Fave or Fail? (23-27 March 2020)

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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 Jamie and Belle reignite their affair and Brenda’s mistake had terrible consequences for Dan.

Faves

A Triple Christening

vlcsnap-2020-03-29-10h01m01s706There was a lovely community feel to Monday’s episode, as three christenings took place at the church and with the current real-world situation, it had the warmth and family spirit we need right now. The scenes also saw a welcome return of Zak, Aaron and Liv and an amusing set of “The Godfather” impressions as the men tried to out-do each other. It’s not often we see so many villagers gathered in one place and with all of the babies having bittersweet arrivals, it was nice to see the happy occasion, and despite Chas and Paddy’s tensions and Wendy being her usual self, the feel-good event was a nice watch.

The New Love Affair

vlcsnap-2020-03-29-09h58m37s325Jamie and Belle got it on again this week as their simmering tensions lead to a row, and then a shag, in the middle of a veterinary call out. With longing looks and repressed feelings, Jamie and Belle’s affair is certainly one of the most watchable in recent times, helped by their natural chemistry. It also helps that while the stakes are high in terms of Kim’s involvement and Jamie’s custody problems, viewers on the whole aren’t that invested in Belle and Ellis or Jamie and Andrea as couples. It’s not a Nate and Moira situation where their affair ruins a beloved couple. This also comes as a bit of a drawback as it means it’s hard to believe Belle wouldn’t just ditch Ellis (whose been written as a wet weekend since the actor change) and Jamie come up with a long term custody plan, and end things with Andrea. However, a slow burn affair of forbidden feelings can be a good watch when you want to see the two together, and if it stops Jamie whining for five minutes then even better.

Brenda’s Big Mistake

vlcsnap-2020-03-29-09h59m40s620Brenda made a dangerous mistake this week by not labelling her ingredients correctly on her café food, leading to a horrific allergic reaction for Dan. This storyline already had subtle build up previously when Brenda gave Dan vegan food with nuts in unaware of his allergy and he suffered a minor reaction. This week however, Dan went into anaphylactic shock and now is experiencing paralysis, sending Brenda into turmoil. After initially trying to cover up her mistake, Brenda admitted what she’d done to Dan and his family after a prompting from Eric. While a story that centres on the Spencers might not be everyone’s favourite idea, this story has been really effective so far, showing how a tiny action can escalate into something so serious which impacts many characters. Not every soap story needs extreme behaviour or guns, a smaller story like this is like a classic soap story which can have just as many twists and turns. I’m glad it’s also given a focus to older characters like Eric and Brenda who are often underused and underrated.

Fail

Too Much Too Soon

vlcsnap-2020-03-29-10h01m47s193This week, after sleeping together, Victoria ended things with Luke again, telling him it was too soon to get into a relationship. As Luke begged for another go and Wendy tried to get involved, it felt like a serious case of déjà vu. I imagine the intention here is to make Luke and Victoria the couple you root for, and to give Victoria time and space to recover from her rape trauma, but with their reunion boringly inevitable, these efforts to drag it out seem pointless. Vic, Wendy, Luke and baby Harry are already participating in the world’s most unlikely and icky happy families but the fact Emmerdale have gone this route undermines any efforts to make Victoria’s aftermath believable. When she talks of her struggle to move on, to feel anything during sex, you can’t help but think had Luke (her rapist’s brother) not been her chosen partner, this story would have held the weight and emotion it deserves. Instead, this is too tacky to get involved with.

With Emmerdale now showing only three episodes a week rather than six, The Woolie Weekly will be posting fortnightly, to cover a “week’s worth” of episodes as they were originally intended to air. Next blog update will be Sunday 12th April.

Emmerdale’s Top 20 Moments of 2019 – Part Two (#10-1)

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Here it is, my run down of the Top 10 Best Moments in Emmerdale in 2019. You can read numbers 11-20 here, but below are the things I enjoyed most about Emmerdale this year.

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10 – Jai and Laurel

Who could predict that one of Emmerdale’s latest favourite couples would be Jai and Laurel? This time last year we were finally free of the massively unpopular Laurel and Bob romance, but her new love with Jai has been a surprise hit. Early days for the pair was something of a sweet slow burn of crossed wires and a pretend kiss to get Jai out of a dodgy date, but now they’re finally together it just works. The actors have a good chemistry and their cuteness has been pretty sweet. Lately their merged family is under threat as Arthur cruelly bullies Archie – could this destroy Laurel and Jai’s relationship so soon? Hopefully not!

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9 – Vanity’s Engagement

2019 started in a hugely dramatic way for Vanessa and Charity when Vanessa was stabbed outside the pub by Lachlan’s dad Donny. After her brush with death, Charity was more convinced than ever of her love and decided to pop the question. What followed was a brilliantly humorous attempt by Charity to hijack an unsuspecting groom’s outlandish proposal at Home Farm to surprise Vanessa. Although it was classic Charity madness, Vanessa was less than impressed when she realised what Charity had done. Nevertheless Vanessa returned to Home Farm to hear Charity out and after some drunken rambling, the couple’s heart to heart lead to a real proposal. This moment had everything – laughs, vulnerability and a great script. Will their wedding be as similarly funny and romantic when it happens?

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8 – The Immediate Aftermath of Victoria’s Rape

I have some serious problems with how Vic’s rape story ultimately transpired but there’s no denying that the initial scenes in which Victoria revealed she’d been raped to Moira were outstanding. In the aftermath of Vic’s rape, Moira tried to help her understand she wasn’t at fault in any way with writing that deftly dispelled every myth and misconception surrounding the assault. Emmerdale made interesting choices in the beginning of the story, with Lee seemingly like the nice guy helping to walk Vic home before attacking her in her own home in brutal but effective scenes. The aftermath also featured stunning performances from the underused Isabel Hodgins and it’s a shame the story derailed so quickly.

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7 – Truth about Maya

It was the moment viewers were eagerly waiting for and when the truth about Maya came out, it was worth the wait. For months Maya had been grooming and seducing Jacob right under his family’s nose and after Liv’s discovery it was only a matter of time before the truth came out. The reveal took the centre stage of the Big Night Out episodes as Priya was the surprise witness to a kiss between the pair. The tension was delicious as Maya accepted a lift from Leyla, Tracy and Priya – although we had to wait a few weeks to find out what they’d actually done to her, suspecting she might be dead. The beginning of the end came with a gripping confrontation in the woods, but David learning the truth was equally compelling with a strong performance from Matthew Wolfenden and an uncomfortable but authentic range of emotions on display. With Maya and Jacob hiding out, there were some must-see twists and turns as the truth emerged, but disappointingly, the dramatic climax fizzled out and the conclusion of this story just didn’t live up to the gripping revelation.

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6 – Robert’s Exit

The end of 2019 also marked the end of Emmerdale’s most-shipped couple as Robron were torn apart due to the departure of Robert from the show. After his sister’s rape, Robert was unable to move past his need for revenge and when Lee’s torment of her continued, Robert saw red and hit Lee over the head with a shovel. For a while it looked like Robert’s charges would be minimal but things changed when Lee woke up and later died from his injuries. Facing the prospect of life behind bars, Robert went on the run, with Aaron by his side. With the desperate couple willing to sacrifice everything for their love, the reality of their future weighed heavily on Robert’s mind and he selflessly turned himself in, breaking Aaron’s heart in the process. Robert was sentenced to fourteen years inside and scheduled to be moved to the Isle of Wight and while Aaron was determined to hang onto their marriage, Robert made the crushing decision to cut all ties and allow Aaron to live his life. While Robert is a big loss to the show, Ryan Hawley gave some of his best performances throughout his exit and his exit managed to be both gripping and heart-breaking. Despite this story meaning the end of Robron, their epic love story was honoured in Robert’s final episode and the plot stayed true to their depth of feeling until the very end.

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5 – Flashback episodes

There was a real buzz around Emmerdale’s much promoted Big Night Out episodes, but the real excitement began just a few weeks later as we got to see what really happened during that fateful night. Flashbacks have been overdone in Emmerdale lately but withholding what really went down for two weeks was just the right time to keep things gripping and keep us all guessing. Of all the flashbacks Billy’s was the weakest but even that managed its own twists and give us glimpses of the other storylines in the background. The thrilling showdown between Maya and the trio of Leyla, Tracy and Priya let to a brilliant blackly comic confrontation in a horror movie pursuit in the woods. Victoria’s strand was unsurprisingly the hardest to watch as what could have been a rom-com style episode had a horrific end, and knowing what was coming gave the episode an unbearable dread. Overall this was an exciting dose of episodes, giving Emmerdale back its must-see bite while these big stories played out.

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4 – Women’s Day Special Episode

Emmerdale celebrated International Women’s Day this year with an episode dedicated to the women of the Dales using a mostly all women crew too. Not only was this an inspiring decision behind the scenes, but the episode itself was full of pathos, joy and warmth. Emmerdale managed to use almost its entire female cast, interacting in surprising ways and having a wonderful community, character driven feel. There was also a surprise inclusion of Lisa with the sad reveal she was dying, but despite this the episode still managed to be funny and full of heart, instilling a sense of confidence and strength in being a woman. An episode with ambitions like this made me even prouder to be an Emmerdale fan. And hey, if it pisses off the backwards likes of Piers Morgan and co then it’s doing something right!

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3 – The Mere Existence of Liam Cavanagh

If there’s one character who’s made Emmerdale 2019 a joy to watch then it’s Dr Liam Cavanagh. Not only has he shared a sweet and funny romance with Bernice (a relationship so right for their characters I was sad to see end), but in his own right he’s managed to be both charming and laugh out loud funny. This year highlights have included his painfully awkward encounter with Cain, the discovery that he loves murder mystery roleplay – leading to a hilarious misunderstanding where Bernice thought he was a murderer – and of course his adventures in costume from the sheriff to the panto’s Farmer Christmas. Although Liam has lost his love, there’s potential with Leyla, but also his relationship with daughter Leanna and colleague Manpreet to explore. Liam’s the sort of character that easily feels at home in the village (he even made Bear briefly watchable) and Jonny McPherson’s natural charisma and comedic timing, he’s a character who consistently puts a smile on your face. If I could only make one wish for 2020, it would be more Liam!

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2 – Lydia’s past

There was one stand-out star of 2019 and that was Karen Blick as Lydia, effortlessly taking Lydia from kooky oddball with a big heart from tragic matriarch of the Dingles. This year we learnt more about Lydia’s tragic past, revealing that she had taken on a false identity and was really named Jenny Finn. As the remains of a baby were found by the school, Lydia turned herself into the police revealing she had buried her stillborn child there and kept it a secret all this time. Karen Blick’s performances were nothing short of incredible and together with Sam, they were the real jewels in Emmerdale’s crown this year. This story not only made Lydia more loved, but it also strengthened the bond between the couple. Giving Lydia this fleshed out backstory offered a believable explanation for her personality and the material, never short of gut-wrenching, proved what an incredible performer Karen Blick is. With the question of Huntingdon’s disease playing on her mind, I hope 2020 continues to give Karen the material she deserves.

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1 – Lisa’s death

We lost a real Emmerdale legend this year as Lisa Dingle passed away suddenly. We had only just seen her back in the village and in her rightful home when we lost her for good, after a warm and nostalgic big Dingle celebration. Lisa’s death was understated and fitting, following a sentimental wedding for her and Zak, which even featured classic Emmerdale band The Woolpackers. Despite Lisa’s death being a surprise to many viewers, we should have guessed Lisa’s time back in Wishing Well was limited considering her return almost felt like a goodbye tour. When her family came home to find her dead, there were impressive scenes as they grieved and supported each other. The aftermath was moving as it panned over their homestead and the funeral was a fun and quirky affair with pig races. Lisa also left behind letters for her family which told them what they needed to hear and was a fitting end for the matriarch of the family. The Dingles haven’t quite felt the same without her, but her final episodes were a beautiful tribute to her treasured character.

Thank you for all your support of The Woolie Weekly in 2019 and Happy New Year!

Fave or Fail? (23-27 Sep 2019)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! This week Millie’s accident lead to a paternity twist and Harriet was shunned by her so-called friends.

Faves

Harriet Bites Back

vlcsnap-2019-09-29-12h14m54s375Harriet had a bit of a tough week as she turned 50 and her relationship with Will came out in front of all the congregation. They’ve kinda wasted what could have been a delicious slowburn of love-turned-hate-turned-love between Harriet and Will (for a vicar and an ex drug lord they are actually very dull) but still, the hypocritical villagers decided to shun her for this relationship (baffling). Nevertheless a highlight this week was seeing a downtrodden Harriet confront Moira and ask her what we’ve all been wondering – what the hell is wrong with her? As Moira let rip, Harriet bit back, reminding her that she knew all about what had happened with Emma. It was less of a threat and more of a reminder of her double standards and it was good to see a Harriet that comes back fighting. Really, I’d have liked to have seen Harriet drag each and every villager for their hypocrisy, but this tense moment at Butler’s was the first time I’ve really thought “Yes Harriet! You tell her!”.

Dingles Reunited

vlcsnap-2019-09-29-12h14m14s806The kiss secret was out this week and Zak and Faith become enemy number one among the Dingles. Despite there being a complete overreaction to the kiss that meant nothing to either party, both Belle and Chas seemed to take the strongest objection to their betrayal. Thankfully the over the top outrage and bluster blew over quickly and Zak sought to repair the damage with Belle by explaining what really went on. Eventually Belle was won round by Zak’s honestly and his enduring love for Lisa. As the two shared a hug, united by missing Lisa, Zak apologised for upsetting Belle and asking for another chance. It was lovely to see the Dingles get some more screen time related to Lisa’s death as we haven’t seen much of how they are coping lately and Zak and Belle’s father-daughter relationship brings a lot of warmth to Wishing Well. It’s nice to see a family having a cuddle every now and then!

Doug’s Drugs

vlcsnap-2019-09-29-12h16m29s776Doug’s drug storyline continues to be one of the strangest stories in Emmerdale but it has its entertaining moments too. As the story ran alongside the exposure of Will’s drug trafficking past (the tonal shifts were a little jarring if I’m honest), Doug began to panic that his new hobby had grown out of control – literally! Doug now has his very own farm, but as he sweated about the police catching up with him, Rodney did his best to reassure him to continue. Seeing straight laced Doug unravelling is pretty amusing, although I wonder how long this story can continue before the laughs dry out.

Fails

Moira’s Meltdown

vlcsnap-2019-09-29-12h15m45s370Just what is happening to Moira? Her behaviour has become so unlikeable and erratic that fans are even jokily speculating her personality change is down to a brain tumour or an evil twin. This week saw her repetitive affair with Nate get almost busted again and discover that Matty had been smoking weed. This hit hard on the anniversary of Holly’s death and was even worse when she discovered Harriet’s latest love interest is a former drug trafficker. As Moira‘s rage exploded, she outed their relationship to the entire Harvest Festival, and Harriet’s reputation was shattered. While I think the villagers’ reactions bordered on the ridiculous (they’ve all done bad things) it was Moira’s response that did the most damage to her character. Sure we can reason that the pressure of the affair is getting to her, but it’s still not clear her motives for cheating in the first place. She’s off with everyone who speaks to her at the moment and it was only in those scenes with Cain by Holly’s grave that we saw glimmers of the Moira we know and love but even that seemed fleeting. Can Moira ever regain her popularity – or at least feel recognisable – again?

Who’s the Daddy?

vlcsnap-2019-09-29-12h13m54s663Andrea and Graham spent much of the week having the same conversation around Millie’s hospital bedside this week as they wrestled with their secret past and the question of Mille’s paternity. Viewers, however, might have been wrestling with a bigger question about the timeline of these characters and the baffling way it all ties together. Graham’s backstory is a muddle of different producers and cast changes so his engaging enigmatic early days seem a distant memory. Without an interest in Graham (and without Joe, Emmerdale are really trying their hardest to keep him relevant), all relies on newbie Andrea, who honestly feels too new to care too much about. It also requires us to see some sort of bristling tension between the pair, which until Monday didn’t really exist so the whole twist felt like an afterthought cobbled together plot based on fans’ speculation. This twist isn’t helped by Jamie, who has become a colourless drip and is unbelievable as a husband and a father, nor the painfully on-the-nose dialogue from Granny Kim who has now taken to her position as grandmother with aplomb. Had Andrea and Graham expressed sizzling chemistry or lingering looks throughout their time at Home Farm perhaps we could take an interest in this oncoming family explosion but the idea that Andrea was sleeping with both 17 year old Jamie and a drunken Graham at the same time is all a bit grim.

Fave or Fail? (16-20 Sep 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! In the week that saw Jessie leave the village, Aaron and Robert had a revenge mission in mind.

Faves

Jai’s New Challenge

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Jai had a big shock this week when Dan turned up on his doorstep with Jai’s estranged son Archie and learned Rachel had died suddenly. That family don’t have much luck with Ruby, Ali and now Ali’s sister Rachel all dying, the latter two off screen. Admittedly it’s a lazy move to kill off female characters to give male characters some angst, but no one is really going to be missing Rachel in a hurry and with Jai shaping up to be a great character since they ditched the villainy and made him more human, this seems like a good move story-wise. Jai opened up to Laurel about his absence in Archie’s life in exposition heavy but well written and performed scenes and Jai has since really struggled to connect to or talk to his son in any way. Laurel seems like she’ll be the perfect rock for him as she too struggled with addiction and her children experienced the loss of a parent. This also gave another opportunity to unite the families, as Arthur stepped in to try and make Archie feel at home. Who could believe Jai would become one of Emmerdale’s strongest characters at the moment, but it goes to show how a change in direction and a new relationship can do wonders. I hope Emmerdale doesn’t make Jai and Archie’s relationship too easy to fix but I’m looking forward to seeing more of Laurel becoming a key figure in Jai’s life. They could really go the distance.

Robron’s Revenge

vlcsnap-2019-09-22-14h07m52s318It made a surprising change for Aaron and Robert to have some fun this week in stories which actually gave them a win. First they helped Marlon against Al by stealing his vintage car and presenting it to Marlon as a gift – to smash! After this fun deviation from their intense and sad plot leading to Robert’s exit, they also got involved in Mandy’s shady behaviour. Mandy’s return so far hasn’t had the fun and vivacity her earlier stint gave, this time round we’re seeing a meaner, harder version, but she’s still managed to give a new kick to the Dingles. Having learnt she was scrounging off the family, despite having a load of stolen casino chips, Aaron decided to teach her a lesson, by stealing the money back from her and making her believe he’d burnt the cash. It was all a ploy, cooked up by Aaron and reminiscent of the time where Robert had burned a briefcase full of cash to prove his love. This time Robron were laughing, throwing money around before eventually, of course, having sex on it. Mandy was less than pleased to learn they were keeping the cash and using it to make their own family comfortable while Robert’s in prison, but Mandy isn’t keen on letting it lie and there seems much more to this money problem. While it would have been good to see slightly more build up to the rivalry between Mandy and Aaron the revenge stories this week were good fun and gave the actors a chance to do something besides wallow in the tense and devastating impact of Robert’s imprisonment.

Sarah Worries About the Future

vlcsnap-2019-09-22-14h08m42s873We saw Sarah’s rebellious streak this week as Charity’s chicken pox gave her an excuse to skip school again and hang around with new friend Danny. After being caught bunking, Charity and Vanessa attempted to ground her, but Sarah had bigger things to worry about. Slightly smitten by Danny, Sarah argued with Charity that her short life expectancy means she’s unlikely to live to have the full experiences of an average adult and she worried that she would miss out on things her peers take for granted. Sympathetic to this Charity found a way to reunite her with Danny and all was well. I hope this isn’t a short flash of a storyline because it’s an interesting and heart-breaking struggle other teens and young people go through. Actress Katie Hill also does a great job with this kind of material and even while Debbie’s away there’s still plenty of time for Emmerdale to explore this storyline with Sarah and Granny Charity.

Jessie’s Farewell

Emmerdale - Jessie Leaves Emmerdale to Teach in Dubai - YouTubeJessie left this week on a downbeat note with her life in tatters, her marriage over for good. On the bright side she did have a brand new job to start in Dubai! Nevertheless she left Emmerdale in tears, leaving Marlon and April behind in some really nicely written and acted scenes. Although Marlon and Jessie’s marriage never really became beloved by the audience, the breakdown of their relationship over the last fortnight has been well done with great performances from Sandra Marvin, Mark Charnock and Amelia Flanagan. Initially Jessie tried to fight for their relationship, but both her and Marlon knew it was truly over and had to break it to April, who of course had seen many a failed relationship with her dad. Al too has been a great thorn in the side of their relationship as well as making Marlon’s life a misery. He’s been an enjoyable manipulative antagonist to watch, without a pantomime edge that some soap villains have. Despite Jessie’s exit to Dubai being fairly swift, it actually made for an enjoyable storyline, with its emotional centre.

Fails

It Was Only a Kiss

vlcsnap-2019-09-22-14h08m53s000This week Bear and Faith seemed to be stuck in a storyline from weeks ago as Bear tried to get to the bottom of what was happening with Faith and Zak in the cellar – something that happened over a month ago. Of course this is because it’s building to the secret being revealed to Belle and hopefully some decent material for her (Belle’s screen time and grieving since Lisa’s death has been really lacking) but its focus this week seemed a little excessive. The kiss meant nothing, it didn’t go anywhere and Zak and Faith haven’t even been seen together since, so to revisit the story this many weeks later felt clunky. Add to this that Bear hasn’t quite been taken to the hearts of viewers and Faith isn’t at her most enjoyable at the moment, and it was a bit of a meh moment this week.

Fave or Fail? (12-16 Aug 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! Ellis’s dad Al arrived in the village and had a shady phonecall, and Debbie left for Scotland.

Faves

Call Me Al

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-09h00m52s495Jessie had one hell of a week as no sooner had she lost her job, but her household was rocked by the arrival of Al, Ellis’s father. Al didn’t make a great first impression on the family and Ellis didn’t seem all that keen to repair their bond either. There’s tension already, and Al is not a fan of Billy, but this is great news for the audience as a new character like Al, played charismatically by Michael Wildman, needs a great introduction. What’s even better is that Al seems a bit shady and all signs point to him being revealed as Kim Tate’s new business partner. Al could be just the new villain Emmerdale needs. Bring it on!

Sensitive Souls

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-09h04m14s417One of Emmerdale’s sweetest family units was rocked this week as Samson came home and learnt about Lydia’s tragic past. Sensitive Samson was horrified to learn Lydia had been keeping secrets, and worse, that they’d been kept from him. At the graveyard, Sam tried to talk Samson round in a lovely scene in the place where Alice is buried, and eventually Samson was able to empathise with Lydia’s plight. Realising that Lydia needs support, Samson listened to Sam as he said Alice would want them to be happy, and eventually the family were reunited, ready to plan a wedding. Fingers crossed things go smoothly from now on and we get to see Sam and Lydia made official!

Doug on Pot

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-09h01m33s577The most amusing and bizarre plot of the week was Doug, on pot. Straight laced, garden enthusiast would be the last person you’d expect to smoke a joint, but with Gerry’s stash playing on his mind – and his terrible back – Doug went to surprising measures to cure his pain. As we all know Duncan Preston has a long history of comedic acting so it was great to see this at play, even funnier when his oblivious loved ones have no idea and don’t notice the signs. High Doug was a lot of fun and seeing as he’s already getting the munchies, I’m sure he’ll be sneaking off for another spliff when the opportunity arises!

Goodbye Debbie

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-09h04m59s066Debbie’s exit this week, to cover Charley Webb’s maternity leave, has to be one of the strangest. Her exit potential could have nicely tied into her feud with Cain or hints about Joe, but all that was left aside, as Debbie took over a random garage in Scotland. As you do. Surprisingly I’ve really come to enjoy Debbie lately, as she’s been used in light, comic relief moments or more low key storylines. Debbie’s actually been – dare I say it – sort of fun? Her exit scenes were muted this week, with a lovely scene from Sarah and a slightly OTT reaction from Charity. It was a little hard to care about any emotional response to her leaving when we know she’ll be back, but my only hope is that when they bring Debbie back, they remember to give her a bit more of that dry humour. Maybe she could even smile!

Fails

Slim on Sympathy

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-08h58m53s948When Matty’s toxic masculinity story started I questioned, given his divisive popularity, whether he was the right character to be plunged into a plot where he has to be a real arsehole. This week, I still have my reservations. Matty’s friends showed up again being characteristically vile and Matty laughed along with them. Sure, he looks sheepish from time to time, and eventually he’ll see them for what they are, but is it worth Matty being this smarmy and horrid in the meantime? Watching him swagger and jeer like his unlikeable “mates” just really isn’t very unenjoyable to watch.

The Trouble with Faith

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-08h57m56s682There’s something about Faith this year that’s making her far more irritating than she is entertaining. Perhaps it’s because she’s been overbearing and interfering, rather than the light and shade we’ve had from her in previous years. A character like Faith can be more than just brash and we’ve seen her earn our affections during her mastectomy struggles through her romance with Eric and her family past in the Cain flashback. We’ve also seen a good dose of humour too. This week however we’ve seen more of Faith’s abrasive side as she muscled in at Wishing Well, landed an ill advised kiss on Zak and then outed Bear’s illiteracy secret. The kiss plot seemed like a complete overreaction to what was a brief, grief fuelled peck – and actually her reminiscing scenes with Zak were nicely done – and the cellar debacle felt completely contrived. Was this all just a circus to get her to annoy Charity in her new home? Faith can be great when the balance is right but this week, she lost her warmth.

Fave or Fail? (27-31 May 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! Fewer episodes this week as Emmerdale made way for Britain’s Got Talent, but the Dingles reeled in the wake of Lisa’s death.

Faves

Unsung Hero

vlcsnap-2019-06-01-08h51m37s679The aftermath of Lisa’s death continued this week as the Dingles all struggled to cope in individual ways. Surprisingly it was Sam who seemed to take it the hardest, acting out of character and hiding away to cry alone. Sam is often used as comic relief in the family, on the sidelines as the ‘nice but dim’ member of the family, but this week Sam – and actor James Hooton were the unsung heroes of Emmerdale. To see Sam taking Lisa’s death so badly and worrying that he had to hold it together and keep the farm running, scared that both Zak and Belle’s vulnerable mental health would suffer, was a poignant and affecting choice. Because we don’t often see Sam so emotionally raw the scenes had a greater impact and it was a reminder just how good James Hooton is as an actor. If there’s anyone Emmerdale should be lining up for their next big emotional story, then they should consider Sam.

Fake Dating

vlcsnap-2019-06-01-08h50m22s542Fans have long been speculating there’s romance on the horizon for Laurel and Jai and Friday’s episode this week was a mightily satisfying tease of that. Jai spent the week venturing into online dating (which was a pretty charming and fun story between the sadness of Lisa’s death) and thought his luck was in when he ended up with a gorgeous date. As his employees came in the pub for an ogle, Jai realised he had in fact hired an escort instead (oops) and Laurel stepped in to help scare her off. Laurel’s technique involved everyone’s favourite rom-com/fanfic trope – fake dating – and Laurel and Jai were soon forced into sharing a pretend kiss to prove their romance. But a funny and awkward scene soon had sparks flying at the pair found themselves caught up in the moment and shared a much steamier snog. This looks like it might be the start of a big new romance and I can’t wait to see it develop!

The Fun Side

vlcsnap-2019-06-01-08h53m05s990When Kim returned there was anxiety from Emmerdale viewers that her ruthless personality would veer into pantomime and we’d be left with less of a character and more of a cartoon. Certainly her brief stint last October was divisive and when her immediate plans were to shag Cain and put a hit out on Joe, there was more concerns. But lately we’ve seen a much more well-rounded Kim, trying to rebuild her relationship with Jamie, employing Lydia and Sam, and forging an almost-friendship with Rhona. She almost seemed pleased of the company when Rhona popped round Home Farm, even giving her the hard sell on some biscuits – but then if you’re stuck with Graham all day every day you’d be grateful of a friendly face too! This side of Kim is much more like the woman we can see in the weekday repeats of classic Emmerdale on ITV3 and gives her a greater chance of longevity. Of course Kim’s always going to be the “soap bitch” but that doesn’t mean she needs to be an ice queen. Friends and smiles are welcome from time to time.

Fails

A Slow Goodbye?

vlcsnap-2019-06-01-08h49m27s223It was a struggle to invest in Megan’s storyline this week as she fretted over her future after causing Eric’s accident. Not only is her relationship with Frank dull and chemistry free, her connection with stoic Graham isn’t much better. Even Megan’s rivalry with Kim feels tired and uninspiring, doing no favours to either character. Emmerdale have had plenty of opportunity in the past to do something emotionally engaging with Megan and her daughter Eliza, and yet even this story, with so much at stake for Megan, it treads a boring and dry path with these uninspiring men. It feels like this is leading to Megan having a lacklustre exit, but the pace is glacial. With actress Gaynor Faye exiting the Dales, is Megan’s storyline really the start of her long goodbye?

Fast Turn Around

vlcsnap-2019-06-01-08h48m31s444Despite the whole coffin incident, I was curious about Will and Harriet’s chemistry from the off. We’ve been here before with Harriet, she might be BFFs with God, but it’s the bad boy she really likes. But just like her fling with Cain, there’s just something not quite clicking with Will. It’s not as electric as it could be on paper. Part of this problem was the ridiculous speed this week’s events took. Will’s epiphany over his terrorising and stalking of Harriet, prompted by seeing the impact of his actions on vulnerable Dawn, felt far too soon. Had Dawn been hospitalised or close to death, then perhaps his complete turn around might have been more believable but this week’s escalation seemed a rushed way to force the Harriet hook up. Likewise, I fully believe in the pairs lingering and complicated feelings but it just didn’t feel believable that Harriet could forgive Will so fast and end up in bed with him. I can never put my finger on what’s missing with Harriet’s stories but this one just isn’t hitting the mark anymore. Like other fans commented on Twitter, I could see this trio making a good family unit, but I had hopes this was going to be a slow-burn of enemies to lovers, but skipping to lovers before it’s earned squandered that. Shame.

 

Fave or Fail? (20-24 May 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! We lost an Emmerdale legend this week as Lisa Dingle died. And we witnessed another big moment as Maya was arrested.

Faves

Lisa’s Death

vlcsnap-2019-05-25-15h47m51s914We’d only just got used to beloved matriarch Lisa Dingle being back in her rightful home and before we knew it, we’d lost her all over again – and this time, for good! After a fortnight of special “goodbye” scenes with individuals in the village we should have guessed Emmerdale were subtly hinting at her fast demise. But after the nostalgic and warm feeling of the Dingle wedding (see below) Lisa’s death was both understated and very fitting. When the time came Lisa was at home, with the doe eyed and expressive Monty, and one by one her family came to learn the sad news. These were impressive and heartfelt scenes. So much was done in the quiet, tender moments between the family members and Lydia also did a great job holding the family together. It feels like soon she and Sam will play a vital role in keeping the Dingles together, as others struggle to cope. The aftermath of Lisa’s death was particularly moving and the quiet scenes which panned over their homestead were a nice touch. Lisa will be a huge loss, but this was a fitting end to a treasured character.

The Big Dingle Wedding

vlcsnap-2019-05-25-15h50m34s696There’s nothing quite like a Dingle wedding! We’ve seen a few big do’s over the years but the nostalgic humour of pigs’ muck and a big Woolie knees up was the perfect calm before the sad storm of Lisa’s death. Emmerdale even reunited legendary show band The Woolpackers to perform their big hit (and yes, still singing it now). These episodes were fun, family filled and had a classic Emmerdale feel that was a truly warm-hearted send-off for Lisa. Even the central relationship of Zak and Lisa (though tainted by the stupid decision to split them in 2015) had a sentimental renaissance as the pair put the past behind them and celebrated their love. If I had only one niggle it would be that despite the family do, there were far too few village members at the reception and there are many who should have had a chance to say goodbye in their own way.

David’s Showdown

vlcsnap-2019-05-25-15h51m31s159David’s adamant refusal to call the police was getting to be teeth-grindingly frustrating but after days of waiting, he finally did the right thing. His delay this week was because he wanted to confront his wicked ex face to face and after tricking her to the cricket pavilion he got his wish. It was all a little convoluted getting to that point but the tension and the spiky dynamic between Maya and David was worth the wait. Louisa Clein continues to be brilliantly manipulative as Maya twists the truth and Matthew Wolfenden’s restrained fury and disgust was a satisfying watch. Just don’t leave us waiting for that all important justice, Emmerdale!

Diane’s Despair

vlcsnap-2019-05-25-15h49m55s582Since Victoria went away with Robert for a break, her sad plot has been put on hold for the time being but rather than lose momentum, I like that the story has continued through Diane and Aaron. This week saw Diane distant and struggling, coping alone with Vic’s secret tragedy and not knowing how to help her. Aaron, who had a nice turn this week as sage and comfort, did his best to reassure her. These were a surprisingly touching set of scenes and it’s nice to see two characters who rarely interact (despite being family) come together in comfort. It was a welcome change to see more of Diane too, who is one of Emmerdale’s most underused since she left the pub. More please!

Fails

Sacrificing Justice

vlcsnap-2019-05-25-15h53m37s328Maya’s arrest this week should have bought relief to Jacob’s loved ones but Leyla’s vigilante justice efforts threatened to jeopardise Maya’s conviction. Knowing she could get in serious trouble with the police, Leyla persuaded the other women to lie for her and they attempted to cover up the night of Maya’s kidnap. This posed a problem because Priya’s sighting of Maya and Jacob kissing should have been key evidence but of course, none of them spilled on that part, meaning Maya’s lies could very well see her go Scott free. We all know Leyla can be self serving at times but in this insistence it just didn’t sit right. How can the women that had helped to raise Jacob sit back and lie, knowing their words could seriously mean the difference between justice for their beloved family member and an abuser walking. I didn’t buy it and it lessened the emotional impact of their discovery. Perhaps they will realise their selfishness and confess but I was seriously disappointed to see them act so self-servingly instead of protecting a vulnerable child.

The End of the Line?

vlcsnap-2019-05-25-15h47m22s572I was once one of the biggest advocates for Pete and Rhona’s romance, from their sparky chemistry to Pete’s lovely relationship with Leo, but now the shine is starting to wear off. Don’t get me wrong, they’ve still got a nice chemistry and it’s good to see something different from Pete, but the strain on their relationship is starting to drain. After Rhona’s accident things haven’t been the same and while their differences of opinion on their future have always spelled trouble, the aftermath of Rhona’s hysterectomy should have been the bittersweet end of them. Let’s be honest, they’re doomed and they know it. Right now their struggle to stay together seems futile, the end is nigh and current scenes feel like a repetitive way to delay the inevitable. If there’s a way to rescue them and make them fun again I’m all for it but their prolonged break down is a chore to watch.

Scene of the Week (20-24 May 2019)

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It was a shattering moment when Zak discovered Lisa had died this week, but even more impactful was when Belle learnt her mum had passed. Just moments earlier they had been celebrating and unsurprisingly Belle couldn’t believe she had gone so soon. Belle spoke for all of us when she said she thought she had time left with Lisa and Eden Taylor Draper’s performance, from shock and disbelief to the injustice of it, was beautifully played. It was even harder to watch as oblivious Sam and Lydia came in full of high spirits, and broke seeing the distraught look on Belle’s face. This was just the start of an impressive episode and a tragic moment that won’t be forgotten in a hurry.

Fave or Fail? (13-17 May 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! It was a week of returning home – as both Lisa and Zak got a warm welcome, and Jacob reluctantly came back to the village.

Faves

Welcome Home

vlcsnap-2019-05-19-17h04m42s720Zak and Lisa returned to the village this week as Emmerdale gets ready to say goodbye to our beloved matriarch. For many, Lisa is the heart of Emmerdale and there’s a sense that even though she’s been gone a year, it’s almost as if she wasn’t gone at all. This week after revealing her heart-breaking news to the family, Lisa caught up with the rest of the goings on she’d missed. This gave us plenty of heart to hearts, such as Lisa’s lovely scene with Moira talking about Matty’s likeness to John and a scene at Grace’s grave with Chas. We were also treated to a number of emotional scenes with other members of the family, as Charity and Cain struggled together and Belle opened up to Sam. While this story is undoubtably moving, it’s brought a greater sense of community to the village as everyone knows how integral Lisa is to the village. Her death will affect everyone and the Dingles might never feel quite the same again without that motherly figurehead at Wishing Well Cottage. When the time comes, it’s probably going to be as powerful as Ashley’s death.

Sugden Struggles

vlcsnap-2019-05-19-17h04m23s041Victoria had another difficult week as she struggled in the wake of being raped. Isabel Hodgins continues to shine in this role and while Vic obviously needs a break from the village, I’m sad to see this story put on hold when she’s doing such a fantastic job. This week Diane and Robert rallied round to support her, although Robert struggled with anger and guilt and ended up making things worse. Although his reaction put a brief strain on the siblings’ relationship, it’s been a welcome sight to see the Sugden family (and there’s not many of them left!) united and supportive and the scenes between Rob and Vic were tenderly done. Much like how Lisa’s return had a wider impact in the village, even though Victoria’s story is so far quite self-contained, I liked that characters like Aaron, Moira and Cain also played their role in the wider repercussions.

First Sparks

vlcsnap-2019-05-19-17h03m09s068This week we had the first real indication that Jamie and Belle might become a couple in the near future. Finding love among the hamster cages might not be the most romantic of settings but with them bonding over their difficulties with their respective mothers, they struck up an understanding. A union between the Dingles and the Tates has obviously been done before but Jamie seems to be a very different sort of Tate to the ruthless ones we know. His sweet nature seems like it could be a nice fit for Belle, who hasn’t been short on troubled relationships seeing as her last boyfriend was a serial killer! So far it seems like they have a cute rapport – let’s just hope Emmerdale doesn’t rush to put them together.

Love Hate

vlcsnap-2019-05-19-16h58m25s892Will finally confronted Harriet this week and despite the hate between them, there was a long history of deeper feelings bristling under the surface. The story has been a bit sluggish since it was revealed to us that Will was alive, but the two met at last this week and Will’s anguish over their history proved his inability to let go of the past wasn’t just to do with revenge. The concept of an undercover cop falling for their target, and its long-term consequences, is ripe for story material and it’s a bit of a shame that this plot has fallen a bit flat, but with Harriet and Will discussing the past there was a glimmer of chemistry there and something that could be explored further. Emmerdale always struggles when their characters have pasts more interesting than their presents, but should Emmerdale want to keep exploring the repercussions of Harriet’s undercover past then I’m open to it. They just need to find a way to keep it interesting in the here and now.

Fail

Coffin Dodger

vlcsnap-2019-05-19-16h45m28s895Harriet’s stalker story started with promise but despite her coming face to face with the truth this week, it had all tailed off a bit. It’s true both her and Will had chemistry in their confrontation but the build up seemed to drag on too long, involving a cast of fairly new characters (Dawn, Ryan, Will) which is always a struggle to completely connect with. Had Harriet’s story involved more of the village, and perhaps had we felt her presence a bit more as the village vicar, then maybe the story might have had more impact. By the time Will and Harriet had their face off the church the story had lost its momentum and this wasn’t helped by the cringey and ridiculous “fight” with the coffin. “Murdered By My Own Coffin” might make a good headline on Take a Break but it made for a stupid, unintentionally funny scene, when actually the dynamic between the former lovers had an authenticity that didn’t need a silly prop involved.

Scene of the Week (13-17 May 2019)

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In a week of sad, hard-hitting storylines, it was this brief moment of joy at Wishing Well cottage that makes my Scene of the Week. For many viewers Zak and Lisa are the backbone of Emmerdale and after Lisa’s terminal diagnosis, it seems only right the pair marry again (shush, nobody mention the disaster that was Zak and Joanie). It’s rare to have scenes of joy and laughter so this scene felt like a cosy hug. They haven’t had the easiest of years and their marriage hasn’t been the same since their split, but it was lovely to see Zak make an effort for a change and to see Lisa’s lovely smile. Sometimes it’s nice to end an episode in a way that makes us feel warm and fuzzy and this was certainly it.