Fave or Fail? (9-13 April 2018)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! In the heartbreaking week that saw Charity open up about her past, Rhona confronted Ross about his use of painkillers.

Faves

Charity’s Crushing Past

03d41db7-f65d-4047-bb65-055aff317326Charity is one of Emmerdale’s best characters and Emma Atkins one of the best performers, but since her return in 2016 she’s been a bit wasted without a storyline of her own. I’ve grown to love Charity the landlady but she’s so much more than sharp tongued comic relief, as this week proved. With DI Bails acting as Hotten’s hero for vulnerable abused women, Charity’s past came flooding out to Vanessa before breaking down in her arms in painful and powerful scenes. We don’t often get to see Charity so exposed and open so when we do it’s all the more moving and poignant. Her backstory has been so carefully constructed that we can see ripples of it in her personality to this day and the hint at a secret son we didn’t know about offers more potential for heart-breaking stories in future too. Here’s hoping we get to keep Charity at the forefront of these big emotional stories for a while, it’s been too long.

Unlikely Allies

dba954fb-7f68-4fe0-ad3a-c13830a2c3c6Emmerdale is known for its beloved pairings and partnerships but sometimes friendships and fun can be found in unlikely pairings. Take Doug, for example, who has seemingly adopted Gerry as his little gardening protégé. They’re so very different but it’s their chalk and cheese dynamic that makes them so endearing. Ross has developed two surprising friendships this week, one with reality TV loving Rebecca and the other with addiction confidant Rhona. Ross might be using Rebecca to cadge extra meds, but he makes the character seem more genuine and relaxed than she ever has done. With Rhona onto his pill reliance, it’s been nice to see Emmerdale explore characters with similar history and makes his story more meaningful because of it.

Showdown

001This week things came to a head between Laurel and Brenda when Laurel discovered it was Brenda behind the identity fraud with her bank card. After Brenda’s less than subtle hints the week before, Laurel finally put the nail in the “Bobel” coffin and told Bob it was over and that Brenda was onto them. So far she’s stuck to her word, thankfully recognising that Bob had become a crutch, just like alcohol, and that this was a horrid affair for all involved (could’ve told her that!). Both her and Brenda had a showdown, both skirting round the truth of the affair in stilted, cold words both admitting to their wrong-doings but almost in code. It was an oddly satisfying moment, especially as it was an unusual move for an affair reveal. I can only assume when Brenda confronts Bob it’s going to be explosive!

Fails

Broken Trust

edcf94ba-849f-447d-9054-d3f592712335After Charity’s vulnerable confession about her past to Vanessa, Ness did the worst possible thing she could do and broke Charity’s trust by calling the police. Vanessa’s naivety might have been well meaning, but it was classic “act first, think much later” Ness behaviour. I had hoped after she almost screwed up Rhona’s trial that she might have a bit more sense but instead she opened up a hugely traumatic experience for Charity, when it had been so raw and exposing for her. For such a significant betrayal this week’s conclusion left a lot to be desired, with Vanessa being forgiven and all being well in camp Vanity. I can’t help but feel Charity’s anger and hurt was more than earned and could have been played for longer, letting Vanessa really learn from her actions.

Short on Laughs

vlcsnap-2018-04-13-17h59m08s895There comes a point when you hear the same joke so many times that it stops becoming funny. That’s how I felt this week about the mortifyingly bad Rodney and Misty story and Paddy’s bumbling fool routine. There were laughs to be had in the Rodney story but that mostly came from the Kings and the kids reacting to hippie vegan Misty, but as for Rodney’s sex-capades it was unfunny to the point of agony. It was hard not to wince and cringe at the noises and chasing, making me question if this was the same award-winning soap. As for Paddy, who managed to be even more irritatingly stupid than normal for suffering Chas (and us), surely he’s better than just playing the idiot? His comic relief can be brilliant, but making him flap and stutter all the time has lost any sense of comedy.

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Fave or Fail? (26-30 March 2018)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! This week Ross’s recovery took a setback as Jimmy tried to get one over on Joe.

Faves

Graham’s Past

5dbb676d-df3d-4ad6-b11f-945ca76099acActor Andrew Scarborough delivered a show stealing monologue this week as we finally learnt more about Graham’s tragic past. There was a lot of pressure for the mysterious Graham to have an interesting backstory and it be linked with his dedication to Joe, but Emmerdale really delivered. It’s difficult to make an exposition heavy scene work and to make us truly care about a past we had no part in seeing or experiencing, but Andrew made Graham’s painful reflection come to life and truly made me eager to see a lot more from him in future.

Surprisingly Sweet

vlcsnap-2018-03-30-21h56m21s236If you’d told me six months ago that my new favourite couple in the village would be Pete and Rhona, I’d have never believed you. Even when their out of the blue date was in all the magazines I was sceptical, but seeing them on screen they’ve been surprisingly sweet to watch. There’s an easy and adorable chemistry between the too which has softened Pete and made Rhona much happier – that’s a winner in my eyes. Pete seems to have grown up a bit as their relationship has progressed and it looks like some real feelings are developing between them. Is it too much to hope for that their budding romance could go the distance?

Softer Side

vlcsnap-2018-03-30-21h56m42s533Another couple who have been a hit with fans is Charity and Vanessa, who finally seem to be getting a bit more depth to their relationship. This week saw Vanessa’s work mistake catch up with her and it was enjoyable to see Charity step up and support her girlfriend in a way that felt entirely true to her character – comedy tash and all. This relationship is bringing out a softer, warmer side in the usually cynical Charity and it was nice to see Debbie show her support too. I hope their relationship continues to get focus particularly as we move closer to Charity getting a big storyline of her own.

Nobody’s Fool

vlcsnap-2018-03-30-21h57m20s815There were plenty of times this week where we were all willing Jimmy King to open his eyes and be less oblivious to Joe Tate’s plotting, but thankfully by Friday he proved he’s a lot smarter than he seemed. Kidding us all that he was a gullible fool, Jimmy teamed up with scheme supreme Robert in a bid to take down Joe. Thank goodness Jimmy’s backbone wasn’t entirely removed, but keeping us in the dark to their clever plan right until the last minute made the reveal a lot more fun. Even better was bringing back Robert’s kooky actress pal Kath, to help screw over Joe. Now that the rivalry is heating up, it looks like the twisted games are going to get a lot more messy – and fun to watch.

Challenges and Setbacks

vlcsnap-2018-03-30-21h59m03s236Ross had another tough week after returning home from his skin graft op. Pete, who I’m growing more fond of in this supportive role, tried to get Ross back to his old self and out in public, but a humiliation saw his progress shattered. The progression of this story has worked really well so far, showing Ross grow in confidence only to meet defeat and cause his acceptance to suffer. His spiralling and struggle follows a believable trajectory of good moments and bad, and those quiet and sad moments between the two brothers where their openness battles against a masculine front are the strongest elements of this difficult story.

Fail

Easy Ride?

vlcsnap-2018-04-01-12h18m08s777Did anyone else think David got a bit of an easy ride this week after his cheating came to light? I wasn’t expecting flogging in the streets and sure Tracy’s epic speech told him exactly what we’d all been thinking but by the end of the week I hoped he’d get a bit more of a cold shoulder from those around him. He had a few choice words from Jacob who was understandably hurt and upset, but by the end of the week even Tracy had softened a bit as David and Jacob jetted off on holiday. It’s a good thing he’s out of Tracy’s face for a bit, but even Eric – who is usually good at giving David a good talking to – didn’t seem as angry and disappointed as I expected him too, especially knowing how David reacted to Tracy’s past. Will David return from his holidays hoping it’s all forgotten?

Fave or Fail? (12-16 March 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! Lisa’s health suffered when Gabby and Liv’s actions backfired and Joe discovered Debbie’s dark secret.

Faves

Dingle Divide

vlcsnap-2018-03-18-09h51m53s334Poor Lisa Dingle faced a health scare this week after Gabby and Liv’s prank went wrong. With Gabby determined to teach Daz a lesson, Lisa got caught in the crossfire and ended up in hospital and now the family are hellbent on revenge. There is one slight issue and one big secret, however – Liv is the one that did the actual spiking. It’s a story helmed by two great young actresses that causes friction not only between the extended families but will now surely divide the Dingles too when they find out the truth. I love stories that get the whole village involved, especially when it’s someone as beloved by the community (and viewers) as Lisa. With regretful Liv sure to spiral, this will give great dramatic material for Isobel Steele and might be the big consequences that Gabby and Liv need to learn from their mistakes.

Wicked Games

vlcsnap-2018-03-18-09h52m54s476Joe Tate learnt the shocking truth about Ross’s acid attack this week and decided to play a vengeful game with Debbie in order to keep her dark secret by blackmailing her into playing his girlfriend. Twisted, much? Joe’s manipulative wickedness adds a cruel spin to the story which might otherwise just be a quite repetitive and depressing story of Ross’s suffering. Health stories by nature can be slow so I’m glad of other elements to keep it interesting while still showing enough sensitivity and education through Ross’s recovery. Joe’s turning up at the hospital and forcing Debbie to reveal their new “status” to an already hurting was an especially bastardy move. Joe’s definitely the boo-hiss villain that makes soap so entertaining. But there’s a fine line between love and hate and Joe’s feelings for Debbie seem to be walking that tightrope, will hers follow?

Happier Times

vlcsnap-2018-03-18-12h23m44s125Smiles never last long in Emmerdale, but how nice to see resident misery magnet Aaron with some happiness this week. With much of last year bogged down in an angsty hell, it’s been good that the character has been shown to have a bit more of an adult life, not just in parenting and responsibility, but with his relationship with Chas too. With Chas absent a lot of last year, the mother son scenes were thin on the ground, but I’m glad we’ve moved to a more mature, less dependent relationship between the two. It feels fresher and far more enjoyable to see him carving a life for himself too.

Through the Tough Times

vlcsnap-2018-03-18-09h54m59s362Hooray for Eric again this week as not only did he invite Faith to move into his lovely barn, but he was a great support to Tracy. With Val and Finn gone it’s sad that we’ve not seen much of the BnB lately – we really did take those days for granted. But after David’s awful behaviour and his daughter-in-law needing a break from the shop, Eric was quick to offer her a better position working for him. I think this is exactly the boost Tracy needs. Eric has faith in her (no pun intended) and I love their supportive relationship, on both sides.

Fails

Recipe for Disaster

vlcsnap-2018-03-18-12h25m55s685This week, despite all the warning signs, Chas and Paddy decided to go ahead with the pregnancy and bring a Chaddy child into this world. As nice as it was to see Chas get some focus again, the writing choices felt heavily pro-life and dated, leading us to the inevitable outcome where they chose not to terminate. Still, we all know happiness for anyone – especially Chas – is short lived so all this champagne popping seems a bit pre-emptive, particularly when you remember Paddy was torn between two women five minutes ago. This has disaster written all over it and while I’m not a fan of the ill-suited couple, I dread the likely drift back towards Paddy and Rhona. It seems clear he’s still in love with her so how long before Chas’s heart is broken and the Dingles have another enemy on their list?

Fave or Fail? (5-9 March 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! Tracy stood up to David’s cruelty and hypocrisy this week as Ross tried to cope with his scarring.

Faves

Inner Strength

vlcsnap-2018-03-09-22h11m09s581Tracy was amazing this week and has fast become one of my favourite characters in Emmerdale. Buoyed by the knowledge that Phil had changed his plea to guilty thanks to another complaint and the piece in the local paper, Tracy was feeling much more positive about life. Until she discovered husband David was ashamed by her past and was trying to cover it up. Feeling hurt and betrayed, Tracy was helped by those around her to find the courage to stand up to David and confront his cruel and unempathetic treatment of her, as well as his hypocrisy for supporting other women in his life but not her. So far Tracy has stayed strong and resilient, telling him she can’t un-see the parts of him she doesn’t like, but I just hope she doesn’t backtrack because she deserves far better.

Cain’s Domestic Struggle

vlcsnap-2018-03-09-22h09m30s817Who’d have thought that Cain attempting to cook a meal and clean the house would have been such a huge hit this week? With Faith cramping his style, Cain wanted her out and attempted to impress Moira with his domestication. Of course, Cain being Cain it was a disaster and he roped in both Marlon and Lydia to help him out. Cain rarely gets the comedy scenes (see also: Robron’s scenes with Faith this week) but that’s why it was such an unexpected joy. From a great silly set up, to the clash of personalities and funny lines – it was a brilliantly cheerful and genuinely amusing set of scenes. And despite his uncovered deception, it clearly worked a treat on Moira too as she let him move back home.

Tracy’s Support Network

vlcsnap-2018-03-09-22h15m24s919How nice it was this week to see so many characters rally round in their support of Tracy. Even characters like Rhona who don’t know her as well, offered their empathy and the women of the Dales were able to use their previous negative experiences with men to help her find her strength. As mentioned in my Scene of the Week choice Charity’s speech was a particular highlight, even if Vanessa’s approach was far too forgiving of David’s attitude. Family members like Jacob and Eric were rightly horrified at David’s reaction and made up for his failings by saying the things he ought to have. All these scenes have made a welcome change from the usual way women in soapland turn against each other in action or judgement and I’m thankful that it’s only David who is this caveman anomaly.

Ross’s Recovery

Emmerdale - Cain Helps Ross to Finally Reconnect With Moses - YouTubeRoss’s road to acceptance and recovery had its ups and downs this week and it took some tough love and reverse psychology from Cain to help him move forward. After Ross’s violent outburst at Debbie at the start of the week (which was unfortunately horribly aggressive to watch and detracted a bit from the empathy I had towards Ross) Cain wanted words. But knowing Debbie’s role in the acid attack made Cain cautious and less vengeful and instead tried to help Ross bond again with son Moses. This is story is at its best when it lets Ross be vulnerable and scared and considering Moses might just be the cutest kid in Emmerdale, their scenes were especially touching and a real highlight of the week.

Sharma Drama

vlcsnap-2018-03-09-22h13m10s113I’ve had my ups and downs with the Sharmas over the years and think the family have suffered from dull factory stories or too much panto villainy from Jai. Thankfully those days are behind us and this week saw Priya come under suspicion for hurting Eliza after her breakdown last week. Despite initial finger pointing and doubt, what I liked about this story was its lack of sensationalism. Priya wasn’t kicked out of the family home and Jai didn’t refuse to speak to her – Priya took the decision herself to move out and even though the suspicion caused a rift in the family, there wasn’t any shouting and screaming, destroying that sibling bond. I like Jai and Priya’s relationship a lot so I hope this story doesn’t escalate into a war.

Fail

No Going Back?

vlcsnap-2018-03-09-22h10m23s643It’s hard to imagine how David will go back to being a likeable silly chap in the shop again after his continually awful behaviour towards Tracy. She’s always felt looked down on by him but this week proved he really does think less of her and is ashamed to be with her. Viewing his attitude towards her past, his mortification and the way he dismissed her struggle was uncomfortable to watch and made me hope she never takes him back. As if him cheating on her for no reason wasn’t bad enough, this disgusting treatment of the woman who’s meant to be his wife shows no obvious route of redemption. He’s been tactless and insensitive in the past but has this taken him too far?

Fave or Fail? (29 Jan-2 Feb 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! Romance was in the air this week as Charity and Vanessa kissed and made up, Rhona and Pete had some fun and there was a big reunion for Cain and Moira.

Faves

The Big Reunion

Emmerdale - Moira Gives Cain Her Answer - YouTube (1)This week was all about Cain and Moira reuniting and finally putting their ghosts to rest and it’s about time too! With Moira feeling pressured and grief stricken about Holly again, she decided to leave the village for good. We all know this rarely happens for real, but Cain was devastated at the prospect and gave her an ultimatum to meet him at the bridge – in true movie romance style. Reunions don’t come easy and it took some big conversations between Cain and Zak, and Moira and Charity to make the pair of them fight for their relationship. Emmerdale heart-to-hearts are some of my favourite moments, allowing for quiet and impressive performances and seeing Cain open and vulnerable is always welcome. Their final reunion on the bridge was perfect for their characters, full of humour and warmth and by Friday they were back kissing in the café as if they’d never been apart. An easy highlight of the week.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Emmerdale - Tuesday 30 Jan 7pm - The ITV HubHooray for besties Rhona and Vanessa this week who are definitely having fun in the dating department. After a hot and cold fling with Charity, Vanessa got her favourite pub landlady to own up to her feelings and the two shared a very nice kiss outside in the village, hopefully meaning we’ll start to see a bit more of their relationship from now on. Then there was a very unlikely but nicely sparky hook up between Pete and Rhona, giving her back the pep she’s been missing. Pete might not be future husband material but their interactions have given Rhona a big dose of fun and with a nice chemistry they’ve been a surprisingly enjoyable watch.

Darkness on the Horizon

Emmerdale - Someone From Tracy's Past Has Returned... - YouTubeThe new creepy handyman Phil is bad freaking news and I’m hating the way he’s wedged himself into the shop and buddied up with David, but what this does mean is a great big emotional story for Tracy in future. Amy Walsh plays vulnerable Tracy so well and this story looks like it could be dark and challenging – definitely something gritty for Amy to get her teeth into. I’m so worried for Tracy, especially with David being a dick, but I can’t wait to see how Amy pulls it out of the bag!

Fails

Just Grow Up

Emmerdale - Paddy Picks a Fight With Rhona's New Man Pete! - YouTubeUgh Paddy. After the whole Tess debacle, we finally regained some of the old fun Paddy we loved when he came back from Germany but with his messy feelings for Rhona and his jealousy in the mix, he was really unlikeable this week. Sure, he eventually redeemed himself by realising how selfish he’d been, but when Paddy’s childish like this it really puts me off him, especially when Rhona deserves something fun and uncomplicated. I still can’t stand the Chas and Paddy pairing, but maybe Rhona is better off without him after all? I can’t help but feel eventually he’s going to break Chas’s heart though…

Shifting the Blame

Emmerdale - Someone From Tracy's Past Has Returned... - YouTube (1)Another man for the dick list is David, once again. If the cheating and the lying wasn’t bad enough (like every other man in the Dales), it got worse as soon as Tracy confronted him about Priya’s incriminating text message. It might have been far too easy for David to fess up now (especially with Leyla not due back for ages) but lying again only served to make insecure Tracy feel a hundred times worse. Couldn’t he have thought of a way to lie without Tracy blaming herself? It’s horribly cruel of David and it feels even worse coming from someone who gives off the impression of being a nice guy and a dream husband. He better be there for her when things with Phil get dark otherwise I may end up hating him for a lot longer.

Emmerdale’s Top 20 Moments of 2017 – Part Two (#10-1)

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Here it is, my Top 10 of the Best Moments in Emmerdale in 2017. You can read numbers 11-20 here, but below are the things I enjoyed most about Emmerdale and the reason I think it’s been so successful in 2017.

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10. Lydia Hart

Kooky Lydia made several appearances in 2016 and I was quickly taken with actress Karen Blick and her great grasp of comedy, so it was a complete joy to see her become a show regular in 2017. Lydia quickly established herself in the village, living with and bringing laughter back to Laurel’s house, becoming a cleaner for the factory and the Whites and pairing up with Sam. Lydia feels right at home in the village and although her oddball humour hasn’t disappeared, Emmerdale managed to make her more human by exploring the long term impact of losing her husband. I can’t wait to see Lydia and Sam get married in 2018!

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9. Creativity and Risks

Soaps are such a long running staple in British households that sometimes it feels like so many stories have already been told. What I’ve enjoyed about Emmerdale recently is its attempts to take risks and be creative within the realms of soap. Whether it’s taking the time to explore on story in depth and dedicate a whole episode to that tale, to arrange stories in non-linear ways to keep viewers guessing, or use flashbacks and different storytelling devices to explore a character in depth. Emmerdale have used all of these effectively in the year to take a closer look and examine the characters with love and I hope they continue to make original choices in future.

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8. Super Soap Week 2.0

Little was going to top 2016’s Super Soap Week – an impressive, visually stunning treat – but 2017’s Barton centric week was full of thrills, shocks and centred on the fantastic Gillian Kearney. From barn explosions, killer confessions, a shock birth, a shooting, hallucinations, a kidnap and a murder – they packed a great deal into one week, perhaps a bit too much at times!

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7. The Thomas Kids

Emmerdale’s cast is fantastic, but even more impressive is its cast of child actors. In 2017 actors Rosie Bentham and Alfie Clarke impressed everyone with their ability to give such touching and heartfelt performances through the Ashley’s dementia storyline. The Thomas family scenes resonated deeply with so many viewers and much of this was down to the moving portrayals of grief by Ashley’s children, Gabby and Arthur. Even after Ashley was gone, the two didn’t take a backseat and played a key role in Emma’s storyline too, with Gabby even a suspect in her murder. Both Rosie and Alfie are talented individuals and I really look forward to what 2018 will bring!

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6. Big Performances

Above all else, Emmerdale in 2017 was the year of fantastic performances. What I loved about the year’s stories is that it gave so many of the actors a chance to shine in some stand-out moments, rather that a small handful of actors dominating. 2017 saw big emotional and dramatic roles for lots of the cast, earning acting awards for a variety of the cast and giving everyone a juicy role. You just have to scroll through my Scene of the Week choices to witness the range of performances throughout year – almost everyone had their chance to shine in the spotlight in 2017 and I hope that continues in 2018.

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5. Rhona’s Rape

Emmerdale told a very powerful story of control, abuse and rape in 2017 as Rhona was raped by Pierce on their wedding day. The effectiveness of this storyline came from the slow burn nature of Pierce’s control and darkness, and the positive way Rhona took control of her life in the aftermath. Jonathan Wrather was chilling and compelling, playing Pierce as remorseless and dangerous in his inferiority complex. Zoe Henry was breathtakingly good, from Rhona’s traumatised state all the way through to her bravery during the trial and I appreciated the way Emmerdale didn’t let this story drag or fall into cliché by having people not believe her, or by letting Pierce back into her life.

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4. The Robron Wedding

Despite what transpired in the rest of 2017 for the fan-favourite couple, the Robron wedding was still a huge highlight of the year. It had everything: warmth, humour, family and romance. In true Emmerdale style, Dingle mania took over and the boys escaped to the garage to exchange their vows in private which was a glorious throwback to the origins of their relationship. These episodes, even with their bittersweet tinge, showed exactly why the pairing are so beloved and why the onscreen chemistry between Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley withstands the most trying of storylines. Here’s hoping 2018 focuses on happier times for Robron!

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3. Emma’s Unravelling

Emma Barton was by far one of my favourite soap characters of 2017 and despite her needing a climatic end, I already miss her. Gillian Kearney played all her complexities perfectly and made her so compelling to watch. Having taken up Christianity after James’s death to absolve herself, Emma’s inner conflict continued to struggle as she compartmentalised her desperate behaviour against her newfound religion. She could be reckless as well as being fragile and her obsessive nature made her unpredictable too, meaning even little Arthur became a victim of hers. Her downfall did come a little too slowly, but with Gillian’s captivating and often sympathetic performances, I didn’t mind that we got to see as much of Emma as possible in 2017!

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2. Faith Dingle

It’s hard to believe that Faith Dingle has been on our screens less than a year because truly I can’t imagine Emmerdale without her. Bold, brash, larger than life, with a wicked tongue and a huge heart, Faith has breathed new life into Emmerdale. From the troubled relationships with her children, to her own heartbreaking breast cancer secret, Faith isn’t just about the big laughs and outrageous comments. Faith is the kind of character Emmerdale does best, delivering barbed comments and saucy winks, as well as revealing someone with a dark history and deep insecurities. Sally Dexter has made Faith into such a memorable character, even managing to nab all the best lines. Bring on 2018 and more of Faith!

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1. Ashley’s Demise

Without a doubt, Emmerdale best story of 2017 and the one that will be heralded for years to come is Ashley’s death. This long running story is one that touches the hearts of many families struggling with the same illness and was told with honesty and warmth. Actors John Middleton and Charlotte Bellamy gave exceptional performances as the couple separated by this tragedy, with the acting and writing exceeding itself week on week. It was painful at every turn, and yet Emmerdale managed to keep moments of humour to balance the strain on viewers. This family and these characters felt more like people we knew rather than figures on TV and our hearts broke over and over as the situation worsened and Ashley finally died. It’s also been good to see that Ashley is never forgotten – his presence and the impact of his death is still something that features in the storylines and the behaviours of those who loved him and I’m sure that will continue in 2018.

Fave or Fail? (4-8 Dec 2017)

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! Faith and Pollard broke up this week and we said a sad goodbye to Emmerdale stalwart, Alfie the dog.

Faves

Bonnie and Clyde

Emmerdale - Pollard Faces the Music - YouTubeI know when it comes to Faith Dingle, I am a bit of a broken record, but I truly think she’s the best thing that’s happened to Emmerdale in 2017. She proved that even more this week when she and Eric went all Bonnie and Clyde on us in an attempt to bring down Morris from the council. I love the pairing of Eric and Faith, they go from funny to heartwarming to that special kind of delicious soap angst that I love. Eric’s face of terror when Faith was speeding was genius but it was only a matter of time before she uncovered his lies about the access road. The two of them broke up after Faith found out what Eric had done but their confrontational was beautifully painful, as both Sally Dexter and Christopher Chittell really sold Faith and Eric’s love for each other and her heartbreak at his betrayal. The two clash on their outlooks in life and the dodgy ways they deal with obstacles to what they want, but even still they are pretty well matched. Even if their future is a rocky one, you know they’re a couple that should be together. Fingers crossed!

Goodbye Alfie

vlcsnap-2017-12-10-14h54m12s818The Dingles and us, the humble viewers, had to say goodbye to scruffy-furred Emmerdale legend, Alfie the dog, this week in some really moving scenes. Alfie is as much a part of Wishing Well as the crocheted blankets so to see him look so sad and ill was a horrible thing and the decision fell to Zak to put their poor old dog down. Even someone like me who isn’t a dog lover (I know, I know) couldn’t fail to be moved as the Dingles said goodbye to their dear old mutt. Rest in peace, Alfie. You’ll be sorely missed.

Both Sides of the Story

vlcsnap-2017-12-10-14h58m10s779With actress Roxy Shahidi soon to leave for maternity, we knew it wouldn’t be long before Emmerdale needed to engineer an exit story for her. As Alicia lives in Portugal now you’d think Leyla could just jet there but it seems something a little more convoluted is in the pipeline. Don’t get me wrong, I love Leyla and I’m even slightly curious about how a David and Leyla romance attempt would work these days – but I’m just not sure it’s worth sacrificing their friendship. But despite this and Tracy’s OTT reaction, this story becomes a fave simply for the impressive scenes between Roxy and Amy Walsh. Amy always manages to give Tracy a lot of heart and soul in her stories and both actresses carried a lot of emotion in their scenes which actually made you empathise with both parties. With all these brilliant moments between the powerful females in the Dales, it does make you long for them to stop falling out over the lacklustre men though!

Fails

The Show Mustn’t Go On

Emmerdale - Thursday 7 Dec 8pm - The ITV Hub (1)At this festive time of year I do love to see all the traditions on screen and the Emmerdale nativity story began with gusto. Rhona went all Nativity-zilla on us, getting squeaky and irate as her plans struggled, roping in a reluctant Vanessa and getting Marlon dressed as a donkey. It wasn’t without its amusing moments and the kids of Emmerdale are always worth watching. Disappointingly though, so few villagers bothered to turn up meaning the community spirit was more than a bit lacking. Add to that some crippingly cringey comedy from Paddy and Chas (not to mention even more of their gross romance) and the whole thing was a bit of a flop. Bah humbug!

Pete’s Pity Party

vlcsnap-2017-12-10-14h56m26s322Ordinarily you’d feel sorry for someone like Pete Barton. Father and brother murdered by his mother, mother then murdered, son he thought was his wasn’t, thought he had a second chance with his girlfriend but turns out she was in love with someone else, knocked unconscious after a fall down some stairs. All in all, not a great time to be Pete Barton. The problem is, I still wish he was the one shot to death by Emma. On paper Pete should be sympathetic, but with all his aggression and shouty spitefulness it’s hard to feel sorry for him. He speaks to others, even those trying to help like Harriet, like he’s going to punch them in the face. And it was poor David this week that did actually get punched. But when Pete’s not raging around like some uncaged alpha male, he’s being colossally dull. What a shame that we lost two interesting Barton family members and got stuck with Pete!

Fave or Fail? (13-17 Nov 2017)

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! Isaac’s christening lead to a lot of heartache and soul searching this week.

Faves

Taking Risks

vlcsnap-2017-11-19-18h33m20s220Lately Emmerdale hasn’t been afraid to push the boundaries of the soap genre and the success of its efforts to tell stories in different and creative ways only confirm why it’s picking up awards regularly. Friday’s episode saw a tight focus on the story thread of Moira and Cain’s role in Isaac’s life and took us back in time to see the struggles Cain and Chas faced with their own parents, Faith and Shadrach. Like the Ashley special episode last year, the Emmerdale casting team were spectacular in their choice of perfect actors for the younger versions of Faith, Shadrach, Cain and Chas with the adults in particular bearing a striking and uncanny resemblance to their counterparts. Reflecting on Cain’s childhood, Jeff Hordley gave a hugely emotional performance, with Cain’s heartbreaking past helping to explain how much of a struggle he’s facing in the present day as a father to Isaac and Sally Dexter continues to be a brilliant on-screen presence, in both comedy and tragedy. Together they make a believable mother and son duo which made the scenes all the more poignant. Far from being gimmicky, the flashbacks helped to flesh out the backstories of characters we’ve known for a long time and gave more weight to the struggles they’ve suffered, which before now we’ve only known through being told rather than seeing it first-hand. When Emmerdale takes creative risks like this the quality feels heightened, like we’re watching something beyond the tag of ‘soap’ and makes the drama feel fresh and novel, showing that these new approaches really pay off.

Compassionate Love

vlcsnap-2017-11-19-18h35m54s669Eric and Faith’s relationship really became something special this week. For all their to-ing and fro-ing, with miscommunication and Rodney’s interference, the pair finally expressed the strength of their feelings for each other and slept together in some moving and beautiful scenes. The joy of Eric and Faith is that their connection feels real and their own private struggles – whether it’s a shared grief or Faith’s insecurities about her body – were told sensitively and poignantly. It feels like ages since we’ve seen a love story played out between an older couple, but the touching way Eric and Faith’s story has been told, it’s been almost impossible not to fall in love with them too. My heart melted with Faith said Eric made her feel special, and his calling her beautiful and saying she brought colour back to his existence was wonderful. Here’s hoping they go the distance – they deserve it.

Perfect Performance

vlcsnap-2017-11-19-18h33m39s784Almost every week I want to heap praise onto Natalie J Robb’s acting. As Moira continues to struggle with her post-natal depression Natalie plays the scenes with such an effective dazed disconnect. This week Moira’s difficulties became more apparent to her family as she even went as far as giving Isaac to Adam and Vic, telling them that she couldn’t keep him and couldn’t deal with being a mother again. Moira’s grief and guilt over Holly is tied so intensely to Isaac that Moira’s been unable to bond for fear that she might lose him too. Moira’s breakdown this week was a wake up call to her loved ones who’d been oblivious and almost dismissive of her distant behaviour and Natalie made that inner battle of Moira’s so vivid and raw. I’m glad they’re continuing to show the impact of Holly’s death on Moira’s life and that Isaac hasn’t been a quick fix to that grief or to her estranged marriage with Cain. It’s a difficult watch, but one Natalie sells so well.

Fails

Rhona’s Heartbreak

vlcsnap-2017-11-19-18h34m34s543It’s a testament to Zoe Henry’s acting that Rhona’s heartbreak was so effective this week, as she discovered Paddy had moved on and was with Chas. As if their slobbering PDAs weren’t bad enough! Granted, it was Rhona’s choice not to reunite with Paddy after the trial, but his and Chas’s sudden teenage fixation with each other does seem a little on the hasty side and is a bit of a hard watch – even more so for Rhona. So why the “Fail” category this week? Simply because it hurts to see Rhona crushed like that when she’s had a really tough year. Plus, it seems inevitable that the great Chas and Paddy love affair will crash and burn at some point (like it always does) so it seems even more unnecessary to put Rhona through this.

Baby Fever

vlcsnap-2017-11-19-18h37m09s905Victoria was right this week when she talked about cute baby overload in the village. But it’s not the squidgy little faces that are a problem, it’s that there feels like there are too many baby plots all at once. Moira’s post-natal depression has been wonderfully told so far, but it’s not just the parenting stories with Isaac we are watching – it’s Rebecca and Robert with Sebastian, Adam and Vic wanting to adopt too. Last week Robert had his moment of being a reluctant father and then this time it was Cain’s turn. And this heavy baby focus is without mentioning Jai and Megan’s concerns over Eliza. All the baby plots serve a purpose when it comes to explore issues with their parents, but did we really need so many baby plots all at once?