Fave or Fail? (11-15 Feb 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! A pretty poor week in the Dales that saw wrestler Bear Wolf visit the Woolie (in scenes I’d rather forget) and a very loveless Valentine’s Day.

Faves

Marlon’s Wake-up Call

Emmerdale - Marlon and Jessie's Marriage Collapses - YouTubeMarlon blew a fuse this week when discovering Jessie lied and left April alone in the house so she could break up the fight between Ellis and Billy. Marlon’s anger cut straight to the heart of the matter and shamed Jessie left to stay with a friend. These scenes were surprisingly well done, even if Marlon and Jessie’s relationship is a struggle to connect with. I still wish they’d stayed friends rather than rushing into an ill-suited marriage, however Mark Charnock gave these scenes his all and they added some much-needed depth to their marriage. The obstacles their family are facing are complex and interesting, it’s just a bit of a shame that the central Marlon/Jessie relationship is the real weak link.

Nicola’s Downfall

Emmerdale - Jimmy Still Refuses to Forgive PREVIEW - YouTubeShe might have caused her own downfall by trying to steal money from Graham right under his nose, but with Valentine’s love in the air this week, I definitely felt pangs of sympathy for Nicola. Perhaps it was Nicola Wheeler’s touching performance of Nicola’s loneliness on Valentine’s Day night that won me over, or her crushed expression when best mate Laurel revealed she was becoming her boss, or maybe it was her brilliant display of determination and fighting spirit against Graham. By the end of the week (and after the hilarious “hostage” scenes) Nicola decided she needed to show some more honesty and admit her mistakes and she turned herself into the police. Her teary eyed love declaration to Jimmy was a heightened parody of the Princess Leia and Han Solo scene in Empire Strikes Back and a great end to the week. Whoever she’s in scenes with, from Jimmy to Laurel to Graham to Bernice, Nicola makes Emmerdale far more enjoyable.

Sharma Spark Back?

Emmerdale - Jimmy Still Refuses to Forgive PREVIEW - YouTube (1)It was good to see Jai with a bit of life back in him this week. Chris Bisson’s been underused in Emmerdale in recent years but with a bit more focus on the factory workers this week, Jai was back lording it over them and he felt right at home. Though the Sharmas have recently been used as comedy D plots and Jai’s screentime has seriously lessened since his days as a cartoon baddie, his recent versatility between a support for Manpreet and a snarky boss shows he’s worth more than just being a background character. It’s about time he had more to do.

Fails

Jessie’s Boys

vlcsnap-2019-02-17-11h53m57s510On paper, Jessie’s complicated relationship with her sons and her inability to cut the apron strings is a story worth watching, same too is Ellis and Billy’s tension and rivalry. Unfortunately the reality of these struggles haven’t been as gripping to watch. The brothers have great charisma and chemistry, but this week’s scenes which saw Ellis drive at Billy with a van escalated too quickly making their confrontation feel forced. Their background strife over Jessie’s favouritism feels believable, but to have Ellis’s rushed jealousy over Vic be his motivation to mow Billy down just didn’t ring true – and neither did Vic’s disinterest in his romantic plans and sudden dumping. While Jessie’s bad decision to leave April alone to resolve her sons’ war left Marlon fuming, it’s her own parenting decisions that are irritating to watch rather than relatable. She might have agreed to stay out of their fights, but something tells me she won’t be able to resist and her inference doesn’t do her character any favours.

UnBEARable and Unfunny

Emmerdale - Paddy Exposes Bear Wolf's Shocking Secret! - YouTubeThis week saw Paddy meet the man suspected to be his biological father, the wrestler Bear Wolf. If the story’s build up sounded ridiculous, nothing could quite prepare us for his scenes this week which saw Emmerdale reach new lows of cringeworthy comedy. It’s been uncomfortable enough watching Chas and Marlon repeatedly push Paddy into meeting Bear Wolf, even though he’d told them he wasn’t interested, but this week they forced his hand even further by orchestrating the meet. Comedy is a subjective thing, but having well-trodden “real” father mystery mission wasn’t made more entertaining by Bear Wolf being a sleazy wrestler, in fact it managed to remove all the heart and emotion from Paddy’s curiosity. The OTT costume, the wig and the fact that his take-over of the pub dominated scenes made the humour feel laboured and almost unwatchable. It only got worse when Paddy grappled with him on the floor and an attempt to steal Bear’s DNA left them wig snatching instead. This was played for a shock laugh, but it was obvious to anyone that Bear’s long locks weren’t his own. If this is supposed to be the uplifting story for Paddy after Grace’s death then this awful story was the wrong way to go about it. If any story is worse than this in 2019 I’d be very surprised (and horrified!).

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Fave or Fail? (21-25 Jan 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! Bob resorted to sleeping on a park bench this week and piggy delight Spamela ran riot.

Faves

Bob without Hope

vlcsnap-2019-01-26-17h03m25s399I have to commend Emmerdale in their speedy turn around in making Bob empathetic again. Bob was always a character I enjoyed but we really saw the worst of him during the Bob and Laurel debacle and I wondered whether I’d ever like his cheeky charm again. Cleverly Emmerdale has done a good job in showing down-on-his-luck Bob’s situation getting worse and worse and his pride holding him back from asking for help. Bob’s story has emotionally shown how quickly someone’s life can crumble and how even when working, they can find themselves destitute and homeless. With Bob feeling pressurised from all angles, he kept up a façade of normalcy so the warning signs were missed by friends and family. This story has built nicely and this week it came to a heart wrenching conclusion when Bob found himself in hospital. Performances by Tony Audenshaw and Lesley Dunlop were fantastic, helping to rebuild the pair’s fractious relationship and it was nice to see the ‘man club’ briefly reunite to help lift Bob’s spirits. Seeing Bob in such a bad way was a tough watch but I hope things don’t end there. Bob’s feelings of insecurity and inadequacy could highlight pertinent issues in male mental health struggles and as it’s one of their strongest stories for a while, it’s worth continuing.

Casual Becoming Serious

vlcsnap-2019-01-25-22h13m28s500I was firmly on the fence when it came to deciding who I wanted Victoria paired off with, but after umming and ahhing between the slow-burn friends turned lovers romance with her and Matty or the funny and endearing romance with Ellis, the latter might just have swayed me. This week saw Vic panic she was pregnant and despite their no-strings arrangement, Ellis seemed ready to step up to the plate if needed. The scenes were a lot of fun as the whole family got involved, but the resolution was much sadder for Victoria. While she knew Ellis and her were too new a couple and too different to have a kid, she still longs to be a mother after her failed attempts with Adam. Actress Isabel Hodgins gave a hugely emotive performance as Vic wept for the negative result and the realisation that all those issues about Adam, motherhood and her future were still unresolved. I like that there’s been no quick fix for her and that she’s still struggling in the fall out, even with lovely Ellis on her arm. As for these two? I really love them together and I actually think they could work well in the long term, even if Robert’s machinations might cause problems. It might be too soon for babies, but happiness for Victoria is top of my wishlist.

More Manpreet

vlcsnap-2019-01-26-17h06m54s257The Sharmas are some of Emmerdale’s most underused characters, but with Manpreet moving into the village, I’m hopeful we might see more of all of them soon. Manpreet has such a breezy, fun loving attitude to life and she’s a welcome addition to our screens. No only does she seem smitten with loveable Rishi but she’s got great chemistry with Jai and Priya too. This week saw her consider moving closer to Emmerdale for work, and the siblings tried to get Rishi to ask her to move in with them, a plan which eventually played off. Manpreet is a nice dose of the ‘everyday’ rather than a newbie destined for villainy or outrageous behaviour, but maybe it’s because of that she’s fitted in well. I can only hope this leads to more screentime for the Sharmas and less sitcom side stories!

Real Talk

vlcsnap-2019-01-25-22h15m41s984When Moira returned to the village this week after a brief trip to see Nana Barton, she found reassurance in a surprising chat with Aaron. In the midst of this bloated Cain and Joe story, Moira’s lost her way as a character and it’s hard to remember her as the down to earth farmer she was. Luckily, this scene with Aaron in the café was a welcome return to that, with Aaron helping her to see that despite Cain’s nightmare behaviour he really does love her. There’s nothing I enjoy more in Emmerdale that characters with shared experiences having a chat and if anyone knows about nightmare husbands then it’s Aaron. With him and Moira reflecting on the strained relationship at Butler’s farm, it just made me long for the scene partners we don’t usually see. Aaron and Moira have a shared history and they’re family, but we barely see them together. Conversations like these are a good way of not only keeping onscreen relationships fresh but they ground the characters in some much-needed reality.

Fail

Murder Mind Games

vlcsnap-2019-01-26-17h09m48s881The “Cain murdered Joe” plot is so messy I’m struggling to find any real enjoyment from it, despite loving most of the characters on Team Cain. With both Cain and Moira being killers (or “killers” in Cain’s case) the arguments in Butlers have felt far too blasé and seem like a game of murder Top Trumps. Moira’s reactions have been cold and detached like a bizarre mob wife, willing to support Cain regardless, but surely even Moira, with Emma’s blood on her hands would struggle with this? Even Faith, whose love for her son is high, seems willing to overlook what he’s done, despite the fact by the end of Joe’s tenure in Emmerdale he was liked by most of the Dingles. Only Matty was willing to acknowledge that this was a terrible crime, but even he was berated by Moira and co for betraying the family, even though his reaction seemed like the only sane one between them. Debbie’s barely frosty, chilled out enough to be cosy with Faith who hasn’t made her support of Cain a secret and this seems completely out of character when she was willing to leave the village for less a few years ago. With everyone unfussed about Cain being a murderer, or desperate to believe his innocent, there are zero stakes. What’s the point? What will change for Cain if Graham reveals the truth or if Joe rocks up – apart from Debbie cracking a smile maybe? And with Graham undoubtedly set to feature heavily when Kim returns, it doesn’t seem like he’ll be found out any time soon. If Emmerdale were unwilling to commit to Cain being completely destroyed and disowned in a story that saw him go down for a crime he didn’t commit then they shouldn’t have bothered. I can’t see a resolution here that will satisfy, I just hope we can forget this story ever happened ASAP.

Fave or Fail? (31 Dec 2018-4 Jan 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! New year but not so happy, as Matty faced a horrific attack and Dawn overdosed.

Faves

Matty’s New Year Hell

vlcsnap-2019-01-06-14h01m34s182Showing Matty facing a transphobic attack, and his emotional and physical struggles in the fall-out, was original ground for Emmerdale this week, but a story worth telling. I love stories that dig deep into a character and this story did just that. Alongside Matty’s resilience, he leant on his support network and aired his pain in a series of emotive conversations. Enjoyable stories also use supportive characters in interesting ways and Cain was a welcome, refreshing presence in Matty’s life. It was also a smart move to link Matty’s desire for revenge with Cain’s PTSD over Joe’s death and use this as a bridge between stories. We’re used to seeing Matty as a happy, well-liked guy in the village so the attack really resonated and the fear in Ash Palmisciano’s performance was chill-inducing – hopefully an eye-opener for viewers ignorant to transphobia.

Tender Loving Care

vlcsnap-2019-01-06-13h56m01s854Without question Bernice and Liam’s relationship is one of my Emmerdale favourites and this week was a perfect example as to why. After Bernice’s age obsession and amusing health kick (in which poor Liam faced a future of quinoa), she took things too far and got Kerry to inject her face. After hospitalisation her relationship with Liam was fragile after her stupid mistake but after a brief wobble he called her beautiful and perfect, wishing she would realise he loves her as she is. As the pair realised he’d said those three special words they shared a kiss. I’m a sucker for their sweet and funny romance and unlike other Dales couples, their love has blossomed into something that feels right for both characters. There’s enough personality and comedy in this partnership for it to last and last, and I would love to see them make a go of this troublesome big happy family!

Hospital Heart-to-Hearts

vlcsnap-2019-01-06-13h59m35s261I loved seeing Bernice’s family rally round her this week in the wake of her horrible allergic reaction. Not only did this give Samantha Giles something serious to get her teeth into, but I enjoyed all the conflicting personalities in the big family scenes. One of the week’s most surprising and touching moments was Nicola and Leanna bonding, as Nicola opened up to the meddling teen, in an effort to stop Leanna trying to split up Bernice and Liam, telling her how she’d devastated Rodney by trying to ruin his relationship. With Leanna’s own backstory making her more sympathetic this week, she shared a touching scene with Bernice as the two made progress in forming a bond. This week was full of great character moments and conversations and this story had plenty.

A Change in Cain

vlcsnap-2019-01-06-14h01m54s752Several Emmerdale fans mentioned it this week – but it was a funny turn of events when viewers are sympathising with poor beaten-to-death Cain, because he was unable to use his trademark violence – and all because Cain thinks he killed Joe with one punch! We’re so used to seeing Cain pulping someone black and blue that seeing him be the target was shocking viewing. The change was quite a shock, and an interesting direction for him, but not one I hope will last. It’s not one of my favourite stories, particularly as the warmth from Cain and Moira’s marriage seems to have evaporated since she became a mob wife, but Jeff Hordley’s shaken performances have been well worth watching.

Starting Over

vlcsnap-2019-01-06-14h03m53s148Not only has Dawn become an engaging and likeable new character in the village, she’s even brought Harriet to life. I don’t want Emmerdale to rush their almost mother-daughter reunion, and nor do I want it to be as on/off as Charity and Ryan’s is, but good scripts and poignant moments as the women shared their history have helped to flesh out Harriet’s character so she’s less of a cardboard vicar. Even as Harriet revealed their connection to others, I felt invested in her attachment to Dawn and her guilt and even though the box of memories has never been seen before, I could buy into Harriet’s recently written backstory as having always been an element of why she became a vicar. I’m surprised by how good this story is, but I don’t want a quick fix after years of resentment from Dawn.

Bonus Faves:

  • The Matty/Vic/Ellis supportive trio is one I hope lasts and lasts – I hope their romantic intentions don’t get in the way of this great threesome of friendship.
  • Ryan and Dawn’s budding relationship is really endearing – don’t rush this Emmerdale!
  • The final episode of 2018 had a really good New Year’s Eve feeling – lots of celebration, a heart-warming moment for Charity and Ryan and a horrible moment for Matty to kickstart a new story.

Fails

Minor Fails

  • I know its purpose was to trigger Bernice’s paranoia, but did Priya’s flirtation with Dr C have to be so embarrassingly over the top? All her porno moans reminded me of that terrible time she was at her worst with Pete. Ugh.
  • Charity’s hypocrisy over Dawn might have been to protect Ryan but her lack of empathy felt particularly prickly after everything she went through last year. And did we really need a repeat of her on/off developments with Ryan? Just as things were looking up!

Mums at War

vlcsnap-2019-01-06-13h58m48s852Billy’s arrival has already caused quite a stir but the fall-out is really missing the mark. The root of the problems is the history between Aaron and Billy, but instead of letting those characters resolve their past or prolong their rift, Emmerdale has opted for the least interesting path of all and let their whiny mothers fight it out, acting as if their sons are helpless children. Both Jessie and Chas’s personalities grate when they’re looking out for their “boys” and it’s more like mums at war in the playground, both blindly raging on. Headache inducing. Emmerdale has a good story here for Jessie’s desperation for Billy not to become a statistic, but instead of this driving the story it’s her insistence that Billy has done nothing wrong and that Aaron is also a thug. Billy might be trying to change, but us viewers saw the impact of Aaron’s prison bullying and it’s not easy to watch it being dismissed so easily by those who are Team Billy. Marlon too is in a tough position, but asking us to invest in his support of Billy against the Dingles requires a firm belief in the “true love” he has with Jessie and I don’t think I’m there yet. Billy? Aaron? Ellis – does this affect his job or his relationship with Vic? Robert – who uncharacteristically beat Billy? Nowhere to be seen. The really gritty, interesting dynamics here are just being passed over.

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!

Emmerdale’s Top 20 Moments of 2018 – Part One (#20-11)

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In a big year that saw arrivals, returns and exits, Emmerdale 2018 had many memorable moments. Here is my own look back at Emmerdale’s Best Bits of the year, starting with numbers 20 to 11. Come back tomorrow to see my Top 10 and a countdown of the year’s lowlights too. I’d love to know what you think so feel free to comment below!

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20. Brenda Bites Back

Brenda isn’t usually a character that makes my Top 20 list, but after being cheated on by Bob, Brenda’s really come into her own. Lesley Dunlop has shone this year in emotive performances as Brenda expressed her agony, but as the pain turned to bitterness, her wicked one-liners also proved entertaining. After Brenda’s devastating discovery of Bob’s affair she bottled her heartbreak and began a secret campaign against Bob and Laurel, saving the explosive showdown for much later in the year. Having hated Bob and Laurel, I was firmly Team Brenda all the way especially after their wedding day crumpled when she realised how unhappy he was with her. Since then, Brenda had to pick up the pieces with the kids and remain strong, even when weak-willed Bob came crawling. Maybe Brenda is the true hero of 2018 after all.

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19. Losing Grace

One of Emmerdale’s biggest storylines this year was Chas and Paddy and the loss of their baby Grace. This long-running story is one which resonated deeply with a lot of bereaved viewers and explored a range of emotions, from anger and denial to numbness, during the couple’s grief. For me, the moments Chas and Paddy suffered privately were their strongest, breaking down alone and too scared to talk, but their explosion at each other showed a believable ugliness in the aftermath. Supportive characters like Marlon and Faith were a welcome, warm tonic from the prolonged periods of sadness this story produced.

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18. Kim Tate’s Return

The hotly-anticipated return of iconic superbitch Kim Tate shook Home Farm and its visitors when, straight from her prison release, she rocked up in October. This was more of a teaser than anything long-lasting, but her sharp tongued cattiness was a fun injection of camp in the rather dry halls of Home Farm. Unfortunately Kim’s presence was bogged down by a plodding backstory with Graham and an anti-climactic masquerade ball, but her ruthless reintroduction was merely a taster of what’s to come, and I’m hoping for great things in 2019!

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17. Sarah’s transplant

As usual it was another year of misery for Debbie, but it was her daughter’s health crisis which was the most believable and compelling story. Young Katie Hill did a great job with this sad story, displaying a stubbornness just like her mother as she suffered heart failure and initially refused treatment. This story was rife with divisions as Sarah learnt Debbie was behind Ross’s acid attack, but it was characters like Joe, Charity and Faith who brought some much needed levity to the situation and helped show Sarah she hadn’t even begun living yet. This was another story grounded in reality, a horrible situation many parents face and the onscreen relationship between Charley Webb and Katie made the vulnerable hospital moments authentic and heartbreaking.

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16. More Community Spirit

If there’s anything a village should have, then it’s community spirit. Sometimes in Emmerdale that isn’t always the case, but this year there have been plenty of times we’ve seen a real community feel and I hope this carries on into 2019! Whether it’s impromptu strip shows with the men of the village, rebuilding Wishing Well cottage, a group outing to a gay bar, parties and celebrations, fireworks to remember Gerry, or even a big masked ball at Home Farm – there have been plenty of occasions this year for the villagers to mix. These events give characters who don’t usually interact the chance to chat, forming new friendships and fun interactions. More importantly it’s an entertaining way to make Emmerdale village feel more real and have stories intersect rather than filming blocks distract from the everyday authenticity of village life.

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15. Noah Tate

Noah had a big year as he tried to find his place in the world when 2018 began with the Dingles at war with his villainous big brother, Joe Tate. With mum Charity hating Noah’s bond with Joe, Noah became more determined to learn about his roots and soon the brothers were bonding well. Mischievous Noah brought out Joe’s softer side and the actors had a believable onscreen rapport. Actor Jack Downham impressed me several times throughout the year as he faced difficult times within his family, managing to be empathetic even when he can be a bit of a teenage brat. Since Joe’s “disappearance” and feeling isolated by Charity, Noah has really struggled. With Jack’s performances getting better and better, and Noah’s complex relationship with Charity being one of her most interesting dynamics, I hope big things are ahead for him in 2019.

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14. Adam Barton’s Exit

January 2018 feels like a long time ago now, but back then we lost one of Emmerdale’s original Barton boys as Adam went on the run for Emma’s murder, protecting his mum, Moira. Adam’s imprisonment was a bit of a mess story-wise, and even though his last episode was the trademark “on the run” Emmerdale exit, the final episode itself had an entertaining escape plan and finished with scenes that were full of heart. Actor Adam Thomas really pulled on the heart stings as he left Moira an emotional voicemail to say goodbye and shared meaningful final scenes with best mate Aaron and estranged wife Victoria. It might have happened months ago now, but much like it has for Victoria, it still made a lasting impression!

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13. Ryan Stocks

Perhaps the best part of Charity’s story this year was the arrival of the son she thought had died, Ryan Stocks. Ryan has been a breath of fresh air to the village and in Charity’s life, being full of cutting humour as well as having a kind-hearted nature. Charity and Ryan’s first meeting were some of the best scenes of the year, as she dealt with her shock and guilt and he showed her compassion. Newcomer James Moore has made a great impression on Emmerdale fans already and it’s been refreshing to have a prominent disabled character join the village in a likeable and quick-witted role.

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12. The Robron Wedding

Hearts soared this year as Robert and Aaron finally got their much-longed-for legal wedding in a touching special day. 2017’s wedding was hit with Robron fans, so any second shot was going to be hard to match, but Emmerdale pulled out all the stops for a classy affair this time, with romantic speeches, happy tears and matching décor. A happily married couple on their wedding day is a rare event in soap, but after the struggle to get there it was earned.

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11. Charity’s Flashback Episode

Last year’s trip into Cain and Faith’s past, complete with young recasts was such a success that Emmerdale went back in time again, this time to Charity’s dark past. Arguably the strength of Emma Aktin’s retelling of her abuse in earlier episodes rendered this flashback episode surplus to the story, but the special scenes illustrated Charity’s captivating history and the transitions between past and present were nicely done. This kind of episode relies on a killer performer and thankfully Emma fulfilled that role perfectly, but it’s probably time for Emmerdale to give the flashbacks a rest for a while.

Come back tomorrow for my Top 10 and my worst moments of Emmerdale 2018.

Scene of the Week (12-16 Nov 2018)

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I really felt for Victoria this week and Isabel Hodgins did a great job at showing Vic’s heartbreak and identity crisis. Vic might have two lovely guys after her, in the shape of Matty and Ellis, but after several bombshells about Adam, her broken marriage felt unresolved and sent her spiralling. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with having fun and dating useless blokes (and Leon was a right prick) but an emotional Victoria soon opened up that she wasn’t happy and was trying to find herself again. With Leon knocking her confidence and Vic feeling like her life was a car crash, Matty offered some great advice. He might be in the friendzone now, but maybe that’s exactly what Vic needs.

 

Fave or Fail? (15-19 Oct 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 Cain did a bunk from the village and Sarah finally got a new heart.

Faves

Diane’s Dominance

vlcsnap-2018-10-21-18h02m40s981My absolute highlight this week had to be Diane. If it wasn’t her amazing face pulling, then it was her brilliant lines of dialogue and her sarcastic commentary on Bernice’s love life. Diane is a gem of a character and her relationship with her on screen kids (including her step kids) is a highlight. Not only was Diane there to give Vic a hug and express her concerns to Robert, but her onscreen relationship with love-life-disaster-zone Bernice was cracking with funny dialogue followed by some comfort and empathy. The two have a fantastic rapport and I’m glad we’ve seen a bit more of them lately as Bernice struggled to keep a lid on her blossoming feelings for Liam and push Daz onto Diane’s plate. I loved Diane’s outrage at being used as a scapegoat when Bernice was trying to get rid of Daz, but it wasn’t long before Diane got her own back by sending him to the BnB when she knew Bernice and Liam were there. My dream would be to get Diane back behind the bar but if that’s out of the question then just more of her would be a great start!

Vic Gets a Storyline

vlcsnap-2018-10-21-18h08m32s105Since Adam’s departure, Victoria’s main role besides her job in the pub, has been looking after Rebecca, but let’s face it, even when her husband was around Vic didn’t have much in the way of a storyline. Once Vic had discovered Moira was behind Emma’s death that all changed and this week, Vic took a central role in Emmerdale in her quest to find absent Adam. I was really glad to see Victoria’s feelings and pain got a real focus, rather than keeping her in the background supporting others. This week, feeling betrayed by Robert and Aaron, Vic did some digging and ended up in a perilous situation when she got scammed by a lowlife posing as a PI. When the truth about Adam’s location came out, devasted Victoria broke down when she learnt he’d moved on and found someone else. This was a horrible dose of reality for Victoria as she had still be pining for Adam and unable to move on herself. Actress Isabel Hodgins played these scenes with real heartbreak and despite Vic sometimes being like a bull in a china-shop, I found her really empathetic. After a pep talk with Diane, Vic was quick to get glammed up and try and move on with Ellis, but it’s clear even that might be a struggle.

The Beginnings of Something Darker?

vlcsnap-2018-10-21-18h03m28s238No one quite knows what newbie Maya Stepney is up to just yet, but with a casual disregard for her rules and responsibilities as a teacher, as well as blurting out cruel retorts to ex-stepdaughter Leanna, there’s a hint of a dark side there. Now that Jacob is crushing hard on her, his teacher and his dad’s girlfriend, there’s lots of speculation that this story is heading in a dark grooming storyline. This would be a really interesting and horrible to watch direction but one that would prove a challenging storyline for the characters involved. Done well I think this could be exactly the kind of gritty story Emmerdale would excel at.

Bonus Faves:

  • Matty, Ellis. Ellis, Matty. Vic’s got a tough choice on her hands and so have I! I love both guys and their charm and chemistry with Vic. It’s hard to decide who would make the better pairing
  • Another great scene with Jack Downham this week was the moment Graham gave him Chris Tate’s cufflinks – great bit of Tate family history too
  • Bernice and Liam’s cute but comic hook ups continue to be a massive highlight. With Liam using words like ‘beguiling’ you can see why Bernice fell hard and fast!

Fail

Feeling Distant

vlcsnap-2018-10-21-18h10m26s677We all know Cain Dingle isn’t a man to wear his heart on his sleeve and talk about his problems, but I’m a bit disappointed to see him go all cold and distant when it comes to Moira. If anyone knows about big dark secrets then it’s her and she’d easily be on his side if a war brewed with Debbie. This being soap, Moira’s bound to discover Cain’s guilty secret eventually but I can’t help but feel there’s been a disappointing lack of Cain and Moira content ever since they reunited. When Cain supported Moira during her Emma confessions, we saw the powerful onscreen chemistry that makes Coira so beloved but lately they’ve hardly been seen together and this is a real missed opportunity. If Cain and Moira don’t get some decent screentime when this all comes out in the open then I’ll be very disappointed!

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.

Fave or Fail? (17-21 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! This week saw Lachlan locked up for life as Matty overheard something suspicious from Moira and Cain.

Faves

Family Secrets Exposed

vlcsnap-2018-09-23-13h21m08s813Ellis has only been in the village five minutes but his believable rapport with mum Jessie makes him feel like he’s been around for a long time already. This week Marlon discovered the secret Jessie had been keeping, about her son in prison and we finally got the depth to Jessie that the character needed. This story gave Jessie’s character focus rather than just being the cheery headteacher, now Marlon’s girlfriend. It gave us a good chance to understand what makes Jessie tick and why she’s so determined to make a good impression. Pretty much all the village has had run ins with the law, but Jessie’s concern that their family would be labelled, that Billy would be another statistic about black young men felt like a believable concern and an interesting story to tell. I’m sure it won’t be long until Billy arrives in the village and creates more fractures between Ellis and Jessie, but right now I think these characters have a lot of potential and I’m looking forward to their future in Emmerdale.

Reopening Old Wounds

vlcsnap-2018-09-23-13h18m09s509Moira’s fury was unleashed this week during a school event celebrating past students’ achievements as she was confronted with a rude and transphobic parent. When the snooty woman criticised Moira’s parenting, badmouthing her children as she referenced Holly’s drug addiction, Adam’s murder charge and Matty’s transition, Moira grabbed the woman by the throat and told her how proud she was of her children. Not only was it great to see a ballsy return to form for Moira, but it was good to see her struggle and then resolve her awkwardness about how to talk about Matty’s transition. Her scenes with Matty have been good and I’m glad they haven’t glossed over the times where Moira might find it hard to know what to say. I’m also really happy that Emmerdale are revisiting Emma’s murder and Moira’s guilt as it seemed like that story was brushed under the carpet to facilitate Adam’s exit and keep Moira away from prison. This seems like a good way for the story to have a longer impact on the Barton family and more believable consequences.

Family Pep Talk

vlcsnap-2018-09-23-13h22m39s284It was a small aspect of the week’s events but I really enjoyed the scene of Aaron seeking advice about being a father from Chas and Paddy. Since Aaron’s been busy with his own family, there’s been a real lack of involvement of Aaron in Chas’s pregnancy, especially seeing as he’s been off screen for weird reasons a lot of the time (chickenpox anyone?). But as Paddy has been a surrogate father to Aaron, it seemed only right for Aaron to talk to him about being a dad to Seb, and I wish Emmerdale would make more of this parallel. Here’s hoping with Chas and Paddy’s tragedy around the corner, their stories can intersect a little more.

Fails

Never-ending Tragedy

vlcsnap-2018-09-23-13h19m08s996After Rebecca’s outlandish and ridiculous captivity and cringy return to the village (the graveside appearance was far more laughable than it was dramatic), it’s been a pretty miserable return for her. After over a month sitting in her own muck and being tied, chained and gaslighted, things didn’t exactly improve when she got back to Emmerdale and struggled with the trauma. It’s been one miserable event after the next for Rebecca, having just learnt to cope with her brain injury Rebecca now has to cope with the fallout of her family’s murder, Lachlan’s true colours and all the associated PTSD. The only thing Rebecca had going for her was her son and now she can’t even be trusted to see him. Isn’t this unrelentingly cruel for one character? And it’s only a few months since we had very similar scenes of her realising Seb was safer with Robert, why are we getting such a miserable repeat? After months of this, shouldn’t Emmerdale give her a break, a bit of hope? It’s been pretty horrible to watch. She’s got no friends, no family and no real ties, except through Seb, isn’t it about time Emmerdale gave her a life?

Massive Anti-Climax

vlcsnap-2018-09-23-13h18m39s910I can’t say for sure that this really is the end for Lachlan. There is always time for a final hurrah in true soap style where he breaks free from prison and heads up an explosive showdown, but then that might just be stepping on the toes of superior supervillain Cameron Murray. But if this really is the end for Lachlan, then what a huge let down! After a few weeks of dragging out his time in prison (following the dragging months of him becoming a serial killer and covering it up), Emmerdale relied on the ludicrous Rebecca captivity story and the two wise-cracking coppers to create Lachlan’s exit. Why? The success of Lachlan’s story relied heavily on the chilling charisma of actor Thomas Atkinson and he deserved far more than this whimper of an exit. I can’t help but feel his last scenes should have been an arrest, or his cell door being bolted, not a half-hearted walk back down the prison corridor. It lacked all the thrills, complex emotions and excitement that were so pivotal to Lachlan’s best moments. As someone quite rightly pointed out on Twitter – Emmerdale sacrificed our beloved Gerry for this?! This damp squib of an ending? I feel cheated.

Fave or Fail? (3-7 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! Justice prevailed this week as Lachlan was finally arrested.

Faves

Perfect Performance

vlcsnap-2018-09-08-20h44m16s261Unquestionably the star of this week’s episodes was the flawless performance Thomas Atkinson as Lachlan White. Even when the story has creaked and been overstretched Thomas has given bone-chilling and sometimes comically-black performances that made him so watchable. There was always potential for Lachlan to embrace his dark side and Thomas’s performances have never disappointed. Whether it’s the creepy smiles or the deluded speeches, he makes Lachlan a great villain even when Lachlan’s not smart enough for his plans to be a success. This week had some brilliant episodes as Lachlan faced off against Sam, Robert, Belle and then finally the police. I only wish Emmerdale hadn’t killed Chrissie, because she is the one person who I think deserved to be there during his downfall to see the twisted individual he has become.

Belle Fights Back

vlcsnap-2018-09-08-20h54m56s492Belle had a horrifying week as the truth of Lachlan’s killings unravelled in front of her. She had to play a careful, cautious game to keep Lachlan on side and it was gripping viewing to watch her struggle against the voices in her head to outsmart Lachlan. The two characters had a great dynamic in these scenes, with Lachlan easily bought and tricked by his twisted love for Belle, and her managing to keep so calm in the face of his terror. I loved seeing Belle so active in her pursuit of escape, not only using her wits and running but also managing to start the car without a key. I hope the future of Belle’s mental health isn’t dependent on what Lachlan does next, because I think she deserves to out-do him after he gave her the illusion of a good future for so long.

Doctor Love

vlcsnap-2018-09-08-20h50m43s356I’m as smitten with the idea of Bernice and Dr Cavanagh as they are with each other. This week Bernice caused havock with Faith’s facial and Liam was on hand to soothe Faith’s skin and defend the hapless Bernice. There were coy sparks between the pair, especially when Liam stayed around for a taste of Bernice’s honey bush (a cracking innuendo as always from Ms Blackstock) and it all got a bit steamy when she gave him a shampoo. This is Bernice at her best and it was great to see more of Liam Cavanagh and in a more humorous role. I’m definitely ready for Bernice to ditch dead-weight Daz and have some fun with Dr C instead!

The New Boy

vlcsnap-2018-09-08-20h51m15s100He might not have been right for Vic, but there was something immediately charismatic about newcomer Ellis this week. It’s common that new characters can talk a while to settle on screen or are restricted by just a few interactions but Ellis seemed to fit in immediately, making small talk in the café, eyeing up Priya and that was all before reuniting with mum Jessie and meeting Marlon and April. There’s a natural warmth to him and he seems particularly skilled at comic timing so it bodes well. His arrival also seems to give more grounding to Jessie and I’m intrigued by the secret they’re hiding. Can’t wait to see more!

Bonus faves:

  • Noah’s recognition that his brother is marrying his sister – Emmerdale summed up in a sentence
  • Justice for Doug finally, poor love. Shame Diane wasn’t a bit more gracious!
  • As an honourary member it was good to see Robert got welly-deep in Dingle family drama this week, even getting thanked by Cain (it’ll all change next week but it was nice while it lasted)
  • Glad they didn’t rush to make Matty kiss Vic back – slow burns are worth a bit of patience!

Fail

Woe is Joe

vlcsnap-2018-09-08-20h43m36s266The weakest storyline this week had to be Joe’s spiral of self-pity at Home Farm after Debbie’s proposal rejection. He really showed his sulky immaturity, pushing away Noah who was the only one looking out for him and regressing to rudeness over a bottle of whiskey. I wouldn’t have minded this outburst if it had inspired something interesting like a return to form, like the nasty piece of work he was when he arrived, or had given us something with a bit more bite in his weird relationship with Graham. Instead it took all of five minutes for Debbie to change her mind and everything to return to normal. The only tremor of intrigue was Graham’s mysterious phone call about the proposed nuptials. Will this mysterious caller lift Joe and Graham from the doldrums or will they continue to waste that spark of potential they arrived with?