Scene of the Week (18-22 March 2019)

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Rhona’s struggle to deal with her hysterectomy hasn’t been a bells and whistle plot with cliffhangers and silly twists, instead its been driven by understated yet powerful performances. This week again Zoe Henry’s underrated talents took centre stage as the pressure of dealing with life after her operation took its toll. In light of Paddy’s baby news, and anxieties that Pete would soon get fed up of looking after her, she confided in Marlon about the emptiness she felt. Not only has Rhona had to contend with the pain, especially considering her ongoing addiction to painkillers, but the surge in hormones has affected her emotions too. While Rhona had made the decision for no more kids, the hysterectomy took that decision from her and this emotional scene felt like fairly fresh ground for Emmerdale. Even though Nicola also faced a similar story about the menopause a few years ago, Rhona’s got even more on her plate and the scene was an affecting moment to explore Rhona’s sense of self. The chemistry and long term friendship between Marlon and Rhona gave the scene real poignancy and it was nice to see them paired up in this platonic way again.

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Fave or Fail? (11-15 March 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! Kim made her big return to the village this week as Maya dropped the L-word to entrap Jacob.

Faves

Right at Home

vlcsnap-2019-03-17-11h21m39s127Admittedly when I read Amy Wyatt was making a return to Emmerdale I wasn’t that fussed, but a week in I already feel like her return was a good decision. She feels right at home. Unlike Kim, Amy feels very relevant to the current cast – she knows multiple characters in the village and her reappearance actually threw up story opportunities for several characters. Not only did Amy mean trouble for Cain and the Dingles in light of her eagerness to spend time with Kyle, but she’s breathed life into the Spencers’ household, given Eric back another daughter figure, caused friction with David and Maya and given Vic another friend. The custody battle for Kyle is a well worn story, but newbie Natalie Ann Jamieson has brought lots of warmth and sensitivity to Amy which helps to soften the harder edges that Kerry sometimes influences. I’m looking forward to seeing the future Emmerdale has in store for her and hope, unlike her last stint, it’s not all fixated around Kyle!

Support Network

vlcsnap-2019-03-17-11h27m19s794My favourite moments of Emmerdale show families coming together, remembering friendships and connections, and showing the far-reaching impact of storylines across the community. A good story is one that affects multiple relationships and characters, and Rhona’s accident is still having an impact now, weeks on. This week saw her have a hysterectomy (something Emmerdale have already revealed they’ll be exploring) but not only have we see its personal, emotional impact, we’ve also seen its effect on her relationship with Pete, her enduring friendship with Vanessa and this week its wider impact with the business and Moira’s farm. Unlike some soap accidents that have little follow up, Rhona’s debate over whether the vets should sue Moira and the farm will have consequences for both the future of the vets business (with opportunity for things to get messy if Kim gets involved), and even with Pete if his loyalties are tested. But perhaps the biggest strength of this story is down to the underrated talents of Zoe Henry who continues to be one of Emmerdale’s brightest stars. Any story that uses her at the forefront is going to be a hit!

Glimmers of Potential?

vlcsnap-2019-03-17-11h23m37s930It’s always difficult to bring back a character who has since been dubbed an icon, especially when the character is famed and remembered for just one aspect of their personality and the soap landscape has changed in their absence. In Kim Tate’s case, she’s renowned for being the classic soap superbitch, but the danger in her returning to her old stomping ground is that she becomes more of a caricature than the woman we love to hate. Kim’s return rides on a fragile premise – they retconned the entire Graham and Joe history to give her relevance – and she knows next to know one still kicking around the village. Emmerdale have to work quickly to give her enemies and make it feel worthwhile, rather than her antagonism feeling petty and pointless. A great villain is always a treat, but balancing the classic campy Lady of the Manor can often give way to OTT performances and dialogue that tries too hard to be cutting. There are promising signs in her latest return that Emmerdale are aware of this tightrope, and the mixed reception to her cameo last October, but here’s hoping they remember less is more when it comes to Kim. Her scenes with Charity, and in the pub with others were far watchable than her posturing at Home Farm and smirking in every scene. We could well do with seeing Kim’s more human sides soon, before the writers get too carried away with the cartoon villain one-liners.

Fails

Robot Wars

vlcsnap-2019-03-17-11h25m40s419Perhaps the biggest issue with Kim’s return is that she’s stuck, trying to shake some life into cyborg Graham. Such is Graham’s rigid and monotonous ways, Emmerdale has even started to reference it in the script! But when their scenes hinge on a bloated and retconned history, relying on an absent, scorching chemistry – it’s a tough ask. Kim’s treatment of Graham is more like a dog than a lover, and unless Graham’s into a BDSM set up, it’s baffling why he’s under her spell. Friday’s episode seemed to reopen the Joe death mystery AGAIN, but it felt like the first real hint to him being alive. This ongoing saga is as much clunky as it is sluggish so by the time we find out the final final truth, it’s a wonder if anyone will care. If Emmerdale really want Kim to work this time around, then the situation at Home Farm needs a fast rethink.

Fed Up with Faith?

vlcsnap-2019-03-17-11h26m49s708Oh Faith, there’s so much to love – the sharp tongue, the saucy humour, the outrageous behaviour, the wise straight-talking, the moments of fragility – and yet this week, none of that. We really saw the worst, most unlikeable aspects of her personality and it’s surprising how intolerable she became. Her vicious and hypocritical campaign against Amy might have been rooted in her own failings as a mother, but there was none of this nuance or depth and she seemed spitefully gleeful at the thought of sending Amy to prison. This combined with her strange and underwritten vendetta against Kim has brought out the worst in her character, and an aspect I hope doesn’t stick around – let’s have more of the fun Faith back please!

Fave or Fail? (25 Feb-1 March 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! Maya’s grooming of Jacob took more sickening turns, and Pete moved out of Rhona’s house.

Faves

Family Splits

vlcsnap-2019-03-03-14h15m28s306Once again it’s the fallout from Rhona’s accident which makes the top of my Emmerdale best bits. Since Emmerdale made the surprisingly magic decision to pair up Pete and Rhona, I’ve been impressed not only by the couple’s natural chemistry, but by the grown up and complex way they’ve explored their relationship. So often you see couples hook up with no thought for the impact on children or the longer term wishes of the individuals in the relationship and when characters have children, this just doesn’t feel very authentic. Pete and Rhona’s relationship has been different in that aspect as from early on, Pete’s relationship with Rhona’s son Leo has been important and well explored. The Pete and Leo relationship, which has seen Pete learn Makaton to bond with him and gain his trust, has been a big and heart-warming hit with viewers and this week we saw more of it as Pete and Rhona agreed to take a break. While both Rhona and Pete were reluctant to separate, Rhona knew they wanted different futures so the two of them made tough decisions while still making sad, longing looks at each other. There was plenty of awkwardness and Pete’s break with Rhona also meant a sad conversation with Leo. Emmerdale’s made this difficult situation feel believable and compelling – and that’s without even mentioning Rhona’s ongoing struggle with pain killer addiction. You can empathise with all parties and there’s a whole lot of tenderness involved. It’s a winner.

Crushed Hearts

vlcsnap-2019-03-03-14h24m24s506Watching Jacob and Liv’s budding relationship it hurts to know that without Maya messing with Jacob’s head, he and Liv could be a pretty sweet couple. Liv’s laid back personality fits with Jacob well, and his sensitivity means he’s attune to her feelings and understanding about her asexuality. Without Maya in the picture – they’d be good for each other. Therefore it’s heart breaking to watch them both trying, both liking each other, but with Jacob’s head all over the place. Maya’s grooming has a much wider impact than just on Jacob, she’s got everyone under the thumb and when her behaviour comes out, Jacob and Liv are going to be big casualties. This week’s scenes were tough watch, particularly seeing how Liv’s heart is on the line, and how much Jacob genuinely likes her and doesn’t want to hurt her, all the while trying to keep in Maya’s good books. Both young actors are giving vulnerable performances and you just know that the resolution to this story is going to crush them both.

Playing Hot and Cold

vlcsnap-2019-03-03-14h19m14s929With multiple stomach-churning developments this week, you can’t deny that Emmerdale are doing a successful job in showing just how twisted Maya is. This week was Jacob’s 16th Birthday and after an aborted attempt to sleep with him, Maya blew hot and cold in trying to keep him eager, while continuing to cover up their secret. Louisa Clein’s great performances make Maya maddening to watch, especially seeing how she manipulates everyone in Jacob’s life to keep them on side. Her innocent protestations show exactly how a predator like her operates and the authenticity of her part is what makes this story so horrifying to watch. It’s grim viewing to see her gleefully seduce a child and try and ignore reminders of his age, but if this story is prompting awareness of the hidden signs of grooming, then it can only be a good thing.

Fails

Custody of Kyle

vlcsnap-2019-03-03-14h22m30s647Kerry got dragged into the exhausting Dingle divide again this week as Debbie warned her Kyle wasn’t safe with Cain. On the surface we can all well believe Kerry would go gung-ho in protecting Kyle, but it’s a bit of a stretch when she’s barely interacted or mentioned him in a year. Of course, this is all just in preparation for Amy’s eventual return (another character forgotten until it’s convenient to remember her) but perhaps Emmerdale would have made it easier to invest had Kerry mentioned her family months ago, rather than this feeling like a rushed justification for Amy’s return. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad Kerry’s going to have more to do than just be a hanger-on of the Spencers, but this story has felt a bit hollow.

Short on Sympathy

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As the Cain “killed” Joe saga drags on, it’s a struggle to have any sympathy for any parties involved. On paper, believing your dad killed your fiancé should make you the ultimate victim, but with the Dingles standing by Cain and protesting his innocence, and Debbie refusing to tell daughter Sarah the truth, Debbie’s anger and upset falls on deaf ears. But as both Cain and Sarah criticise Debbie’s parenting, it’s difficult not to see their point. No matter how many scenes Debbie cries in, she doesn’t have the sympathy she ought to. Is this because she’s quite a sullen, cold character who’s difficult to like, whose crimes have been overlooked, or is it because the tables have turned? Debbie’s usually priority number one when it comes to the Dingles, but now Cain’s the person they’re protecting. It’s a struggle to truly sympathise with Cain being shut out by her too, because the accident of Joe’s death – while not his fault – came with months of cover up. Cain’s not likely to face justice and wants them all to move on, yet at times it’s as if he’s expecting Debbie to shrug off his role in Joe’s death like it’s nothing. This storyline is such a repetitive, endless mess with no conclusion in sight. If Graham’s involvement doesn’t come out soon I fear we won’t ever see the back of this.

Fave or Fail? (18-22 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! Emmerdale went back to its farming roots this week as a tractor accident had terrible consequences for Rhona.

Faves

Life Changing Accident

vlcsnap-2019-02-23-22h41m00s565Rhona suffered a nasty injury this week after a faulty tractor, driven by a worse-for-wear Pete, smashed into a barn. Following the accident, things escalated and Rhona was told she had fibroids in her womb and would need a hysterectomy to remove them. This immediately threw Rhona and Pete’s relationship into turmoil as they’d been living a laid-back romance and brushed aside more serious talks of the future. Not only did this story have the tension of who was to blame for the accident, but this also created interesting dilemmas in Pete and Rhona’s popular romance. Emmerdale haven’t utilised their farming setting in ages so it was great to see this used to explore conflict within a relationship. This story has already got fans speculating if and how Rhona and Pete could move forward, or whether it’s the end of the road for them with the kids factor being an insurmountable obstacle, and talking points like this are the backbone of great stories. It was great to see Pete find common ground in an unlikely heart-to-heart with Paddy and a welcome return of Zoe Henry’s stand-out performances. With a relationship on the line, Rhona’s painkiller addiction revisited and a hysterectomy affecting Rhona’s hormones, I can’t wait to see how this story progresses.

Friendship Focus

vlcsnap-2019-02-23-22h43m07s218Friendships and great partnerships can often be forgotten depending on the storyline, so I was thrilled to see so many Rhona and Vanessa scenes this week as their friendship is one of my favourites in Emmerdale. Although Rhona has support from Pete and her exes Paddy and Marlon, there’s nothing that quite matches the tenderness of her friendship with Vanessa. Emmerdale have dropped the ball in showing them together since they both became busy with their love lives, but I hope they don’t forget about them again. I loved their scenes before Rhona’s accident as they teased each other about their romances, but their emotional hospital scenes were a real highlight of the week. Going forward I hope Vanessa continues to be supportive of Rhona, especially now that her relationship with Pete has hit the rocks.

Serious Sharmas

vlcsnap-2019-02-23-22h43m50s007Manpreet’s story continued this week as she stole from the factory accounts and eventually came clean with Rishi. I’ve completely grown to love Manpreet’s role in the Sharma family, lifting them away from cartoonish stories and giving them grounded family drama. With suspicious Jai and Priya worried about her taking advantage of Rishi’s big heart, they took a tough love approach, but the writing for this storyline allow both sides their time to be understood. We can accept Manpreet’s struggle with her addiction and like her, but also empathise with Jai’s kids who are trying to look out for him. Involving Manpreet with the factory workers and seeing her socialise with colleague Liam also really helped to widen the Sharma’s circle as often their stories can feel isolated. I’m glad the Sharmas are getting to do more than mess around with fancy dress and Lycra, because they’re capable of the serious and heartfelt too.

Bonus Faves

  • I can’t let this week pass without mentioning how happy I was to see villagers actually at work! Manpreet’s first aid training, Liam’s GP surgery, the BnB hosting breakfast, factory and farming centred drama – it really felt like characters had a life, rather than waiting for the next story to drop. Using work to facilitate stories makes the village life feel far more authentic!
  • I was so happy to see Jimmy and Nicola reunited this week – and Jimmy throwing himself into make up sex was this couple to a T. Perfect.
  • Speaking of perfect, is there any couple more fun, more Carry On and more entertaining to watch than Bernice and Liam? Long live Cavastock, they are exactly what the doctor ordered!

Fails

Daddy Drama

vlcsnap-2019-02-23-22h43m27s515Paternity drama is ten a penny in soaps, but Emmerdale fell into predictable and irritating tropes again this week as Chas and Marlon continued to badger Paddy about finding out if Bear Wolf was his “real dad”. Having been unable to take Paddy’s word for it, Chas secretly sent off for a DNA result and endlessly discussed it with Marlon this week. Chas’s insistence was tiresome and unlikeable, particularly when Paddy rightly pointed out that biology made no difference to him, his dad was the man who raised him and Bear Wolf didn’t want to know. Chas nagging about this issue of “real”  was unnecessary. This story felt lazy, relying on dated concepts of biological ties being more significant, which coming from Chas didn’t work when she’s seen herself that Paddy’s been a far greater father to Aaron than his “real” dad Gordon. To make matters worse, after wearing Paddy down into reading the result, he found out Bear Wolf is his biological father meaning we’re destined to watch more of that awful character and this repetitive story. Oh boy.

No More Mr Nice Guy

vlcsnap-2019-02-23-22h40m15s142Ryan’s introduction to Emmerdale last year was a big hit with viewers but the countryside air must have got to him as this week we saw a nasty side to his personality that didn’t seem like the character we’d liked so much. Being an outsider in the village meant Ryan didn’t come with all the baggage and petulance that most soap characters have. He seemed like a cool, mature bloke, open minded with a sarcastic sense of humour – a refreshing change. This week, however, he reverted to a selfish sulky teenager and went as low as offering Dawn money for sex when his jealousy and insecurity took over. After oafish drayman Leon, Ryan was supposed to look empathetic, like a guy who’d just made a mistake, but his relationship with Dawn until this point had been compassionate and nuanced so his reaction to throw money at her was a big misstep. Exploring Ryan’s issues with his own self-worth and feeling insecure against Leon’s macho act needed the care and depth to do it justice. This week’s scenes didn’t have that, and it was difficult to empathise with him. Instead Ryan looked petty and cold and when it all came out, it was impossible not to be on Dawn’s side as Ryan’s remorse was lacking and he just seemed sulky. Even Ryan’s relationship with Charity, which had once felt fresh and different, is now repetitive. Like she does with Debbie, Charity’s begun to enable Ryan’s behaviour, mothering and interfering, and Ryan was once more independent than to tolerate that. Emmerdale need a serious rethink before they ruin Ryan’s character for good.

Emmerdale’s Top 20 Moments of 2018 – Part Two (#10-1)

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Here it is, my run down of the Top 10 Best Moments in Emmerdale in 2018. You can read numbers 11-20 here, but below are the things I enjoyed most about Emmerdale this year.

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10. Bernice and Liam

Three of Emmerdale’s best decisions in 2018 were these: making dishy Dr Liam Cavanagh a full-time cast member; Bernice ditching dull Daz and finally, making Liam and Bernice a couple. In just a short time, Bernice’s giggling crush on Dr C turned into a mutual attraction and the pair were carrying on like a couple of teenagers. Their relationship has managed to be both sweet and laugh-out-loud funny and uses both characters to their best. With Gabby and Leanna on their hands things won’t be easy, but as long as we keep having this Carry On humour and a relationship full of warm then I hope Cavastock last and last.

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9. Matty Barton

Matty has fitted into village life so well it seems strange to think he only arrived in June! Matty’s shock appearance at Butler’s and the subsequent fall-out was Emmerdale at its best. Matty’s reveal was great character led drama about a family and this continued as characters like Moira, Cain and Victoria reacquainted themselves with him. Actor Ash Palmisciano has brought so much warmth and humour to the role, that apart from it being interesting to have a trans character in the show and explore new ground in storylines, he’s also been great fun to have around, be it in the pub or in David’s shop. I’ve been torn between liking his friendship with Vic and loving the slow burn romance, but regardless, Matty’s one of the best newcomers in 2018.

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8. Pete and Rhona

When spoilers circulated at the beginning of the year claiming Pete and Rhona were going to hook up, put me down as someone that thought it sounded ridiculous! Fast forward 12 months and they are one of my favourite couples in Emmerdale. Pete was one of my most hated characters in 2017 after the Priya affair, and after Pierce, Rhona needed something fun and sparky, someone who would treat her well and communicate with her. Did anyone expect that from Pete Barton? These two have cracking chemistry, as well as Rhona performing miracles and actually making Pete seem mature and likeable. Who knew?! One of this year’s highlights was seeing Pete try and bond with Leo, even learning Makaton and it was moments like this that added real depth and heart into the pairing. I’m a big fan, Emmerdale – don’t let me down!

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7. Joe Tate Reveal

For one minute, just forget what a massive watered-down disappointment Joe Tate ended up being and cast your mind back to January 2018 where “Tom Waterhouse” revealed to a packed street that he was in fact “Joseph Tate”. It was the twist all viewers had been waiting for and delivered with such punch. Debbie and Charity’s world shattered and every criticism about the shallow Tom and Debbie fling and the golf course story all made sense. Joe swaggered around the village as the arrogant, campy soap villain, demolishing Wishing Well and injecting a real sense of Tate ruthlessness back into Home Farm, making the Dingles’ lives a misery. It was a glorious time of fun boo-hiss antagonism. It’s just a shame it all went so wrong…

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6. Ellis Chapman

Ellis only arrived in September, but already he has become one of my favourite characters in Emmerdale. When Ellis rocked up in September to see his mum Jessie, no one could have predicted how quickly he would settle into the village, but with a relationship with Vic, a job at the scrapyard and the best friendship with April he feels right at home. Not only does Ellis have the charisma and humour (and the dress sense) to carry any scene he’s in, he also has the slightly cynical, disenfranchised millennial vibe, which has been an entertaining clash with Marlon. Now that Billy’s finally arrived I’m expecting to see new sides to Ellis and I can’t wait.

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5. The Coira Reunion

It’s fair to say that Cain and Moira had a very rough start to the year, surrounded still by the lingering fall-out from Emma Barton’s death. But Coira were meant to be and their on/off tempestuous relationship could only end in one way. With Moira ready to leave the village for good, Cain made a last-ditch attempt to reunite with her, telling her to meet him at the bridge at 5pm. This was real rom-com stuff and when Moira finally arrived (late), Cain’s teasing quip melted all tension and the two kissed to seal their future together. Natalie J Robb and Jeff Hordley’s chemistry is addictively good and after a long wait, the reunion was so worth it.

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4. The Robron Reunion

Cain and Moira weren’t the only pair to have a reunion to rival the best rom-coms. After a year of hell for Robron, Robert was dragged to a gay bar by his girl squad to help him move on from Aaron. This hysterical ensemble of characters made for one of the best episodes of 2018, but the hilarious turned to heart-wrenching as Aaron realised he couldn’t be without his estranged terrible dancer of a husband. After all the best rom-com tropes, the crossed wires, a meaningful location (the garage!) and heart-stopping conversations, Aaron delivered a desperate speech to Robert, listing all the reasons he loved and appreciated him and the two were back together where they belonged. This had buckets of romance and emotion and proved that after all this time the Robron magic is still there.

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3. Emma Atkins’ Winning Performances

Arguably Emmerdale’s biggest character of 2018 was THE Charity Dingle. After fairly low-key stories since her reintroduction after prison, this year was a gamechanger for Charity. From discovering her son was still alive, to finding love with Vanessa, to getting Bails sent down for rape and abuse, Charity’s 2018 was huge. Elements of the Bails story felt repetitive and drawn out, especially coming so soon after two other big rape stories in Emmerdale, but Emma Atkins’ retelling of the abuse Charity faced stayed captivating. Through the ups and downs of Charity’s year, be it her sharp tongue, humour or fragility, the consistently brilliant performances from Emma Atkins have been a constant. Charity’s entertainment factor is endless and her caustic humour can liven up even the dullest week of stories.

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2. Thomas Atkinson’s Killer Portrayal

The second week of January 2018 featured one hell of a car crash as Lachlan White tried to kill his entire family, wanting “make all the monsters disappear”. We’ve been waiting years for Emmerdale to fully embrace Lachlan’s cold-hearted and entitled darkness and this year Lachlan went from deranged to serial killer as his behaviour escalated to tormenting, gaslighting, imprisonment, torture and multiple murders. Yikes. The story suffered from lags and disappointments, but actor Thomas Atkinson was incredible in the role, progressing from a lost-boy out of his depth to stone-cold evil. At his best, Thomas made Lachlan creepily empathetic and then, in the next breath twisted and cold. In the end, the story let him down but some of Emmerdale’s best scenes in 2018 had Thomas at the helm.

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1. Tracy’s Powerful Year

So, my top spot? The brave and beautiful Tracy Shankley. The year began with another lazy cheating plot as David slept with Leyla (offscreen) and shattered Tracy’s heart, but worse was to come when a man from her past appeared, pallying up with David and blackmailing Tracy over her secret past as a prostitute. As David turned a cold shoulder and blamed her, ashamed of her past, Tracy – with the help of some allies – realised she deserved far better and dumped him for good. Amy Walsh is one of Emmerdale’s best, delivering raw and vulnerable performances and making Tracy an incredibly empathetic and strong woman. I’ve loved her empowered speeches this year as she made so many right, but difficult choices, and she has been my stand-out star of 2018. It was a real shame her storyline about prostitution was rushed and that Amy Walsh has been overlooked for award nominations. Here’s to a bigger and better year for Tracy and her new business in 2018 and please Emmerdale, please, don’t reunite her with David.

Thank you for all your support of The Woolie Weekly in 2018 and Happy New Year!

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? (5-9 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! Another good week in the Dales, as Bob stripped, then got dumped and Aaron struggled after Seb’s departure.

Faves

Better Together

vlcsnap-2018-11-10-21h30m11s028Since their longed-for reunion, Aaron and Robert haven’t really had a storyline to get their teeth into as a couple. They’ve been constantly occupied with family dramas and Lachlan’s reign of terror, but it feels like a while since we had a story about the two of them. Now that they’re married it felt right this week to have a dilemma that challenged them both, as a team. This week’s drama offered just that, giving good character-led struggles that leaned heavily on their pasts and childhood issues, as well as testing their communication skills as a couple. After last week’s sudden decision from Robert to let Rebecca take Seb, Aaron was left heartbroken at the decision. Having recently lost Grace, he struggled to cope with losing another loved one so quickly especially as he had become a dad to Seb. Aaron’s pain lead him to making the reckless decision to keep Seb and not take him to Rebecca and this added friction to his relationship to Robert. This time though it didn’t feel like angst for angst’s sake. Their rows didn’t resort to shouting and fighting and we saw a calmer, more reasonable approach. Is this a more mature Robron we’re seeing? The end of the week saw Aaron shocking Robert with a surrogacy plan and reluctantly backing off from Seb despite his anguish, but the drama seems far from over. Thankfully this story feels like it will continue to provide the pair for some juicy drama together, it certainly warrants time and talking, rather than being on the sidelines of other people’s stories. 

Big Laughs

vlcsnap-2018-11-10-21h33m47s214Comedy in Emmerdale can be hit and miss at the best of times but I thoroughly enjoyed Thursday’s efforts as the gents of the village took centre stage and stripped off! With Bob desperate to prove his worth in the pub (LOVE having him back behind the bar, by the way) he set pulses racing by hiring the popular Uptown Hunks. I’ve always been a bit undecided about Charity as landlady but her saucy enthusiasm and rousing of the crowds before the hunks took the stage confirmed to me that she really is right at home. Unfortunately for Bob, his oiled up strippers pulled out and he was forced to rope in his friends. From the OAP audience, asking for complicated orders and having palpitations over Pete, to the ladies of the Woolie enjoying every minute – it was such a fun episode. Of course these episodes would have been nothing without the awkward dancing from the men involved – Rishi, Jimmy, Bob and Pete. With everyone enjoying themselves it was a really fun watch and rather feel like a cruel mocking of these guys and their moves, they were well loved by all. Except of course for Bob, who’s fun was cut short by a mortified Laurel…awkward…

Harsh Truth

vlcsnap-2018-11-10-21h34m34s707It seems ironic that some of the best scenes of the Bob and Laurel debacle, have been their break up. After Laurel’s embarrassing public dumping of Bob, he spent the rest of the episode greasy and half naked pleading for an explanation. Not really how you want to have a deep and meaningful, is it? Sadly for Bob (and truth be told, I have started to feel sorry for him) Laurel was adamant that their relationship was over. Laurel was frank with Bob that she was still grieving Ashley when they got together and this admission, that she used Bob as a crutch, seemed like a genuine explanation for this weird relationship rather than the whirlwind romance we’d been expected to buy into. For many fans, their affair came too soon after Ashley’s death and their feelings felt at odds with the characters. This break up seems a promising move from the new producers, recognising that the Bob and Laurel relationship didn’t work and wasn’t well received. But the benefit to exploring this split means promising future storylines. How will this affect the children? Brenda? Doug? Will Laurel struggle, feeling like she has upset so many people? Will Bob return to the loveable fool he once was? There are so many possibilities here as well as dealing with the reality of an affair that should have never progressed to a relationship. 

Tag-Team Trouble

vlcsnap-2018-11-10-21h31m51s034Who’d have thought the new dream team would be precocious little April and disenchanted Millennial Ellis? This week April was desperate to hang out with too-cool-for-school (literally) Ellis and even gave an Attenborough style commentary as he lazed on the couch. Her hero worship and his teasing is a fun dynamic and I enjoyed seeing them hang out when she bunked school. As Ellis taught her the art of ordering a customised coffee, April used her own sneaky powers to mend the relationship between Ellis and Jessie. I’m not totally sold on Jessie and Marlon as a partnership, but I already love April wanting to be as cool and adult as Ellis. This is a great dynamic and one I definitely don’t want to lose. 

Bonus Faves

  • Once again this week, Emmerdale had a really strong sense of community. From the firework celebrations at the Dingles’ and the memorial garden, to the Woolpack stripper shenanigans, it was great to see so many characters together in one place. More please!
  • Liv’s assessment of terrible maths questions as Rob helped her with probability was right. Anyone counting a thousand coloured beads does need to get a life. 
  • Despite his sadness, it was good to see Aaron and Seb’s bond on screen more this week – he really does make a great dad.  The Dingles throwing Seb an early birthday party was a sweet move from Chas, especially at such a difficult time for her. 
  • There seems to be a lot of heart-to-heart conversations lately and I’m a big fan of these, especially when stories cross in believable ways.

Fails

Debbie Downer

vlcsnap-2018-11-10-21h34m07s574Debbie’s relentless role as the tragic heroine has gotten stale. She’s not the only villager to have been overloaded with miserable stories (a certain other Dingle springs to mind) but perhaps it’s time for a personality tweak. Debbie has little levity in her stories and no one in her life to have a laugh with, even her relationship with her kids is bogged down in tragedy. No doubt soon she’ll discover her dear old dad Cain “killed” Joe and depressed Debbie will become shouty Debbie. Some viewers are pleased Debbie is facing some consequences for ordering a violent attack (okay, she didn’t want acid but she did want revenge) but I think some time in prison could actually offer the chance to refresh her character a bit. Rather than Debbie get away with her crime or fall into familiar patterns of behaviour, I’d just like to see something different from Debbie. She won’t be smiling any time soon, but the woe-is-me personality could do with a shake up. 

Fave or Fail? (22-26 Oct 2018)

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! 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!