Fave or Fail? (15-19 April 2019)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! As Matty underwent his top surgery, Harriet was haunted by a threatening presence.

Faves

Bad, Mad and Dad

vlcsnap-2019-04-19-17h22m43s297Back in December when Harriet and Dawn’s connection was first revealed, I criticised the decision to kill off Dawn’s dad, suggesting that sacrificing the juicy torment it would give Harriet all these years later was a wasted opportunity. I also felt a little short changed that after years of resentment and bitterness towards Harriet, Dawn had so quickly let her back into her life. So it was an absolute joy to have the rug pulled out from under us this week and reveal that not only is Dawn’s father still alive (played by the brilliant Dean Andrews) but that she’s been in on it all along! Stories of undercover police forming long term relationships with criminal suspects has made headlines recently and the long term impact on the people involved is ripe for exploring in Emmerdale so I’m really excited to see what’s ahead. While some viewers feel this turn-around from Dawn has made her instantly unlikeable and feel betrayed, I feel it’s far more realistic to have her conflicted. Harriet was once a mother to her, and her undercover status sent Dawn’s life into a dark and miserable trajectory so this twist makes her intentions interesting and begs a question of just how much of her is genuine, and how far will she get involved in her dad’s plans before her conscience takes hold? This is a gripping story with so much potential and I think Dean Andrews is going to make a cracking villain. Bring it on!

Harriet’s Horror

vlcsnap-2019-04-20-12h32m46s917I’ll admit that I’ve never been keen on cool vicar Harriet, and even her much-hyped good versus evil bunk up with Cain didn’t do much to me, but times are changing. This week scenes in Emmerdale verged into horror movie territory as Harriet continued to be harassed by her secret stalker. Levels of creepiness escalated from minor meddling to full on terror as the church bells rang and Harriet found herself locked in. These were well shot scenes, letting us experience the unnerving sensations Harriet was suffering and allowing our empathy to increase. While viewers now know the culprit of this revenge, Harriet’s still in the dark and feeling as if she’s becoming a paranoid mess and there’s nothing more frightening than feeling you’re totally alone like this. Tension is high now to see how far this vendetta goes, and even more so to see Harriet discover the shocking truth behind whose responsible!

Fun For All

vlcsnap-2019-04-19-17h23m13s136Thursdays’ episodes centred on the opening of a new beer garden at the Woolie which will also serve as a living memorial for Grace, but it wasn’t just the addition of a new set that was a highlight, but the community spirit the scenes granted. It was enjoyable to see a selection of characters in one place, especially when it comes to comedy moments like Charity’s puppet show, but it also helps to tie lots of plots all together. There have been times in Emmerdale’s past where stories have felt boxed in, but from gatherings like this, to Nicola’s campaigning, and even Harriet’s stalking nightmare, plots seem to be managing to cross over a lot at the moment. Thursday’s beer garden opening managed to feature Priya’s rivalry with Aiesha, Paddy’s relationship with Bear, Charity keeping the secret of Lisa’s illness, Dawn’s secret revenge, Aaron and Robert’s fall out with Faith – and these cross-over moments add cohesion to the village.

Teen Torment

vlcsnap-2019-04-20-12h31m23s242The burden of Maya and Jacob’s secret and her blackmail weighed heavily on Liv this week. There’s an aspect of naivety and desperation in her actions which feels true to her age, but she’s not without guilt and panic. Liv wars between an act of revenge for being hurt herself, and using the money to help her family, to battling this moral dilemma alone. Luckily for Liv she had the comfort of best friend Gabby to console her when she worried her attempts to extort money from Maya was a bad move – though of course, Liv’s still not owned up to why she’s so nervy. The Liv and Gabby friendship is one of Emmerdale’s finest friendships and I’m glad we’ve had more of it lately. When the full truth of Maya’s behaviour comes out, I have high hopes that Gabby will be the one to mend the fractures in this teen group.

Flaky Father

vlcsnap-2019-04-20-12h34m20s733Bothersome, lay-about Bear might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m finding his struggling relationship with Paddy worth a watch. This is new ground for Paddy, who’s keen but cautious to form a relationship with Bear. This week, as Paddy experienced a fresh wave of grief over Grace when opening her garden, he asked for Bear’s involvement in the day, hoping it would reassure him of Bear’s commitment to his new family. Unfortunately for Paddy, Bear shirked his responsibilities and Paddy was left angry and crushed. Actor Dominic Brunt is really proving himself with this different and complex material. It’s early days for Bear, but away from the ridiculous wrestling stuff, he has potential and I think will continue to help Paddy show undiscovered sides to his character.

Fail

Split Secret

vlcsnap-2019-04-20-12h38m37s761The Spencer family might not be fan favourites, but there have been times where their lowkey stories have been easy viewing among some of the more intense plots in the village. However since Dan and Kerry’s split, their efforts to keep it secret from Amelia has felt unnecessarily tedious. It might have been Dan’s plan to keep Kerry close and win her back round but the failure of that was obvious, and should have been, even to him. They might have wanted to protect Amelia from the truth but her finding out showcased the family at their most unlikeable again. Kerry’s felt a little hard faced, Dan feckless and Amelia has just come across as a brat. Conflict within this family never seems to land right and I find myself wanting all the characters involved to grow up, or at least stick to the more light hearted material!

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Fave or Fail? (8-12 April 2019)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! A fantastic week on Emmerdale as the Maya and Jacob storyline escalated – a week so good, it was without a single low point.

Faves

Heart-breaking Discovery

vlcsnap-2019-04-13-14h13m44s870Liv had her worst fears confirmed this week – and then some – when she discovered Jacob and Maya in bed together. Isobel Steele brings so much vulnerability to the role that hearts were already breaking when she thought Jacob was getting bored of her and got herself dressed up and prepared to have sex with him. Alongside her scenes with supportive Robert, it was Gabby that offered comfort and reassurance too, and it was a pleasure to have their friendship back in the spotlight. Making this move with Jacob was already a huge deal for Liv, as she considers herself on the asexual spectrum, so it came as an even bigger blow when Jacob turned her down then dumped her. Things got even messier when she discovered the ugly truth, but the mix of pain, betrayal and teenage heartbreak caused her to make a risky and naive move in blackmailing Maya. This was an unexpected twist (and kept nicely under wraps by Emmerdale) but it worked. We’ve already seen Liv struggling with the weight of this secret, knowing Maya is a master manipulator and that she stands no chance in being believed. Considering no one believed her over Lachlan, it’s no wonder she’s wary. Her battle of conscious is also impacted by a personal pain of having her heart crushed, so her empathising with Jacob’s situation is complicated too. Now that she has a recording, things are moving quickly, but I really like how many layers there are to this story and how many lives it will impact. It’s only a matter of time.

Sinking to New Depths

vlcsnap-2019-04-13-14h15m55s154It goes without saying that Emmerdale viewers are united in their hatred of Maya Stepney, but we have to commend the great job Louisa Clein is doing in the role. This week saw Maya’s big secret blown, but she wasn’t going down without a fight and decided to employ some very dirty tactics to make sure Liv wouldn’t spill. Not only did Maya use Liv’s past and her issues with drink to prove her an unreliable witness, but she also manipulated Jacob to repeat the lie. But she stooped even lower after that, flipping deftly between emotional blackmail and crocodile tears to twisted threats. This week really ramped up the tension and it finally feels like the story is close to breaking point – I can’t wait for the fallout!

Unlikely Alliance

vlcsnap-2019-04-13-14h10m16s476Moving on from the never-ending Joe plot has done Kim Tate wonders and now that she’s got her heart set on reuniting with son Jamie, she finally has a tangible motivation – and not just messing with people’s lives because it’s fun. This week was a welcome change as Kim showed her softer, human side when helping Rhona out after she collapsed. This was a very unlikely partnership but these two are relative strangers so they were able to talk candidly in ways they couldn’t with others. Besides dead weight Graham, Kim’s allies are thin on the ground so this heart to heart with Rhona gave us a fresh perspective on her character, making her more than just a panto villain. She had empathy and humour, without it feeling forced. Of course, Kim being Kim there was an ulterior motive in sidling up to Rhona, but at least it seems she genuinely likes her and there wasn’t any over-the-shoulder smirking going on!

Maybe Baby

vlcsnap-2019-04-13-14h15m08s169There was a rare sighting of smiles at The Mill this week as Aaron and Robert’s surrogacy storyline was revisited. It wasn’t completely clear what triggered Robert’s change of heart to start pursuing their options in the UK but both lads were excited to get started. Although most of their plans have been off screen and hypothetical so far, it’s been a pleasure to see them united and in scenes again, having had a quiet year so far – particularly as it feels like it’s been a while since they had something really meaty. This week their family scenes nicely overlapped with Liv’s horrible time and it was good to see the three of them just hanging out and fully involved in supporting each other. As the surrogacy plot continues, let’s hope Emmerdale give them plenty of powerful scenes to get stuck into.

Carry On Vet

vlcsnap-2019-04-13-14h16m43s991You’d be forgiven for thinking once Kim Tate involved herself in the vets’ business it would be full of earnest moments or evil threats, but this week’s scenes proved that Kim being a silent partner can actually be a lot of fun. After Paddy and Vanessa agreed to take the infamous Ms Tate on board, they were petrified of owning up to their slightly scary partners Chas and Charity. Both Dominic Brunt and Michelle Hardwick are natural at physical comedy so their panic wide-eyes didn’t go unnoticed in the pub by their other halves and even a covert phone call in the gents and ladies’ loos couldn’t stop the landladies finding out the truth. Thankfully for our hapless vets, their deal with the devil got the seal of approval from Chas and Charity, leaving Paddy and Vanessa stunned. We know all too well that Emmerdale comedy can be hit and miss, but these brilliant scenes were an effortless win on the laughs front. More please!

Expanding the Family

vlcsnap-2019-04-13-14h12m32s620The Sharmas have been going from strength to strength lately, especially now that Manpreet has married Rishi added more drama to the fold. The family have felt a bit isolated in recent years with their sole focus either being comedy or factory scenes, but Manpreet’s money issues have given the family a bit of a rift, with Jai’s suspicions making things difficult with Rishi and Priya too. It’s an interesting dynamic as we as viewers aren’t even totally sure of Manpreet’s true intentions – though I’d prefer her feelings to be legit! I loved the family scenes this week at the wedding reception and the fall out afterwards, and there’s a good balance of drama and comedy. But with actress Shila Iqbal fired this week, I hope producers recast Aiesha so we can see what she can offer to this bigger and better family unit.

Bonus Faves

  • It was all about the ex’s this week as Vic and Ellis contrived a situation to get Tracy and Billy talking again. Both couples are fun, bursting with chemistry and this week was a real reminder that both pairings are good together – time for some romance, Emmerdale!
  • Bear seems to be sticking around in the village now and after this week’s scenes I’m pretty glad about this. From annoying Aaron at the scrapyard to making arm-wrestling pals with Eric and Diane, he could be good comic relief.
  • Harriet’s stalker storyline has only just begun but it could be the most interesting she’s ever been. Bring it on!
  • It was a week of powerful and sometimes unusual partnerships on screen. Rhona shared her fears with Paddy in a well-acted scene showcasing their enduring chemistry, even as ex’s. Later on, Pete had his own confidante in Diane. Diane managed to be both blunt and completely brilliant, as she necked the champagne and dragged Pete for his inability to understand Rhona’s problems.

Fave or Fail? (25-29 March 2019)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! This week Cain learnt Joe’s alive and Rishi and Manpreet revealed that they’re married!

Faves

The Fab Four

vlcsnap-2019-03-29-21h44m16s428They’re just one Dingle wedding away from all being one big family, but the power couple quartet of Robron and Vanity joined forces this week – first to finish a business deal and then to save it! The week begin with Charity using her womanly wiles to schmooze Robert’s client, after agreeing to take a cut of the profits herself. But once an unhappy Vanessa got involved, she realised Mike was up to no good and ended up stealing his car! The four made an unlikely dream team with Charity and Robert’s kindred spirits exhausting their other halves, but it was after Vanessa’s panicked efforts to thwart Mike’s backstabbing that the fun really began. While Robert, Aaron and Charity aren’t opposed to a bit of criminal behaviour to get what the want, clueless Vanessa was amusingly amateur. Once again Michelle Hardwick’s fun comedy performances made the rescue of the car a fun contrast against Aaron and Robert’s open-mouthed disbelief at her school boy errors. While this foursome are used to big emotionally dramatic plots, it was nice to see the couples have some fun in a comedy capers story, each of them all using their talents and funny mix of personalities. Here’s hoping Emmerdale makes the most of their popularity and gives the four another chance to cross paths for some fun in future.

Fresh and Contemporary

vlcsnap-2019-03-29-21h48m23s342Emmerdale’s story with Billy this week is definitely worth commending. So far Billy’s been shown as a complex and interesting character and this week, facing racism and a confrontation in the park, Emmerdale tried to take on a relevant and contemporary story. His muddled introduction, facing dramatic in the dark hostility from Ellis and the unresolved issue of Billy’s role in Aaron’s prison ordeal, has left some viewers struggling to connect, however Emmerdale’s attempts to create a multi-layered character have been worthwhile. Newbies often come in as a bit of a shapeless caricature but the impact of Billy’s upbringing, societal and cultural issues of race, the long-term impacts of prison and male violence show that Emmerdale have really tried to make an effort in shaping a well-rounded character. Its attempts might not always be successful, heavy handed to some, but a new character like Billy has a lot more potential as someone without the cliched introduction of “mysterious bad boy”!

New Lease of Life

vlcsnap-2019-03-29-21h46m14s593It’s been great to see more of the Sharmas lately, especially a character like Jai who was once so hateable and villainous that it was a waste of actor Chris Bisson’s warmth and humour. While within the family, it’s Jai and Priya’s sibling relationship that provides most of the good scenes, but in the factory Jai’s new friendship with colleague Laurel seems to be going down well with fans. Some viewers have ever noticed a chemistry between them that sets tongues wagging about a possible and unlikely romance. Whether that happens or not, the pair work surprisingly well together and it’s nice to see both characters finding their feet after Jai’s villainy and Laurel’s affair with Bob tarnished opinion of them for quite some time.

Fails

Grim Kim

vlcsnap-2019-03-29-21h45m35s245If there’s one word to sum up this week’s Kim plot, it’s grim. The lacklustre Joe reveal rumbled on this week and even Cain wasn’t told in a particularly dramatic way. For reasons unknown, Kim’s returned with a whole catalogue of gripes and vendettas and a long wish list of businesses she wants to own. Rather than let Kim bed into Emmerdale and grow new rivalries, Emmerdale seem to determined to give her enemies and motives that make little sense to anyone watching. Kim’s experience with the Dingles in her first stint was mainly through Sam and Zak, but on returning she’s decided to hate them all, except for Cain who for some nonsensical reason she wants to sleep with. Okay, so Cain does have his appeal to the opposite sex and soap affairs often happen with an impulsive attraction to the bad boy – but Kim’s desire to have the man she can’t have, toying and blackmailing him just feels completely baseless. There’s no chemistry between the actors and while Kim is better outside of the Graham bubble, she’s still far too cartoonish to take seriously. But the worst of it? Blackmailing someone for sex is just sleazy and horrid to watch. Alongside the attempts to tell the Maya and Jacob in an educational and responsible way, this plot feels sordid and grubby. We want Kim to be the villain we love to hate, not someone using money and power to essentially rape someone. Cain isn’t even remotely tempted so the whole storyline comes across as an ill-judged, misguided plot. Nasty.

Scene of the Week (25-29 March 2019)

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Who’d have thought an unlikely dinner date between two of Emmerdale’s most loved couples would have been this entertaining? It was a meeting of minds as Robert and Charity edged around the elephant in the room before they’d even got to pudding, with Charity eventually agreeing to flirt her way to helping Robert secure a contract with furniture king Mike. Charity being Charity wasn’t just about to agree to Robert’s charm offensive and awkward laughter, she wanted a cut too. As their bored other halves looked on, Charity and Robert eventually shook on it and a new partnership was formed. Both Robron and Vanity are used to scenes of powerful emotional drama so to see them indulge in a funny and sparky scene over a bottle of wine was really good fun. Even though Charity and Robert have their ruthless and stubborn similarities, it was their long-suffering other halves that struck a bond too, bringing the laughs too as they reached peak business chat and lamented the cut-throat likeness in their spouses. Could this be the first double date of many? Here’s hoping!

Fave or Fail? (4-8 March 2019)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! It was a week of big episodes as Emmerdale took a trip to Belfast and celebrated International Women’s Day.

Faves

Who Run the World?

vlcsnap-2019-03-09-21h21m55s533Friday’s episode had a very female flavour as Emmerdale celebrated International Women’s Day with an all-women episode on screen, using mostly women off screen too. Not only was this an inspiring decision behind the scenes, but the episode itself was full of pathos, joy and warm fuzzy feelings. Emmerdale managed to use almost all of its female characters, with them intersecting in ways they don’t normally. It’s always a treat to see characters sharing scenes who never normally, like Diane and Rhona, Nicola and April, and despite there being no men involved, it was the most community feeling episode in a long time. Alongside Chas’s pregnancy reveal, April’s insecurities and Rhona’s hysterectomy worries, there was also the sad announcement that Lisa is dying. I really liked the slow surprise reveal of her appearance in the episode and was glad Emmerdale managed to keep it completely under wraps. Although Charity and Lisa’s sad discussions took a central role in the episode, it still managed to be warm and funny, with a firm feeling of strength and confidence among all these women. It’s episodes as successful as this, with big heart and ambition, that make me proud to be an Emmerdale fan.

Drunk Delight

vlcsnap-2019-03-09-21h23m14s224It was Vanessa’s birthday this week and never one to shy away from a good time, she decided to get absolutely wasted. Off her and Rhona headed to Ellis’s party, where she proceeded to party hard, even beside a stone cold sober Rhona. Actress Michelle Hardwick has brilliant comic timing and her drunk Vanessa was lots of fun, only bettered when an irate Charity showed up. Vanessa’s expressions, excitement at the thought of a puppy and insistence she say goodbye to everyone. Charity’s irritation contrasted perfectly with Vanessa’s attempts to squeeze in one last shot (and slut drop), but when they got back to the house, the shouting got far too much for poor pouty Vanessa. Hungover Ness the next day was just as entertaining and I think Emmerdale should definitely make more of Vanessa’s party girl habits and use Michelle’s comedic talents to their best!

Adventures in Belfast

vlcsnap-2019-03-09-21h24m11s671It’s always a fun novelty when Emmerdale goes on location and this week it was a one-day jaunt to Belfast for Marlon and Jessie’s mini-moon. While the circumstances to get Marlon, Jessie, Paddy and Kerry all in Belfast for the day was clunkily contrived, the unlikely foursome ended up being quite entertaining. Despite Paddy and Marlon being the best of buds, it was Paddy and Kerry, then Jessie and Kerry who made for the most fun duos. As the drama initially resulted in sitcom silliness over room provision, Kerry brought out a much warmer and funnier side to Jessie, and it was amusing to have Paddy’s patience tested by someone other than his nearest and dearest. Though the beautiful locations shot made for a nice change, I can’t help but feel a trip away deserved more than just a Thursday double for it to be really worth while.

Mother Daughter Reunion

vlcsnap-2019-03-09-21h22m30s570Amy and Kerry were reunited in Belfast this week, as newcomer Natalie Ann Jamieson took over the role. It was great to see Kerry given something to do outside of the Spencer dramas and their tumultuous relationship looks set to still cause friction even now as Amy has made a return to the village. Amy’s return nicely recapped her history in Emmerdale and explained too why she didn’t return for Val’s funeral. On Thursday’s episodes she was reluctant to step back into Kyle’s life, which seemed like fitting characterisation for someone who had a troubled relationship with motherhood, but by Friday’s episode she was already causing friction with the Dingles, saying she was going to fight for him. It’s a little disappointing that we’ve already rushed towards an all-out war with Cain, when really they could’ve spent longer growing her feelings towards her son. Still, I’m looking forward to seeing how Amy works in the village now.

Fails

Enough with the Wrestling!

vlcsnap-2019-03-09-21h25m10s761There were elements of the Belfast trip that definitely felt like a dodgy Dingle VHS spin off. A rowdy bar of stereotypical drunks, Marlon’s dodgy accent and a misunderstanding that lead Paddy to don a cape and get in the ring against a terrifying clown. When Bear Wolf turned up again in full wrestling gear, I dreaded a rehash of the cringeworthy scenes from the other week and the whole farce was almost unwatchable. On the bright side, once Paddy had got Bear on his own and spoke to him in a serious discussion about being his biological father, about Paddy’s loss of Grace, then there was real potential in both the character of Bear and the actor who played him. That just made the inclusion of the pathetic wrestling stuff even worse – if we’d have dropped that so-called comedy then perhaps by the time things got serious with Bear, we’d have been far more invested.

Pointless Plots

vlcsnap-2019-03-09-21h26m29s189On paper, Aaron and Robert’s foray into surrogacy should have been an interesting and emotional journey. Instead we had a plot that sent Aaron baby mad for a few episodes and get resolved in such a way as to wonder why they bothered in the first place. This unsatisfying resolution is nothing new for the pair and is actually becoming a disappointing trend. Back in November, after losing baby Seb, Aaron’s unresolved grief about Grace and losing Seb seemed to be tapping into a much larger storyline. Then…nothing. Fast forward to the beginning of the year and Billy’s arrival shook things up in the Robron household. Billy’s impact had Robert arrested and Aaron suffering poor mental health, all for it to be swept under the carpet and Aaron is seemingly back to normal. With the surrogacy storyline offering lots of potential to cover the struggles, pitfalls and joys of a same sex couples becoming parents, it’s no wonder that expectations were high when Aaron and Robert began their journey. After Robert’s plan backfired and the money disappeared, Aaron and Robert seemingly put a hold on their plans, then last week, after Chas’s encouragement, it was back on. Then, just one week later it was abandoned again. Whiplash, or what? Back to square one. Aaron’s desperate attempts to secure a surrogate, going as far as to steal from Robert, had no real follow up and what should have been a significant conflict between the two was glossed over, without even scratching the surface as to Aaron’s motivations. This on/off storytelling for the pair is destroying all momentum and any emotional investment in their storylines – and when you’ve got great actors and a popular couple, it’s a complete waste of their talents.

Fave or Fail? (28 Jan-1 Feb)

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 Graham rumbled the Waterhouse takeover and Dawn attempted to go cold turkey.

Faves

Brothers at War

vlcsnap-2019-02-03-09h20m04s293Warring brothers is Emmerdale bread and butter and it looks as if Ellis vs Billy is the new generation. Though we’ve seen our fair share of these rivalries over the years, thankfully both actors, Asan N’jie and Jay Kontzle, have bags of charisma meaning their long-standing feud is completely believable and works to make both sides empathetic. After some careful (and amusing) twisting of history, Robert planted the seed in Ellis’s head to make him suspect Billy was after Victoria, but Ellis’s near-the-knuckle goading of his brother made him more like sneaky Rob than anticipated! Jessie walked in on the violence and had to make an impossible choice between lying to the police, or sending Billy straight back inside. While you can’t envy Jessie’s decision, you could certainly see why Ellis’s resentment has escalated over the years. I love stories of complicated families dynamics where the conflict in the family feels genuine and long-running, and these two certainly have that. Even though Ellis has moved out and the war is briefly on hold, Billy’s morally grey complexities are still worth exploring and it feels like a lost opportunity that Aaron’s significant issues with him have been brushed under the carpet instead of giving the two of them some sort of resolution.

Fall of the Kingdom

vlcsnap-2019-02-03-09h22m16s109They are Emmerdale’s most long-standing married couple, but the Kings were on the rocks this week as Nicola’s scheme meant they had lost everything to Graham. Admittedly I’m biased on this front because I love both characters and would be on their side even if they burnt the village to the ground, but I did feel a bit sorry for them this week. With Nicola and Robert’s ambition and greed getting the better of them they made foolish mistakes that were easily foiled by Graham, who then made Nicola sign over Home James Haulage to Home Farm. Jimmy’s dreams of passing down the family business to his kids were shattered and this point his marriage at breaking point. It wasn’t just the pair’s fraught tension that I enjoyed though, both characters are warm and funny (drunk and happy Jimmy was a real treat) so I can’t help but be on their side. With ambitious Nicola and Rob having great plans for a takeover, I can’t help but wish that one day they’d have a win, and start up another business, if only to rock the status quo.

Factory Friends

vlcsnap-2019-02-03-09h20m24s028Dawn’s already become the perfect newcomer to Emmerdale, making instant connections with other villagers and a fight against adversity making her empathetic to watch. Dawn’s a likeable character who we’re willing to succeed, even if setbacks are inevitable as she battles addiction. This week Dawn bit the bullet and went for a trial at the sweet factory, but her drug withdrawal saw her really struggle on her first day. Although at first critical, Kerry soon lent Dawn an understanding ear and the pair quickly bonded and when Jai came checking up on her productivity, Laurel and Kerry snuck her a few extra boxes to make her look good. Dawn’s optimism was lifted and the scene gave me a huge swell of warmth, as this is the kind of neighbourly spirit of kindness we could all do with now and again. I can see Dawn fitting into the factory really well and am glad Emmerdale are making a big effort to wider her circle of interactions away from just Harriet and Ryan.

Bones Faves

  • Laura Norton’s really come into her own over this past year and made Kerry extra likeable to boot. Even her big bust up with Dan was really watchable. Emmerdale couldn’t shoe in any more Amy mentions if they tried but it seems like there could be some promising scenes on the horizon when [spoiler] mother and daughter are reunited.
  • After so many threats to leave and last stands at the bus stop – dull Daz finally left this week. His inclusion in the Spencer family didn’t add anything, so besides that whole Amelia paternity retcon, you’ve got to wonder – why bring him back in the first place?
  • In amongst Aaron and Robert’s repetitive fall-outs about Robert’s doomed-to-fail schemes this week, they at least had chance for some smiles and a celebratory shag in the portacabin. Is it too much to hope for that Emmerdale might think outside the box and have Aaron take a driving seat in securing his future happiness? If only so that Rob’s continual failures aren’t always making the atmosphere at the Mill frosty.

Fail

Personality Transplant

vlcsnap-2019-02-03-09h21m08s090There must be something in the water over at Home Farm. If it wasn’t bad enough that Moira’s turned into Emmerdale’s next mob wife at Butler’s, Megan’s trying to pre-empt Kim’s return by turning into a soap superbitch. We’ve always known Megan had a bit of a ruthless streak but since pairing up with Graham, she seemed to take pantomime villain pleasure in Nicola’s downfall, openly gloating and maliciously revealing her crimes to her family. Has the power gone to her head? Or has Graham’s attachment to Kim made Megan step up her game? Megan’s been an odd anchor-less character for years now, moving from a failed relationship with Jai to a lacklustre one with boring Frank, but she’s at least been someone with a bit of moral standing. Sure, Graham’s the one that’s been conned, but Megan gleefully anticipating the destruction of Nicola and Robert’s lives just doesn’t feel in character, particularly when she’s known Graham all of five minutes. If she’d had a long standing feud with Nicola then this turn-around might have at least made sense. Is this all just a clunky set up to have Megan and Kim catfighting it out when she returns? It’s bad enough having one personality transplant, now that Graham’s morphed into vengeful villain to rival Joe, but two?

Scene of the Week (28 Jan-1 Feb)

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Whether you’re #TeamGraham or #TeamNicolaandRobert the moment when Graham revealed he’d got the scheme team rumbled was a good scene. With Robert realising that Home James Haulage was no more and contracts had been given to the new Home Farm account, both couples assembled and headed to the big house for answers. A seething Graham revealed he knew Nicola and Robert had been swindling him and this act of revenge was only the beginning. As Graham held a call to the police over their heads, an amusingly drunk Jimmy offered to sacrifice Robert for his and Nicola’s safety and Robert tried to explain actions, citing Joe’s bruising deal from last year. While Graham just seems to be taking over Joe’s ruthless personality, it’s surely going to be small fry compared to Kim’s retaliation. Graham’s butler-turned-robot routine isn’t as menacing as Emmerdale thinks it is, but with the Kings and the Sugden-Dingles being two of my favourite couples, their struggle is always one I’m going to enjoy watching.

9 Emmerdale Wishes for 2019

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We’ve just begun a shiny new year and it’s the perfect time to ponder what storylines or changes we’d like to see for Emmerdale in 2019. I had a good think, I asked on Twitter and here are my Top 9 wishes for Emmerdale in 2019.

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Backstory for Vanessa

Since becoming Charity’s girlfriend, we’ve seen a lot more of Vanessa but it would be nice to see more of her in her own right. Besides dad Frank we know very little about Vanessa’s family and past. Isn’t it about time someone from Vanessa’s past was introduced, or why not meet her mum? If the rumours are true and a Vanity wedding is on the cards then this is the perfect time to explore more about Vanessa.

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Show Some Success

Whether it’s a business going under, a plan going awry or exams being failed, we’ve seen a lot of failure over the years. Characters can’t always been happy and winning, but I think it’s about time someone had some good luck. 2018 saw Tracy start a new business and it would be great to see ambition pay off. Then there are characters like the Kings who haven’t been high-flying for years. Nicola is someone always looking for a bigger and better life – why not have her reach a level of success? And if the soap gods work their magic, maybe she and Jimmy realise that it isn’t what it’s cracked up to be!

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Big Stories for Coira and Robron

Two of Emmerdale’s biggest and most beloved couples reunited last year but since then their storylines have been bitty. Cain and Moira had Matty, Debbie and Graham to contend with, while Robert and Aaron supported their sisters and Rebecca through their big stories. But what next for the two big couples? Cain and Moira spent a lot of the year apart on screen so something that unites them and repairs the distance of their time apart would be good. For Robert and Aaron in their first year of married life, a story that changes the dynamic between them would be interesting to see – it’d be good to see Aaron getting in on the schemes for once! Whatever the stories ahead for both couples, it seems obvious that viewers just want to see more of their favourite couples together in great stories!

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More Village Gossip

Since losing characters like Betty and seeing less of comedic gems like Pearl, the village has been missing that key ingredient: gossip. Community is a huge part of village life and it was great to see more of that in 2018 but it’s not just parties and events that could tie characters and stories together – it’s also villagers having a natter about what else is going on the village! There’s plenty of scandal and drama along Main Street so there’s ample opportunity for big-mouthed characters to stick their oar in.  

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A Funny Feel Good Wedding

Happy weddings are a rare event for soap, but I’d love to see a wedding in 2019 for a fun loving couple. There’s Sam and Lydia, Faith and Eric or even new couple Liam and Bernice. These are genuinely funny, heart-warming couples who deserve a special day – and you just know the weddings would be full of laughs. It doesn’t all have to be disasters and slapstick, but imagine Lydia’s dance routine or Bernice going Bridezilla. And there’s always room for a classic soap twists and turns – let’s just see the villages having a good time.

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No More Special Episodes

I’ve loved Emmerdale’s attempt to reinvigorate the soap genre with special episodes, flashbacks and episodes that really dig deep into a character’s psyche. But now I think it’s time to give those kinds of episodes a rest and stick to good quality, linear storytelling. The more special episodes are made the less unique they get. Save them for when they really matter, Emmerdale!            

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Keep Kim 3D

My biggest wish for 2019 is that Emmerdale make the most of Kim’s return and don’t turn her into a caricature. Kim is an iconic Emmerdale soap bitch, but she’s not just a campy villain and I hope that when she returns the writers won’t lose sight of that and tarnish the fond memories viewers have of her original tenure. Keep Kim grounded, with flaws and vulnerabilities and that way her one-liners and sharp attitude will keep Kim at her best.

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Give Jai and Priya Something Gritty

2018 was a complete waste of the Sharmas. Priya briefly struggled with her mental health but that was glossed over quickly and Priya joined the rest of the family for silly sitcom subplots. Jai and Priya have a great sibling relationship and have been on the side-lines for ages so I think it’s about time they had a great, emotionally testing story.

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Reinvent Debbie Dingle

Oh Debbie, where to begin? She might be seen as the leading lady of the Dales, but unfortunately Debbie’s stories (and her personality) need a rethink. We’ve explored the same old ground for her when it comes to her love life and there isn’t much that manages to raise a smile. Even when she does something dark and reckless (like the acid attack story) her family manage to treat Debbie as a victim. With Joe gone and the truth about to be revealed, it’s time to shake Debbie up and give her something to do that we’ve not seen before. Could Emmerdale explore her bisexuality again? Give her a new friendship? A new job?

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

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

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10. Bernice and Liam

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

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9. Matty Barton

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

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8. Pete and Rhona

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

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7. Joe Tate Reveal

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

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6. Ellis Chapman

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

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5. The Coira Reunion

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

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4. The Robron Reunion

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

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3. Emma Atkins’ Winning Performances

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

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2. Thomas Atkinson’s Killer Portrayal

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

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1. Tracy’s Powerful Year

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

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