Well, here we are again, time to cast a beady eye over the lathered remains of the most recent goings on. Out of the debris of crashed minibuses, Ronnie Mitchell’s coma and numerous attempts at coital endeavours from Jimmy and Nicola in Emmerdale, I’ve passed my judgements. Being that my opinions count for everything, here is the official (not really) lowdown of what’s set soapland on fire and what’s left it in the January cold…
What I’ve LOVED
We all love a good spoiler or two and I was sitting at a recent Coronation Street press event rubbing my hands together with glee as the episode previews rolled but as you watch the drama unfold live, you end up feeling pretty empty when everything that has been promised will happen comes to pass. On one hand, you’re pleased that the soap producers haven’t lied to you. That’s always nice. On the other, though, you’re hoping to be caught off guard with a curveball that you weren’t expecting. So thank heavens for recent Emmerdale (and to a large extent, EastEnders too) for throwing in viewer surprises into their episodes and keeping the buzz of live soap viewing alive. Rachel Breckle rocking up to the trial of Charity and getting her sent down was a stroke of genius, especially as Emma Atkins had gone to the effort of concealing her pregnancy so no one knew she’d be going on maternity leave. Now there’s dedication to the secret. Then came the revelation that baby Archie is in fact a fake (he would’ve gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those pesky Spencers) and Megan’s subsequent snatching of the fraud baby. Next week, the surprises keep coming in the form of an exploding caravan, a shock exit and some really delicious stuff that I’m sworn to secrecy over. Keep it up Emmerdale!
It’s been a massive year in Emmerdale with errant lumps of Jimmy sperm leading to surprise births, have a go heroes drowning after being blasted with flare guns and Kerry having a shot at being a novelist and we have gasped, laughed and watched in awe all along the way.
But, as well as being entertained, it’s important that we learn lessons too. So what can we take from Emmerdale’s wacky 2014 that will help us survive life in 2015? 20 lessons I have learned that will change all our lives for ever; here they are:
1) If you are going to donate sperm next year at any point (it’s certainly on my to do list) try and remember that you have done it and ensure that you inform your better half. These things have a habit of coming back and biting you on the ankles.
2) Never hire Kerry as a ghost writer. If Zoella had done this, her debut novel wouldn’t have just beaten 50 Shades of Grey, it would have emulated it too. Look no further than the adventures of Kitty and Randy for proof.
MORE: Exclusive extracts from Kerry’s novel about Kitty and Randy
3) Cougars will always turn psychotic and dress up in your next bride’s wedding dress. Bear this in mind when you’re taking lessons from the older woman next door, particularly if she owns a beauty salon and likes a swig of whisky.
4) Trying to steal pigs is a bad idea. The likelihood of you bringing home the bacon successfully is low.
5) If your husband’s infant daughter is grieving over the death of her mother, the best approach probably isn’t to throw selfish strops and get drunk on wine behind the wheel. This makes you seem a bit like a…well, a complete bitch actually.
Well what a soap year 2014 has been. EastEnders pushed its brand new Carter clan to the forefront of every storyline imaginable, culminating in a cracking Christmas crescendo while Emmerdale was at its whacky best with lakeside showdowns, suicidal cops and storage container kidnappings aplenty. Meanwhile, Corrie welcomed Ken Barlow and Kevin Webster back to the fold and triumphed with the storyline of Steve’s depression; but has been depressingly lacklustre elsewhere.
In a year where we’ve had explosions, suicides, donated sperm, secret children, identity theft, chaotic weddings, ill advised smooches, murderous looking sheep, irate Irish prisoners, devastating scars that look more like papercuts, long running (and I mean VERY long running) murder mysteries, face swapping returnees, pig thefts, schizophrenia, farming mishaps, horrific rapes, drug dramas and Norris learning to use a tablet, it is difficult to compile a list of highlights.
Nothing stops me, however, so here we go: a month by month reminder of the good, the bad and sheer nutty of 12 months in Walford, Weatherfield and the Dales. Enjoy and here’s to the next twelve months. Click below to get reading!
Akin to over indulging in turkey, chocolates, Christmas pud and that ninth unnecessary glass of Baileys, Christmas Day is a time of an exhausting deluge of soaps. In exchange for making us sit through three whole hours of it (and if you’re a Downton Abbey fan, you’ll have been nursing square eyes on Boxing Day), we are assured that the episodes will be worth it by delivering epic festive drama, warmth, disaster and surprises by the bucket load.
If we’re going to be giving up our precious Christmas evenings (hey, I’m a busy man, I got a drinking game of Jenga as a gift) then the soaps should be pulling out all of the stops. It is an annual tradition that soaps pull out their big guns on the 25th December after all but this year has given us a bit of a mixed bag with my usual favourite Coronation Street falling disastrously flat while EastEnders lived up to it’s huge trailers and beyond, leaving me tired with so many family twists exploding out of the woodwork. Let’s take a closer (and, bitchier) look at what the three main shows had to offer…
Emmerdale: Bernice sleeps with Santa and Katie’s wedding ring calls her the village bike
In an unusual tradition for Emmerdale, a couple had chosen to get married on Christmas Day (it was a whole year since this had happened), well and truly stealing Jesus’ thunder. It was Andy ‘wife beater’ Sugden and Katie ‘village bike’ Addyman’s second attempt at this whole matrimony thing and, much like last time, Andy’s spiteful brother Robert was an unwelcome spectre over proceedings albeit with a different face.
The siblings had been scrapping on their parent’s graves with one of them dressed as Geri Halliwell the previous night (keep it classy lads) so it was fair to say that relations between them weren’t exactly great on the day of the wedding. However, Robert’s bit of rough, Aaron, was on hand to give his part time nemesis and part time lover some words of advice that his ongoing venomous attitude is affecting his lil sister Victoria and so he offered full apologies to be taken back under Andy’s bulging bicep of a wing again.
While I have been nursing my throbbing, swollen, pus filled tonsils back to health during my annual Winter blogging hiatus, I have characteristically managed to keep up with what I normally would have written about, had the lovely germs from Jack Frost allowed me to do so.
Rather than spam the site with a ridiculous amount of articles at once, therefore, I am taking the concise and genius steps of merging my thoughts together in one post so that it’s easier for those of you who tend to skip my articles (I know who you are!).
From glittery costumes and a very pregnant and non drugged up Kylie on The Chase to Homer Simpson beating up Peter Griffin, my viewing pains and pleasures have been as varied as the voices Emmerdale’s Belle Dingle is currently hearing. So let’s press on folks…the quicker I start, the quicker this will be over for all of us. Continue reading
When I said last time that I would round up my feelings on various soap matters every so often, I bet you thought I didn’t have the stamina to see it through. Shows how wrong you are, doesn’t it? So what’s happened since I last took a step back and had an overall look over soapland? Peter and Rob are both gone from Corrie, Shirley has reappeared in EastEnders and Jimmy King has had the snip reversed in Emmerdale. What hasn’t happened? Alfie Moon hasn’t become likeable yet and no one has burned down that blasted Weatherfield Community Centre. Still, Corrie have announced an exciting live episode for next September, so there’s an idea on what they can do for that.
Here we are then, a handful of things off the top of my chaotic head that I’ve adored and despised in equal measure. Of course, I’m only right 95% of the time, so I’d love to hear your views on what’s nailed it and what’s missed the spot. We have a gorgeous comments box which is just aching for your opinions and you can also chat to me on Twitter HERE: https://twitter.com/Our_manPLA
What I’ve LOVED
Emmerdale: The White Clan
Home Farm needs a family with a bit of dosh, a bit of class and a whole lot of bitchiness about the place and all of the Whites, except perhaps the dog (so far) tick every one of those boxes. Lawrence, despite spending much of his time trying to get rid of his son in law and faking heart attacks, is a thoroughly likeable character, while caramel voiced Chrissie is the much needed bit of posh that Emmerdale has been lacking since the Lady Tara Oakwell days. She is fiesty, knows her own mind and wickedly sharp but also has a vulnerability to her given that she has fallen hook, line and sinker for the odious Robert. Speaking of whom, he has come come back with a new face and his wickedness cranked up by several hundred degrees and he is such a brilliantly camp villain that I love him already. His smarmy smirk, his little schemes, his manipulation of all of those around him; he has livened Emmerdale and the Sugden clan up no end. A character we will love to hate, I can’t wait to see what he gets up to next and, when Chrissy discovers his true colours, her reaction will be top claaarrrssss darling while Lawrence will have an incredibly well deserved ‘I told you so’ smile. Beautiful!
For weeks now there has been a giant, gaping, Pollard-shaped chasm in Emmerdale. Everything else, from gripping lakeside dramas, to called off weddings to kidnap and the glorious hilarity of Jimmy and Kerry has been spot on the mark and Emmerdale continues to be the top soap by a long shot. But, in the same way that wiping out the Dingles would be catastrophic, it isn’t the same without Eric and Val, two of my favourite Dales characters of all time.
I remember Eric Pollard as a ruthless crook turned bumbling villain and I enjoyed all of his phases. Once more, the versatile Chris Chittell has given the multi layered character a brand new lease of life as Eric has been softened via a transformation that was not unlike that of the late, great Alan Turner. He maintains an edge (it wasn’t long ago that he was a bit mean with Edna’s medals let’s not forget) but overall he is pretty loveable and charming these days and, most importantly, the zing to Val’s zang.
Speaking of whom, I have missed the dulcet and often wildly inappropriate Geordie tones of Charlie Hardwick, who plays Val and it was great to see her back doing what she does best; being outrageous and hilarious during dramatic situations.
Belle Dingle is back in the Dales fold and dayyyuuum, that girl’s got attitude. She has a good right to however; she’s just left imprisonment for the accidental killing of her best friend and is still haunted by the fateful day that a bit of a shove sent Gemma off this mortal coil. It isn’t helping, of course, that she feels everyone is gawping and talking about her; not least of all newcomer Lachlan, a worryingly irritating addition to the otherwise fantastic White family who took Belle on a hot chocolate date purely because he wanted to know what it was like to kill someone. Not the best chat up line to open with; I always find that the discussion of previous murders is a second date kind of thing, but that’s just me.
She went on to have a run in with the surly Gabby, who can do no wrong in Bernice’s eyes, but the wee bratette soon regretted getting on Bad Belle’s wrong side when she was warned that she could follow in Gemma’s clumsy footsteps and become the latest murdered schoolgirl of the Dales. Bernice was none too happy with this development and she wasted no time in confronting Lisa, who returned home to find the word MURDERER daubed across the Dingle walls. It was no Banksy, but it had the desired effect of unnerving everyone.
Genuinely nice soap characters are pretty scarce. Since Hayley Cropper shuffled off this mortal coil, soapland has had a major shortage of down to earth, kind females who aren’t schemers, love cheats or killers, or, as in Tracy Barlow’s case, all three. Thank heavens then, for Emmerdale’s Ruby, now one of my firm village favourites, played by former Bad Girls actress Alicya Eyo.
Based in one of the social hubs of the metropolis that is Emmerdale village, aka the cafe, Ruby interacts with most of the village and, as far as my memory serves me, has never had an unpleasant thing to say. In soaps which thrive on characters being sneaky and dishonest and acting with ulterior motives; the nice guys and girls really do balance things out in a very necessary way and the character of Ruby is one that the Emmerdale audience root for. An openly lesbian character, with a strong mind, human emotions and an endearing personality, Ruby has also proven to be a role model for viewers young and old, as was proven last week when Alicya Eyo was presented with the Stonewall UK award for ‘Entertainer Of The Year’.
It was an award well deserved, and came at a time when Ruby’s story was central to the drama in Emmerdale. Having just discovered her soulmate Ali had been unfaithful with her ex, Dopey Dan, Alicya delivered heartbreaking and very real, underrated performances of a woman in love who has been hurt. There were no motives for revenge, acts of violence or anything contrived; this was a story about a woman who had given her all to a relationship and was left feeling vulnerable and betrayed after a regrettable action. Alicya nailed it.
Since it was announced a few years back that Alicya was joining Emmerdale; I have been dying for the character to be given an opportunity for something meaty. Having watched Alicya in Bad Girls, I knew she was capable of hauntingly good performances (who could forget Denny’s grief at losing Shaz in the Larkhall fire or her vulnerabilities exposed after she was let down by her alcoholic mum?) Ruby is now a staple of Emmerdale and I was lucky enough to catch a chat with the down to earth star that is Alicya Eyo herself recently.
What’s the best part about Halloween? Is it terrifying the elderly into handing over their possessions in exchange for you to leave them alone? Is it sticking on a pair of horns and going scantily clad to a drunken party which mildly passes itself off with a Halloween theme? Maybe it’s just a milestone which means it’s officially time to start panicking about Christmas. (Yeah, 7 weeks in case you’re wondering)
To us in Pauseliveaction, Halloween means one thing and one thing only. The chance to reflect on those spooktacular TV moments that made us hide behind a cushion in sheer terror, spilling our Fizzy Haribo ghost and ghouls shapes all over the blood red carpet. So without further a-boo, here is my rundown of some of the most ghoulish TV moments of all time…