Fave or Fail? (4-8 Dec 2017)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! 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)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! 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? (15-19 May 2017)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Off screen Emmerdale bagged a BAFTA, sadly on screen this week was a lot less exciting!

Faves

Mates Before Dates

w58pmPaddy and Marlon’s friendship is the anecdote to any average week on Emmerdale so they were easily the highlight for me this week. Having been best mates for so long there’s a natural joy in their scenes which arises from the long-term working partnership between Dominic Brunt and Mark Charnock and that kind of fun is infectious. This week, as Marlon’s romance with Carly hit troubled waters, Paddy was there to coo, gasp and practise his proposal to her on (much to the mocking of Charity). The pair also had to cover up Marlon’s failed attempts to propose by inventing a story about their friendship anniversary – n’aww. And even though Paddy might be the worst at giving Marlon confidence in his status as Carly’s beloved, the pair of them and their friendship will outlive any romance and for that I’m truly grateful. Who needs a girlfriend when you have a best friend like these two?

Handsome Stranger

Emmerdale - Matt Has Just One Thing to Say to Carly - YouTubeRight at the end of last week, a tall, dark, handsome and bearded stranger arrived in the shape of Carly’s ex-Matt, and poor Billy’s father. It seems pretty much guaranteed that Matt won’t be around for long and that he and Carly are going to break Marlon’s little heart but in the meantime it’s been nice to have a charismatic new arrival in the village. Now you might say I’m swayed by his nice accent and good looks and you wouldn’t be entirely wrong, but if things were different I’d say Matt would make a good new addition to the Dales. He’s already proved he can carry a believable and exposition-heavy scene and make his emotions towards Carly and the loss of Billy complex and emotive, but up against Charity’s creepy OTT flirting, he’s proved his comedy worth too. So, while we might not have him for long and it’s a shame his role seems to be a facilitator for Carly’s exit, Matt seems like a pretty interesting character.

Different Direction

w58dSince my Emmerdale viewing habits became religious, Debbie seemed to be stuck in a cycle of two plots which never really endeared me to her as a character. I never bought into her Barton love triangle, nor her supposed love for Ross and the gangster/heist stories she got mixed up in left me cold too. For me, Debbie works best around her family, being a mother, running the garage rather than being at the centre of a money or love-triangle drama. Living with her kids, Faith and Moira has breathed life into her and this week I really enjoyed seeing her at the heart of the garage, back in her overalls and concerned with making a living rather than this just being an excuse to stir up old feelings with Ross. I enjoyed seeing her go up against Chrissie and her cutting one-liners to both White sisters were pretty satisfying too. I’m sure before long she’ll be back with Ross, trying to muster up some sexual tension, but for now Debbie seems assured and independent and I like that a lot.

Fails

Filling the Gap

Emmerdale - Jai Walks In On Nell Crying After Harming Herself - YouTubeRhona went to rehab on Monday this week meaning that most of my interest in village drama went with her. That’s not to say there are no characters I like in Emmerdale right now, but in terms of stories there just aren’t any plots holding my interest. I’m warmed massively to Jai, but his plot with the insipid Nell is odd and unengaging. Should we trust her, but more importantly why should we care? We’ve only known the girl five minutes and her budding and uneasy relationship with Jai has nothing on the short-but-sweet connection Holly and Jai had. Dan vs the bullies was the other main story of the week and even with a ‘whodunnit’ element, the teen gang were still as unthreatening as ever. Neither Dan or Jai are exactly leading man material with these uninspiring plots. Even with Amy Walsh’s great performance at the end of the week, the teen thug story is one that feels cold, lacking a ‘must-see’ factor. Other stories this week involved Zak Dingle being even more useless than ever and serving meat to vegans and the beginning of the end for Marlon and Carly. In isolation these plots might have made good B or C plots, bubbling in the background but front and centre they’re not the best – Emmerdale, we know you can do better.

Storyline Amnesia

w58wEmmerdale has never been afraid to have a wealthy, snobby family living in Home Farm, lording it over the other villagers and being generally antagonistic to everyone they meet. It’s a dynamic viewers are used to, but one the White family has always struggled with, leaving their role in the village a mess. I’ve never hid the fact I like the family best when they’re embracing their dark side with full self-awareness and that the weakness comes when Emmerdale tries to paint them as insincere victims rather than privileged villains. Stepping away from their tedious in-fighting this week, there was a puzzling turn of events as Victoria worked and grovelled at Chrissie’s feet as she catered for a vegan event. What’s the problem there you say? Well, the last time Vic interacted with Chrissie she called her a poisonous cow and didn’t hold back in light of Chrissie setting up Andy, meaning he was on the run and absent from his ill daughter’s life. Now Vic is working for her, BFFs with Rebecca and bending over backwards to please them with no explanation. It’s as if the whole (boring) Whites vs Sugdens plot never happened! Andy who? Then there’s the continuing problem with Lachlan, a character still defined by the fact his history of sexual assault was wiped from the history books rather than him having any sort of redemption. Sorry, but whether they were friends or not, whether he rescued Alfie the dog, I still find it hard to believe that Belle would ever talk to him let alone kiss him. In this middle ground, where their rivalries and devious pasts are forgiven and forgotten with no explanation, the Whites just don’t work as well as they should. Make them hated, make them powerful but stop with this wishy-washy middle ground.

Fave or Fail? (13-17 Feb 2017)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! A great week for the women of the village and the literary world as Tracy and Pearl’s book took the village by storm!

Faves

Filthy and Funny

vlcsnap-2017-02-18-18h02m40s246By far my favourite story of the week was the Pearl and Tracy write a porno plot. It has all the right ingredients – funny dialogue, a new and golden partnership, a community feel and complete warmth. With Pearl deciding Tracy wasn’t so good on the plotting parts of her book, she offered her services – with Brenda getting carried away too – and Gustav’s Appetite was born. Is there anything better than Pearl sneakily writing at work (amazing password by the way: hong kong ding dong) and Tracy needing to write in an extra small font to keep David from prying? Once the other women of the village got a taste for Gustav they were enthralled and the fun spirit of the book club returned. It had characters mixing that don’t normally, Tracy wearing sexy writer specs, positive sex discussion and encouragement of Tracy and a good dose of David being mocked and jealous of a fictional character. This was Emmerdale gold.

Asking for Forgiveness

emmerdale-thursday-16-feb-8pm-the-itv-hub-2Continuing to be one of the most fascinating and complex villains in Emmerdale is Emma Barton. She admits herself that she does crazy things for love and for reasons she thinks are right but her justification and extreme actions are just part of what makes her so interesting. She doesn’t seem to have bad intentions and her remorse and guilt are the things keeping her so edgy and obsessive. Perhaps it’s her softer, anguished moments amongst the madness that makes her so interesting and her focus on wanting forgiveness and not knowing how to get it is a fascinating element to the story. We saw her go to church again this week and ask for a more active role in the community, needing to give something back, and this quest can only make for more complex developments and more chance for Gillian Kearney to shine.

You’ve Got a Friend

vlcsnap-2017-02-18-20h39m32s363One of my favourite women in The Dales, Vanessa Woodfield, showcased exactly why you’d want her as a friend this week. With Rhona on edge and feeling guilty about Pierce’s erratic behaviour, Ness was quick to remind her that it’s the men in Rhona’s life that have screwed up and she’s not to blame. Like every good friend, she advised Rhona to take time off and not to give Pierce the satisfaction of feeling the guilt. Vanessa already seems to be slightly suss of Pierce’s motivations and changeable behaviour, but this hasn’t stopped her trying to support Rhona and be positive even with her reservations. It’s a difficult situation for any friend with concerns, but I think anyone would be grateful to have a friend like Vanessa.

Fails

Too Far Gone?

53-finn-amp-kasim-13th-february-2017-youtubeFinn Barton’s crazed stalker plot took it up a notch this week. Not content with following Kasim around like a puppy and stalking his social media, he loitered on his road with lame excuses about getting his stuff back. And then things went even further when he hid in the bushes and then broke into his room and trashed it, even spraying grafitti on the wall saying “Yestergay”. Yep, that’s right, Yestergay. Of course, after an attack of his conscious he went back with Tracy and tidied up – and even she thought he’d gone too far. Now, while later in the week he cracked and revealed his shock and upset about what he’d become (see my Scene of the Week) I can’t help wondering if the plot pushed Finn way too far because sympathies are shakey. How could we possibly be on Finn’s side, even knowing his grief? It all seemed a bit too much, even with his mother’s genes. Here’s hoping Finn can get back on track but will he recover from this plot misfire?

Human Disaster

emmerdale-thursday-16-feb-8pm-the-itv-hub-3Give yourself a pat on the back, Zak. Once again you’ve found yourself at the bottom of the Fails list. Instead of being a rock for Lisa, sticking up for her under Faith’s barbed jibes, he says nothing, exposing himself time and time again as a weak willed coward. To make things worse this week, besides embarrassing Lisa, he failed to remember social services were coming and then managed to fuck up their visit by announcing selfishly that didn’t feel they were the right guardians for Kyle. Zero consideration for Lisa or the family, nope, Zak Dingle does what Zak Dingle wants. And by the time he figured he might as well look after Kyle, to win Lisa round again, he realised the final decision is now out of their hands. What a walking disaster. Seems like he only backtracked to win over Lisa again so really everything is once again all me me me. Ugh, be gone with you, Zak!

Fave or Fail? (6-10 Feb 2017)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! It was Dingle mania this week as Cain and Chas’s mum rocked up in the village.

Faves

Thomas Family Heartbreak

emmerdale-friday-10-feb-7pm-the-itv-hubIf there’s one word to sum up the Thomas family story this week it would be this: crushing. Each week Ashley’s heartbreaking dementia storyline is featured, you think performances and the writing cannot possibly be bettered and yet it goes one further every week. The ensemble nature of the story means there are a range of emotions and reactions carrying the plot forward and fleshing it out with a devastating believability. From the whole family’s stilted conversation the night before Ashley was due to move into the care home, where Arthur’s agonised sobs that Ashley shouldn’t leave as he’d done nothing wrong were painful, to the moving sing-song, to Doug and Diane’s private despair – everything was pitched with the perfect tone. It’s a difficult watch and one that resonates so deeply with families watching. Laurel’s bravery and strained enthusiasm to keep going features endlessly superb performances from Charlotte Bellamy so much so, her portrayal feels less like a character and more like a real woman with every episode. Everyone is excellent in this storyline, and Laurel as the glue trying to hold everyone together, makes you ache watching – especially ending the week on that awful moment where she cried alone in bed after one of the worst days of her life.

Having Faith

emmerdale-a-mystery-woman-arrives-in-the-village-youtubeHair piled up high, sunglasses, cracking one-liners and a perchant for gin – okay, I think I’m gonna like Faith Dingle. Forget the drawn out way she was introduced this week (see below), I think Faith’s going to be exactly what the Dingles need for a bit of a shake-up. (I was already dying with laughter at her brutal assessment of Zak “only just buried your last wife and you’re digging up the next one”.) Chas and Cain already share great sibling scenes together so any more of this seems like a good thing, particularly considering they both have underlying issues with their mother – and that’ll be interesting to address. Not since Val have we had an older more outrageous woman in the village causing a stir and if she continues to be a pal for Diane and flirt with Eric, she might help to ease this Val-less pain.

The BnB Squad

emmerdale-chas-and-cain-reunite-with-their-mother-faith-dingle-youtube-1Since Val’s death and Finn’s leaving of his job, we haven’t seen so much of the BnB even though Diane and Doug are working there too now. This week though really showed us what a dream team Diane, Doug and Eric could be. The honesty box subplot last week was just a little taster of this comedic magic and this week showed us more of their strange little relationship. Eric is a stickler for rules (breakfast isn’t allowed in the bar and definitely not at 3pm!), Doug is stuck in his ways and that grates on Eric and Diane is relaxed and loves a laugh. I loved their pettiness, like arguing over who’s cleaning the toilet as Doug hilariously mimed Eric’s encounter with Eric’s “girlfriend”, Faith – reminding me of squabbling school kids and I seriously hope we see more of them like this.

Bonus faves:

  • Pearl reading smutty books and suggesting Tracy write one
  • Nicola’s ruthless business at the Sharmas, making clients grovel, telling them that Rishi’s dead and slating Priya’s tea making skills. Marvellous

Fails

Scams and Schemes

emmerdale-frank-and-charitys-diamond-robbery-goes-awry-youtubeI’m always in two minds when it comes to Charity’s dress up schemes. Sometimes they’re a good laugh and you’re able to suspend disbelief and enjoy the comedy and other times they fall a bit flat. Her diamond plot with Frank this week was on the fence. There were enjoyable elements to her scamming in the week – her and Frank work surprisingly well together and have a good deal of chemistry; Charity vs Chrissie seemed like a well-matched rivalry in terms of their verbal sparring; and the wealthy businessman + his henchman lover was a fun twist. But perhaps this dressing up, bonkers plan stuff is a bit much after the bank job the other week and the aggro between Charity and Debbie or Charity and the rest of the Dingles just feels like re-treading old ground.

Dragged Out

emmerdale-sarah-questions-the-mystery-woman-in-the-barn-youtubeYou can see from above that I’m quite a fan of Faith already and the different dynamic she will add to the show but the road to finding out who she was seemed to drag on needlessly over four episodes. When a newbie arrives speculation is rife as to who they are, but Faith’s identity was just a bit too obvious from the get-go (especially when her arrival was teased almost a year ago), meaning there was little suspense in the reveal. It didn’t make a great deal of sense as to why she camped out so long in the barn, nor why Sarah latched onto her so fast and Sarah’s secretive and bad behaviour to keep her a secret was tedious to watch but now Faith’s been thrown into the family fold we should get some great scenes.

Fave or Fail? (30 Jan-3 Feb 2017)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Emmerdale won another award this week and brought some fun to our screens as Doug, Tracy and even Moira brought the laughs.

Back to Badass

vlcsnap-2017-02-05-09h03m57s970It seemed like Moira finally had her mojo back this week and Natalie J Robb got to show us the full spectrum of who Moira is. In amongst the more heartbreaking and softer moments, such as the unexpected and lovely scene between her and Debbie and the scenes with Emma when she spoke about Holly, we saw Moira get her fire back. Moira seems to work effortlessly well with every character she interacts with – even the ashes scene with Victoria just about worked despite the bonkers sitcom nature of it. Her banter with Ross, the way she took none of Patrick-from-the-supermarket’s bullshit and was the perfect ballsy business woman. Although she’s on a bit of a breakdown and shouldn’t be facing things alone, it’s easy to fall in love with her fierce independence and ruthless, gutsy spirit. The car thieving definitely made me realise why her and Cain are so well suited and she doesn’t seem intimidated by anything. You keep fighting for your farm, Moira!

Harsh Words – Finally

emmerdale-thursday-2-feb-8pm-the-itv-hubThere was a scene this week which almost made my Scene of the Week choice, and that was the moment in the hospital between Lawrence and Chrissie where he finally confronted her about her vengeful behaviour. You might say too little too late considering his enabling of her dark side, but as he laid into her about her selfish behaviour, there was a sense of “Finally!” about the whole thing. For too long the Whites have acted without consequence and it seems like they might have some morals afterall. Some – okay, I said, some. Chrissie’s great when she’s unashamedly nasty but her bitterness and vulnerability in the scene was perfectly played by Louise Marwood, as she truly seemed like a broken woman, and it gave me hope that we might finally have a handle on who Chrissie really is.

Tracy’s Self Improvement Plan

emmerdale-friday-3-feb-7pm-the-itv-hub-2I’ve never minded Tracy but after the endless proposal stuff with David last year my interest nosedived, so thankfully she stepped forward with a fun story this week. Having decided she didn’t want to be seen as a bimbo and wanted to be taken seriously by people, Tracy decided to take steps to improve her vocab and read more. After David was slightly dismissive and confused by this new Tracy, she was even more determined to forge ahead, telling the kids in the shop how important school is. I loved seeing Tracy on a mission to educate herself, even with the setbacks and jokes at her expense. Even more so I love the idea of an Emmerdale book club, where Pearl is overeager and Doug bores everyone with non-fiction books he’s read. Community gatherings are my favourite!

The Torment of Doug

emmerdale-friday-3-feb-7pm-the-itv-hub-1I wouldn’t ever say I was a fan of Doug as such but his little comedy story battling the unknown enemy of Noah and Gabby was a simple and amusing subplot this week. Doug was his usual grumpy and earnest self, telling the kids to stop staring at their screens so they decided to get their revenge by writing some very cutting feedback and posting it into his honesty box, where he was selling veg. They left comments such as “this potato is more interesting than Doug” – and while Doug didn’t see the funny side, I did. Later in the week he tried a stake-out (but fell asleep) and then set up a CCTV camera. Sometimes it’s these simple comedy plots that work the best and I loved it.

Fails

Joanie Deserved Better

emmerdale-joanie-dies-youtubeAs is often the case when it comes to soap exits, the moment you warm to a character you previously were indifferent to, is usually the moment they leave the show. One last hurrah, as it were. That was the case for Joanie Wright, who had found her feet a little after ditching the spineless Zak Dingle – realising she deserved better, standing up to rotten men and forming a bond with Lisa. Having been unfairly imprisoned for punching the sleezy guy cracking onto Kerry (and then accidentally hitting a police officer) Joanie had almost been forgotten about by her allies in the village and then Lisa was given the job of collecting her and breaking the news about her reunion with Zak. Awkward. After an impassioned speech by Joanie (which was great, by the way) and a really frank conversation with Lisa, Joanie went silent and looked a little worse for wear, just as Lisa had decided to ditch Zak again. Then after the adverts we learnt that Joanie had croaked it. Just like that! No scene of the paramedics, no follow up. Gone. Joanie’s hardly a fan favourite, but even Kerry and Dan’s muted reaction left a lot to be desired. Maybe Emmerdale realised that breaking up Zak and Lisa was a bad decision and that there was no place for Joanie – but really, didn’t her death deserve a little more attention than this?

Zak Dingle: Human Trashcan

emmerdale-friday-3-feb-7pm-the-itv-hubSorry Zak, I do feel a bit bad considering this week you lost your wife – despite the fact you sent her a notice of divorce the day she was due out of prison – but you really are a bit of a dickhead. Not only has Zak flitted from Lisa to Joanie back to Lisa without little remorse or consequence, he admitted this week he hadn’t even written to Joanie as she suffered alone in prison. What a bastard, amiright?! I know it’s guilt, but so he should feel guilty! After giving Lisa an anniversary card she headed off to do his dirty work and confess to Joanie that her and Zak were back on, making Zak seem even more gutless. Unfortunately the damage has been done, and even his nice chat with Cain where he expressed his conflicting feels was too little too late. Too right you should feel guilty Zak, you treated Lisa and Joanie terribly and now Joanie’s dead! Bad form, Zak. Seriously.

Fave or Fail? (9-13 Jan 2017)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! It was a great week for the ladies of The Dales, with Bob’s appearance in Hunk Night being unmissable!

Faves

Hunk Night

vlcsnap-2017-01-14-21h57m02s833Hunk Night meant lots of great things in Friday’s episode (and no I’m not talking about the tacky and oily “hunks”). Firstly it gathered a big collection of the brilliant Emmerdale ladies looking glam and having a great time and who doesn’t love an excuse to see lots of characters on screen together having fun? It also created great little character moments like Ronnie ignoring Lisa’s important chat for a sneaky ogle and Zak backing out quickly in typical uncomfortable straight man fashion. It meant Bob got to shine (more on that below) and if was fun and loud – all the things we need on a Friday. It’s other purpose, dark and full of dread, was building the tension for Rhona’s story as Pierce grew more controlling. The tension was built and the juxtaposition between the party and Pierce’s mood made the after-party scenes difficult viewing

Party Bob

vlcsnap-2017-01-14-21h55m17s486I’m going to say it now to sort the wheat from the chaff – if you don’t love Bob Hope then we can’t be friends. For too long we’ve seen Bob stuck in the café like he was chained to his percolator, never to breathe fresh air again but the last few weeks he’s actually been around more and even being life and soul of the pub. On Monday we saw him serving behind the bar and dancing with the dream team of Charity and Chas (who were amazing this week too) but on Friday was where he really shined. We might be used to Bob giving friendly advice when he serves the lattes – and he was lovely with Rhona this week – but we learnt on Friday that Bob is definitely not shy and LOVES a bit of Hunk Night. You had to feel for poor mortified Carly but I loved Bob getting into the spirit of things and stripping to his boxers for a dance and happily talking about his stripper past with Chas. More of Bob getting his groove on and enjoying the party please! In fact, get him back in the pub working or otherwise!

Top Boss

vlcsnap-2017-01-14-21h57m23s455After Nicola’s accident at the Mill in the summer, her confidence took a real knock and after ups and downs with Jimmy we’ve seen her mojo take a kicking as she struggled to cope with the day-to-day activities at home. But this week we saw a positive change as Nicola regained her independence and her enthusiasm for work when she saw the state of the office Home James was operating out of and wanted to give it an overhaul. Is it any surprise when it’s home to four grubby blokes? Not only did this mean some fun comedy involving Jimmy and Robert, but it also meant Nicola is back to her organised and authoritative best. How long is that scrapyard going to look that neat and tidy though, really?

Great Performances

emmerdale-the-night-before-lachlans-trial-youtubeI’ve written before about my many issues with Lachlan White and Emmerdale’s missteps but despite this, Thomas Atkinson continues to deliver solid performances. Lachlan’s twisted to say the least and it’s in those scenes – when he’s trying to blag himself the family spoils, getting beaten up on purpose and showcasing his cruel plans to his mother – that his villainy is really watchable. Emmerdale’s characterisation is confused with it comes to the Whites but I can’t help but feel Lachlan on full-throttle bad – since they never made him remorseful – is the way forward, because with his history, eliciting sympathy cannot work. If Emmerdale went full on Joffrey Baratheon, then Thomas would ace it.

Fail

Courtroom Anti-climax

vlcsnap-2017-01-14-22h11m22s781This week was White drama heavy, centring on Lachlan’s court case over the shooting of Lawrence. It only happened in the summer, even though it feels about four years ago now due to the amount of time this story has dragged on, but with the court case done and dusted in a day the conclusion was finally approaching. It’s hard to sympathise with any member of the White family, often because when they’re not committing crimes (without punishment or much remorse) they’re not embracing their bad deeds but feeling sorry for themselves, in their privileged money pit. Boo and hoo. This trial was even more muddled than usual. Lachlan wasn’t guilty of attempted murder, but he did shoot Lawrence and the whole family conspired to frame Andy and they’ve all be remorseless about it. He might not be a gun-toting attempted murderer but he’s not an innocent young boy either, so hearing his family talk about him like that is bizarre. Therapy is what he needs, not enabling. All in all the drama surrounding Lachlan’s confession and verdict didn’t really seem to offer any sense of justice. The unfortunate problem with this long-running plot was that there’s a real lack of tension when you know Andy’s name being cleared is meaningless (actor Kelvin Fletcher has left seemingly for good) and the Whites won’t really be punished and will continue hovering between camp villains and victims. There seems like there’s a lot more potential there – particularly when it comes to a wealthy family protecting their psychopathic son against all odds, fully aware of and making no excuses for his behaviour – without trying to squeeze out sympathy for them.

Fave or Fail? (2-6 Jan 2017)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Caravan fire aside, a great start to a brand new year on Emmerdale featuring some big, emotionally complex plots.

Faves

Important Stories

vlcsnap-2017-01-08-09h49m34s794There’s always been something unsettling about Pierce and his relationship with Rhona and this week saw the start of what seems to be a big story for them. After his cheesy proposal backfired, Pierce’s ego took a hit but after making up, he seemed to assume they were on the right track. Rhona however wasn’t as quick to move on from the awkwardness and tried to rebuff his advances. What followed was an uncomfortable and powerful scene as Rhona repeatedly told Pierce no, only for him to force himself on her. Rape within a relationship is a story rarely covered in soap, but so far Emmerdale’s attempts have felt well told. After the event Rhona was withdrawn and confused and after listening to frank discussions about sex from her friends and neighbours started to believe she was the problem and that she’d overreacted. From the outside, Rhona’s anguish feels very intense and the mixed messages about sex, consent and “being up for it” seem well portrayed. It’s an important story, one that treads a similar path to the ground-breaking story in The Archers last year, and I can only hope it continues down this powerful and informative road.

The History of Us

vlcsnap-2017-01-08-09h46m45s905One of Emmerdale’s real strengths right now is creating stories that are grounded in character. Like any other plot, it has its soapy devices (aka teasing the audience that Robert might be cheating for the 473rd time) but this week Aaron and Robert’s story really got to the heart of their relationship. As Robert snuck around trying to surprise his fiancé with a romantic trip to Las Vegas, Aaron and his family began to believe Robert’s meetings with Rebecca weren’t as innocent as they seemed. Even when the surprise was revealed (in ridiculously lovely scenes) and Robert reassured Aaron of his love, Aaron still suffered under his secret insecurities, plagued by doubts that someone like him could be enough to keep a man with Robert’s history satisfied and he hastily booked a weekend away for them. Oh Aaron! Don’t you just want to cuddle him? This plot has all the best ingredients of a winning soap relationship – a couple who bring their own complex and clashing issues to the table but whose love is strong enough to survive.

Enduring Love

vlcsnap-2017-01-08-10h00m44s151On a similar note, are Emmerdale’s other power couple. Despite my love/hate relationship with Cain at times, the power of the Coira chemistry is undeniable and I’m a complete sucker for their big emotional scenes and this Friday’s scene was no exception. Although fans are frustrated that they keep getting close to a reunion, the slow burn is irresistible and they do it so well. Cain took Kyle round to Butler’s Farm and admitted he misses her but she tried to push him away again, telling him that Christmas was a mistake and that he can’t use Kyle to manipulate her. But the best thing about these scenes – and about Coira in general – is that you know they’re both pining, they’re both in love, no matter what has happened in the past. I get the feeling that the road to a reunion won’t be smooth, but it’ll be worth watching and waiting for.

Megan’s Motherhood Worries

vlcsnap-2017-01-08-12h06m43s397In case you blinked and missed it on Friday, Megan got a proper storyline. I know what you’re thinking, a storyline for Megan about her fears and worries about Eliza’s development and her comparison to other parents and children deserves more than one episode and you’re right – it does. But we got what we got and I’m glad we did. Gaynor Faye is a really talented actress and Megan has the potential to be a very engaging character. A story about a mother’s worries about her child’s future when she may have a disability is an interesting plot and one I wished we’d had more of, rather than what appears to be a way for Frank to make his move.

Fails

Too Soon

vlcsnap-2017-01-08-09h42m29s816Zak and Lisa were the bread and butter of Emmerdale. Everyone took their break up hard and while some fans would love to see them back together, others are a bit warier. After the breakdown of Zak and Joanie’s marriage at Christmas, we saw Lisa determined that she wouldn’t take him back and I was right behind her. Zak needed to know after the devastation he’d caused both women and his family that he couldn’t just swan in and revert to his old life. I wanted to see Zak really work for his place at the head of the family and prove to Lisa he was worthy of her love and trust. Unfortunately Lisa’s resolve crumbled this week and the thought of Zak’s fire-y death brought them back together. While they might not be ready to remarry, Lisa was far too forgiving and it feels WAY too soon, almost like Zak’s been given a free pass – all while Joanie’s in a prison cell. It makes Lisa look weak and foolish and certainly has done no favours for complacent Zak, so it’s a real thumbs down for the rushed reconciliation.

Caring about Kerry

vlcsnap-2017-01-08-09h50m38s641The main problem with this week’s Kerry material? I just don’t care about her anymore. For far too long we’ve seen nothing but a selfish and unlikeable person and even when her opposition (in this case, Cain) is just as rude and unlikeable, you can’t exactly root for her either. Perhaps her collapse was a wake up call, but it has come far too late after her unentertaining escapades and suing at the Sharma’s factory. She seems to treat people horribly and it’s unpleasant to watch, even when we knew a breaking point was approaching. There are softer moments of course, and Laura Norton’s portrayal of fragility, particularly in Kerry’s vulnerable scenes with Dan might stop Kerry being completely unsympathetic, but she just isn’t very likeable anymore.

Fave or Fail? (26-30 Dec 2016)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Not the best week to finish the year, but there were heartwarming scenes from the Kings to see out 2016!

Faves

King of the Kids

emmerdale-wednesday-28-dec-7pm-the-itv-hub-2Like me, you probably groaned at the start of the week with more on/off Jimmy and Nicola drama but thankfully those angelically meddlesome children got involved and rescued the Kings’ marriage! The week ended on a happy note, with a ‘honeymoon’ meal and sight of Jimmy and Nicola swaying in each other’s arms – aww! The real stars of the show had to be the kids, especially the cheekily grinning Elliot who has become a bit of a rising star since his scenes at Christmas. Luca Hoyle is a real young talent and there’s something about his line delivery that really makes him funny, especially his straight-faced digs at Jimmy telling him that Nicola deserves something nice, better than a kettle, or it’s his butter-wouldn’t-melt smile dressed in a mini chef’s outfit. Emmerdale really do have the best child actors.

Sisters Before Misters

emmerdale-wednesday-28-dec-7pm-the-itv-hub-3We saw far too many of the female characters making digs at each other in 2016 so it’s been really refreshing to see Lisa support Joanie against Zak. In the immediate aftermath of Zak’s Christmas Day revelation, Lisa felt desperately sorry for Joanie, who she could empathise with greatly, knowing exactly how it felt to be discarded by Zak Dingle. Thankfully Joanie felt similar and assured Lisa she knew that it wasn’t her involvement that caused Zak’s horrendous treatment. Yes ladies! Lisa seemed to hold no grudges when it came to her allegiances, much to the surprise of her family, and Zak seemed misguidedly hopeful that Lisa would have him back straight away. Lisa’s attitude throughout the whole of 2016 has been admirable and it’s been good to see Zak get the fair blame for the ruining of two women’s lives.

Best of the Rest

emmerdale-thursday-29-dec-8-30pm-the-itv-hubIt wasn’t the strongest week to end on for Emmerdale, but there were some enjoyable moments in the week I wanted to touch on. Charity’s state of hangover – the sunglasses, the silent head-tilt in response to questions – was funny and perfect for her character. I really enjoyed the unlikely trio of Pearl, Dan and Harriet going to feed the homeless – more of these unusual character groupings please! Bernice and Nicola’s making up was a touching scene as they swore never to fall out over men again and told each other they loved one another – lovely scenes. Speaking of Bernice, she looked very glam at the Singles’ event and her Mr Blobby safeword moment was a definite highlight.

Fails

Too Little Too Late

emmerdale-cain-beats-up-dan-to-find-out-where-joanie-is-youtubeThere are times where Cain Dingle can be a very unpleasant selfish character and this week was one of them. Panicked that Joanie was going to take Kyle away for good (and he’d lose out on any Father of the Year accolades) he used threats and violence to try and keep his son in the village. The biggest issue with this plot is that Cain and Kyle have rarely shared any significant screen time together and Cain’s big revelation about being a father to him after he was caught up in the helicopter crash never amounted to anything, so his sudden determination to be a real father is hollow. With this in mind, it’s too little too late to become invested and it’s difficult to be on Cain’s side when he’s using his usual force and intimidation to get his own way. Does he even deserve Kyle, really, when he’s showed so little interest so far?

Ringing in the New Year

emmerdale-friday-30-dec-7pm-the-itv-hubFor a soap that’s had an amazing 2016, the final episode of the year really let them down. For starters, even though it aired a day before NYE it really lacked that ‘occasion’ feeling that the Christmas episode excelled in with the only celebration occurring at a very stilted feeling party at Home Farm. Chrissie and Rebecca squabbled like immature brats in another rinse and repeat story. Plus, wealth and influence aside, it’s still hard to believe anyone would want to attend a party hosted by a family that have managed to make no friends in the village. Are their canapes really so good that David, whose wife was sexually assaulted by a member of that family, would happily attend? It just doesn’t ring true. The episode also featured the end of Finn and Kasim’s escalated romance with Finn’s behaviour coming across as unlikeable and creepy. Outside of the party you had Joanie in jail making things worse for herself and accidentally decking a police officer, with Kerry her only real champion in the village aside from Lisa and Zak’s guilty efforts. This year should have gone out in a bang – a big party in the pub maybe with fireworks or a bigger village celebration – but hey, here’s to a great 2017!