Here it is, my run down of the Top 10 Best Moments in Emmerdale in 2019. You can read numbers 11-20 here, but below are the things I enjoyed most about Emmerdale this year.
10 – Jai and Laurel
Who could predict that one of Emmerdale’s latest favourite couples would be Jai and Laurel? This time last year we were finally free of the massively unpopular Laurel and Bob romance, but her new love with Jai has been a surprise hit. Early days for the pair was something of a sweet slow burn of crossed wires and a pretend kiss to get Jai out of a dodgy date, but now they’re finally together it just works. The actors have a good chemistry and their cuteness has been pretty sweet. Lately their merged family is under threat as Arthur cruelly bullies Archie – could this destroy Laurel and Jai’s relationship so soon? Hopefully not!
9 – Vanity’s Engagement
2019 started in a hugely dramatic way for Vanessa and Charity when Vanessa was stabbed outside the pub by Lachlan’s dad Donny. After her brush with death, Charity was more convinced than ever of her love and decided to pop the question. What followed was a brilliantly humorous attempt by Charity to hijack an unsuspecting groom’s outlandish proposal at Home Farm to surprise Vanessa. Although it was classic Charity madness, Vanessa was less than impressed when she realised what Charity had done. Nevertheless Vanessa returned to Home Farm to hear Charity out and after some drunken rambling, the couple’s heart to heart lead to a real proposal. This moment had everything – laughs, vulnerability and a great script. Will their wedding be as similarly funny and romantic when it happens?
8 – The Immediate Aftermath of Victoria’s Rape
I have some serious problems with how Vic’s rape story ultimately transpired but there’s no denying that the initial scenes in which Victoria revealed she’d been raped to Moira were outstanding. In the aftermath of Vic’s rape, Moira tried to help her understand she wasn’t at fault in any way with writing that deftly dispelled every myth and misconception surrounding the assault. Emmerdale made interesting choices in the beginning of the story, with Lee seemingly like the nice guy helping to walk Vic home before attacking her in her own home in brutal but effective scenes. The aftermath also featured stunning performances from the underused Isabel Hodgins and it’s a shame the story derailed so quickly.
7 – Truth about Maya
It was the moment viewers were eagerly waiting for and when the truth about Maya came out, it was worth the wait. For months Maya had been grooming and seducing Jacob right under his family’s nose and after Liv’s discovery it was only a matter of time before the truth came out. The reveal took the centre stage of the Big Night Out episodes as Priya was the surprise witness to a kiss between the pair. The tension was delicious as Maya accepted a lift from Leyla, Tracy and Priya – although we had to wait a few weeks to find out what they’d actually done to her, suspecting she might be dead. The beginning of the end came with a gripping confrontation in the woods, but David learning the truth was equally compelling with a strong performance from Matthew Wolfenden and an uncomfortable but authentic range of emotions on display. With Maya and Jacob hiding out, there were some must-see twists and turns as the truth emerged, but disappointingly, the dramatic climax fizzled out and the conclusion of this story just didn’t live up to the gripping revelation.
6 – Robert’s Exit
The end of 2019 also marked the end of Emmerdale’s most-shipped couple as Robron were torn apart due to the departure of Robert from the show. After his sister’s rape, Robert was unable to move past his need for revenge and when Lee’s torment of her continued, Robert saw red and hit Lee over the head with a shovel. For a while it looked like Robert’s charges would be minimal but things changed when Lee woke up and later died from his injuries. Facing the prospect of life behind bars, Robert went on the run, with Aaron by his side. With the desperate couple willing to sacrifice everything for their love, the reality of their future weighed heavily on Robert’s mind and he selflessly turned himself in, breaking Aaron’s heart in the process. Robert was sentenced to fourteen years inside and scheduled to be moved to the Isle of Wight and while Aaron was determined to hang onto their marriage, Robert made the crushing decision to cut all ties and allow Aaron to live his life. While Robert is a big loss to the show, Ryan Hawley gave some of his best performances throughout his exit and his exit managed to be both gripping and heart-breaking. Despite this story meaning the end of Robron, their epic love story was honoured in Robert’s final episode and the plot stayed true to their depth of feeling until the very end.
5 – Flashback episodes
There was a real buzz around Emmerdale’s much promoted Big Night Out episodes, but the real excitement began just a few weeks later as we got to see what really happened during that fateful night. Flashbacks have been overdone in Emmerdale lately but withholding what really went down for two weeks was just the right time to keep things gripping and keep us all guessing. Of all the flashbacks Billy’s was the weakest but even that managed its own twists and give us glimpses of the other storylines in the background. The thrilling showdown between Maya and the trio of Leyla, Tracy and Priya let to a brilliant blackly comic confrontation in a horror movie pursuit in the woods. Victoria’s strand was unsurprisingly the hardest to watch as what could have been a rom-com style episode had a horrific end, and knowing what was coming gave the episode an unbearable dread. Overall this was an exciting dose of episodes, giving Emmerdale back its must-see bite while these big stories played out.
4 – Women’s Day Special Episode
Emmerdale celebrated International Women’s Day this year with an episode dedicated to the women of the Dales using a mostly all women crew too. Not only was this an inspiring decision behind the scenes, but the episode itself was full of pathos, joy and warmth. Emmerdale managed to use almost its entire female cast, interacting in surprising ways and having a wonderful community, character driven feel. There was also a surprise inclusion of Lisa with the sad reveal she was dying, but despite this the episode still managed to be funny and full of heart, instilling a sense of confidence and strength in being a woman. An episode with ambitions like this made me even prouder to be an Emmerdale fan. And hey, if it pisses off the backwards likes of Piers Morgan and co then it’s doing something right!
3 – The Mere Existence of Liam Cavanagh
If there’s one character who’s made Emmerdale 2019 a joy to watch then it’s Dr Liam Cavanagh. Not only has he shared a sweet and funny romance with Bernice (a relationship so right for their characters I was sad to see end), but in his own right he’s managed to be both charming and laugh out loud funny. This year highlights have included his painfully awkward encounter with Cain, the discovery that he loves murder mystery roleplay – leading to a hilarious misunderstanding where Bernice thought he was a murderer – and of course his adventures in costume from the sheriff to the panto’s Farmer Christmas. Although Liam has lost his love, there’s potential with Leyla, but also his relationship with daughter Leanna and colleague Manpreet to explore. Liam’s the sort of character that easily feels at home in the village (he even made Bear briefly watchable) and Jonny McPherson’s natural charisma and comedic timing, he’s a character who consistently puts a smile on your face. If I could only make one wish for 2020, it would be more Liam!
2 – Lydia’s past
There was one stand-out star of 2019 and that was Karen Blick as Lydia, effortlessly taking Lydia from kooky oddball with a big heart from tragic matriarch of the Dingles. This year we learnt more about Lydia’s tragic past, revealing that she had taken on a false identity and was really named Jenny Finn. As the remains of a baby were found by the school, Lydia turned herself into the police revealing she had buried her stillborn child there and kept it a secret all this time. Karen Blick’s performances were nothing short of incredible and together with Sam, they were the real jewels in Emmerdale’s crown this year. This story not only made Lydia more loved, but it also strengthened the bond between the couple. Giving Lydia this fleshed out backstory offered a believable explanation for her personality and the material, never short of gut-wrenching, proved what an incredible performer Karen Blick is. With the question of Huntingdon’s disease playing on her mind, I hope 2020 continues to give Karen the material she deserves.
1 – Lisa’s death
We lost a real Emmerdale legend this year as Lisa Dingle passed away suddenly. We had only just seen her back in the village and in her rightful home when we lost her for good, after a warm and nostalgic big Dingle celebration. Lisa’s death was understated and fitting, following a sentimental wedding for her and Zak, which even featured classic Emmerdale band The Woolpackers. Despite Lisa’s death being a surprise to many viewers, we should have guessed Lisa’s time back in Wishing Well was limited considering her return almost felt like a goodbye tour. When her family came home to find her dead, there were impressive scenes as they grieved and supported each other. The aftermath was moving as it panned over their homestead and the funeral was a fun and quirky affair with pig races. Lisa also left behind letters for her family which told them what they needed to hear and was a fitting end for the matriarch of the family. The Dingles haven’t quite felt the same without her, but her final episodes were a beautiful tribute to her treasured character.
Thank you for all your support of The Woolie Weekly in 2019 and Happy New Year!
Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Not one of Emmerdale’s strongest weeks but the best bits came from surprising little storylines.
The trying times continued at Tug Ghyll this week as Tracy, Vanessa and Megan tried to organise Frank’s funeral. With many of the village wrongly believing Frank stole the charity money, not many were willing to say they would attend, which devastated Tracy and put her relationship with Vanessa under even more strain. There were some great performances too from Gaynor Faye (Megan) this week as she remained conflicted over her feelings for Frank and struggled with the reminders of losing son Robbie. Frank’s death has provided great material for the three main actresses involved and the injustice of everyone believing Frank to be guilty will provide real satisfaction when the truth comes out. Will we ever be able to look at Kerry in the same way – that’s the question!
Sometimes the best moments in Emmerdale come from the most unlikely places. This week it was strange yet endearing partnership of Cain and Liam, as Liam went to the garage to get his car fixed. Cain, who isn’t known for his gang of mates, offered Dr C a beer and a surprised Liam accepted (after almost spilling the whole thing). After Cain hurt his hand the two had a funny and awkward chat – the extreme of chalk and cheese. The comic timing was spot on and the scene was made even better when Liam reported back his macho activities to a baffled Bernice and Diane. Will their paths ever cross again? Lets hope so!
Disaster struck at the Woolpack this week as Charity learnt the pub has dry rot and will be out of action for six weeks. While this hopefully means we’ll get treated to a glossy new makeover inside (the pub hasn’t had a refurb since the Cameron siege), it brought chaos to Charity’s door. First she had to persuade Paddy and Bear to move out, but then the bigger problem was business. Crafty Brenda took advantage of Charity’s misfortune and used her license to sell booze after hours, but this started war and Charity retaliated with a big booze up in the garden. This plot was a whole lot of fun, bringing out Charity’s snark and entertaining personality alongside Brenda’s dry one-liners, as well as giving the scenes a big community feel. The village isn’t the same without the pub, but at least we got some good scenes out of it.
Jacob had a difficult time this week as his poor GCSE results brought it all home just how much Maya’s grooming had impacted upon his future. As David and his merry band of exes tried to give Jacob some relaxed time in the garden to take his mind off it, they realised Jacob had been trying to write to Maya in prison. Later in the week, Priya’s efforts to comfort Jacob got misconstrued and he was furious at her for being a hypocrite. Thankfully Jacob realised he was in the wrong and perhaps there are glimmers here that he’s noticing how Maya warped his mind. Jacob hasn’t yet had the support he needs to cope with the aftermath of what Maya did to him and after a lacklustre resolution, could this mean we’re moving towards Jacob eventually getting some help?
Private School Privilege
There was some dry old posh drama at Home Farm this week as the biggest problem seemed to be the local state primary or a fancy private school. The dilemma! It’s still a hard task to believe Jamie’s really the dad of a five year old little girl and rather than Jamie’s reticence about Millie’s childhood being as privileged as his having nuance, it just feels petty and pathetic. While Kim the panto villain doesn’t work, I’m not sure interfering granny is the best use of her either. Andrea too seems charismatic and could be a great character if only we could see her get out of the mansion. Does anyone really care which school Millie goes to? Perhaps if this were a brief comedy story and not one with endless scenes of Jamie sulking around the house, but this week it just felt like the same old story for Jamie and Kim.
Nate and Moira finally gave into “temptation” this week in what has got to be one of Emmerdale’s worst affair storylines in a long time. Yes, worse than Bob and Laurel. Yes, worse than Pete and Priya. A naughty roll in the hay with an alpha male might have earned Emmerdale legions of fans with Cain and Moira doing the dirty, but that story was popular because the actors at the helm had smoking hot chemistry. Nate and Moira are just plain awkward together. This week Emmerdale did their very best to convince us of all that sexy chemistry, lots of close up shots of skin touching, the characters breathlessly staring at each other with gawping mouths, Nate chowing down on Moira’s shoulder, cheap Mills and Boon style barn romping. Laboured is not the word! It seems painfully obvious Nate has an agenda but this is ruining Moira’s character and isn’t convincing in the slightest. Granted, Moira’s got frisky on the farm before, but nothing has felt as forced and clunky as this. Nate’s lines seem purposefully cliché, and maybe we’re supposed to believe Moira would sacrifice her marriage for a personality-free hunk doing his best to recreate her previous farm flings, but nah, not buying it. Nate doesn’t have the charm to pull off this seduction lark, he’s coming across as a creep, and worst than that, Emmerdale has thrown one of their most popular couples (and characters) under a bus for this rubbish.
Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Robert learnt he might be facing life in prison and Kerry sunk to new depths.
Robert’s World Ends
Robert’s life came crashing down around him this week as he was charged with GBH with intent. Just as he and husband Aaron had decided to get their surrogacy plans up and running again, the police came a’knocking, revealing Vic’s rapist Lee had woken from his coma. In tense scenes, the police interviewed Robert revealing the damning evidence against him and Robert unable to stick to his solicitor’s advice, tried to defend himself. All this lead to a charge and a warning that he could be looking at life imprisonment. Robert was floored by this news and Ryan Hawley’s already mastered Robert’s private devastation as he covered up the truth from Aaron and the rest of his family. As Robert tried to put on a brave face, his inevitable fate is a tough watch, especially knowing how much his loved ones will struggle. It’s both a gripping and heart-breaking storyline to watch unfold with impressive performances from Ryan as reality sunk in and it’s going to become even more gut-wrenching as Robert’s future becomes impossible to avoid.
The Fire Fall-out Continues
The Sharmas were at rock bottom this week in the wake of the factory fire. With the dodgy alarm turned off by Rishi, the insurance company were reluctant to give them any sort of pay-out so once again they turned to resident moneybags – Kim Tate – to save the factory. It’s made a nice change to see the Sharmas given a serious storyline that has an impact on all family members and even Manpreet struggled with her guilt and attempted to leave because of it. It’s been a good story that doesn’t just affect a small bubble of characters or one family, but has spiralled out into other characters too. Besides Kerry and Amy’s involvement, Frank’s daughters, the workers are also impacted too and now Kim’s involved it’s helped widen her circle of interactions and given her purpose. Jai has shaped up to be a great character these days and his scenes with Kim were particularly watchable. Both him and Priya have become a lot more likeable lately so their downfall has more emotional investment and we could even see this effect Jai’s relationship with Laurel. Kim’s involvement also has potential, especially as we know she has big plans, and this story has allowed us to see her ruthless businesswoman side, and not the cartoonish gangster she had been written as before.
Tracy and Vanessa struggled to cope with their grief in the aftermath of Frank’s shock death this week. At first the pair were divided and then their conflict continued when Tracy was sure of Frank’s innocence in the fire, with Vanessa being more suspicious. As Tracy’s grief manifested in gut-wrenching sobs and emptiness, her sister was more stoic, pained and unable to talk and both actresses did a good job in the spectrum of emotions. Both had believable breakdowns over the smallest things like Frank’s favourite song and Vanessa running out of petrol triggering a explosion of grief and it was a good choice to have them both react in different ways to the same tragedy.
Too Little Too Late
This week Jessie was sent in front of an education board in scenes which looked like the dialogue had been taken straight from Twitter! Not only has Jessie’s job been seen as a bit of a joke (she’s never there!) but her role in the Maya/Jacob storyline was completely ignored. While Jessie should have been taken to task over safe-guarding and had some sort of emotional response to a member of her staff grooming a pupil, Jessie was noticeably absent through the whole story and community reactions were muted. This week Jessie was suspended and finally, finally, it seemed like there was an effort to give Maya’s actions more village-wide impact. It might be too little too late but at least it’s happening now and the scenes were still satisfying. Jacob’s lack of aftermath however is another aspect sorely missing and it’s a wonder if it’ll ever be revisited…
Sinking Lower and Lower
Last week I questioned if Kerry could come back from her charity money theft, which lead to Frank’s death, but after her behaviour this week I’m even less sure. Can we really laugh along with Kerry’s antics knowing the lies she’s telling? It’s one thing to do something desperate to try and look after her family, but this week lying about Frank’s involvement and then going with Tracy to the mortuary was all just a bit too twisted. Even Amy pointed out that she seemed to enjoy the attention and at times it felt like she was right. Kerry’s remorse didn’t seem strong enough and I’m not sure a few tears can repair her likeability in the eyes of the audience. There are times though that I’ve almost felt she’s so unlikeable that perhaps they should go the whole way and make her a complete villain. Whatever the case, Amy needs to distance herself fast before she becomes Emmerdale’s second most hated.
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 week that Bernice organised the Wild West event, Kim discovered Jamie and Rhona’s plot against her.
Love for Liam
Surely one of Emmerdale’s best decisions in the past year was turning Dr Cavanagh from a guest character into a fully-fledged permanent addition? These past two weeks have been proof enough of his success. Actor Jonny McPherson recently described Liam as a combination between Hugh Grant and Alan Partridge and that seems to be a winning formula. This week saw the fall out of last week’s split with Bernice and Liam wasn’t being won round easily, giving her the cold shoulder in the pub and holding back on his enthusiasm for the Wild West event. As Jimmy was roped in to helping reunite Bernice and Liam, he faked symptoms of a rare disease and Liam’s sarcastic response to the “diagnosis” was genius. Also perfect was Liam’s deadpan delivery of “The murder was of our love, the murderer was you, the mystery was why you ever thought me capable of harming a single, glossy hair on your head.” Emmerdale have got an absolute gem on their hands with Liam. He’s got the posh fop air of a romantic lead while also being a slightly nerdy comedy character and he’s one of the best things about Emmerdale right now!
After last week’s disastrous misunderstanding, Bernice had some big making up to do when it came to Liam. Determined to win him back, she put her plans in motion to organise a village murder mystery event in his honour, giving proceeds to charity and choosing a Wild West Theme. Bernice doesn’t do things by half and she spent most of the week roping in other villagers to help – giving her plenty of amusing interactions with characters who could barely tolerate her antics like Debbie and David. Spoiler fans will know the Wild West event is centre stage for Emmerdale’s big summer week next week, but this event planning has already given us lots of great community feel scenes. From Bernice brainstorming for theme ideas in the pub, to trying to get David to persuade Eric to dress up, it was an enjoyable watch. Emmerdale should do more village events more often. Where have the county shows gone?
Crisis in the Factory
The Sharmas were thrown into crisis this week, with Jai, Priya and Rishi all having confessions to make. Jai wanted to come clean about him and Laurel, Priya wanted her family’s support over her eating disorder relapse – but it was Rishi who was hiding the biggest secret. Desperate to help Manpreet with her mounting debts, Rishi had let the sweet factory crumble, forcing him to take a secret loan from Kim Tate. Of course, having seen the Wild West Trailer we all know this is going to end in disaster but I enjoyed the family scenes this week, especially those which saw Jai try to comfort sister Priya. Although some viewers might have always questioned how the Sharmas managed to keep a rural sweet factory in profit anyway, we could have done with seeing a bit more of Manpreet’s struggle in the run up to this shock reveal about the business! Will it survive after next week’s shock events?
No More Mr Nice Guy
This week marked the start of a new storyline for Matty as Emmerdale tackles toxic masculinity. This is a current and fascinating topic and Matty’s a believable character to get sucked into a world of lad culture and damaging behaviour – but is he the right choice or character? It’s completely understandable that Matty would want to impress these football lads, being that he’s not very secure in his own masculinity, but Matty seems to work best when he’s a bit fun and cheeky and his vulnerable scenes surrounding his transition have been good too. Knowing Matty isn’t always the most popular character, making him so vile so quickly with his new friends isn’t going to earn him any new fans and might his realisation about this new lads come too late in making him sympathetic. It’s a shame too this story has seen his other friendships drift away as he, Ellis and Vic were a great trio and his new venture with Ryan was an enjoyable change too. It’s a great topic for a story but it could damage Matty’s likeability.
The Beginning of the Affair
This week Moira gave into all that lingering temptation – those drawn out hand touches, Nate wandering around in a towel – and reciprocated Nate’s snog in the barn. It seems Emmerdale are hinting that there’s a lot more to Nate than meets the eye, but even so, it’s Moira’s sudden sexual interest in the cardboard cut-out farm hand that’s hard to buy into. Moira and Cain have always had a rocky marriage but since he supported her through her breakdown over killing Emma, you’d think they’d be stronger than ever, but Emmerdale’s engineered attempts to give them strife seemed forced. Cain upping and leaving without a word, Moira continually pissed off, even when he’s trying to make amends? It all feels clumsy and shoe-horned when the acting skills of Natalie J Robb and Jeff Hordley could easily give power to well written strain. Even Natalie, who makes sexy look easy, is struggling to give the scenes with Nate any sort of spark. A roll in the hay with a buff and shirtless farmer should be electric but it’s plain awkward, especially when Nate’s attitude feels predatory and creepy. Not to mention that when Cain and Moira reconnected on screen this week, even in light of Moira’s wandering attention, their brief sparks could burn the farm down compared to Nate’s whimper. I’m dreading the rest of the affair if it’s more of the same – the payoff better be worth it.
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 bit of a lacklustre week that saw Jessie shot, a cameo from Chris Kamara and a misguided proposal from Pete to Rhona (end it already!).
Happiness in Hard Times
Will Jai and Laurel’s budding romance be my favourite part of every week in Emmerdale from now on? Very possibly. In a week where several stories centred around new characters it was nice to take comfort in the joy of those familiar to us. Laurel and Jai’s smiles are infectious. This week as they tried to keep their new romance a secret they snuck around giggling like teenagers arranging secret dates and Jai putting on his stern voice in case anyone was listening. You can tell the actors are having a lot of fun with it and it’s endearing to watch, especially to see a happy, fun story in amongst the sadder tales.
A Little Star
The best performance in the siege scenes came from young Amelia Flanagan, who made April’s fear so believable. As soon as the focus was on April, the scenes became a lot more intense, her bravery and terror so raw that we were drawn into the moment with her. Perhaps her stand out moment, besides her escape was the moment she confidently faced Max and told him she wasn’t afraid because her mummy was a police officer. That was a great moment and one that would have made Donna very proud.
Friday’s episode gave us some very surprising and intriguing scenes as Priya struggled at both home and work with a secret. We’re in the dark about what this could be yet with her taking some deep breaths and looking far away in thought. Could this be the aftershocks of Jacob and Maya playing on her mind, a return to her struggles with food or something else? Priya is one of the show’s most underappreciated characters with Fiona Wade a great actress, especially when it comes to the serious stuff.
This week a hopeful Dawn took the first steps in seeing her son Lucas as she had a supervised visit through social services. It wasn’t as straightforward or as successful as she first hoped but after a surprising tough-love pep talk from Amy, Dawn’s mood was lifted. It always makes a good scene when unusual character pairings find common ground, sharing histories and experience through storylines past and present and this was no exception. It could be interesting to see what kind of friendship these two could forge!
Bear With It?
I’m in a quandary when it comes to Bear. I think Joshua Richards does a good job and when the story has been more about him and Paddy finding common ground I’ve liked it. I also think there’s a place for older characters in Emmerdale, something which has become less of a focus in recent years. However, this week made me question his inclusion in the village in terms of what he brings out in other characters. Did anyone ever feel Paddy needed a father figure at this stage in his life – surely Zak could’ve done the job? I’ve made no secret of the fact Paddy’s at his most irritating and unlikeable for me when he’s the bumbling buffoon and rather than the endearing idiot, he’s a pain in the arse. So this week saw Paddy sulk about a bit and regress to a child seeking his estranged dad’s approval and I wasn’t a fan. Bear isn’t exactly charming or funny, he’s a bit of a letch and seems to act as if he’s been in the village for years. This week’s community football match which had potential to be fun but the focus on Bear was a bit of a bore. Then there’s his budding relationship with Faith (and to swap the wonderfully charming Faith/Eric relationship for Faith/Bear seems a real misstep) and he’s only brought out the worst in her personality too. The two of them together is an overload of selfishness and bratty entitlement and the plot with the baby scan seemed oddly meanspirited.
Sieges and Sympathy
I tend to think Emmerdale should leave gun showdowns to big characters as a climax to long running storylines, rather than centring high octane moments to fairly one-dimensional characters like Max, so I can’t say I was ever particularly excited by a siege at Tall Trees. One of the problems with this story hinges on Billy and, again, Emmerdale’s habit of relying on heavy and convoluted backstory to carry their new characters (see Graham for more examples). Billy’s complex backstory is a worthy one but the execution has been muddled and frankly, a bit dull. Even his history was Aaron was dropped and ignored in a way that feels like Emmerdale regretted introducing him in such a way. So too has his relationship with Ellis and Jessie been muddled, both seeming to go in circles and never elevating into something fresh and engaging for the characters. Ellis and Billy’s rivalry began as something so intriguing and promising and has since devolved into a merry-go-round. It’s hard to invest. This week should have been pivotal for Billy’s character but beginning this change with Max, a rather soulless guest character, and an overblown situation with hostages and armed police was strangely devoid of any sort of tension or atmosphere. Then when Billy finally admitted to Jessie that he did in fact do the crime he was convicted of, the explanation was so overloaded with a history and characters we’ve never seen, that this pivotal moment lacked any sort of resonance. I don’t think Emmerdale needs to lose its complex intentions with Billy, he can still do the wrong thing for good reasons, but we need to see these actions to help us empathise.
The Woolie Weekly is taking a two week summer break. Blog posts will resume on Sunday 21st July.
Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! We lost an Emmerdale legend this week as Lisa Dingle died. And we witnessed another big moment as Maya was arrested.
We’d only just got used to beloved matriarch Lisa Dingle being back in her rightful home and before we knew it, we’d lost her all over again – and this time, for good! After a fortnight of special “goodbye” scenes with individuals in the village we should have guessed Emmerdale were subtly hinting at her fast demise. But after the nostalgic and warm feeling of the Dingle wedding (see below) Lisa’s death was both understated and very fitting. When the time came Lisa was at home, with the doe eyed and expressive Monty, and one by one her family came to learn the sad news. These were impressive and heartfelt scenes. So much was done in the quiet, tender moments between the family members and Lydia also did a great job holding the family together. It feels like soon she and Sam will play a vital role in keeping the Dingles together, as others struggle to cope. The aftermath of Lisa’s death was particularly moving and the quiet scenes which panned over their homestead were a nice touch. Lisa will be a huge loss, but this was a fitting end to a treasured character.
The Big Dingle Wedding
There’s nothing quite like a Dingle wedding! We’ve seen a few big do’s over the years but the nostalgic humour of pigs’ muck and a big Woolie knees up was the perfect calm before the sad storm of Lisa’s death. Emmerdale even reunited legendary show band The Woolpackers to perform their big hit (and yes, still singing it now). These episodes were fun, family filled and had a classic Emmerdale feel that was a truly warm-hearted send-off for Lisa. Even the central relationship of Zak and Lisa (though tainted by the stupid decision to split them in 2015) had a sentimental renaissance as the pair put the past behind them and celebrated their love. If I had only one niggle it would be that despite the family do, there were far too few village members at the reception and there are many who should have had a chance to say goodbye in their own way.
David’s adamant refusal to call the police was getting to be teeth-grindingly frustrating but after days of waiting, he finally did the right thing. His delay this week was because he wanted to confront his wicked ex face to face and after tricking her to the cricket pavilion he got his wish. It was all a little convoluted getting to that point but the tension and the spiky dynamic between Maya and David was worth the wait. Louisa Clein continues to be brilliantly manipulative as Maya twists the truth and Matthew Wolfenden’s restrained fury and disgust was a satisfying watch. Just don’t leave us waiting for that all important justice, Emmerdale!
Since Victoria went away with Robert for a break, her sad plot has been put on hold for the time being but rather than lose momentum, I like that the story has continued through Diane and Aaron. This week saw Diane distant and struggling, coping alone with Vic’s secret tragedy and not knowing how to help her. Aaron, who had a nice turn this week as sage and comfort, did his best to reassure her. These were a surprisingly touching set of scenes and it’s nice to see two characters who rarely interact (despite being family) come together in comfort. It was a welcome change to see more of Diane too, who is one of Emmerdale’s most underused since she left the pub. More please!
Maya’s arrest this week should have bought relief to Jacob’s loved ones but Leyla’s vigilante justice efforts threatened to jeopardise Maya’s conviction. Knowing she could get in serious trouble with the police, Leyla persuaded the other women to lie for her and they attempted to cover up the night of Maya’s kidnap. This posed a problem because Priya’s sighting of Maya and Jacob kissing should have been key evidence but of course, none of them spilled on that part, meaning Maya’s lies could very well see her go Scott free. We all know Leyla can be self serving at times but in this insistence it just didn’t sit right. How can the women that had helped to raise Jacob sit back and lie, knowing their words could seriously mean the difference between justice for their beloved family member and an abuser walking. I didn’t buy it and it lessened the emotional impact of their discovery. Perhaps they will realise their selfishness and confess but I was seriously disappointed to see them act so self-servingly instead of protecting a vulnerable child.
The End of the Line?
I was once one of the biggest advocates for Pete and Rhona’s romance, from their sparky chemistry to Pete’s lovely relationship with Leo, but now the shine is starting to wear off. Don’t get me wrong, they’ve still got a nice chemistry and it’s good to see something different from Pete, but the strain on their relationship is starting to drain. After Rhona’s accident things haven’t been the same and while their differences of opinion on their future have always spelled trouble, the aftermath of Rhona’s hysterectomy should have been the bittersweet end of them. Let’s be honest, they’re doomed and they know it. Right now their struggle to stay together seems futile, the end is nigh and current scenes feel like a repetitive way to delay the inevitable. If there’s a way to rescue them and make them fun again I’m all for it but their prolonged break down is a chore to watch.
Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! An exceptionally good week of Emmerdale as the flashbacks from the Big Night Out revealed what really happened.
It was clear Victoria’s flashback episode was going to be the hardest to watch, but having an entire episode centred on her night made that horrific ending a complete gut-punch and even more impactful. With Victoria’s rape being leaked by the press, the sense of dread hung over the episode, increasing the feeling that Vic was being lulled into a false sense of security with Lee, who at times even felt like boyfriend material. Seeing Vic so carefree having such a normal night out with a guy she was growing to like on their unconventional journey home, made knowing what was coming an unbearable prospect. The rape scenes themselves were traumatic to watch, but Isabel Hodgins gave impressive performances throughout, particularly given she was central the entire episode. While Emmerdale have had big sexual assault storylines every year this past five years and there’s a danger of these stories seeming repetitive or desensitising their impact, Vic’s episode was incredibly affecting.
The Maya Showdown Episode
It’s what many viewers have been desperate to witness – the beginning of the end for Maya – and this week we finally got to see what really did happen to her after the club. What followed was a tense and thrilling episode as Leyla, Tracy and Priya attempted to get their head around Maya’s abuse of Jacob. Their pursuit of the truth led them to horror-esque scenes in the woods which also contained some brilliantly black humour to briefly ease the relentless tension. As the three confronted Maya, a melting pot of emotions lead to tensions in the group and Maya took her opportunity to escape, only to meet Leyla’s wrath and a rock to the head. Despite the scenes quickly spiralling, it didn’t lose its grounding as they held Maya accountable for her actions and refused to acknowledge her endless lies. It could have been all too easy to turn this story into a whodunnit of vigilante revenge, but Jacob’s reveal that Maya is still alive quickly put the focus back on the central crime and not a murder. This was an exciting non-stop episode that barely gave us time to breathe and a satisfying showdown to lead us towards Maya’s final downfall.
The Aftermath of Victoria’s Rape
This week of Emmerdale blew me away in its quality of well-written scenes and gut-wrenching performances, and the aftermath of Victoria’s ordeal was the show at its finest. It was Moira who Victoria turned to this week as she confided about her rape and these scenes were breathtakingly good. Moira and Vic have been at loggerheads since Victoria discovered Adam covered for Moira’s crimes, but Moira’s empowering words and comfort of her ex-daughter-in-law was exactly what she needed. Their past tensions weren’t brushed aside either and Vic lashed out in her trauma, blaming Moira for the domino effect of events, but Moira herself also had advice on her own experience of the damage of bottling up emotions. Isabel Hodgins and Natalie J Robb had a visceral on screen rapport and their performances worked to make the storyline even more emotive as both characters broke down in their own ways. This story is difficult viewing but with strong leading performances, it’s a story impossible to look away from.
David Learns the Truth
Matthew Wolfenden is another of Emmerdale’s underrated actors so it was great to see him step forward again to the forefront of the show as the truth about Maya came to light. We’ve all been anticipating David’s reaction since the plot began and his conflicted response didn’t disappoint. Out of everyone, David’s reaction had the biggest emotional gut-punch, being that Jacob is not only his son, but Maya being his girlfriend meant the discovery contained a double betrayal. David has form for rash and unlikeable behaviour, but his gut reaction felt uncomfortably authentic as he seemed to suffer multiple stages of grief. There was denial and anger, sadly lashing out at Jacob when he realised he wasn’t being pranked. But that anger swiftly turned to horror and as he began to realise what Maya had been doing, he also began to blame himself. David’s progression through his complex reactions felt true to his character and there was no moment where it felt plot devicey or out of character. By the end of the week David was full of guilt and worry, first threatening Maya and then trying to plead with Jacob to talk. Emmerdale did a great job in this storyline of truly making the aftermath both uncomfortably raw and rewarding.
Twists and Turns
It was a week of gripping episodes and the stories were made even more compelling by Emmerdale’s juicy twists and turns. I argued a few months ago that Emmerdale was struggling to find its ‘must-see’ momentum, but this week was something of a gamechanger. From early in the week, Leyla revealing she’d killed Maya, to us seeing a glimpse of Victoria at home talking to a faceless character – Emmerdale kept us guessing. Almost everything in the Maya episode was edge-of-your-seat viewing and Maya jumping from the car was a true gasp moment! But it didn’t stop there, with Leyla leaving Maya for dead it seemed obvious Emmerdale wouldn’t make it that straight forward and it was revealed Jacob had used his phone to find her and the two were holed up in a hotel room – Jacob had never even made it to Portugal. Rather than be a frustrating twist, it’s prolonged the story in a different way, keeping us all wondering how Maya will face justice.
Ellis’s Night Gone Wrong
It’s fair to say that out of all the flashbacks episodes, Billy’s was the weakest. It was hard to connect when we knew Hotten General had discharged Ellis within days and much of Billy’s story involved characters we’d never meant before and a laboured backstory. Despite all this, there was enjoyment to be had from this episode. Not only was this the first of the club flashbacks and did a better job of interweaving the storylines than the original club episodes a fortnight ago, but getting a glimpse of the other blockbuster stories in the background gave a real ‘Super Soap Week’ vibe. When charming and cheesy Ellis took centre stage it was an enjoyable watch, particularly when his meet-cute romcom moment turned into a sinister twist and we learnt it was a rouse all along! This was a good start to the week of revelations, I only wish there were more stakes in the Billy and Ellis plot so Ellis’s stabbing had more impact.
Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! It was a huge week in Emmerdale as Thursday night took a dark and mysterious turn…
Three is the Magic Number
The big question on everyone’s lips this week is – what happened to Maya? At the heart of this story is a pact between three great women – Leyla, Tracy and Priya – who were the first to learn the terrible truth about Maya and Jacob and since that reveal it hasn’t disappointed. Priya was the surprise first witness to Maya and Jacob kissing and this crucial moment was jaw-droppingly brilliant. We’d all been waiting for things to kick off and the delicious tension was a fitting climax to Thursday’s episode as Leyla could barely conceal her disgust, but like with the other key stories, we’ve been left in the dark as to what happened next. As the three women met up, they warred with a mix of guilt, fear and disgust as they tried to process both what had happened and the consequences of both their behaviour and Maya’s. This story offers everything and speculation is rife. Did their vigilante justice go too far? Will one of them crack? These three women are unlikely friends but now common allies against Maya and the events of that fateful night. We’ve been promised the ‘right’ ending for victim Jacob, so presumably the focus will return to him in time. But for now, I am gripped and thrilled by this turn of events and the chance for these three brilliant women to take centre stage.
The Morning After
Perhaps the best part of this week’s promoted episodes actually came in the aftermath. Not only did the tension hinge on the three women’s role in what happened with Maya, but it was also discovering and scratching our heads over what else happened that night. Much like your typical ‘Whodunnit’, characters were looking shifty and behaving oddly, holding back until later flashbacks reveal all. Press has already revealed Victoria was raped on the night out, and even though we haven’t seen the scenes yet, Isabel Hodgin’s vulnerable portrayal has been affecting from the off and she’s bound to be the star to watch over coming weeks. Billy and Ellis’s rocky relationship looks set to shatter even further as we learn more about the stabbing, particularly as Billy himself was the one carrying a knife. And then there’s Rhona who seems to be carrying secrets of her own. This week set the stage for the arrival of some unmissable, compelling stories which admittedly is the aspect Emmerdale has been lacking lately – aside from the Maya plot. It feels good to return to have that excitement back!
Aaron and Robert made progress on their baby dreams this week when after much to-ing and fro-ing, Natalie agreed to be their surrogate. After Faith’s disastrous attempts to sell the lads’ as dream candidates, Aaron and Robert were nervous about making a good impression. As they sat down for a frank chat, details about some of the more unappealing aspects of their pasts came out. After the lacklustre Billy drama and the previous stop-start surrogacy saga, it was a pleasure to have the pair front and centre of a storyline again. It’s always a bit surreal to have characters discuss their outlandish lives on screen and hearing just part (and thankfully for them it was only a tiny part!) of their lives relived, it was no wonder Natalie got scared off. Getting their extended family involved has been something of a poison chalice for the guys, but getting Faith, Paddy – and finally some input from the Sugdens – gave the story a wider impact and made it feel more real. While reports have suggested Natalie won’t be back, I for one hope they’re wrong, as actress Thea Beyleveld had great comic timing and already a nice rapport with the other actors involved.
It’s All Fun and Games
By the end of their Big Night Out there wasn’t much fun to be had, but it was a welcome slice of entertainment to have Bernice and Kerry’s bold sense of humours on full display at the club. Earlier in the week too we’d also seen Robert celebrate a drama-free birthday and the Sugden-Dingles gathered to see in 33 with shots of Sambuca and Diane got right involved. Sometimes it’s nice to see odd moments of normality, of joy and happiness between the dark and the disastrous lives these village folk lead.
The Beginning of the End?
No one expected Rhona and Pete to last as long as they have, least of all the characters themselves, but their surprising sparky relationship has been an unusually popular hit with viewers. Ever since Rhona’s accident and hysterectomy, however, we’ve seen them become more strained and it seems as if they’ve reached breaking point. While some viewers have found Rhona’s angry and paranoid outbursts frustrating and unlikeable, Emmerdale have done a good job at making her breakdown believable. There are multiple factors at work here – self doubt, insecurity about her age and her inability to have children, a lack of trust in Pete and that’s without her huge hormonal changes and challenges with her painkiller addiction. Pete is struggling to cope with her unpredictable moods and unreasonable reactions, and it’s hard to watch knowing how genuinely committed he is to her. With the Big Night Out episodes hinting Rhona may have cheated, this looks to be the beginning of the end for Pete and Rhona. It’s a real shame, but I can’t help but enjoy the layered way they’ve let this relationship collapse play out. Great performances and great writing.
Never Go Back
Anyone who reads this blog knows what a big Tracy fan I am and how much I enjoyed her realisation last year that she deserved better than hapless David Metcalfe, so it was unfortunate this week to see them kiss. This isn’t the first time Tracy and David have revisited their old relationship, but this time felt far more contrived, just to trigger Maya storming out of the club. While the kiss was understandable on David’s part as he licked his wounds after a failed proposal, Tracy is settled, strong and growing close again to Billy – so why regress her character with the kiss? It might have been a minor plot device but I just hope it doesn’t give Emmerdale any ideas. Tracy deserves better than that.