Fave or Fail? (24-28 Sep 2018)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! A great week in the Dales as Vanity shared those three little words and Moira confessed to killing Emma to Matty and Vic.

Faves

Exposed Secrets

vlcsnap-2018-09-29-09h23m41s338It wasn’t long ago that Victoria was nominated on this blog as one of Emmerdale’s most underrated characters so it’s been fantastic this week to see her front and centre of the show. Not only was Vic battling with her feelings for BFF Matty this week, as the pair gave into a passionate snog (yay!) but she was also thrown into turmoil after learning that Adam took the rap for Emma’s death and Moira was the real culprit. Not only this, but she found out that her future brother in law Aaron knew about it this whole time. What I love about this story is that there’s no villain here, no black and white. I feel for both Moira AND Victoria, and that’s the beauty of a good story. My only wish is that Emmerdale hadn’t ruined Adam and Victoria’s marriage so close to his exit and had her not mention him for months following his departure, because that weakens the impact of her upset a little.

Consequences for Moira

vlcsnap-2018-09-29-09h21m05s161Recently I bemoaned Emmerdale’s lack of follow-up when it came to Moira’s PTSD and huge murder reveal, being that overall she’d been mostly unaffected. After a few months of misery, a reunion with Cain seemed to almost fix all her problems. It was a welcome relief for viewers and Moira alike but put a full stop to the conclusion of Emma’s storyline that never really seemed feasible. Though Emma’s death and the fall out lasted far longer than it should have, making Moira her killer was a massive decision that should have had far reaching ramifications. But it didn’t. It was a bold move, but one that never really materialised. Might we finally be getting the shockwaves the story deserved? I hope this gives Moira something juicy again as Natalie J Robb is far too good to spend another year around Butler’s table not doing much.

Rebecca’s Struggles

vlcsnap-2018-09-29-09h15m57s069It’s only taken two years but the writing for Rebecca has finally made her feel like a fully fleshed out, consistent character, vocalising her struggles rather than her brain injury only there to benefit other plots. Even though we all know Ross is due to exit from Emmerdale soon, his supportive and tender relationship with Rebecca has brought out the best in both characters. Rebecca’s pain at not being able to be a reliable mother for Seb and her loneliness feel like they’re being properly explored rather than her simply being used as either a plot device for Lachlan or Robert, or a comedy bit-part in the pub. Hopefully now Emmerdale have acknowledged that she’s an isolated character whose had six months from hell, they will continue to give her a consistent voice and agency in her own stories.

Everyone Loves Dr C

vlcsnap-2018-09-29-09h08m44s351Was it the stubble? The endearing sadness of a divorcee? Was it because Liam’s self-confessed highlight of the week was choosing his kitchen worktops? Whatever it was this week, everyone seemed to have fallen head over heels for Dr Cavanagh and Bernice wasn’t even in the village! There’s something oh-so charming and swoony about Liam that I was right there with Diane and Kerry in fawning all over him – and let’s face it, he’s far more of a catch than dull Daz. As Liam tried to fake reasons to call Bernice, this was exactly the kind of light-hearted watchable story in Emmerdale that I love and it made me even more glad he’s been made a regular character in the show. Hurry back Bernice before you get pipped to the post!

Meeting Obadiah

Charity amp; Vanessa 26th September 2018 Part 3 - YouTubeIt was great to meet Charity’s father this week, with the brilliant Paul Copley in the role. Both he and Emma Atkins had a short time to build up and on screen rapport but their conversations were compelling to watch, especially as we learnt about the suicide of Charity’s mum. Throughout the Bails story, despite the impressive performances, there’s been a lot of repetition and it hasn’t shone many new lights on Charity as a person. Bringing in more of her background in terms of her parents was new for us and gave her childhood an interesting dimension. However the introduction of Obadiah and meeting him seemed far too rushed and I wish these had been the scenes Emmerdale had spent longer on rather than the stop/start stalling with Ryan.

Fail

No Empathy

Charity amp; Vanessa 24th September 2018 Part 2 - YouTubeThank god for Vanessa this week, one of the few people in Charity’s life to offer any sort of empathy or compassion for her behaviour in the wake of Bails’s trial. The Dingles, on the other hand, had me raging. It wasn’t that long ago that Lisa and Aaron both went through similar hell after facing their rapist in court and the Dingles rallied round to support their loved ones. With Charity it’s been a different story. Sure, Charity’s struggling made her destructive and uncontrollable, but Zak and Chas’s bulldozing “Dingle Court” method was completely aggressive and tone deaf to what Charity needed. It is a difficult situation for a family to work through, but out of everyone you’d expect Chas to be a bit more understanding – you can’t imagine her taking such a hard line with Aaron, can you? Much like the Dingles not bothering to show up to court, I felt that this level of harshness from the family was hard to believe, designed to make Charity spiral than being something stemming naturally from their perception of Charity. They might think Charity’s strong and at times selfish, but I don’t buy that the family would be so lacking in empathy after something like this.

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7 Recent Storylines With Potential That Just Vanished

I’ve noticed a strange trend in 2018 – the disappearing storyline! While other plots drag on for months and months, some stories with potential just seem to vanish into thin air. Now, I’m not talking stories that took a disappointing turn (like Ross’s acid attack) but these are moments that were delivered with great performances, lots of excitement and press and then…vanished!

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Moira and the impact of killing Emma

Making Moira a killer was a huge decision and one that sent a chill of terror into Moira fans, but they needn’t have worried because any impact on her was short lived. After a quiet year for Moira, mainly because they were trying to keep her shock pregnancy a secret, she had a traumatic end to 2017, suffering both post-natal depression and extreme guilt for her part in killing Emma. With Moira such a beloved and ordinary character in the village (ordinary as far as you can be for a soap character!) it was always going to be difficult to give her any long-term consequences for killing off another character. But within a matter of months, she’d reunited with love Cain and everything had been forgiven and forgotten when it came to the Barton boys. The aftermath Moira’s breakdown was intense and destructive, but although she lost son Adam, psychologically she seems happier than ever now! Perhaps making Moira a killer was too jarring and Emmerdale weren’t sure how to deal with it long-term, but if this was the case, maybe she was the wrong character for the role. I love Moira and I like seeing her happy and settled, but it does feel like everything was brushed too neatly under the carpet.

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Joe Tate vs the world

Perhaps the worst offender on the list is the complete waste of Joe Tate since his wonderful reveal in January. Excitement was high when the Tom Waterhouse charade fell apart and he was revealed to be Chris Tate’s son, leading to a deliciously evil take over of the village next to stoic butler figure Graham. Every doubt we’d had about the “Tom” storyline was revealed to be deliberate, including the all-too-perfect romance with Debbie. But as Joe made enemies left right and centre, demolishing Wishing Well, taking Home James Haulage from Robert and pissing off everyone in sight, his position as top dog and loathed rich boy just couldn’t be sustained. Living in the big house and have no familial ties, it seemed like Emmerdale swiftly realised Joe needed more than just enemies and his redemption came in the shape of his new-found love for dour Debbie Dingle. While a slow love-hate romance might’ve worked, it’s now as if all of Joe’s Machiavellian behaviour has been dropped in favour of a bedside vigil for Sarah. Where is the village antagonist we were promised? Why isn’t he living up to the Tate name and has fallen into the trap of being a wet weekend who has the odd tantrum? With all his vendettas forgotten he’s an aimless character and a real waste of that Tate legacy.

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Liv’s drinking and asexuality

Viewers had long been promised a gritty plot for talented Isobel Steele and it finally emerged onto screens this year. Or did it? Compared to issue-led plots for other characters Liv’s drinking problems have been vaguely handled and half-arsed. Don’t get me wrong, Isobel has given sensitive and emotional performances as Liv tried to navigate adolescence, but after a spell in youth offenders and a brief Lachlan-fuelled relapse, her problem with alcohol has almost been treated as “fixed”. Are we meant to believe she’s all fine now? That her time inside “fixed her” (a worrying implication if so)? It feels like this complex issue has been brushed under the carpet rather than giving it the treatment it deserves. Is this so they can make Liv start drinking again when the story needs it, or has it just been forgotten about? It’s a similar case with the hints about her asexuality. Liv has spent a little time questioning this, but it hasn’t been given the airtime that it deserves and that seems like another waste of Isobel’s talents to leave Liv’s interesting struggles untouched. Instead of piling on more angst (like her recent exam failures) can’t Emmerdale do a better job of resolving the stories they’ve already laid the foundations of?

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The Kings – business and health problems

I’m a huge fan of the Kings so I was excited to see them get involved in the Tate take-over at the start of 2018. Jimmy had long been relegated to comedy buffoon with Nicola as his nagging wife, so it was great to see a bit of the powerhouse King family history remembered. But after teaming up with Robert to double-cross Joe, the story collapsed and disappeared. We haven’t heard anything about the new Home James Haulage work team or what a nightmare Joe is as a boss. It’s business as usual. All of Jimmy’s health issues and stress have disappeared (is he okay? Who knows!) so there was no emotional story there and so instead the Kings have been underused for another year which is a real shame as they’re one of Emmerdale’s biggest assets.

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Priya’s struggling mental health

Before she took on a role at Home Farm (which seems like a great move!) Priya had a difficult start to the year. The first few months of 2018 we saw signs of Priya feeling lonely and exhausted and with Jai using her as a babysitter, it all got a bit much for her. This really seemed like it could be the beginning of a decent storyline for her. It isn’t the first time Priya’s had mental health struggles and with 2017 seeing the end to her marriage, and a disastrous affair with Pete, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see her feel her life was in tatters. Priya’s an ambitious woman so to see her have a bit of a breakdown about her stalled life could have been a great story, but it just fizzled out instead. It’s about time the Sharmas had something a bit more serious and emotional to do and Fiona Wade would have done a great job with it.

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Syd MacFarlane’s threat to Aaron

If you don’t remember Syd MacFarlane then I don’t blame you. Syd had a very brief appearance in January and was let free during Adam’s escape from his prison van, but he made another cameo in April, blackmailing Aaron and Robert for some hard cash in one of the most lacklustre plots of the Spring. Syd rocked up, threatened Aaron, then held him hostage for all of half an episode just so that Robert could sign away their flat and his business to Joe Tate for the ransom. As we know, that rivalry with Joe had no real long-term consequences and Syd’s random arrival was just as fleeting and insignificant as his exit. Syd and his threats had no impact, even though Aaron and the MacFarlanes had a long history that could’ve been explored, meaning Syd was a 2D “villain of the week” character. Gone and forgotten instantly. The MacFarlanes could have started real trouble for the Dingles, for Robert’s business or even given Joe some tips! Instead it turned into one of 2018’s most pointless and disappointing subplots, wasting both fan favourite couples, Robron and Coira, who briefly joined forces to take down Syd.

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Eliza’s health problems

Instead of helping his dad with dating disasters, Jai could have had a much more emotionally engaging storyline had Emmerdale continued to be true to the drama of Eliza’s health concerns. Megan is wasted in wishy-washy romance plots with Frank and Jai spends too long in the factory – but when Eliza was taken ill, I thought this was the start of a relatable and engaging story about parents and their disabled infant. When Eliza was diagnosed with cerebral palsy in late 2017 I thought this was going to be the start of a great story for the parents, but that went nowhere. Then again at the start of the year when bruises appeared on her and they suspected Eliza, this looked to be like a dramatic and heartful family story, but nothing ever came from it. All the actors involved are capable of big performances, but this is another non-starter wasting their talents.

Fave or Fail? (16-20 July 2018)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! This week Aaron returned in the nick of time to rescue Robert and Liv and Tracy took the future into her hands.

Faves

Matty Making His Mark

vlcsnap-2018-07-22-18h50m56s056With mum Moira fully supportive of her son now (thank god) she was more than ready to fight his corner this week when she suspected villagers gossiping. Moira might be overcompensating with him now, but Matty’s already slotted right back in at Butler’s and it’s been great to see a more positive vibe at Butler’s. I was glad to see Matty get a warm reception in the village, even if characters like Zak tried asking inappropriate questions. Emmerdale seem to have a good balance on educating bigoted characters (and in turn the audience) about being trans whilst also creating an engaging and entertaining character in Matty. The farm feels more homely and lively than it has in a while and it’s been great to get back to more of the farming talk too. With Matty having bitten off more than he can chew on the farming front, I’m looking forward to see where they take his character next.

Stone Cold Killer

vlcsnap-2018-07-22-18h52m33s572I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s grown a bit tired of this Lachlan story (especially having hoped way back in February that they wouldn’t drag it out) but it’s actor Thomas Atkinson who’s managing to still make Lachlan so watchable. It’s when he’s gaslighting and being particularly duplicitous – those frustrating moments where you want to ring his neck – that I love the most. This week as he tried to kill Liv and Rob, it was his confrontations with Liv, persuading her back on the booze that I thought were particularly chilling. Do we really buy that he’d look so innocent to the rest of the village, with his history? Maybe not. And maybe he’s skipped too readily from impulsive psychopath to pre-meditated mass murder – but at least Thomas has Lachlan’s smirk and twisted humour down to a fine art.

Liv’s Life

vlcsnap-2018-07-22-18h48m15s945With Aaron stuck abroad with chicken pox and Gabby MIA, Liv had Doug and Robert to hang out with this week, before she got involved in Lachlan’s murder plot. Although the carbon monoxide poisoning plan from Lachlan seemed to come from nowhere (how easy is it to block a flue?) the storyline did give us an opportunity to see Liv’s lovely relationships with Doug and Robert. Doug seems to have really taken her under his wing (just like he did with Gerry) and offered her advice as they did a spot of gardening. Similarly Liv’s relationship with Robert is one of my favourites in Emmerdale, having watched it develop over the years and blossom into something familial and believable. As the week progressed and Liv and Rob escaped death thanks to Aaron’s well-timed arrival home, Liv faced disbelief from her loved ones and after a confrontation with Lachlan, she turned back to the drink. This was a heartbreaking outcome but one which highlighted that Liv’s issues haven’t been magically fixed after a spell inside. Here’s hoping that once the Lachlan story is over they will revisit Liv’s drinking with the seriousness it deserves.

Living With Lydia

vlcsnap-2018-07-22-18h50m03s438It’s a shame that the week ended with Lydia getting a bit too close and trusting of Lachlan because there was some great comedy earlier in the week as she tried to redecorate Wishing Well. With Lydia wanting somewhere for her and Sam that feels like home, Zak let her make it a bit more homely by putting her own touches on the place (or so she thought). What followed was some amazing facial expressions from Zak as he discovered Lydia’s “tidying” was redecorating and rearranging the place. And of course Lydia’s redesign included an abundance of birds and kitsch, Steve included. Zak softened eventually and she toned it down, but it was a great injection of humour into the home of the resident serial killer.

Bonus Fave:

  • The brilliant, grinning Elliot King full of inappropriate questions and a really inappropriate crush on Amelia and morbid fascination with her kidnap – more of him please!
  • He might be one of the village’s most dull residents, but three cheers for Frank Clayton this week as he was wonderfully loving and supportive when it came to Tracy’s choices.
  • PC Swirling’s busy week – he might as well just move into the village at this rate. Love him.

Fails

Desperate David

vlcsnap-2018-07-22-18h53m02s856On the whole happy chappy David has always been a bit of a no-hoper when it comes to the ladies, lurching from one failure to the next, but mostly in a harmless inoffensive way. But ever since his dalliance with Leyla and reaction to Tracy’s past, David has come across as little more than a childish dickhead. If his incessant proposals in 2016 weren’t enough to irritate then, then surely his immaturity and selfishness this year has taken annoyance to a whole new level. That’s not to say that David’s comic potential has gone – on the contrary the scenes at the GP’s surgery screamed with awkward humour – but he’s become massively unlikeable in recent months. Maya (Dr Liam Cavanagh’s wife) has been on the scene five minutes and already he’s bedding her and then acting entitled when it comes to Tracy’s life. Granted, none of the Cavanaghs did themselves any favours this week either with Maya’s doe-eyed and need loitering and Liam’s unprofessional reveal of Tracy’s pregnancy, but David’s attitude stinks. Any sympathy with him is long gone and I’ve no doubt he’ll continue to behave like a man-child until the next relationship fuck-up. I’m so glad Tracy has washed her hands of him.

Fave or Fail? (25-29 June 2018)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! This week Matty Barton returned to the Dales and Cain got beaten up by Simon.

Faves

Meeting Matty

vlcsnap-2018-07-01-09h53m55s366With Matty’s arrival onscreen this week, Emmerdale felt back to its very best. Great, character-led drama with a grounding in real life family situations is exactly what soap should be. Matty’s story is relatable and emotional, bringing a new dynamic to Butler’s Farm, new dramas to the Bartons and it had a great start. Actor Ash Palmisciano was thrown straight into emotive performances and carried the intense material well, also proving Matty is going to be a fun and cheeky character to have around once settled. While Cain’s attitude was surprisingly and refreshingly chilled, Moira’s reaction was one of shock, anger and confusion. Though her immediate response was hard to watch and upsetting, I’m hopeful that Emmerdale will use Moira’s journey of understanding to educate ignorant or bigoted viewers. Matty felt right at home in Emmerdale (which isn’t always a given when a recast happens) and I loved that they were able to give us canonical reasons that made sense as to why Matty hadn’t been home in all these years. I’m so looking forward to seeing what’s to come for him.

Forever Friends

vlcsnap-2018-07-01-09h52m46s441I was glad to see Vic in a role outside of babysitter and matchmaker this week as she was there for Matty, empathetic and understanding as he talked. Since Adam’s exit, hardly anyone’s had time for Vic and I’m hoping this might change with Matty in the village. There’s been a suggestion of a romance between them and while I wouldn’t be opposed at all, it’s nice to see their friendship in the meantime.

Brotherly Bonding

vlcsnap-2018-07-01-09h53m22s297It was nice to see the softer sides of Ross and Pete this week as they remembered Finn on his birthday and wallowed in their failing love lives. As ever Ross and Moses made an adorable dream team with Moses and his giggles, and that’s one of the things I’m going to miss the most in Ross’s exit. Pete hits a few bumps in his relationship with Rhona, but by the end of the week they were resolved and reunited which is great news for me. I think Pete and Rhona make a surprisingly sweet couple and I hope they continue to stay together. I much prefer seeing the brothers united and opening up rather than involving themselves in aggressive displays of their masculinity.

Fails

Sharma Sitcom

vlcsnap-2018-07-01-09h52m34s600Don’t the Sharmas deserve more than comedy side plots? Don’t get me wrong – I love the Sharma family. I have a real soft spot for Jai now that his days of being a panto villain are over, I love Priya’s ambition and attitude and I am often amused by Rishi’s hopeless antics. And that’s not to say Rishi and Jai didn’t make me smile during the Lycra debacle – but I just think Emmerdale could do more with them. Priya’s hard times and Jai’s angst about Eliza were so short lived that I can’t help but feel it’s a waste of the talents. When they thought Lachlan had attempted to assault Priya this week and confronted him, it made me realise what a solid family unit they are, capable of more than just larks in the sweet factory. More emotional Sharma drama please!

Brief Encounter

vlcsnap-2018-07-01-09h55m01s046With news of Dr Cavanagh becoming an Emmerdale regular (yay!) it was no surprise to see his wife Maya pop up this week. But had I avoided spoilers I’d have been scratching my head trying to remember who this woman in David’s shop was! If we were really meant to believe in their lustful eyes at each other and their deep and meaningfuls then surely it would have been more helpful to have seen a bit more of Maya before now. If my memory serves me correctly we’ve only seen her once and that was months ago! But after a thirty second scene this week we were meant to buy into their attraction and honest chats? I don’t buy it. Not only was it far too rushed, surely David has learnt better than messy hook-ups?

The Woolie Weekly is taking a two-week holiday. New blog posts on 22 July.

Scene of the Week (25-29 June 2018)

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In all honesty I could have picked any of Matty’s scenes for my Scene of the Week choice as his whole return was a stand-out moment, but I’ve picked the first moment that Matty reveals to Moira that he’s been living as a man. After realising that Cain had her child by the scruff of the neck, Butler’s kitchen bristled in silence as mother and son shared an awkward first hug. It wasn’t the reunion Matty had hoped for and Moira’s gut reaction was one of complete confusion, asking Matty why he looked like he did. Matty was left to tearfully explain that this is a good change and that he’s been living as a man now. This scene was just the start of a moving storyline and one which has already brought emotional and compelling character-led storytelling back to the forefront of Emmerdale. Ash Palmisciano’s performance made the moment tense and heartfelt, playing perfectly against the shock and confusion from Moira and Cain.

6 Upcoming Emmerdale Stories to Get Excited About

As the hot weather lands and soaps are shunted around the schedule to make way for sport, we reach the half way point in the year. I thought it was about time to think about what awaits in our favourite village. We’re used to Emmerdale really stepping up in the colder months – so what are the big things I’m looking forward to? What are the hotly anticipated moments for the end of 2018?

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Matty Barton’s return to Emmerdale

Matty’s storyline kicks off in tonight’s Emmerdale as actor Ash Palmisciano steps into the role. Not only does Matty’s arrival at Butler’s give Emmerdale the chance to tell a relatable story of a young trans guy but it also gives Moira and Cain a fresh whirlwind of drama into their lives. Since the losing Adam at the start of 2018 Moira’s nest has felt a little empty and despite the juicy drama of Emma’s murder reveal and the much-loved reunion with Cain, we’ve seen far too little of them onscreen. There’s no doubt that Matty’s story is going to be an emotive and important one and I just can’t wait to see how his return to the family fold changes the dynamic.

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Robron get hitched – officially

No other upcoming Emmerdale storyline quite has the anticipation as the second (and this time legal) wedding between Robert and Aaron. Having been promised back in February 2017, it’s no wonder everyone’s getting a bit itchy in the wait. After all, when you consider what the characters (and the fans) have endured in the lead up to this momentous romantic occasion, it’s more than earned now. Original reports cited a summer wedding for the lads but with no concrete date on the horizon, might it coincide with the ill-fated, high octane drama of October’s Super Soap Week. I think it seems pretty likely. At least this way it gives us all plenty of time to buy a hat and there’s no need for the villagers to make a rush job of the decor this time. My wedding wish list is minimal this time, let’s just make it romantic and official. And lasting? Or is that too much to hope for?!

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Ryan Stocks gets a Dingle welcome?

This year we’ve been introduced to Charity’s smart mouthed son, Ryan, the baby she thought had died. It’s been a rocky start for the pair’s relationship but I can’t be the only one hoping he can become a more permanent part of the village? Ryan has already brought out a different side to Charity and it’s been great to see a disabled actor in a pivotal role rather than a predictable “secret son with a dark secret” trope. I’d love to see Ryan in the village full time, bringing something new to the Dingles and getting involved in all their mishaps and drama. Fans have already enjoyed the charisma actor James Moore has brought to the role and he’d be a welcome addition to Wishing Well cottage, adding something new to the village’s most famous family.

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Sam and Lydia’s kooky wedding

It’s not just Robron’s wedding that I’m looking forward to, it’s also the wedding of delightfully oddball Lydia and Sam! We haven’t heard much about these two getting hitched, beyond Sam’s proposal last year, but I’m really hoping it’s soon. These two seem like such a solid couple and I really buy into their love, and I reckon the wedding itself is going to be the feel-good tonic we need throughout all the tough storylines this year. With Lydia and the Dingles at the centre I’m expecting mayhem and a whole lot of dancing. Here’s hoping it happens sooner rather than later. We could do with some joy.

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Getting to know Jessie

Headteacher Jessie Grant has been with us for a while now, but despite now living in the village in one of the flats at the Mill, we know so very little about her. We know she’s very reluctant to pair up with Marlon (is there a darker story there?) and that she has a son – but apart from her beautiful voice, we know very little else. It’s about time we got to scratch the surface with Jessie and find out what her story is. It seems from the spoilers that she’s getting closer with Marlon again soon so maybe we’ll get some answers soon!

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Lachlan runs out of luck

Since killing off half his family at the start of the year and then Gerry very recently, Lachlan’s been trying to keep a low profile. Soap law says he’s bound to get caught sometime soon but between now and then I hope he doesn’t just tread water. He got closer to murder last week with no-mark Freddie, but for full impact of his psychopathic ways, he should be escalating soon in the hopes of a climatic and heart-stopping final act. Between evil acts, the story has started to drag, but with Lachlan at his best when he’s chilling and remorseless, I hope his luck runs out before the character loses his momentum.

What stories are you looking forward to? Comment down below!

Fave or Fail? (1-5 Jan 2018)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! An amazing start to 2018 for Emmerdale. Let’s hope it keeps getting better and better! 

Faves

Not Your Average Joe

vlcsnap-2018-01-07-11h54m06s632Bravo to Emmerdale for a great start to 2018. Not only did the “Tom Waterhouse” reveal give us a campy and gloriously thrilling shock, but it also manage to seamlessly integrate Emmerdale’s past and answer all the niggling issues with the Tom and Debbie plot. As Tom stepped aside, Joe brought us a wicked yet charming villain, unashamedly cruel and done so with power and confidence. He evoked all the icons from the Tate dynasty, leaving us clamouring for returns of Emmerdale legends like Kim Tate and his bitterness is one which looks to cause continuous conflict in the village. Even better than all this potential was the explanation for the criticisms made about the Tom and Debbie story – that this was all meant to look like a too-good-to-be true whirlwind romance, that the money and sex ties were totally intentional – meaning this was a twist done oh-so right. Clever and exciting. Great job.

Adios Adam!

vlcsnap-2018-01-07-11h51m13s584This week we saw the wrongly convicted Adam Barton go on the run and actor Adam Thomas leave Emmerdale after almost nine years in the show! Even though the “fleeing the country” plot is well used in Emmerdale, thankfully Adam’s last episode was full of heart as he managed to say emotional goodbyes to his loved ones. Unable to say a proper goodbye to mum Moira, Adam left her a tearful voicemail and although life on the run can’t be fun, Adam’s final scene just about managed to be uplifting. Adam probably didn’t deserve such a sad ending, but Adam Thomas really pulled on the heart strings and made the original Barton boy’s goodbyes meaningful and emotive, having shared so many of his storylines with BFF Aaron and wife Victoria. Adam’s exit also meant Cain and Aaron got to do their Dingle best in their efforts to break him and mastermind some great alibi trickery with Robert’s help. It’s going to be strange with Adam in the show and I hope that if he does decide to return one day then a bit of storyline magic will absolve him of his convictions!

The Future is Female

vlcsnap-2018-01-07-11h55m12s441With Joe’s arrival, it has thrust Debbie and Charity straight to the front and centre of the show and if this week is anything to go by then it’s a good thing. For all my criticisms of Debbie, this week saw Charley Webb give some of her best performances since her return as she battled with fury, vengeance and heartbreak. Debbie attached a lot to her relationship with Tom – stability, security and a bit of excitement too – and her crushed hopes of the future rang true at the end of the week. If Debbie struggles between lingering feelings on top of her anger then this could be really good. As for Charity, it’s about time she had a juicy plot and with such strong ties to her past and Joe’s connection to Noah then we’re going to get a lot more from Charity than just comedy hi-jinx behind the bar. I can’t wait.

Fails

Too Much

vlcsnap-2018-01-07-11h50m31s612Having spent a good proportion of 2017 off screen, keeping us less suspicious of her shock pregnancy, Moira Barton has had a horrific time of it since October. In just three short months she has had her life rocked by an unplanned baby, suffered PND, killed someone and suffered the guilt, almost turned to drugs, had her son escape jail (for a crime she committed) and now appears to be embarking on a domestic abuse story. It’s all too much. That much darkness for one character is relentless and suffocating (see: Aaron Dingle) and can at times desensitise us viewers from empathy when we’re watching a factory line of hardship with no sign of happier times. When are things going to get better for Moira? It doesn’t seem like any time soon. And was it necessary to add more violence to an already turbulent relationship like Cain and Moira’s? Scenes this week seemed to cross a line, adding more misery and more issues to an over-egged story. With the guilt, their separation and Isaac to deal with – there’s more than enough drama there. Did the characters really need another agonising issue to deal with? For such a great start to 2018 for Emmerdale and such a popular couple, this violence really feels like a misstep.

Scene of the Week (18-22 Dec 2017)

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What a scene this was! Both thrilling and devastating, the fates of mother and son, Moira and Adam Barton, lay in the hands of Hotten’s finest after the two of them confessed to killing Emma. I loved the way this was shot, juxtaposing both characters being lead to their futures, Moira to Cain and the outside world and Adam back to a cell. There was a cold, resigned horror on Adam’s face – played perfectly by Adam Thomas – whereas Moira’s dazed sense of calm shattered into screams when she realised her confession hadn’t worked to free her son. Poor Adam was left to slump to the floor as reality set in and Adam Thomas really piled on the heartbreak. Great moment in this hard to watch story.

Fave or Fail? (11-15 Dec 2017)

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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 we learnt the shocking truth about Emma’s death!

Faves

Emma’s Final Stand

vlcsnap-2017-12-17-15h51m29s050What a joy it was to see Emma Barton again this week, if only in flashback form! Gillian Kearney helped create such a captivating character in Emma and every performance during the reveal was stellar. The scenes which stood out to me were the ones that took place on the now iconic viaduct as Emma had showdowns with both Ross and Moira. The scenes with Ross showcased their complicated history but was charged and intense, keeping the exchange gripping throughout.  Despite all of Emma’s bad and misguided deeds, it was hard not to feel a slight twinge of sympathy for her at times but her twisted nature was in full force right until the end as she goaded Moira to push her, so that she wouldn’t have to kill herself. In the end it seems fairly fitting that Emma’s death was as complex and interesting as the woman herself, it’s just a shame we had to lose the brilliant Gillian Kearney in the process!

Killer Reveal

vlcsnap-2017-12-17-15h51m15s366Moira killed Emma – now that was a shocker and a half! My money was pretty firmly on Pete as Emma’s’ killer and I was surprised at the reveal, something which doesn’t usually happen when you’re a soap addict! First I was unsure how I felt about feisty farmer Moira being responsible for pushing Emma, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked how unexpected it was. It’s a brand new direction for Moira, who is worth a lot more than just being stuck at Butler’s. This new path has already reignited her deep bond with Cain (Coira fans rejoice!) and let’s face it, no one really blames Moira for what she did. The psychological effect of this one reckless action has already plagued Moira enough to consider drugs and abandon her son and with Emma’s words still haunting her, it’ll be interesting to see how she deals with the guilt and with Adam as prime suspect – how will this pan out in light of his upcoming exit from the show?

Unbreakable Bond

vlcsnap-2017-12-17-15h48m28s520With a protective and observant Cain on the case, it wasn’t long before Moira was forced to reveal she was the one behind Emma’s fall from the viaduct and even though their bond has been slowly repairing (albeit strained) since Isaac’s birth, this week really saw the return of Coira. Granted they’re not back together yet, and Harriet’s presence feels ever more frustrating, but there’s no one that quite shares the relationship that Cain and Moira do. Earlier in the week, with Isaac ill, Cain was the only one able to offer her any real comfort and support and now with her killer secret out in the open, Cain is on hand like never before, unflinching in his love for her. My favourite soap relationships are built on tempestuous love and shared secrets and Coira have both of these, tied together with unbreakable chemistry. Long may it live – the love, the support, the darkness and the rows. They just work.

Style and Substance

vlcsnap-2017-12-17-15h52m52s665You’ve got to had it to Emmerdale again that they really know how to pull out all the stops on their special episodes. Not only did the Emma reveal episodes manage to weave present day and flashback sequence (with a nice noir colouring) but the split narrative maintained the intrigue and tension throughout. It’s been a bit of an unengaging storyline on the whole but these episodes changed that and managed to set up gripping consequences for all the main players.

Fails

Down With This Sort Of Thing

_1050 Aaron amp; Robert 12th December 2017 Aaron Only - YouTubeI’m all for stories of the little people fighting The Man and the Dingles are such a bright and bold family that their moment to fight the good fight should be something for us all to enjoy. I can’t help but feel however that this whole protest plot is a little bit pointless and it feels very unlikely that the Dingles would ever lose Wishing Well cottage. The building is the heart of the Dingles and has been their home for so long it would be like them trying to pretend they needed to demolish the Woolpack – never going to happen. So while we kill time with various members of the family and their placards, alongside Zak and his cough – but I wonder where they’re going with all this. With the demolition not feeling like a real threat, the conflict and the drama is pretty empty and hasn’t been a very engaging watch.

Shouty and Grouchy

Emmerdale - Adam's Own Wife Suspects He's a Murderer! - YouTube (1)It doesn’t seem like that long ago that Adam and Vic were one of the cutest couples in the Dales. They were sweet and chilled once, but now I can’t remember a recent scene where they aren’t shouting at each other. It’s common knowledge now that actor Adam Thomas is leaving Emmerdale which means it’s been hard to really care about Vic and Adam’s make ups and break ups when it won’t be long until they’re separated forever. Lately all their material has been centred around the fact Adam is the lead suspect for Emma’s murder so most of the scenes involve Adam getting smug and unpleasant with the police, panicked Victoria doubting his innocence and the pair of them sniping and shouting at each other. The whole atmosphere between them has become a bit of a drag and honestly after the to-ing and fro-ing and split earlier in the year, it has soured the former sweetness of their coupling. Shame!

Fave or Fail? (4-8 Dec 2017)

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

Faves

Bonnie and Clyde

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

Goodbye Alfie

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

Both Sides of the Story

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

Fails

The Show Mustn’t Go On

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

Pete’s Pity Party

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