Scene of the Week (21-25 May 2018)

sceneoftheweek

s108.png

My Scene of the Week choice is the simple one this week, as Doug expressed his guilt and remorse to Gerry’s uncle, the creatively named, Terry. It was full of the warmth and humour Emmerdale does best, as Sam and Lydia added levity to the aftermath of Gerry’s tragic death. As Sam tried to reason with Terry, he explained that Doug was like a “Great Granddad” to Gerry, making Doug’s eyes widen at the backhanded compliment. But the humour didn’t stop there, as grief counsellor Lydia stepped in to help Terry come to terms with his loss and citing Steve and her struggles. It wasn’t just Terry’s bemusement to Lydia’s straight face that was so good, but Aaron and Robert’s exasperation too. Sam also chipped in with his experience with pigs – which seemed very fitting for Emmerdale – with Aaron replying, “Well now you know why Gerry loved it here.” And we loved him too. You’re missed Gerry!

Advertisements

Fave or Fail? (14-18 May 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! We lost Gerry this week after he was brutally murdered by Lachlan White. Miss you already Gerry!

Faves

Gerry’s Tragic Ending

vlcsnap-2018-05-19-20h52m07s849Oh Gerry, sweet Gerry! I’m sure I speak for most people when I say: I miss you already! What a cruel and horrible way to go, especially when he seemed to have such a big heart and a happy-go-lucky personality. His final scenes, despite a build up that was a bit too heavy handed and obvious, were unbearably tense and uncomfortable to watch. Both actors did an incredible job in creating a huge feeling of dread throughout in scenes which were claustrophobic to watch. It was a memorable and heart-breaking moment which gave Emmerdale the bit of ‘oompf’ that it’s been missing since the start of the year and it gave Lachlan’s story sudden momentum, making the desire for justice more significant. Was one good moment and a boost for the soap’s resident villain enough to warrant losing such a popular and versatile character though?

Killer Performance

vlcsnap-2018-05-19-20h54m44s545Once again I’m so impressed by Thomas Atkinson’s performances as the psychopathic Lachlan White, easily making this a highlight of the week. Not only does he manage to be cold and remorseless, he’s so compelling to watch that you’re almost willing him to get away with his crimes just to see him commit more! He’s at his best when he’s in this heightened state of dark and conflicted but I can’t help but feel if they let this story rumble on too long, he’ll lose his edge and that would be a real waste. He shouldn’t fade into the background, this should be the start of his descent.

Ain’t No Party Like a Woolpack Party

vlcsnap-2018-05-19-20h50m45s490In between Lachlan’s murderous deeds this week, in true light and shade soap balance, Chas and Paddy threw an engagement party. Sure the whole “curse” thing was a bit stupid but it did provide a setting for a huge gathering of cast and that’s always fun. From Faith and Lydia starting the karaoke (nice lungs from the Kings too), to Paddy’s awkward attempts to separate Brenda from Bob n’ Laurel, to his and Robert funny yet badly communicated cover story for Aaron’s absence. I loved that this one setting managed to have so many story cross-overs all happening at once and added to that awful sense of dread knowing it wouldn’t be long before someone discovered Gerry. More parties and community cross-overs please!

Put a Ring on it

vlcsnap-2018-05-19-20h57m05s897It’s been three months since the romantic Cain and Moira reunion and I really feel like we haven’t seen enough of them lately – even more surprising considering Moira outed herself as Emma’s killer and they now have baby Isaac to look after! So it was enjoyable to see a bit of fun and romance this week from Coira as they celebrated their wedding anniversary. It’s always good to see Cain get a bit soft and misty eyed around Moira and the sparks were firing as ever when they exchanged their rings. But cute scenes like this often indicate hard times are approaching – does this mean there’s heartache headed their way? I hope not!

Bonus Faves:

  • Doug getting an actual story – even though he’s actually innocent!
  • Pearl vs Vanessa in the vets – love a good comedic class
  • Brenda’s brutal café signage and decision to milk Bob for all he’s worth
  • The Hope kids (hilariously) unleashing their anger on Laurel by shouting at her in the street
  • Gerry’s flirty phone call to a customer (which sadly ended up sealing his fate)
  • The fleeting and flirty Robron moment just to prove they can have happiness, only if it precedes tragedy ofc

Fails

Predictable Paternity

vlcsnap-2018-05-19-20h55m22s167Ugh retconned paternity twists – who cares? Dan and Daz’s brotherly rivalry flared up again for Round 400 meaning more tedious shouting and hastily fleshed out backstory that we don’t care about. Whoever thought this story, one that’s been told countless times more successfully, needed telling again? Can we skip to the part where Amelia finds out so we can be done with this and get the Spencers back doing what they do best with some light hearted easy drama?

A Big Mistake

vlcsnap-2018-05-19-20h54m14s599It seems clear that Emmerdale needed Lachlan to kill someone we all really cared about so that we become engaged in his rather meandering descent into true villainy, but did it really have to be Gerry? This feature from Digital Spy summed up the travesty in killing such a likeable, funny guy and I’m already feeling the loss of Gerry (and Shaun Thomas from the show). Comedy can be so hit and miss but with Gerry Emmerdale had a natural. He was cheeky and endearing, fitting in seamlessly with so many stories and characters. We knew so little about him too, meaning there were years of untapped stories just waiting for Emmerdale to explore there. Not only does this seem like a really short sighted decision, but when Lachlan’s story climaxes – is it really going to be worth losing such a beloved character like Gerry? Gerry was the obvious and predictable target and if this story is going to drag onto the point of apathy it’ll feel like even more of a waste. Gerry could have been saved with a more original approach to this story and I bet the powers that be will come to regret this move in months to come.

6 Emmerdale Performances Worth Voting For

The longlist for the British Soap Awards is now open and our Emmerdale favourites are up for the coveted accolades. With six of Emmerdale’s best performers up for awards, I thought I would choose six scenes from the past year to showcase why they deserve a vote or two.

bsasactor1

Best Actor

Ryan Hawley (Robert Sugden)

Robert tries to let go – Christmas Day 2017

With almost all of the special Christmas episode centred on Robert, Ryan Hawley had a huge task carrying the episode after another eventful year of playing heartbroken and vengeful. The final scene of the Christmas Day episode saw a broken Robert defeated and tearful, having given up on reuniting with Aaron for the sake of his well-being. It was a gut-wrenching and beautifully played moment played between him and Danny Miller, showcasing their chemistry and the subtle agony Ryan is able to play on Robert’s face. For a character who can be the viciously smug seducer, Ryan has excelled at showing us Robert’s vulnerable, raw sides this past year.  

Vote for Ryan – Best Actor

bsasactor2

Jeff Hordley (Cain Dingle)

Cain’s flashback – November 2017

Loveable rogue Cain Dingle is never far from a car boot kidnap, but with the arrival of his mother Faith and a new son in Isaac, Cain was thrown into turmoil about his childhood. Exploring Cain’s past through a specially constructed episode using recast younger actors, Emmerdale explored the heart breaking harsh upbringing Chas and Cain endured. Cain is a man who holds his emotions tight so when Jeff Hordley gets to show us Cain’s exposed pain, we feel every tear. In Cain’s childhood home, Jeff managed to evoke a lifetime of agony and confusion in a single look and his onscreen dynamic with Sally Dexter makes you believe in them totally as mother and son.

Vote for Jeff – Best Actor

bsasactor3

Michael Parr (Ross Barton)

Ross’s Acid Attack Prognosis – Feb 2018

We were so used to seeing hard-man Ross let nothing stand in his way until he became a victim of mistaken identity and an acid attack at the start of the year. It’s been a complete change to see Ross lose his confidence and bravado and that switch from arrogant bloke to vulnerable and uncertain man has been one actor Michael Parr has relished. As doctors revealed his prognosis, it Ross being left alone when Michael really shone, shedding all of the Ross we’d come to know and showing us this broken man instead. As Ross continues to struggle with new challenges and a difficulty to accept his future, it’s been a welcome and impressive transformation.

Vote for Michael – Best Actor

bsasactress1

Best Actress

Emma Atkins (Charity Dingle)

Charity’s Abuse Reveal – April 2018

Since her return in 2016, Charity has mostly been used for (brilliant) comic relief and razor sharp lines, but this year has seen her take on a hugely emotional storyline as Charity opened up about her past. The story might only just have begun but Emma Atkins’ performance when Charity told Vanessa what she’d suffered at the hands of DI Bails, was powerful and harrowing. Emma’s incredible portrayal dug deep into the heart of Charity’s character, breaking down the walls Charity has built around herself and it’s clear that these levels of performances will continue to resonate as Charity’s story progresses.

Vote for Emma – Best Actress

bsasactress2

Lucy Pargeter (Chas Dingle)

Chas’s pregnancy decision – February 2018

There’s never been a quiet year for Chas Dingle, but things are looking a bit happier for her lately as she’s settled down with Paddy. Things didn’t get off to the smoothest of starts for the pair though and Chas was thrown into turmoil in February when she discovered she was pregnant. Despite Chas’s pregnancy decision being a divisive story among villagers and viewers, Lucy always gives Chas a vivacity and strength even when Chas herself is struggling. There are raw emotions in her performances which meant you couldn’t help but be on Chas’s side during those emotional scenes when she explained why she couldn’t go through the pregnancy. Even though Chas has now changed her mind and wants to keep the baby, I don’t expect it will be plain sailing. Chas Dingle never has it easy…

Vote for Lucy – Best Actress

bsasactress3

Natalie J Robb (Moira Dingle)

Moira’s guilt – December 2017

Wow, what a year Moira had. If 2016 wasn’t traumatic enough for her, the end of Moira’s 2017 was lifechanging. After being caught up in the events of Emma’s breakdown, Moira found herself giving birth to a shock baby. But that wasn’t all! As flashbacks revealed, Moira was also responsible for Emma’s murder, after being goaded by her to do it. Natalie J Robb’s captivating performances made Moira’s guilt, grief and PND so agonising. It was a shock to everyone that Moira killed Emma, but Natalie made Moira’s actions believable for the audience and unbearable for her to deal with, having knock-on effects to her feelings towards Isaac too. These were powerful scenes of guilt and confession, made even greater by the partnership between Natalie and Jeff.

Vote for Natalie – Best Actress  

And you can of course vote for Emmerdale as Best Soap too! Longlist voting closes Tuesday 24th April 2018.

Fave or Fail? (2-6 April 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 week that saw Aaron get kidnapped, Bob and Laurel just couldn’t keep their hands off each other – again, and again.

Faves

Turning Tables

vlcsnap-2018-04-07-21h14m51s876Okay sure, the kidnap was a bit flat and the confusion over contracts was a bit of a muddle, but the continually turning tables between Joe and Robert has real potential. The White family were never a match for Robert’s cunning, making it painfully easy for him in their obliviousness, but Joe’s got the cash and the ruthlessness to use Robert’s weak spot for his advantage. Seeing Robert sign a deal with the devil takes us to new territory for him – he’s used to control and victory and working for himself. Being under Joe’s thumb is going to drive him crazy, it’s a pressure cooker waiting to happen, but it could easily escalate on both sides. Neither man wants to lose but the one-upmanship has already had its moments of arrogant fun on both sides so bring it on.

Bittersweet Memories

vlcsnap-2018-04-07-21h15m40s451It was Ashley’s memorial this week and I can hardly believe a whole year has passed since he died. In between all of the Bob and Laurel grief shagging, we did get to see a touching service on a very wintery looking day. These scenes were another chance to see the Thomas kids shine with both Gabby and Arthur reminding us of how impressive their performances were and continue to be in relation to Ashley’s story. I particularly liked the parallel to Ashley’s funeral, only this time it was Arthur stepping up to read the speech when Gabby’s emotions got the better of her. These two are the big stars in the Emmerdale future.

King and Queen

vlcsnap-2018-04-07-21h17m14s426For all the chaos and upset Joe Tate has brought to the village, he’s done one good thing and that’s allowed us to see more of Jimmy and Nicola King. This week they got to be smug and smart as they stood up to Joe and helped Robert sort of get back on track. They’re absolutely two of my favourite characters in the village and it’s been great to see them keep their kookiness but still get a small victory. More please!

Dark Brenda

vlcsnap-2018-04-07-21h11m26s627The Bob and Laurel affair story has reached almost unbearable levels of snogging and teenage frolicking, however if there’s one shining light in this plot then it’s been the rise of Dark Brenda. I think by this point, with sympathy very much on Team Brenda, we’d all be cheering her on to fire up a chainsaw in the direction of Bob’s balls. Her menacing and pointed asides are comically unsubtle, but her little acts of revenge and copious wine drinking is a real Mood (as the kids say). By this point I’m all for Brenda to embrace the dark side fully and start dressing as a goth.

Puppet Master

vlcsnap-2018-04-07-21h17m59s523Granted Emmerdale’s delaying tactics when it comes to the Lachlan car crash reveal are getting almost as frustrating as the dragging out of the Emma saga, but there’s no question that Lachlan is at his most engaging when he’s playing puppet master. This week he managed to convince Rebecca that she encouraged Chrissie to drive faster so was therefore responsible for the crash. A particularly clever and wicked move considering her brain damage but a role that actor Thomas Atkinson seems to relish.

Fails

Hair Raising

vlcsnap-2018-04-07-21h18m46s675For a silly comedy plot, Daz’s unicorn hair got a lot of screentime this Thursday as multiple crossed wires and misunderstandings meant his relationship with Bernice was briefly on the rocks. Followers of this blog will know that Bernice is one of my absolute favourite characters from her brilliant comic timing to her surprisingly emotional moments too, but even she struggles to lift Daz from the doldrums. I’ve nothing really against the man, he just seems a bit of a drip, especially when Bernice is such a lively, scene stealing character. She deserves a better story than this? And if they can’t find someone with enough spark to pair her off with then I’d happily watch more of her in the salon or being a pretty dodgy mother to Gabby.

No Real Danger

vlcsnap-2018-04-07-21h18m16s866Perhaps one of the problems with this week’s lacklustre kidnap plot was that barely a week goes by without someone being tossed into a car boot. Considering it’s usually Cain doing the kidnapping, it seemed ironic that he was on the opposite side this week trying to rescue Aaron from the clutches of panto villain, Syd. Robert and Aaron have faced so much angst in their quest to be together that even their reactions to Aaron’s life being at stake felt a bit muted in comparison to their usual emotionally-intense peril. But it wasn’t just Syd springing up from nowhere and disappearing almost as quick that was the problem, it was that the stakes didn’t seem very high or very real when it was all done and dusted in about ten minutes on screen. When the story was sprinkled between Daz’s unicorn hair and Bob and Laurel sucking face for the hundredth time it lost all sense of urgency. Still, getting Cain and Moira involved in a Robron story was a great move – fingers crossed for more of that.

Fave or Fail? (19-23 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! In the week that saw Aaron and Robert finally reunite, Tracy was threatened with secrets from her past.

Faves

Make Your Dreams Come True

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h47m14s763If you heard the sound of happy crying on Thursday night then it was probably me. After months and months of agony and teasing, FINALLY Aaron and Robert were reunited and sought to face the future together, better than ever. It’s no secret that Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley’s chemistry has earned them thousands of fans worldwide so the pressure was on for a satisfying and romantic reunion. We got it – and then some. It had all the classic tropes of a romantic movie, with heartbroken Robert struggling to move on and Aaron realising he couldn’t live without Robert. It wasn’t just the fact they’d patched up and declared their love, it was all the special details included that made it so poignant for fans. From the fun scenes in the club, to the meaningful conversations in the garage (a location pivotal in their love story) – there wasn’t a moment wasted with all cards on the table. There wasn’t any silly misunderstandings or finger pointing, it was rooted in their intense past and entirely faithful to their characters. After so much agony and angst, it was a surreal joy to see their family happily reunited. Aaron was grinning – and you don’t see that often! It felt important and truly memorable. Moving forward, we know it can’t be plain sailing but by god, Emmerdale, don’t ruin this. You’ve got something really special.

Amazing Amy

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h47m51s372On any other week, Tracy’s storyline would have been top of my Faves list because if there’s anyone who deserves ALL the awards then it’s Amy Walsh. She’s been an absolute revelation this week, as Tracy was blackmailed over her prostitute past by the vile Phil. Amy conveyed Tracy’s abject fear brilliantly and her heartbreak at David’s cold shoulder was especially moving. Tracy’s scenes with Frank saw a new and improved sensitive side to his character as he was able to comfort her without judgement, until David’s treatment of her. Amy’s performances have been powerful and empathetic in this dark storyline, cementing her as one of Emmerdale’s best actors. We all wanted to rush in and rescue her this week, but I don’t think it’s going to get any easier for her as she tries to get justice. I just hope Frank and Vanessa will be there for her when David inevitably lets her down.

Squad Goals

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h45m35s230How great was Thursday’s episode at the bar? Fans of Robert have been crying out for him to have some actual mates for ages and Emmerdale also relished the opportunity to revisit the brilliant double act he has with Bernice, as well as giving him an ally in Vanessa. Aside from the girls’ great attempts to cheer him up, the comedy between the girls was something special. This episode was chockfull of one-liners and each character added something to the group to make it warm and funny. It’s great seeing our favourites outside of the village so it felt like we were really spoilt and even better that we got to see a group of girls having a great time and getting along. No bitchiness, no falling out over men, just bad dancing and cheesy music requests. More of this. PLEASE!

Getting Serious?

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h48m42s367With Charity back from her holiday this meant the Vanity hook ups could resume much to both their delights, but as the week progressed it was clear they were after a bit more than no-strings fun. While I’ve criticised Emmerdale in the past for its slow and most off-screen portrayal of Vanessa and Charity’s relationship, I was glad to see it given a little more prominence this week. I loved seeing the women have flirty fun (with drunk Vanessa being an adorable bonus) and Charity soften to the idea of something more serious. When the writing is there, Vanity is sparky and fun, bringing out new sides to both characters. There’s still room for more though, and I want to see it!

Bonus Faves

  • Gerry and Jacob’s lovely attempts to cheer up Liv (ice cream Gerry, leave out the vodka) and talk sense into Gabby. Jacob continues to be wonderful and the Liv/Gabby drama continues to be believable and well done
  • Ross’s continued struggles
  • Aaron’s lovely attempts to help Liv with her sexuality
  • Bernice’s funny but very blunt relationship advice
  • Priya and Kerry’s badgering of the DJ for 90s classics leading to them being kicked out – TV gold!
  • Robert and Liv repairing their fractured relationship. They have always been one of my favourite relationships in Emmerdale so it was touching seeing them move on and become a family again – that hug!
  • Joe’s redecorated Home Farm and it looks amazing
  • Faith using the loo when Chas was in the room – they’ve got a brilliant mother/daughter dynamic
  • Jimmy’s sycophantic “Thank you, Mr Tate!” combined with Robert’s bristling fury at Joe calling him “Richard” – this new rivalry will be amazing

Fails

David is the Worst

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h49m11s488There is always stiff competition when it comes to “worst man in Emmerdale” but surely David Metcalfe wins this one hands down? As if his cheating on insecure Tracy wasn’t bad enough this week he behaved so hideously that I’m firmly Team Tracy Deserves Better. With predatory and disgusting Phil blackmailing Tracy, David caught them in a compromising position and then learnt the truth about Tracy’s past. Instead of being warm, loving and supportive of his wife he was cold and accusatory, unable to even look at her in the same way when he found out about her history. While it would understandably be a shock, David’s attitude towards her prostitution (and his selfish attitude in general) has soured my view of him completely and that’s without considering his recent lying and cheating. With Tracy’s other family members showing compassion and understanding, David is a far cry from the type of man Tracy needs. It’s going to take a lot for me to warm to him again.

Scene of the Week (19-23 Feb 2018)

sceneoftheweek

s96.png

As if my Scene of the Week choice was ever going to be anything else! In one of the most hotly anticipated moments in months, Aaron and Robert reunited in this romantic and hugely emotional scene in the street. With Thursday’s focus dedicated to getting Robron back together, both characters went on a fraught journey and were forced to confront their past and their strong feelings for each other. With Robert convinced he was a disaster and tearfully turning Aaron down after their split last year was too painful to handle, it was Aaron who stormed over there in a bid to convince him that their future was together. It was movie style epic romance at its finest as Aaron delivered a killer speech at Robert’s door with Danny Miller giving the perfect choked-up performance. Robert’s initial and comedic response (in reference to his dodgy dancing) was a beautiful moment of levity and they sealed the deal with a desperate kiss. Ever the romantic, and played with a fragility by Ryan Hawley, Robert made a call-back to their wedding dance by playing Adele and swapping surnames again and the pair walked hand in hand home. It was everything fans have been dying for – romantic, emotional, heartfelt, meaningful – and the deserved moment of happiness the couple have been crying out for. This is a scene that’s going to be treasured for a long time.

Fave or Fail? (12-16 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! This week both Ross and Debbie struggled in the wake of the acid attack and Sandy waved goodbye to the village.

Faves

Friendship and Identity

vlcsnap-2018-02-18-10h02m55s276Emmerdale have really lucked out in their teenage performers as this week’s story with Liv, Gabby and Jacob proved, giving us a heartfelt, original and emotionally raw storyline. Liv tried to explore her feelings on Valentine’s Day, explaining to Gabby that she doesn’t feel attracted to anyone and kissed her in order to discover how she felt. It was sensitively done, introducing an interesting and important storyline which was supported by honest performances. Refreshingly Gabby’s reaction was touching and supportive, as was Jacob the next day when Liv tried to talk to him about her asexuality too. Things had turned sour by the end of the week with Gabby misinterpreting a hug and seeking revenge on Liv by outing her at her birthday party, but this cruel development feels acutely true to teenage life. Sometimes stories with younger characters get dismissed or lost among “grown up” plots, but Liv’s journey here is already emotional and engaging. Fantastic work by all involved.

Three’s a Crowd

vlcsnap-2018-02-18-10h03m17s884Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll know that next week sees the reunion between Aaron and Robert so this week’s episodes were all about the thrill of anticipation. This week saw Aaron spend a lot more time with Rob, even helping look after Seb in favour of seeing Alex, and this lead to the pair sharing an almost-kiss on Valentine’s Day. With Robron both in a better place these days and the old feelings resurfacing, it’s now only Alex and Aaron’s stubborn too-big heart that’s getting in the way. This week was the perfect mix of chemistry, rom-com style miscommunication and that third wheel you just want out the way. Soz Alex. It’s made excitement for next week all the more powerful, and with tense scenes like the breathless telephone call that ended Valentine’s Day – I can hardly wait!

Struggling to Cope

vlcsnap-2018-02-18-10h03m43s962After the life-changing events of last week, Ross struggled to cope with the fall-out in hospital as the extent of his injuries sunk in. It’s been unusual to see Ross so down and distant when he’s usually so full of snark and bravado and it’s giving actor Mike Parr a chance to show off his acting. A welcome change of direction for Ross. There were a number of emotionally charged and difficult to watch moments this week, especially in the scenes that saw Ross come face to face with a frightened Moses and confronting his own changed reflection. I hope going forward we get to see his battle to restore his confidence and sense of self, rather than too much focus on revenge.

Breaking Point

vlcsnap-2018-02-18-10h04m33s368Debbie is a divisive character at the best of times, but none more so than now as she battles with her guilt over Ross’s attack. The best part about this storyline is how messy and far reaching the consequences are. This week even saw Cain go to extremes to scare off Ross’s attacker so that Debbie would be protected, but this situation feels very precarious! And we all know soap secrets don’t stay secret for long! Whether you feel any sympathy for Debbie or not, Charley Webb gave some outstanding performances this week in a visceral mix of emotions. She could never have imagined that her revenge would have such devastating consequences. Here’s hoping that Debbie does the right thing and own up to her part in the attack and not hide behind her family.

Midlife Crisis

vlcsnap-2018-02-18-10h04m48s842Bob Hope is still on my shit list but I can’t help but enjoy this midlife crisis style storyline. It’s never popular to break up a marriage, especially one that is rather normal and mundane for a soap, but Bob’s gone all Zak Dingle on us and weirdly I’m quite enjoying it. It’s a complicated muddle of emotions and muddled by Laurel’s grief and Bob’s indecisive middle-aged meltdown, but I like how horrible and messy the whole thing is for all involved. Inappropriate feelings are flying all over the place, not helped by a heap of denial. My heart breaks for Brenda, but there’s no easy resolution to this story and the discovery is going to be intense. I can’t wait.

Fails

Fleeting Farewell

vlcsnap-2018-02-18-10h04m12s341The last thing I want to do is make Emmerdale legend Sandy Thomas a “fail” but I’m just so disappointed to see him leave the village like this! It’s always much harder to give villagers a happy ending to their time in Emmerdale, but Sandy’s goodbye came out of nowhere and so fast. He didn’t even get to do a big goodbye to everyone – not even granddaughter Gabby. Still, what we did see of Sandy’s exit was warm and sweet, it’s just a shame it felt so random and rushed. I think he deserved better.

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

topy2017.png

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.

top20179.png

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!

top20178.png

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.

top20177

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!

top20176

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!

top201710

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.

top20175

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.

top20174

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!

top20173

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!

top20172

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!

top20171

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.

Emmerdale’s Worst Moments of 2017

topy2017w

Emmerdale had another huge year full of great storylines and incredible performances, but it wasn’t all perfect. Here’s my look at where it went wrong in 2017.

Make sure you read my Top 10 Best Bits of 2017 later today!

top2017w5

5. Anti Climaxes and Dragging Storylines

One of the biggest issues of 2017 was the pacing of storylines. Huge and long running stories that ended on a whimper, or stories that dragged on and on forever. There were notable exceptions of course, but sometimes stories ran on way past their sell by date. Even some of the best stories, like Emma’s downfall, could have benefitted from a faster, punchier conclusion. Smaller subplots like Tracy’s erotic novel ran for months, squeezing out every last second of humour until nothing was funny anymore; Rakesh took months to leave after his lies were exposed; I felt jaded by Vic and Adam’s lovely marriage ending several times in repetitive ways; similarly fatigued by Robron’s nine-month relationship breakdown (and Robert’s never ending revenge); Dan and the teen gang/Josh story lasted weeks and went nowhere having no impact on any of the families it involved; much like Jai’s drawn out relationship with Nell (which did benefit from some brilliant final moments) it’s had no long term effect on the characters, making any investment in the story pointless. So here’s hoping for 2018 that the fat is trimmed and stories aren’t stalled to delay shocks and twists, before they become anti-climatic.

top2017w4

 

4. Sizzle Free Love Affairs

My biggest wish for 2017 was less cheating after the adultery-fest of 2016 and while that didn’t really happen, 2017 saw the rise of something just as disheartening: the sizzle free love affair. We had Cain and Harriet getting jiggy in the vestry – a combo of good and evil that should have been sinfully seductive viewing but fell flat in Cain and Moira’s shadow, especially when Harriet seems to be selling herself short. We had Megan and Frank – a dry and boring relationship which even Frank’s fling with Charity couldn’t liven up. Then there was Chas and Paddy – a strange and incompatible mismatch which requires strong cringe glands. And finally, the plot that soured our summers, Pete and Priya. Tipped as this big sexy affair for the summer, both characters suffered from horrible personalities and sub-zero chemistry levels. All the bum grabbing and clothes tearing in the world couldn’t save them.

top2017w3

3. Finn the Stalker

It feels like forever ago now, particularly as poor Finn is now six feet under, but one of the worst plots of 2017 had to be Finn the stalker. Finn had been a fairly loveable, sweet geeky guy until this story saw him become clingy and crazy in his attempts to be with his boyfriend Kasim. Despite the unhinged behaviour being explained as Finn trying to cope with his dad’s death, Finn grew desperate and unlikeable in extreme ways (graffitiing the word “Yestergay” on Kasim’s wall for one) which made little sense and ruined what people loved about the character. Thankfully after a short trip to Australia, Finn’s personality went back to normal and we could all just forget about the bad plot. It’s just unfortunate that after all that, he ended up dead. Finn deserved better.

top2017w2

2. The White Family

The White family were featured as one of my worst parts of 2016 and here they are again! Things didn’t improve from the previous year, as throughout 2017 the Whites continued to be isolated from the rest of the village and relied on exposition-heavy backstories to provide depth and create more inner-family conflict. Their entitled attitudes and unlikeable personalities meant their circular and tired arguments didn’t make for engaging viewing. Even Robert’s tedious and endless revenge panto plot didn’t improve things as it lobotomised the family making them look more gullible than ever before. Ultimately it felt like the confusion about what to do with the family ran on for another year as their limbo between victims and villains never settled. Another year of wasted potential. Their bad deeds (erm Andy, Alicia to name a few) were barely mentioned and their real points of interest (Lawrence’s sexuality, the family’s nastiness) ignored. If only they’d embraced the Whites as true, self-righteous villains (like they’ve just started to with Lachlan) then we might have seen something good.

top2017w1

1. Robron Smashed to Bits

Oh boy. Where to begin.

After Aaron’s traumatic child abuse story of 2016, he was owed some happiness in 2017, right? Wrong. After a romantic and heartfelt wedding, Aaron was packed off to prison where he was tortured and abused in well-acted but nasty scenes that felt like a cruel step too far. At the time I questioned the darkness of these scenes after the hopeful future that was earned after Gordon’s trial. Once again throughout the year, Aaron might as well have been used as a voodoo doll. If people weren’t desensitised and sick of Aaron’s misery then 2017 might have pushed them over the edge.

On the outside, Robert was in bits and after learning that Aaron was taking Spice (a well meaning and educational drugs plot this wasn’t), Robert imploded their relationship by sleeping with continual thorn-in-Robron’s-side Rebecca. This was never going to be a popular move just three weeks after the wedding, but at every step the story became more wearing, more frustrating and more miserable. The handling of Robert’s bisexuality had already been praised in the LGBT community but the clumsy way his sexual identity had been inexplicably and repeatedly linked to being faithful in the dialogue meant his cheating was hard to not see as a huge backwards step and a muddled, dated message to the audience. Having spent so long redeeming Robert in the eyes of the viewers, Aaron and his loved ones it was depressing to see that destroyed.

It didn’t stop there, of course. We had the inevitable pregnancy, more drugs, more self harm, more arguments and finally a big split. Rebecca’s personality shifted when the story required, having been introduced as a flighty vixen in 2016 eager to get Robert for herself, Rebecca became the eternal martyr lurching through multiple personalities when the story required it. Rebecca’s point of view was barely featured, meaning her flip-flopping decisions never showed much more of a purpose than to cause more grief between the already fractured couple. Beyond frustrating.

Having once had soap’s hottest property in the palm of their hand, even the most ardent Robron fan was exhausted and despondent. So after all that and promises behind the scenes for a reunion in 2018, is it too much to hope for a less torturous 2018?

Scene of the Week (25-29 Dec 2017)

sceneoftheweek

s88

This week was full of individually strong scenes but my choice for Scene of the Week had to come from the surreal Christmas special, and naturally had to feature Valerie Pollard. I’ve already praised the Christmas episode as a whole, but this strange and nightmarish sequence had a gorgeous gothic feel, as well as bringing back an Emmerdale icon in the shape of a ghostly Val. Almost every line from her mouth was comedy gold and alongside her, Robert’s horror at the chilling events were played with gusto by Ryan Hawley. Down in the grave, Val gave Robert his moral takeaway from his hallucinations as his greyed out corpse jerked into reality via shocks given in the hospital. This scene had everything – a ghoulish aesthetic, great performances, wicked one liners and a spectacular return from the dead! What more could you ask for on Christmas day?