moira fans, but they needn’t have worried because any impact on her was short lived. After a quiet year for Moira, mainly because they were trying to keep her shock pregnancy a secret, she had a traumatic end to 2017, suffering both post-natal depression and extreme guilt for her part in killing Emma. With Moira such a beloved and ordinary character in the village (ordinary as far as you can be for a soap character!) it was always going to be difficult to give her any long-term consequences for killing off another character. But within a matter of months, she’d reunited with love Cain and everything had been forgiven and forgotten when it came to the Barton boys. The aftermath Moira’s breakdown was intense and destructive, but although she lost son Adam, psychologically she seems happier than ever now! Perhaps making Moira a killer was too jarring and Emmerdale weren’t sure how to deal with it long-term, but if this was the case, maybe she was the wrong character for the role. I love Moira and I like seeing her happy and settled, but it does feel like everything was brushed too neatly under the carpet.

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Joe Tate vs the world

Perhaps the worst offender on the list is the complete waste of Joe Tate since his wonderful reveal in January. Excitement was high when the Tom Waterhouse charade fell apart and he was revealed to be Chris Tate’s son, leading to a deliciously evil take over of the village next to stoic butler figure Graham. Every doubt we’d had about the “Tom” storyline was revealed to be deliberate, including the all-too-perfect romance with Debbie. But as Joe made enemies left right and centre, demolishing Wishing Well, taking Home James Haulage from Robert and pissing off everyone in sight, his position as top dog and loathed rich boy just couldn’t be sustained. Living in the big house and have no familial ties, it seemed like Emmerdale swiftly realised Joe needed more than just enemies and his redemption came in the shape of his new-found love for dour Debbie Dingle. While a slow love-hate romance might’ve worked, it’s now as if all of Joe’s Machiavellian behaviour has been dropped in favour of a bedside vigil for Sarah. Where is the village antagonist we were promised? Why isn’t he living up to the Tate name and has fallen into the trap of being a wet weekend who has the odd tantrum? With all his vendettas forgotten he’s an aimless character and a real waste of that Tate legacy.

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Liv’s drinking and asexuality

Viewers had long been promised a gritty plot for talented Isobel Steele and it finally emerged onto screens this year. Or did it? Compared to issue-led plots for other characters Liv’s drinking problems have been vaguely handled and half-arsed. Don’t get me wrong, Isobel has given sensitive and emotional performances as Liv tried to navigate adolescence, but after a spell in youth offenders and a brief Lachlan-fuelled relapse, her problem with alcohol has almost been treated as “fixed”. Are we meant to believe she’s all fine now? That her time inside “fixed her” (a worrying implication if so)? It feels like this complex issue has been brushed under the carpet rather than giving it the treatment it deserves. Is this so they can make Liv start drinking again when the story needs it, or has it just been forgotten about? It’s a similar case with the hints about her asexuality. Liv has spent a little time questioning this, but it hasn’t been given the airtime that it deserves and that seems like another waste of Isobel’s talents to leave Liv’s interesting struggles untouched. Instead of piling on more angst (like her recent exam failures) can’t Emmerdale do a better job of resolving the stories they’ve already laid the foundations of?

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The Kings – business and health problems

I’m a huge fan of the Kings so I was excited to see them get involved in the Tate take-over at the start of 2018. Jimmy had long been relegated to comedy buffoon with Nicola as his nagging wife, so it was great to see a bit of the powerhouse King family history remembered. But after teaming up with Robert to double-cross Joe, the story collapsed and disappeared. We haven’t heard anything about the new Home James Haulage work team or what a nightmare Joe is as a boss. It’s business as usual. All of Jimmy’s health issues and stress have disappeared (is he okay? Who knows!) so there was no emotional story there and so instead the Kings have been underused for another year which is a real shame as they’re one of Emmerdale’s biggest assets.

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Priya’s struggling mental health

Before she took on a role at Home Farm (which seems like a great move!) Priya had a difficult start to the year. The first few months of 2018 we saw signs of Priya feeling lonely and exhausted and with Jai using her as a babysitter, it all got a bit much for her. This really seemed like it could be the beginning of a decent storyline for her. It isn’t the first time Priya’s had mental health struggles and with 2017 seeing the end to her marriage, and a disastrous affair with Pete, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see her feel her life was in tatters. Priya’s an ambitious woman so to see her have a bit of a breakdown about her stalled life could have been a great story, but it just fizzled out instead. It’s about time the Sharmas had something a bit more serious and emotional to do and Fiona Wade would have done a great job with it.

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Syd MacFarlane’s threat to Aaron

If you don’t remember Syd MacFarlane then I don’t blame you. Syd had a very brief appearance in January and was let free during Adam’s escape from his prison van, but he made another cameo in April, blackmailing Aaron and Robert for some hard cash in one of the most lacklustre plots of the Spring. Syd rocked up, threatened Aaron, then held him hostage for all of half an episode just so that Robert could sign away their flat and his business to Joe Tate for the ransom. As we know, that rivalry with Joe had no real long-term consequences and Syd’s random arrival was just as fleeting and insignificant as his exit. Syd and his threats had no impact, even though Aaron and the MacFarlanes had a long history that could’ve been explored, meaning Syd was a 2D “villain of the week” character. Gone and forgotten instantly. The MacFarlanes could have started real trouble for the Dingles, for Robert’s business or even given Joe some tips! Instead it turned into one of 2018’s most pointless and disappointing subplots, wasting both fan favourite couples, Robron and Coira, who briefly joined forces to take down Syd.

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Eliza’s health problems

Instead of helping his dad with dating disasters, Jai could have had a much more emotionally engaging storyline had Emmerdale continued to be true to the drama of Eliza’s health concerns. Megan is wasted in wishy-washy romance plots with Frank and Jai spends too long in the factory – but when Eliza was taken ill, I thought this was the start of a relatable and engaging story about parents and their disabled infant. When Eliza was diagnosed with cerebral palsy in late 2017 I thought this was going to be the start of a great story for the parents, but that went nowhere. Then again at the start of the year when bruises appeared on her and they suspected Eliza, this looked to be like a dramatic and heartful family story, but nothing ever came from it. All the actors involved are capable of big performances, but this is another non-starter wasting their talents.