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!

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Fave or Fail? (27 Nov-1 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! Doug (eventually) got everyone in the village feeling festive just as Tom’s big secret was revealed.

Faves

Cold and Creepy

vlcsnap-2017-12-03-09h44m10s453Despite my complaints of Lachlan’s attic adventures being a disappointment and this week’s lacklustre reveal of Robert’s lies, there’s been one consistently watchable part of the story and that’s Thomas Atkinson’s performances. From his manic laughter watching Lawrence kick Robert, to his cold attitude to his mother’s suffering, Lachlan’s really becoming fully twisted. There’s always been a real darkness to him, but there have been times where they’ve tried to soften or redeem him and in light of what he did to Alicia, it’s never really worked. But seeing him play his gullible family and manipulate everyone, all while he gets colder and creepier, seems to suggest he’s going to play a big part in the family’s downfall.

Ray of Hope

vlcsnap-2017-12-03-15h17m18s129Bob Hope is like a ray of sunshine in Emmerdale and his enthusiasm for life and awkward jokes make the café a better place. This week, after forgetting Brenda’s birthday, Bob had to make a real effort to spoil her and win back her affections. After his cake and sparkler left her feeling flat, he treated her to a new outfit and a makeover, promising to take her to see a Tom Jones tribute act – Tom Bones. Never one to shy from the limelight, Bob happily stepped up to plate and sang a gyrating tribute for Brenda when Mr Bones was ill. Not only were these scenes brilliant fun but it also let us see more of Bob and Brenda’s cute love for each other. But we all know the rules of soapland and I fear that their happiness can only mean Bob has done the unthinkable and cheated. I hope not!

Unsaid Sizzle

vlcsnap-2017-12-03-15h18m03s260With two of Emmerdale’s most popular couples separated, we’ve had to make do with (a rather frosty) Debbie and Tom’s hotel hook-ups to add any sort of heat to episodes. But this week it was all about the lingering looks and simmering tension between Aaron and Robert, and Cain towards Moira. Sure neither couple is in the right place to rekindle things just yet (though I’m hoping it won’t be long to wait for them both to reunite) but there’s so much in the unsaid. Such is the power of these actors that you can feel everything in one look alone. We can hope and beg for more, but sometimes it’s still enjoyable to see everything bubbling under the surface of scenes like a big tease.

Bonus Faves:

  • Lisa trying to take on Morris herself and her rant at Zak at the end of Friday’s episode – you go, girl!
  • Tom’s awkward and funny meeting with Charity
  • Doug’s Christmas light disaster
  • Chrissie vs Robert – the pair seem to work best against each other in a bitter rivalry and Louise Marwood excels at showing Chrissie’s sharper, harsher sides

Fails

Out with a Whimper

vlcsnap-2017-12-03-15h20m44s920After months of enduring Robert’s revenge on the Whites, we were at least owed a huge and explosive fall-out, right? I mean, not only had Robert being stealing the business from under them, but had faked a murder, had Tim drive at Chrissie in the street, ostracised Lachlan and invented a whole romance with Lawrence. They’d all be horrified, devastated, right? I mean, it didn’t take much for Lucky to put a gun on Lawrence or for Chrissie to frame Andy. But no, sadly not. This week all of Robert’s lies came out, including the fake one night stand with Lawrence, and besides a kicking and an arrest, the Whites’ reactions were a complete anti-climax. The girls were mildly grossed out by their dad having sex with someone they’d also both been with, but none of them seemed that bothered when that lie – in light of Lawrence’s own intimacy struggles – was exposed. Nor was it that much of a big deal that Chrissie had almost been run over. Robert’s revenge reached such crazy heights that the stakes should have been so much higher. I can only assume they’ve saved any real explosions for the White family’s exit but by then will anyone even care?

There Must Be More?!

Emmerdale - Tom's Pursuit of Debbie Is Finally Explained! - YouTubeAfter last week’s reveal that Mr Highflyer, Tom Waterhouse, was up to no good, he spent most of the week in shady conversations with Graham and avoiding meeting Debbie’s full family. Knowing Tom was dodgy and mysterious has left every Emmerdale fan speculating over just who Tom is and what he’s up to. The fan favourite theory is that he’s Joseph Tate, all grown up and ready to get revenge on Charity and that would be a very satisfying twist in what’s been a pretty dull but dominating storyline. However this week we learnt that Tom is actually behind the golf course and the plans to demolish Wishing Well, leaving me with that sinking feeling of disappointment. Surely that’s not it? Would Tom really go to all those lengths of wooing Debbie just to help push through a golf course development? Especially when Debbie doesn’t live at Wishing Well and often has her own dramas away from the big Dingle brood. I’m holding out hope for a further reveal because if this is the only secret then it’s a huge let down!

Fave or Fail? (13-17 Nov 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! Isaac’s christening lead to a lot of heartache and soul searching this week.

Faves

Taking Risks

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

Compassionate Love

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

Perfect Performance

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

Fails

Rhona’s Heartbreak

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

Baby Fever

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

Scene of the Week (13-17 Nov 2017)

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This brilliant flashback scene was part of the special and memorable episode on Friday as Faith and Cain revisited the past. Featuring some incredible casting, Fleur Keith gave a great performance as Faith’s younger self, bruised and beaten and leaving the abusive Shadrach behind. It was an event we’d heard of years before from both Cain and Chas but seeing this pivotal moment ourselves brought it to life in a heartbreaking way, making Cain’s lifelong agony over it feel more acute. I loved the way the present day melted away into the flashback and then later the voice overs brought us back to the present. Every scene from this innovative episode could have been my scene of the week, but I picked this moment for its creativity and emotion and the impressive performances from all involved.

Scene of the Week (31 July-4 August 2017)

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If dark political times in the real world haven’t convinced you already, then this week’s Emmerdale would have done the job: the apocalypse is coming. That’s right, this week Debbie and Aaron Dingle actually smiled. I know right? Miracles can happen. As a brief reprieve from their respective miseries, this paintballing scene was so welcome. “Debbie Death Stare”, as her daughter named her, isn’t the happiest of villagers and after ill advised snooping in her daughter’s diary wanted to prove she could lighten up and show Sarah a good time – which she did, albeit with difficulty at first! It was nice to see Charley Webb get to play something a little less serious and her family scenes are always a highlight. After the breakdown of his marriage Aaron too has had a hellish few months in the tragic saga that is his life, but Cain offered him support in a loving but very Cain way. Sure, Aaron might be in a better place if his family had given him this kind of concern months ago, but at least they’re there now. This scene was a fun surprise, full of warmth and humour and exactly the sort of family scenes we need in Emmerdale.

5 Longterm Ways to Fix Robron

Last week Emmerdale super couple Aaron and Robert split up, with Aaron unable to cope with the pressures of his marriage, in light of Rebecca’s pregnancy. It seems only five minutes ago their engagement sealed off a perfect movie-style romance in Super Soap Week and their wedding was an unconventional TV treat. Now their marriage is broken, fans are fed up and it seems like everyone’s tired of their endless angsty storylines. What went wrong?

Aside from the Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley magic, here’s just a few ways I think Emmerdale can attempt to fix one of their most popular couples and make viewers start caring again.

fix1

Back to Basics

It’s never been smooth sailing for Robron and their relationship was always unconventional, but it seems like The Powers That Be have really lost sight of what made the pair so popular. Part of the pleasure in watching a soap is seeing characters and relationships develop. With Robron it was the interest in watching someone as angst ridden as Aaron fall for someone with their own troubles, like Robert, hoping that one day they’d make a go of it. As the story progressed fans didn’t just like watching their two personalities clash and challenge each other, they liked their passion for each other and the fleeting shot at happiness. That they understood each other and supported each other. But lately there’s been a real drought in hope and happiness and we rarely get to see them enjoy each other’s company. Aaron’s history of tragedy made fans long for his happiness and despite Robert’s bad boy instability, he gave him that. It was never going to be easy; part of the enjoyment was watching them work for that. We fell in love with their sexy and tumultuous romance, but their bond and happiness at being together has taken a real knock in the quest to give them more obstacles.

fix2

Give The Misery a Rest!

Arguments, angst, fighting and tears. It’s been the story since day one, but after Aaron’s horrible abuse trial ordeal I think everyone hoped it was about time for a break from the misery. Danny Miller’s tears are award-winning but there comes a point where the heartache reaches saturation point and people are desensitised by Aaron’s latest pain. Soaps don’t really do happiness, unless you’re a comedy couple, but everyone needs light and shade. Even Robron’s wedding was doused in sadness knowing Aaron was heading to prison a day later. Emmerdale couldn’t even give him a day! So this one’s a pretty simple fix really – give them some happier times! We’ve had the same old arguments for well over six months now and it’s time Emmerdale figured out how to find a better balance. We know they’re meant to be, but we’ve stopped seeing that side of them – unless we’re due a four episode argument and another break up, of course!

fix4

Explore New Ground

Their Super Soap Week special showed us that Aaron and Robert are a lot more than angst machines – they’ve got a great comedic partnership too. Not only would a bit of humour give the actors something fun to do, it would be the “light” we’re crying out for. It doesn’t always have to be violence, cheating, drugs and death, you know! But not only that, Aaron and Robert have slipped into a pattern, and a bad habit of behaviours that form many of their stories. It goes something like this: Robert does something bad or something Aaron doesn’t like (intentionally or not), Aaron gets angry and upset, they argue and Robert begs for forgiveness. Sound familiar? How about something different to watch, eh? Test the characters in different ways, explore sides to the lads and their relationship we haven’t seen before. Both of them are complex – there’s a lot to delve into rather than the same old ground.

fix3

Break The Bubble

This is a problem shared by many of the characters in Emmerdale, but one – if fixed – could lift Aaron and Robert out of their rut. Often characters stay in their “bubble” – take David and Tracey, for example, who often seem superglued to the shop, but the last few months, with most of their drama revolving around their marriage and personal issues Aaron and Robert have only interacted with a select few characters. Friendship and family should be the central factor in Emmerdale, but with Chas and Liv gone, Paddy busy, Aaron’s a bit of a forgotten Dingle and the Sugdens are even more fractured – Robron seem stuck in the same conversations with the same few characters. Again and again. So this rescue remedy is all about variety. Some of their more surprising interactions (Aaron’s awkward friendship with Finn, Robert allying with Bernice) have been a welcome change from the angst, but we could really do with more integration into village life and less rehashing of the same issues without resolution.

fix5

The Rebecca Problem

Since her arrival last October, when she tried to tempt Robert back to bed, Rebecca White’s sole purpose in Emmerdale seems to be just to trigger repetitive and tiresome problems between Aaron and Robert. And let’s face it, it hasn’t exactly made her popular with fans of Emmerdale’s super couple. But if you thought we might one day see the end of their age-old arguments about Aaron’s insecurities and Robert’s cheating past, Rebecca’s pregnancy doesn’t offer much hope of that! So does this mean we’re destined to watch a future of her being the third wheel, rolled out whenever they need a bit of drama (read: argument they’ve had a hundred times before)? Well let’s hope not, eh? Because then we’ll never get the above fixes. There are a number of ways this story could go – but one thing’s for sure, Rebecca’s continued presence as a convenient thorn in their side isn’t doing any character favours and I’m longing for change, however that may be.

6 Perfect Reasons To Vote Emmerdale at the Soap Awards

Last year Emmerdale took home the big one – Best British Soap – at the British Soap Awards, for the first time in its history. The last twelve months in Emmerdale have been brilliant, so here are just a few reasons why Emmerdale is still the best soap and why you should vote for them at the Soap Awards.

Dealing with Tough Issues

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Emmerdale has been praised for its heartfelt stories about issues that have grounding in reality and deal with difficult subjects such as marital rape and dementia – and rightly so. Episodes like Holly’s tragic and shock death from a heroin overdose and Ashley’s passing were emotive and touching, particularly as they connected with an audience who had suffered similar tragedies in their own lives. These stories are soap at their finest and are especially effective when we have spent years watching these characters and their lives play out.

Super Soap Week

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It’s hard to imagine that Emmerdale’s Super Soap Week will ever be bettered. It had it all: a unique storytelling device, beautiful camera work, character focused episodes and then a blockbuster style stunt like nothing we’ve ever seen in soap before. It brought together a range of villagers in stories which covered multiple genres and saw their lives collide – literally. It was visually impressive, ambitious and a real treat for any Emmerdale or soap fan.

Complex Characters

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Emmerdale is blessed with a fantastic range of vibrant characters but it doesn’t make caricatures of them. Characters we think of as the fools can still face heartbreak; the bad guys can have a soft side. Bad deeds are done and bad decisions are made, but mostly the people we see onscreen feel human – like people we know and actions we can believe. Even some of its morally grey characters like Robert or Emma, have complicated emotional cores that are a joy to watch unfold. And even Emmerdale’s out-and-out villains like Pierce are more than just there for cackling and evil deeds – they showcase the dark side of human nature.

Flawless Performances

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There’s a reason why Emmerdale’s so full of great characters and hard-hitting storylines, why the cast is so beloved by all who watch and that’s simply down to how hugely talented the actors are. We’re moved to tears of sadness and laughter, we’re shocked and angered. We could hand out fifty awards and still feel like the cast deserve more. From the stunts to the quiet moments of pain and heartbreak, the Emmerdale actors nail it all. A vote for Emmerdale is a vote for this talented bunch and all the crew behind the scenes who make their performances even more powerful.

A Big Sense of Humour

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It’s not just emotional and hard-hitting issues Emmerdale tackles, but they often give us a great dollop of humour in its storylines. They might not all be rib-tickling but Emmerdale has enough brilliant comedy performers that there’s bound to be at least one villager that raises a laugh. Whether it’s the physical comedy, the one-liners or innuendo, Emmerdale isn’t short on laughs and it’s a warm and familiar comfort returning to these fun characters night after night.

Family Dynamic

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Family dynamics are a huge part of soap and Emmerdale’s use of family in the last year has helped to make its stories unbeatable. Soap families are notorious sprawling and unconventional, but there’s been no shortage of warmth and love between its family units, even those units which are forged through ties of friendship and loyalty rather than blood. We’ve had the BnB squad in Diane, Doug and Eric; we’ve seen the Thomas family facing a hard year, but the extended family brought humour and fun to Ashley’s bleak storyline; we’ve seen Aaron cement his new family with a wedding to Robert and a house for them and Liv; Tracy bonding with her birth father Frank and new-found sister in Vanessa, but her bond with Eric has been touching to see grow; The Dingles were severed last year with Zak’s betrayal but with Lisa taking him back and Debbie’s return, Faith’s arrival they’re as big and brash as ever. The Emmerdale families are so full of loveable relationships and surprising bonds that it makes deciding which family you’d join – if you could – an impossible choice!

Scene of the Week (27-31 March 2017)

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This scene of the week choice is a little cheat because Chas and Faith’s kitchen outpourings lasted a few scenes, but they were truly stand-out moments in the week and one of the many reasons I’ll miss Chas and Lucy Pargeter now that she’s on maternity leave. Fractured familial relationships and mothers abandoning their children are a soap staple but still this confrontation between Chas and Faith managed to feel fresh and compelling. It was a complex situation fought out between these two headstrong women and while we might have some sympathies with Faith (perhaps more so now we know why she’s eager to repair her relationships) Chas’s pain at the abandonment, being left with a drunk and violent father and its impact on her own experience as a mother, was still raw. The writing and acting in these tough scenes made Chas and Faith’s relationship feel real and complicated and human – soap at its best.

Fave or Fail? (20-24 Feb 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! A hugely emotional and fantastic week in Emmerdale as Aaron and Robert married and were tragically torn apart just a day later.

Faves

The Wedding of the Year

21022017-208You can read exactly why I loved the Robron wedding here, but how could anything else top the week? The episodes were filled with love, warmth, humour, emotion and were a worthy celebration of one of the biggest and most-talked about romances to hit the Dales. For two characters with such a turbulent past, they were never going to have a typical wedding but the payoff was completely worth it to see them at their peak of love and happiness – even if it did only last a day! It was special, romantic and intimate and really got to the heart of both men and the reasons why their love story is so cherished by fans and their relationship is so successful. Here’s hoping Emmerdale keep them together for as long as possible – and that when Aaron gets out of prison they can sign on the dotted line and make this Mr Dingle and Mr Sugden thing properly official.

Prison Blues

vlcsnap-2017-02-26-15h19m03s835While I’m always going to advocate giving Aaron Dingle some happier times in his life, it’s easy to see why the writers put Aaron through hell so frequently when it makes such good TV! Just a day after getting married, Aaron and Robert were cruelly torn apart and Aaron was sentenced to 12 months inside. To go from the romantic joy of the wedding to the agonising scene of their goodbye was pure torture but so superbly acted by Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley that you could almost forget you weren’t living through this tragic separation too. (Who’d think we’d ever be crying over a bottle of shower gel and an exchange of names? Not me!) Once inside Aaron faced the difficult decision to hide his sexuality in scenes which were particularly painful to watch knowing how far Aaron had come in his own life in terms of acceptance. The prison scenes are already an uncomfortable and claustrophobic viewing experience so I can only imagine how much worse it will get, and when paired with Robert and Liv’s misery – it’s really hard hitting on the emotions.

The Thomas Family

emmerdale-thursday-23-feb-8pm-the-itv-hub-1It feels like I write about how good the Thomas family are every week, but I just can’t help it. With Ashley now living in a care home (and what heart-wrenching scenes those were at the end of the week), the Thomas family are adjusting to live without Ashley at home. This week it was hard for Laurel coping on the anniversary of Daniel’s death and the realisation that Ashley wouldn’t remember. After confiding in carer Will there was an awkward mix-up for Laurel as she panicked he was interested in her after the mysterious Valentine’s Day flowers too. Once again it was the adorable Arthur who was behind the sweet surprise and I didn’t think I could find him any cuter until his confession to Sandy and their mission (on Sandy’s scooter) to get to the pub on time. Sandy too has a wicked sense of humour meaning the Thomas family are just so watchable at the moment.

New Blood

vlcsnap-2017-02-26-15h26m39s547Faith hasn’t entered Emmerdale quietly – she’s big, bold and abrasive and probably not to everyone’s cup of tea – but being thrown in at the deep end has had its advantages. Even though she’s already gone off screen to take Sarah to Prague for her treatment she’s made a lasting impression already. It’s really helped that Faith has made herself notorious – interacting with a huge range of characters and flirting with every man in her radius – rather than sticking to a small bubble of characters. She already feels fully integrated and we already have a good sense as to who she is. It’s been a while since we’ve had a character as brash as her, perfectly able to get stuck into the drama and be believable as an awful mother to Cain and Chas, while still being entertaining with some great one liners.

Shock Discovery

vlcsnap-2017-02-26-15h27m27s143Right in the middle of Tracy’s hilarious porn writing plot (loving that Pearl-inspired beret btw, Trace), and David’s amusing jealousy of the fictional Gustav, came an unexpected plot twist. David found a lump in his testicles – and quickly the smiles faded as they realised his cancer might have returned. It was a real shock emerging from this frothy comedy plot and one which took me by surprise. Not only did this bring another quiet and nuanced performance from Matthew Wolfenden as David tried to keep calm, but as Jacob suffered with what seems to be some sort of anxiety, it left me looking forward to seeing more of Joe-Warren Plant as hopefully his storyline progresses to new territory.

Fails

Dragging Her Down

emmerdale-thursday-23-feb-8pm-the-itv-hubPerhaps my biggest shock this week was that I was in agreement with Jai Sharma as he quite rightly assessed that Rakesh just drags Priya down. Couldn’t have put it better. Priya can be fun, feisty and is a smart and gorgeous woman so what the hell is she doing still wasting her time with a lowlife like Rakesh. Really though, what does she see in him? Secret liaisons and office desk hook-ups are soap bread and butter and illicit flings are one of my favourite things to watch, but even when they’re trying to be sexy like this week, they just don’t really cut it. To make matters worse, it’s frustrating that Priya has forgiven him so easily for the events of the summer. Why reunite them when their relationship does Priya no favours (and yes, I’ve given up all hope on Rakesh ever being engaging). Priya deserves better and so do we. Or at least a decent storyline (and partner) for her.