Category Archives: Emmerdale

Emmerdale: Water shock! (see what I did there…?)

debbieThe sleepy village of Emmerdale, which has befallen disasters such as storms, aircraft crashes, explosions, fires, bus crashes and the ‘Soapstars’ family, played host to dramatic scenes last week that wouldn’t have looked out of place in an episode of 24.

Having done a ‘Tony from Coronation Street’ and escaped from prison in transit, the deliciously unhinged Cameron had a choice between two temptations: jetting off for a life abroad or setting out to shoot Debbie Dingle. He took the choice that any normal human being would have, and armed himself with a shotgun.

As the village itself was pounded by sheets of rain and thunder and lightning boomed through the air, we were treated to several thousand shots of Cameron watching menacingly from the shadows. As night fell, Cameron snuck into the pub and won the audience over immediately by smacking the insufferable Marlon down into a flooding cellar.   Continue reading

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The British Soap Awards: Coronation Street sweeps the boards

THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS. THE BRITISH SOAP AWARDS AREN’T SHOWN UNTIL WEDNESDAY. IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW THE RESULTS, DON’T READ THIS ARTICLE!

It’s the night that recognises those shows which have been a constant on our screens for up to half a century; a chance for the casts of the soaps to mingle and show that there really is no rivalry (unless their name is Danny Miller, of course!), an opportunity to relive all of those precious and heartwarming moments we’ve seen with our families such as swapping dead babies, seeing a tram slaughter half a community or a fire subtly wipe out two long running residents and also a time for the teenage fans of Hollyoaks and EastEnders to set up multiple accounts in order to ensure the fittest star of their chosen show gets the recognition their pecs deserve.

A total of 17 gongs were handed out to celebrate the over-the-top carnage tearing apart fictional communities and it was a successful night for both EastEnders and Coronation Street in particular. Hollyoaks also fared well thanks to the one man saviour that is Emmet J Scanlan and Emmerdale didn’t go away empty handed either after a mostly gripping year. Even the cast of Doctors, bless them, turned up for a night out and to fill the extra seats that the caretaker on work experience accidentally left out.

So where did the prizes go? The night arguably belonged to Coronation Street which took away an impressive 9 prizes for its dramatic fiftieth year. But, despite taking away over half of the available prizes, Coronation Street was beaten to the main gong by BBC flagship soap, EastEnders, which was crowned Best Soap.      Continue reading

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Emmerdale: Another Departure

*THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS*

Kelsey-Beth Crossley has announced that she is to leave Emmerdale in coming weeks, adding to a recent spate of departures from the show.

Kelsey-Beth, who plays Scarlett Nicholls, made the announcement via Twitter, following a tweet regarding an unnamed audition.

It’s unknown how Scarlett will leave Emmerdale, but it is likely to be another low key exit which has seen out several cast members recently.

The news comes following the departures of characters including Viv Windsor, Terry Woods,Doug Potts, Ryan and Faye Lamb, Jackson Welsh and Eve Birch.

How do you feel about the recent trend of goodbyes from the show? Will you miss Scarlett or are you indifferent to her farewell?

Let us know in the comments box!

Posted By Our Man In The North

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Elstree – home of the medical drama

Neptune House

Living as I do very close to the BBC Elstree studios (it’s not uncommon to see scenes from EastEnders being filmed in my area and I often recognise local landmarks when EastEnders and Holby City venture away from their home patch), and being a huge Holby and EE fan, I was pleased to find a really interesting article about the studios on the ATV Today website. 50 years old this year, the current home of EastEnders and Holby City, among other shows, has a really interesting history, and a lot of it relates to medical drama.

Emergency Ward 10

ITV’s first hospital-based serial drama, Emergency Ward 10, launched in 1957 and moved to the then ATV Elstree studio in 1961. Running until 1967, the action was more romantic than medical, and the star, Richard Thorp, was a huge heart-throb. You might find this a bit hard to believe as you’d probably know him now as Alan Turner in Emmerdale (he’s on the right of the picture)!      Continue reading

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Our Man In The North’s Xmas Turkeys.

Despite spending most of my Christmas clearing up the tears of disappointed (horrendously spoilt) children, engaging in thrilling (dysfunctional) debates with drunken family members and partaking in (gorging on) the most calorie laden treats I could find, I still find time to scrutinise television’s festive ‘offerings.’ That’s right, Our Man In The North is PauseLiveAction’s very own Christmas miracle.

Even though it was sub par compared to it’s own usual high standards, the Royle Family remained, as always, the highlight of the festive schedule. It mirrored many a family home at Christmas, even if a little exaggerated, and watching a load of slobs eat, fart, drink, swear, shout and watch telly was a welcome refuge from my own family home at Christmas. Oh wait…

Yet while it still nicely filled an hour more successfully than any other dross on the television could, The Royle Family was not without its faults. Sadly, it seems to have become a parody of itself. Jim Royle’s first line was ‘baubles my arse’ which was the first hint that this was going to be laden with it’s own self-created clichés. They seem to have run out of steam a little bit. Jim Royle viler than last year? Well he talked about having Sheila wipe the toilet seat for him and was trying to get others to take the blame for his rectal gas so check. A well to do house guest (Zoe from Corrie) that no one must offend, but everyone does? Check. That stupid neighbour (Len from Emmerdale) harping on about his wife? Check. An urn filled with ashes and a hoover given as a present with an incredibly predictable outcome? Check.

Never mind, it may not have been as good as previous offerings but it was a hell of a sight better than ‘Come Fly With Me.’ Or Little Britain in an airport. This was the prime time Christmas Day show where the revolutionary geniuses Matt Lucas and David Walliams broke the mould by donning disguises to poke fun at gay people and people from other cultures for a while. Honestly, there were more gay jibes here than you would find at the annual homophobe convention. Lucas and Walliams’ ‘hilarious’ attempts at causing controversy by having the balls to ‘go there’ ran out of steam with Little Britain.

And what did the soaps have to offer for their obligatory soap misery? Nothing too interesting either I’m afraid. Eastenders, which normally dominates Christmas Day with an amount of dramatic, nailbiting anguish that would make an emo shiver with pleasure pulled off a decidedly dull exit episode for the apparently legendary Stacey Slater. Yes, this is the loveable chav who, along with trying to spread the clap throughout half of East End London, broke up two marriages, committed a murder and let her husband fall to his death while being chased by the police who think he did it. Nevertheless, the nation loves her, or so Eastenders likes to think, so she boarded a plane last minute on Christmas Day (with a baby we can only assume already has a passport) to the show’s self indulgent and cringeworthy piano medley. This was after the original notions of having a revelation announced via a Lauren Branning recording (available in all good media outlets)  to the gathered public and a suicide attempt from the roof of the Vic, which remains remarkably unfenced despite this year’s live episode fatality. The saving grace was not the horrendous Vic sing off but of course the beautifully malicious Janine. The fact she stabbed herself just to get at Stacey tickled my black humour spot no end and was easily the highlight of a very drab hour. Continue reading

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Gavin Blyth: Rest In Peace.

A sad day for Emmerdale fans as it was announced early this morning that series producer Gavin Blyth has passed away after a short illness of lung cancer, leaving behind a wife and three young children, one only a year old.

Many will agree that it is through Gavin’s hard work and creativity that Emmerdale has steered itself into the healthy position in which it stands on this day. When Gavin took over, Emmerdale was arguably in a poor state, with little structure, weak storytelling and a heavy reliance on slapstick comedy moments. Two years on and the transformation is obvious. With gripping storylines, day to day episodes abundant in quality and the viewing figures surging to such heights that once again Emmerdale is strongly competing against Coronation Street and Eastenders, Gavin has left a true mark on the show.

Naturally, the loss felt by his loved ones will dwarf the grief felt by Emmerdale fans. But, as tribute to Gavin Blyth, I’ve merged my own thoughts with some feedback from some other show fans to compile a short (and by no means exhaustive) list of particular highlights since he took over.

The Wylde Family Saga.

The saga that spanned over two years from the culmination of Mark’s lies, to the dramatic murder in the woods and the recent conclusion which saw the brilliant Natasha sent down for her crime. It had

twists and turns like no other and is probably the only story in my soap memory that lasted so long and failed to get boring. It’s also worth mentioning that the production of each episode transformed dramatically since Gavin took the helm and this was highlighted in the murder episode and also the recent train crash that put Jackson in peril.

Goodbye silly comedy!

Remember the

days when there was a Dingle scam every other episode and an old man had crabs? Gavin took the merciful decision to say goodbye to such sitcom -like drivel and returned Emmerdale to it’s roots…dramatic stories spliced through warm community life with genuine humour through wit rather than slapstick. Continue reading

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Emmerdale/Waterloo Road: The Veterans Show Us How it’s Done

What a gloriously tacky but enjoyable two hour marathon of television I enjoyed last night. Starting with a special hour long episode of Emmerdale and culminating with the mid way finale of Waterloo Road, drama was in it’s abundance for me…and it was all about the veterans!

Emmerdale first, and you may remember me popping my PLA posting cherry earlier this year with a post on Natasha Wylde propelling some steaming hot lead into her husband’s back. Well yes, that storyline is still going on…but it reached the beginning of the end in tremendous style last night. Emmerdale is a very strong show right now with brilliant actors, production and writing so it can survive without Amanda Donohoe…but heck I’m still going to miss her from my screen so much so that I’m considering starting a feature called lady Lustbox so I can fully explain my love for her. Even more obsessively I could do a weekly Donohoe-Watch to see where she pops up next. But I digress.

It was Natasha’s final episode last night and for those who avoided spoilers, which I mostly did, it was a surprising turn of events. She had coldly watched young Ryan get sent down for the murder she committed and thought she was home free. Until it transpired that her vile son Nathan was in the clutches of the marginally less but still vile Cain Dingle. Cain was all Lock, Stock and planning to torture Nathan in numerous ways to get a confession out of his smarmy gob. He contemplated wire cutters, pliers and a big spanner but ultimately decided that the worst form of punishment was getting Nathan’s screechy sis Maisie into the picture. As she weilded an oversized plank of wood, Maisie finally heard the secret in it’s full glory…Natasha is the real culprit. Add in Natasha and young Will (who also played a blinder) to the barn of shockers and the showdown was unmissable.

Amanda Donohoe stole the show, with some remarkable final scenes as the scorned woman. There was a point when it looked like she was going to set Nathan up for the crime and do a runner (and what a perfect ending that would have been!) but Maisie ended up reporting her to the police and Natasha was taken away. I’d have loved for her to stay in Emmerdale longer but Amanda Donohoe doesn’t tend to stick around anywhere for long. So with one exit down, there are three Wyldes still to go. And if this departure is anything to go by, I can’t wait to see what Emmerdale conjures up for the rest.

Over to Waterloo Road and my Amanda Donohoe love was shifted to Amanda Burton (first names inclusive, don’t you think they’re remarkably similar actresses?) who, as always, pretty much managed to carry the episode. But this is slightly unfair as the real (and unsung) hero of the episode had to be Phillip Martin Brown, aka Grantly Budgen. His love for wife Fleur and dedication to his marriage has been heartwarming and heartbreaking throughout this series and his dreadful situation was the main focus of the episode as he not only realised that he couldn’t afford to pay for her care home but also that his job was at risk as he had been teaching his students the wrong syllabus.

It all went spectacularly wrong for poor Grantly and Phillip Martin Brown put in a really sterling and genuine performance of a man trying his best to do right, but ultimately getting it so wrong. By the end of the episode, thanks to the glorious Steph Haydock, the school had clubbed together and we saw the first genuine smile (I think ever) from Grantly. And as if that wasn’t emotional enough, the episode closed with Karen coming face to face with her  lost daughter, Sarah Platt from Corrie. Powerful stuff throughout.

These two hours of quality acting from Amanda Donohoe, Amanda Burton, Phillip Martin Brown and Denise Welch prove that the true acting skills lie with the professional, genuine veterans of the acting business. You can give out awards and TV magazine covers to the young, model-like celebs who are in it for the fame, not the acting game as much as you like but time and time again they will be blown out of the water by skilled actors who don’t need a polished trophy to prove their acting worth.

Watching their memorable performances is just simply enough.

Posted By Our Man In the North, who must insist that he isn’t stealing PLA’s Waterloo Road post as he thinks the episode was good enough to warrant two blog posts ;)

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Emmerdale: A Bumpy Ride

Emmerdale managed to prove once again that it is capable of giving ‘Enders and Corrie a run for their money with a brilliantly written and extremely dramatic hour long special last week.

Focusing on a night out comprising of Aaron, Jackson, Paddy and Marlon, the episode mixed humour and tragedy in equal measure. The main theme of the episode was the strained relationship between self loathing Aaron and his level headed on/off boyfriend Jackson. Making the gesture of inviting him out to a gay bar to prove he wasn’t ashamed, Aaron was on to a winner…until he bumped into his enemy Mickey and his violent streak resurfaced.

Meanwhile, Paddy and Marlon had tagged along for the night leading to some hilarious and cringe worthy moments including a stammering Paddy being propositioned by a bulky man and Marlon protesting to another that he wasn’t gay…only for the man to walk right past him and kiss someone else. All four actors played their roles well…they were believable as a group of friends and nothing was cliche, despite the many opportunities for sitcom like gags in a gay club environment.

Things turned dark towards the end of the night as Aaron spilled open his soul about how he isn’t used to being told he’s loved. It was a beautifully written monologue and Danny Miller proved himself top of the acting game once again in his delivery. I felt for him and Jackson in equal measure. As the pair parted, Aaron realised what he was letting go and phoned Jackson. But as he reached for his phone, he lost control of the car and crashed onto a railway line before a train collided into the car.

But while the special effects and editing were impressive this episode was never about the stunt, the stunt was just a small part of the story. Eastenders with their fire and Corrie with their tram crash could learn a thing or two from Emmerdale.

The story should always come first.

Posted By Our Man In The North

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Emmerdale: Dingling with Death

Shadrach Dingle has always been in need of a bath but the bumbling fool couldn’t even do that correctly on Friday night. Instead of just washing away the ten years of grime that has been there since Andy Devine’s first appearance a decade ago, he managed to drown himself completely.

So what led to this sad state of affairs? Well you knew that something grim must be about to happen. When a character falls out with all of their family and people say things they will regret, you just know that they’re about to be brutally killed off in some way. Shadrach’s exit came somewhat out of the blue and, although he was never at the centre of any dramatic plotline, he was a staple (a very rusty one) of the Dingle family and it’ll be weird for us not to see him and the rest of his family not to smell him anymore.

Andy Devine played the repulsive Shadrach so well that even though he was a nauseating sight that put you off your dinner (can anyone remember when his family washed him in a big tub outside?), there was still something endearing about him.

And he held the same level of dignity in death that he always held while alive in Emmerdale…he drowned trying to save the cans of lager he dropped in the stream.

Bon Voyage Shadrach. So with Eli and now Shadders gone, whos the next scruffy Dingle to depart? Look out Cain…

Posted By Our Man In The North

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Emmerdale: A Woman Scorned…

It was goodbye to wicked Sally Spode last night but not before she went over the psycho line into complete nuttyville. All of the usual characteristics were there: eyeballs flicking about as if they were following the final of the world ping-pong championships, pasting her face over that of her love rival in family photographs, hysterical screeching, mismatched clothing, harping on about fate, pretending to be pregnant, finding it funny that she’s just been hoisted over a balcony and owning a pink body puff in a cream and beige bathroom ( I mean hello? Hasn’t the fruitloop heard of colour matching!?).

But of course, the Spodester is just another in a long line of psycho soap women. I think if I lived in a soap, I would never turn down the advances of a woman who found me attractive (and let’s face it, I’d come up against that problem A LOT) . Why? Well in real life, the woman would take the rejection on the chin, shed a tear of disappoinment or two and move on. In soap land, she is more likely to do one of the following: drug you and have her wicked way with you, blow up your exclusive chain of corner shops, trample you with a horse, steal your heart medicine or murder your wife or spouse.

Soap producers don’t appear to have a very good view of women. Forget Richard Hillman, Tony Gordon and Archie Mitchell, it’s the femme fatales you really need to look out for. Sally Spode, with her church fire, her pretend baby, her prancing in front of oncoming vehicles and her date raping is relatively mild compared to some. Who can forget Kim Tate, the bitchiest of soap bitches, or Corrie’s Mad Maya Sharma, who needed a whole week of episodes to fit in all of her explosions, hostage taking and hitting people over the head with statues of Ganesh?

Emmerdale does psycho better than any other and one can’t help wondering what the next nutter will get up to.

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