Fave or Fail? (11-15 Feb 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! A pretty poor week in the Dales that saw wrestler Bear Wolf visit the Woolie (in scenes I’d rather forget) and a very loveless Valentine’s Day.

Faves

Marlon’s Wake-up Call

Emmerdale - Marlon and Jessie's Marriage Collapses - YouTubeMarlon blew a fuse this week when discovering Jessie lied and left April alone in the house so she could break up the fight between Ellis and Billy. Marlon’s anger cut straight to the heart of the matter and shamed Jessie left to stay with a friend. These scenes were surprisingly well done, even if Marlon and Jessie’s relationship is a struggle to connect with. I still wish they’d stayed friends rather than rushing into an ill-suited marriage, however Mark Charnock gave these scenes his all and they added some much-needed depth to their marriage. The obstacles their family are facing are complex and interesting, it’s just a bit of a shame that the central Marlon/Jessie relationship is the real weak link.

Nicola’s Downfall

Emmerdale - Jimmy Still Refuses to Forgive PREVIEW - YouTubeShe might have caused her own downfall by trying to steal money from Graham right under his nose, but with Valentine’s love in the air this week, I definitely felt pangs of sympathy for Nicola. Perhaps it was Nicola Wheeler’s touching performance of Nicola’s loneliness on Valentine’s Day night that won me over, or her crushed expression when best mate Laurel revealed she was becoming her boss, or maybe it was her brilliant display of determination and fighting spirit against Graham. By the end of the week (and after the hilarious “hostage” scenes) Nicola decided she needed to show some more honesty and admit her mistakes and she turned herself into the police. Her teary eyed love declaration to Jimmy was a heightened parody of the Princess Leia and Han Solo scene in Empire Strikes Back and a great end to the week. Whoever she’s in scenes with, from Jimmy to Laurel to Graham to Bernice, Nicola makes Emmerdale far more enjoyable.

Sharma Spark Back?

Emmerdale - Jimmy Still Refuses to Forgive PREVIEW - YouTube (1)It was good to see Jai with a bit of life back in him this week. Chris Bisson’s been underused in Emmerdale in recent years but with a bit more focus on the factory workers this week, Jai was back lording it over them and he felt right at home. Though the Sharmas have recently been used as comedy D plots and Jai’s screentime has seriously lessened since his days as a cartoon baddie, his recent versatility between a support for Manpreet and a snarky boss shows he’s worth more than just being a background character. It’s about time he had more to do.

Fails

Jessie’s Boys

vlcsnap-2019-02-17-11h53m57s510On paper, Jessie’s complicated relationship with her sons and her inability to cut the apron strings is a story worth watching, same too is Ellis and Billy’s tension and rivalry. Unfortunately the reality of these struggles haven’t been as gripping to watch. The brothers have great charisma and chemistry, but this week’s scenes which saw Ellis drive at Billy with a van escalated too quickly making their confrontation feel forced. Their background strife over Jessie’s favouritism feels believable, but to have Ellis’s rushed jealousy over Vic be his motivation to mow Billy down just didn’t ring true – and neither did Vic’s disinterest in his romantic plans and sudden dumping. While Jessie’s bad decision to leave April alone to resolve her sons’ war left Marlon fuming, it’s her own parenting decisions that are irritating to watch rather than relatable. She might have agreed to stay out of their fights, but something tells me she won’t be able to resist and her inference doesn’t do her character any favours.

UnBEARable and Unfunny

Emmerdale - Paddy Exposes Bear Wolf's Shocking Secret! - YouTubeThis week saw Paddy meet the man suspected to be his biological father, the wrestler Bear Wolf. If the story’s build up sounded ridiculous, nothing could quite prepare us for his scenes this week which saw Emmerdale reach new lows of cringeworthy comedy. It’s been uncomfortable enough watching Chas and Marlon repeatedly push Paddy into meeting Bear Wolf, even though he’d told them he wasn’t interested, but this week they forced his hand even further by orchestrating the meet. Comedy is a subjective thing, but having well-trodden “real” father mystery mission wasn’t made more entertaining by Bear Wolf being a sleazy wrestler, in fact it managed to remove all the heart and emotion from Paddy’s curiosity. The OTT costume, the wig and the fact that his take-over of the pub dominated scenes made the humour feel laboured and almost unwatchable. It only got worse when Paddy grappled with him on the floor and an attempt to steal Bear’s DNA left them wig snatching instead. This was played for a shock laugh, but it was obvious to anyone that Bear’s long locks weren’t his own. If this is supposed to be the uplifting story for Paddy after Grace’s death then this awful story was the wrong way to go about it. If any story is worse than this in 2019 I’d be very surprised (and horrified!).

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Fave or Fail? (7-11 Jan 2019)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! It was chaos this week as Vanessa got stabbed as the Woolpack went up in flames and Lachlan got life in prison.

Faves

Life or Death

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Gutsy Vanessa fought for her life this week as an attempt to scare an intruder from the pub lead to her being stabbed. While the stabber and the story surrounding him was a let-down, Michelle Hardwick’s performance during the violence, particularly her reaction to Johnny’s accidental kidnap was heart-wrenching. You could really feel her helplessness as the fire raged and Johnny disappeared from her sight. Their emotional reunion in the hospital was strong stuff and I’d love to see Michelle get something meatier like this in future.

Old School Vibes

vlcsnap-2019-01-13-11h40m08s821Mandy’s visit back to the visit was short but sweet – much too short – but it really gave Emmerdale an old school feeling. Seeing Marlon and Mandy together, and Mandy and Paddy too, injected a huge dose of warmth and humour into the scenes. Viewers were left a bit puzzled over her brief return and whether she really was hiding more from Paddy, especially in regards to doppelganger Vinny, but hopefully this just paved the pathway for another return. I felt a little bit short-changed seeing how short a return Mandy had, but that’s just because I could happily see her around full time, bringing nostalgia and something unique to the village.

Remembering the Past

vlcsnap-2019-01-13-11h40m36s590It wasn’t just having Mandy around that brought on a wave of nostalgia this week, a few of the characters were reflective themselves. With everything that happens in the village you can sometimes forgive characters (and the writers) for being a bit forgetful in making the obvious links between storylines, but when the past is remembers it’s deeply satisfying. This week we had Brenda mentioning Gennie, realising that Gennie must have been related to Mandy distantly (ah the Dingle family tree), then awkwardly reminding Laurel of her marriage to Marlon, Megan shockingly remembering she too had a dead child (RIP Robbie), Laurel helping Graham with his alcoholism, and Cain talking about the time Zak conked him over the head. We don’t often get so much continuity but when we do it makes the characters and stories come alive, making their lives feel authentic rather than just a list of forgotten storylines.

Fails

The Final Finale

vlcsnap-2019-01-13-11h41m18s928Thomas Atkinson returned briefly this week to add another finale to Lachlan’s endless supply of final scenes and it was a real case of diminishing returns. Thomas’s performances were chillingly watchable in their creepiness before, but he was wasted this week on a needless reappearance where his villainy turned from cleverly twisted to a bit of a cartoon psycho. Lachlan’s final final (is it really the last one now?) showdown with Belle came at an unsatisfying four months late as he delayed his torment of her for no real reason. Sure the performances were decent, but when Lachlan’s story dragged and dragged anyway, did any viewers really need or want to see him again? We knew he’d get life in prison so what did this return add? This wasn’t a big escape or showdown ala Cameron Murray and if anything, its anti-climactic flatness fizzled out even more than his first supposed exit. And that’s before we even touch on Donny’s involvement…

Heeeere’s Donny

vlcsnap-2019-01-13-11h40m58s635You remember Donny, right? Donny – you know! He appeared in 10 episodes about four years ago. Lachlan’s dad? Scottish? Barely mentioned? No? Well you wouldn’t be alone, as plenty of viewers were left scratching their heads as Donny’s reappearance played a significant role in this week’s biggest events. Forgettable Donny hasn’t been seen or heard of since 2015, when he got involved with gangsters and many fans presumed he’d been left for dead by ex-wife Chrissie White as she began her own descent into villainy. Making Donny such a key player in Lachlan’s last stand was a weird decision, so much so that it was left to Charity, and Donny’s clunky speech, to reveal who he was and why he was there. When your story intentions have to be so clumsily told in the script, something isn’t working. The only character who’d ever really interacted with Donny in the village was Robert and he was strangely absent meaning there was no real significance or surprise in Donny’s actions. It was left to Belle, a character he’d never met, to interact with Donny and the story suddenly became twisted into a revenge story against the Dingles. Rather than this being a logical line of blame it smacked of desperation, being that almost all of Lachlan’s ties to Emmerdale were dead and gone. Donny’s final encounter with Lachlan was him turning the tables and finally realising how twisted his son was, but being that Donny hadn’t seen Lachlan for four years, this shock move was meaningless. We’d had a matter of minutes to invest in Lachlan and Donny’s father-son relationship so who cared? I can’t help but feel if Emmerdale had wanted to do a story of Vanessa almost dying they could have done something much more exciting by suggesting someone dark from her past or even Charity’s. Wasted opportunities and weird decisions all round!

Scene of the Week (7-11 Jan 2019)

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Unlucky Vanessa was in the wrong place at the wrong time this week as vengeful Donny, doing son Lachlan’s bidding tried to set fire to The Woolpack. Fearless Ness tried to confront him and ended up being stabbed with broken glass as the pub lit up in flames and Donny bolted, with little Johnny in the backseat. The episode’s best scene was Vanessa trying to scuttle away from the fire, clutching her side and already suffering with the wound. After a trembling call to Charity, the Dingle gathering dispersed to put out the fire. It was quite arresting to see the pub on fire and it’s been a while since the pub’s been at the heart of a stunt like this. It was full throttle tension as the blaze roared and Vanessa bled out on the ground, crying for her boy. At the heart of any good stunt should always be an emotional punch and Michelle Hardwick’s performance was the real highlight, as Vanessa’s gave desperate pleas for Charity to find her son.

Scene of the Week (31 Dec 2018-4 Jan 2019)

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A predictable choice for my Scene of the Week maybe, but Mandy’s arrival at the end of Friday’s episode gave me that “Oooh!” factor. Her timing was impeccable, as in true soap style Paddy had just declared that nothing would break him and Chas apart, ever again. Right on cue, Mandy! Mandy’s iconic status means her return has a lot riding on it, but being as I missed her original tenure, I have no preconceptions except that Mandy looks like she’s going to cause a lot of fun and chaos. After Sam did some quick intros and Belle filled in the gaps for oblivious viewers, Mandy introduced her son, who unsurprisingly looks suspiciously like Paddy. Could this be the obvious twist we were expecting, or is the doppelganger look all a ruse? All I know is, Lisa Riley has bags of charm and I’m excited to see what happens next!

Emmerdale’s Top 20 Moments of 2018 – Part One (#20-11)

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In a big year that saw arrivals, returns and exits, Emmerdale 2018 had many memorable moments. Here is my own look back at Emmerdale’s Best Bits of the year, starting with numbers 20 to 11. Come back tomorrow to see my Top 10 and a countdown of the year’s lowlights too. I’d love to know what you think so feel free to comment below!

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20. Brenda Bites Back

Brenda isn’t usually a character that makes my Top 20 list, but after being cheated on by Bob, Brenda’s really come into her own. Lesley Dunlop has shone this year in emotive performances as Brenda expressed her agony, but as the pain turned to bitterness, her wicked one-liners also proved entertaining. After Brenda’s devastating discovery of Bob’s affair she bottled her heartbreak and began a secret campaign against Bob and Laurel, saving the explosive showdown for much later in the year. Having hated Bob and Laurel, I was firmly Team Brenda all the way especially after their wedding day crumpled when she realised how unhappy he was with her. Since then, Brenda had to pick up the pieces with the kids and remain strong, even when weak-willed Bob came crawling. Maybe Brenda is the true hero of 2018 after all.

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19. Losing Grace

One of Emmerdale’s biggest storylines this year was Chas and Paddy and the loss of their baby Grace. This long-running story is one which resonated deeply with a lot of bereaved viewers and explored a range of emotions, from anger and denial to numbness, during the couple’s grief. For me, the moments Chas and Paddy suffered privately were their strongest, breaking down alone and too scared to talk, but their explosion at each other showed a believable ugliness in the aftermath. Supportive characters like Marlon and Faith were a welcome, warm tonic from the prolonged periods of sadness this story produced.

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18. Kim Tate’s Return

The hotly-anticipated return of iconic superbitch Kim Tate shook Home Farm and its visitors when, straight from her prison release, she rocked up in October. This was more of a teaser than anything long-lasting, but her sharp tongued cattiness was a fun injection of camp in the rather dry halls of Home Farm. Unfortunately Kim’s presence was bogged down by a plodding backstory with Graham and an anti-climactic masquerade ball, but her ruthless reintroduction was merely a taster of what’s to come, and I’m hoping for great things in 2019!

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17. Sarah’s transplant

As usual it was another year of misery for Debbie, but it was her daughter’s health crisis which was the most believable and compelling story. Young Katie Hill did a great job with this sad story, displaying a stubbornness just like her mother as she suffered heart failure and initially refused treatment. This story was rife with divisions as Sarah learnt Debbie was behind Ross’s acid attack, but it was characters like Joe, Charity and Faith who brought some much needed levity to the situation and helped show Sarah she hadn’t even begun living yet. This was another story grounded in reality, a horrible situation many parents face and the onscreen relationship between Charley Webb and Katie made the vulnerable hospital moments authentic and heartbreaking.

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16. More Community Spirit

If there’s anything a village should have, then it’s community spirit. Sometimes in Emmerdale that isn’t always the case, but this year there have been plenty of times we’ve seen a real community feel and I hope this carries on into 2019! Whether it’s impromptu strip shows with the men of the village, rebuilding Wishing Well cottage, a group outing to a gay bar, parties and celebrations, fireworks to remember Gerry, or even a big masked ball at Home Farm – there have been plenty of occasions this year for the villagers to mix. These events give characters who don’t usually interact the chance to chat, forming new friendships and fun interactions. More importantly it’s an entertaining way to make Emmerdale village feel more real and have stories intersect rather than filming blocks distract from the everyday authenticity of village life.

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15. Noah Tate

Noah had a big year as he tried to find his place in the world when 2018 began with the Dingles at war with his villainous big brother, Joe Tate. With mum Charity hating Noah’s bond with Joe, Noah became more determined to learn about his roots and soon the brothers were bonding well. Mischievous Noah brought out Joe’s softer side and the actors had a believable onscreen rapport. Actor Jack Downham impressed me several times throughout the year as he faced difficult times within his family, managing to be empathetic even when he can be a bit of a teenage brat. Since Joe’s “disappearance” and feeling isolated by Charity, Noah has really struggled. With Jack’s performances getting better and better, and Noah’s complex relationship with Charity being one of her most interesting dynamics, I hope big things are ahead for him in 2019.

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14. Adam Barton’s Exit

January 2018 feels like a long time ago now, but back then we lost one of Emmerdale’s original Barton boys as Adam went on the run for Emma’s murder, protecting his mum, Moira. Adam’s imprisonment was a bit of a mess story-wise, and even though his last episode was the trademark “on the run” Emmerdale exit, the final episode itself had an entertaining escape plan and finished with scenes that were full of heart. Actor Adam Thomas really pulled on the heart stings as he left Moira an emotional voicemail to say goodbye and shared meaningful final scenes with best mate Aaron and estranged wife Victoria. It might have happened months ago now, but much like it has for Victoria, it still made a lasting impression!

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13. Ryan Stocks

Perhaps the best part of Charity’s story this year was the arrival of the son she thought had died, Ryan Stocks. Ryan has been a breath of fresh air to the village and in Charity’s life, being full of cutting humour as well as having a kind-hearted nature. Charity and Ryan’s first meeting were some of the best scenes of the year, as she dealt with her shock and guilt and he showed her compassion. Newcomer James Moore has made a great impression on Emmerdale fans already and it’s been refreshing to have a prominent disabled character join the village in a likeable and quick-witted role.

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12. The Robron Wedding

Hearts soared this year as Robert and Aaron finally got their much-longed-for legal wedding in a touching special day. 2017’s wedding was hit with Robron fans, so any second shot was going to be hard to match, but Emmerdale pulled out all the stops for a classy affair this time, with romantic speeches, happy tears and matching décor. A happily married couple on their wedding day is a rare event in soap, but after the struggle to get there it was earned.

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11. Charity’s Flashback Episode

Last year’s trip into Cain and Faith’s past, complete with young recasts was such a success that Emmerdale went back in time again, this time to Charity’s dark past. Arguably the strength of Emma Aktin’s retelling of her abuse in earlier episodes rendered this flashback episode surplus to the story, but the special scenes illustrated Charity’s captivating history and the transitions between past and present were nicely done. This kind of episode relies on a killer performer and thankfully Emma fulfilled that role perfectly, but it’s probably time for Emmerdale to give the flashbacks a rest for a while.

Come back tomorrow for my Top 10 and my worst moments of Emmerdale 2018.

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.

Fave or Fail? (22-26 Oct 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! In the sad week that saw the villagers mourn baby Grace, Bernice finally dumped Daz.

Faves

Difficult Decisions

vlcsnap-2018-10-27-12h25m46s395It might not be the storyline with the bells, whistles and plaudits, but my favourite plot at the moment is Rhona and Marlon’s story with Leo. Last week the troubled parents discovered their son was being bullied at school and although the fingers were first pointed at April, it was revealed she was just trying to protect her brother from the kids at school who were bullying him for getting “special treatment”. As Rhona and Marlon debated whether to send him to a specialist school, Rhona warred with the decision, turning to Pete for support (I’m still loving this surprising pairing) and found herself frustrated by Jessie’s influence too. This story resonates with so many parents having similar decisions to make, and feels like a very relevant modern story to tell, one we don’t usually hear about. This is Emmerdale making great use of character-led drama and using their actors in interesting and thought-provoking domestic drama. No sensationalism, just real life.

Unearthed Tragedy

vlcsnap-2018-10-27-12h21m25s838Lydia really struggled this week as in the midst of Grace’s funeral, she didn’t attend and later broke down to Sam when he confronted her. She had spent the day keeping busy with cleaning and fixing a brave face, all to mask her secret pain. Later, showing Sam the boxes she’d kept of her babies’ things, she revealed she had suffered two miscarriages in her past and found the funeral too difficult to attend. Lydia’s repressed grief was beautifully played by Karen Blick and managed to be moving, even in just a few scenes. This moment was especially poignant when you remember how much Lydia wanted to be a family with Sam and Samson recently when she had her health scare, but it adds more layers to her character who once was nothing more than a comedy character. With this experience, Lydia was able to help Chas move forward the next day and although I wish they’d hinted at this backstory earlier during Chas’s story, it continues to flesh out Lydia’s grief counselling expertise instead of it just being for laughs.

Goodbye Grace

vlcsnap-2018-10-27-12h19m48s128The Dingles said their goodbyes to Grace this week in the tragedy filled funeral. While Chas’s grief showed itself in anger and distress, Paddy’s was a stark contrast in his empty feelings of numbness. This full spectrum of reactions was a good choice from Emmerdale, continuing to make this story relatable for those who have suffered a similar loss. I wish we’d be able to see all the Dingles there as the sad event felt strange without some key members, particularly Zak and Lisa. Aaron’s speech was a particularly moving moment, though watching Chas’s sorrow play out for all these months has been a difficult watch so perhaps a double episode for the funeral was a bit much to dwell on the tragedy.

Becoming Family

vlcsnap-2018-10-27-12h18m19s869One of my favourite couples in Emmerdale has got to be Eric and Faith. It was always going to be a tough act to follow Val, but Eric and Faith have that wonderful blend of fun and loving support. This week Faith tried to shut him out at Grace’s funeral, but after a slight wobble, Eric realised he needed to be there by her side. In a lovely moment between the two, he came up beside her and held her hand, later revealing it was important for him to be there for her. Aww! With the two communicating and realising their importance to each other, could there be wedding bells on the horizon? With show producers hinting that there’s a Christmas wedding on the cards, I would be more than happy to see these two have a big celebration!

Harsh Words

vlcsnap-2018-10-27-12h22m05s656Leyla seems to lurch from one bad decision to the next in the blink of an eye. Her whole history is full of dodgy men and flighty choices, and she hasn’t really learned much from any experience! This week Clive’s ex showed up and confronted Leyla about a load of stolen jewellery. All Leyla’s mistakes came tumbling out this week as she revealed the business abroad went under after Leyla slept with Clive (one of her clients, a groom to be – yikes!) and his fiancée posted bad reviews of the business on Twitter. It all seemed to dawn on hapless Leyla, but it was Vanessa who gave her a strict talking to, trying to make her grow up and take some responsibility for her stupidity. Vanessa gave Leyla a potted history of her faults in a very entertaining scene of tough love. With Clive showing up the next day, it all seemed to fall on deaf ears, but it was good to see Leyla brought down to reality with some firm words from her friends.

Bonus Faves:

  • What is it with Brook House? First there was the reveal of Doug and Brenda’s dalliance in full company and then this week Bernice dumped Daz in front of a room full of people. The awkwardness gave us brilliant reactions again from the guests but more importantly Bernice FINALLY dumped Daz. At last!
  • Cain’s return home and straight into Chas’s arms when she needed him most was a really satisfying moment. Their sibling relationship is one of the show’s best.
  • Speaking of strong relationships, those emotional scenes through the glass between Debbie and Sarah managed to get me in the gut, even though Debbie’s spell inside feels right.

Fail

Shady Cell Mates

vlcsnap-2018-10-27-12h20m44s147So the elusive Clive showed up this week to surprise Leyla but he’s got heartbreaker written all over him. When he met Frank it was like seeing double – two smooth silver foxes with that gravelly hint of darkness in their voices. It wasn’t long before they were having suspicious and mildly threatening chats outside the pub in that mysterious way that alludes to trouble without giving much away. I struggle to get excited about any of this, including any dodgy connections to Frank, because if Frank is anything to go by, Clive could turn into another wet weekend. Just like Frank, Clive has a slimy edge to him and no one is buying this “changed man” routine, but Frank hasn’t exactly done much since his arrival. Frank’s potential and charisma has been completely wasted by keeping him on the straight and narrow, and tying him down to a dull relationship with Megan. Could Clive change that? Could we see some of this much promise dark side? Clive feels very temporary, like he’ll screw Leyla over and then flee the village, so I haven’t got high hopes, but I think it’s about time for another villain – and not a serial killer!

Scene of the Week (22-26 Oct 2018)

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I really liked Emmerdale’s efforts this week to explore different reactions in grief and I thought Paddy’s scene with Marlon at the graveside was particularly strong. While Paddy appeared to show strength and calm, he opened up to Marlon, telling him that he was feeling numb and empty in the wake of Grace’s death. This is quite a different path for a soap to take, as reactions to death usually follow a path of destruction and despair, whereas Paddy’s is one that isn’t often shown but is common for many people struggling in the real word. The on screen partnership between actors Dominic Brunt and Mark Charnock is always strong, having a solid foundation after working alongside each other for so many years, but it was particularly emotional in this scene and I think it was one of the most moving, difficult scenes of the funeral.

Fave or Fail? (1-5 Oct 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! In a week of tragedy for the Dingles, everyone united for the happy event of Aaron and Robert’s wedding.

Faves

A Moment of Happiness

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h45m06s201A rare, happy event bringing the village together in celebration of the love between Emmerdale’s most talked about couple – what could be better? The long-hyped, long-awaited Robron legal wedding finally arrived and despite being tinged with tragedy, it didn’t disappoint. Not only was this episode a real fan pleaser, it had a warm community feeling and showcased just how far the characters had come to make their family official. It’s not often any more that the village gets its bunting out for a big old party outdoors, but this was it. It wasn’t just an episode of romance and a display of the chemistry which has made Robron so beloved, it was also the funny and sweet little details (Bernice’s insistence that she was behind the reunion; Doug’s little thumbs-up to Liv after her speech) that made it a great watch. Weddings in soap are often all explosions and affair reveals, so it was a welcome change to see a wedding be such a success. And while the day ended in a panic attack for grief stricken Chas, the event worked well as a happy interlude to the week’s tragic events.

Family Tragedy

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h41m07s776Chas and Paddy had an unbearable week as their daughter Grace was born and died very shortly afterwards. It’s a moving and important story which resonates with many parents watching who have shared a similar pain and Emmerdale have done a good job at showing its long-term impact on Chas and Paddy’s lives as they try to move forward. Emmerdale opted for an experimental fantasy sequence in the episode of Grace’s birth as her parents imagined what her life would be life. The idea behind those moments was touching, but perhaps the overshadowing stylistic choices should have been dropped in favour of the more intimate and raw family scenes. Both Chas and Paddy struggled in the days that followed, with both of them grieving and lashing out in different ways, but it’s when they united, in spite of their grief, that the performances really excelled. This storyline also gave Emmerdale a real sense of family and village life, as it wasn’t only immediate family who were heartbroken, but other parents in the village too. It’s strong stories like this, which impact upon the whole community, that are vital parts of Emmerdale’s success.

A Whole Lot of Faith

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h49m42s806Faith is often one of my favourite things about a week of Emmerdale. She’s brash and loud, dirty minded and full of humour (just check out her dancing with Rob at his own wedding!), but she’s so much more than that. She perfectly encapsulates the light and shade of great soap matriarchs by being there as a pillar of support for her family too. Faith doesn’t sugar coat, but she gives her loved ones exactly the words they need to hear. She was the friendly ear for Chas, Paddy and Aaron this week but perhaps her most moving moment was the scene in which she gave Chas a congratulations card for becoming a new mum. It was an emotional gesture and one which I thought was one of the most resonating moments of the whole tragic storyline, such a touching and understated thought. Faith’s a true gem of a character and one I now can’t imagine Emmerdale without.

Rom-Com Queen

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h42m24s566I feel like all I ever do on this blog is sing Bernice’s praises, but I’m at it again, after another week of classic Bernice moments. Back from her relaxation trip, Bernice grimaced and groaned her way through another encounter with Daz, practising her dumping routine right in the middle of the shop. Luckily dreamy Dr Cavanagh was on hand to lift her mood and the two had a flirtation and illicit make-out sesh in the salon. Naughty! Every interaction between these two (and yes, we’re opting for #Cavastock) is brimming with comedy and teenage crush levels of awkward with Liam filling the bumbling Hugh Grant role oh-so perfectly. They are smitten and utterly charming together, which happens to make all of Bernice’s attempts to get away from Daz even funnier. This was a brilliant, silly antidote to the tragedy of the week.

Leyla’s Return

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h43m17s352Leyla returned to the village this week after actress Roxy Shahidi’s maternity leave came to an end, and it was a real pleasure to have her back. Her showdown with Tracy wasn’t pleasant to watch as her lack of compassion preceded catty comments and escalated into full blown misogyny, but it didn’t take long for Leyla and Tracy to realise the real enemy was David. With the two bonding over common ground and clinking glasses to a future without him and rubbish men, it was a fun and satisfying watch. We certainly could do with more scenes exploring friendship these days. Despite a rocky start, I’m really glad Leyla’s back as her quirky comedy and facial expressions offer something different in the village. I’m very intrigued if Leyla’s mystery fiancé transpires and if so, what’s next on the cards for Miss Harding!

One Last Shot

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h53m13s131For many viewers, Ross Barton was at his best in the days of Donna Windsor, watching him soften through his feelings for someone else and lose that aggressive façade. Now, we might be nearing the end of actor Mike Parr’s time on the show, but it feels like the Ross and Rebecca relationship is bringing out the best in both characters as they try and rebuild their lives and showcasing the Ross Barton many viewers fell for all those years ago. Ross being Ross, Dawn’s appearance at the end of the week is sure to spell trouble in terms of his growth, but it’s been a welcome change to watch a more sensitive and caring Ross help Rebecca find faith in herself and confidence again. With his exit looming, it’s surely doom to fail, but for now their sweet and tentative scenes are a nice break from Ross’s cokehead, wannabe gangster efforts.

Fail

Not About That Thug Life

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h40m31s598Truth be told, I had to go back and rewatch all of Joe and Graham’s scenes with Connor the cardboard gangster this week, because I ended up zoning out. In a week of Emmerdale where we were treated to moving storylines and emotional character moments, we were also stuck watching this caricature terrorising Home Farm. Threatening he was not! For me, both Joe and Graham have lost that special something that once made them compelling newbies in the big house and unfortunately now their samey scenes are just cloak and dagger conversations that are at times impenetrably cold. With Connor desperate for revenge and Joe cowardly offering up Graham like the sacrificial lamb, this should have been a huge test and turning point of the pair’s unconventional bond, but with Connor cartoonish and the conversations between Joe and Graham stilted and mysterious it was a struggle to care. The rapport between the two is as bristling as ever and with Kim Tate’s arrival imminent, maybe all isn’t lost, but watching their scenes can feel like scrabbling in the dark to find something interesting to care about.

Scene of the Week (1-5 Oct 2018)

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In a week that covered a whole spectrum of emotions – happy and sad – it was the wedding speeches scene which encompassed all of those feelings in such a moving way. With the grooms’ speeches sticking traditionally to heart-clutching love declarations, and little sister Liv’s telling of the trio’s first meeting, it was mainly a scene for Paddy and Chas to destroy us all and reach for the tissues. Paddy’s long and colourful history with Aaron was touched on in his speech, tearing up as he talked about how proud he was to call Aaron his son and how far Aaron had come to accept himself. Anyone who’s been watching Emmerdale in the last ten years will remember the agony Aaron went through at 18 so Paddy’s words held a real poignancy. It’s the beauty of the soap genre that we have seen this progress for ourselves. Then there was Chas, whose week had been tragic and deeply traumatic, but this was a beautiful moment for actress Lucy Pargeter in an understated show of Chas’s strength and resilience. For me, these two speeches, showing how difficult and courageous it was for Chas and Paddy to express their joy and also their grief in this celebratory moment, were a stand out of a very emotional week.