Woollie Weekly Emmerdale Review!
Emmerdale Review: Guest blogger The Woolie Weekly is back looking at the best and worst happenings over the past month in our monthly Emmerdale review. Here’s what they had to say about the goings on in the Dales including the lockdown episodes during June 2020…
Woolie Weekly June review starts as ‘normal’ episodes ran out and six brand new special episodes were made to fill the gap. Filmed with a reduced cast and crew, all these special episodes were made in an impressive turn around with social distancing adhered to as well. These specials were divisive with some finding them slow and boring, but it was a good chance for Emmerdale to go back to basics with a character-led, realistic focus and they were a hit with those of us who enjoyed a simpler style of storytelling.
The first of these episodes was a two-hander between newlyweds Sam and Lydia Dingle. With these two now at the centre of the Dingles at Wishing Well, they were the perfect choice to kick off the lockdown episodes. From the start we had references to the real-world COVID19 situation, as Sam (James Hooton) got furloughed and Lydia (Karen Blick) did a Click and Collect at the supermarket. Lydia also gave a rousing and emotional speech about those less fortunate which touched on the struggles some are facing in the real world. We’re not used to Emmerdale aligning so close to reality so for some viewers, the references were a little close to home, but for others, it was a welcome change from some of the more unrealistic aspects of soap.
It was also a nice chance to revisit Lydia’s Huntington’s story and her dilemma over whether to have a test or not. Sometimes stories like this fade into the background under some of the bigger, more dramatic moments, so it was nice to touch on this issue again. While there were some criticisms about social distancing being obvious, tricky when the couple on-screen are not a couple off-screen, it’s something all soap viewers will have to get used to with these measures in place for the foreseeable, and something all directors will have to try and work around. This episode had the right mix of laughs and emotion and it was an episode that helped cement Sam and Lydia as one of the show’s strongest couples.
Cain and Aaron Dingle’s episode might not have had the same laughs as Sam and Lydia’s, though it was sprinkled with humour. It had more of a dramatic pull as Cain hid a letter Robert Sugden (Ryan Hawley) had written to Aaron from prison. Cain and Aaron’s gruff relationship is a fan favourite and it was enjoyable to see actors Jeff Hordley and Danny Miller relish working together again. With both men involved in now ended popular couples, it was a good move to touch on both, with Cain having lingering feelings for Moira (Natalie J Robb) and Aaron receiving closure from Robert’s letter. Hopefully this episode has set the scene for an eventual Cain and Moira reunion!
In the next week, we visited Mandy Dingle and son Vinny living in the salon. These two were right in the middle of their own big storyline with his dad Paul (Reece Dinsdale) so they had plenty of tension to deal with during their lockdown.
Since Mandy has been away from the village for a long time and Vinny (Bradley Johnson) is new to the show, this was a great opportunity to explore both of these characters and explore their relationship and history. Their setting was a little contrived but the emotional content of these episodes, though it felt a little rushed at times, out-weighed any contrivances. As Mandy and Vinny talked about the past, Mandy revealed she had experienced a traumatic miscarriage and now can no longer have kids. Lisa Riley is fantastic at the old school humour but this just proved how good she is at the grittier material too. Hopefully this will be revisited in the normal episodes too.
The Kings moved into Laurel Thomas’ to shield Rodney Blackstock (Patrick Mower) and with Jimmy (Nick Miles) and Nicola (Nicola Wheeler) being one of Emmerdale’s most underused couples, it was great to see a whole episode of the two of them dealing with lockdown.
As with other episodes, it was fun to hear them talk about other characters (like Jai’s love of GIFs) and there were plenty of laughs in this episode. Theirs was another episode where the real-world filming restrictions made the episode a little clunky at times (social distancing, the kids being upstairs and unseen the whole time) but this episode did give us Nicola deciding she wanted a new work project which – fingers crossed – will lead to much more of the Kings on screen.
Since Grace and Eve, Chas’ character has been reduced to a self-righteous mother figure making her old before her time and losing the spark she used to have, but this episode suggested even Chas (Lucy Pargeter) is aware of losing her mojo so lets hope the writing follows suit and gives her back her fun. Chas also seemed to express doubts about her relationship with Paddy (Dominic Brunt) – could we lose them as a couple? I’ll admit, I prefer them as friends so if this lockdown episode sets up a new direction for them both it’ll be a positive thing.
Marlon Dingle (Mark Charnock) got a new house guest (and a new house!) in his lockdown episode and viewers got to know Al Chapman (Michael Wildman) a bit better.
Many viewers had written Al off as boring, so delving into his sad backstory was well needed. It worked wonders for his character, fleshing him out and even coming to a truce with Marlon. Ellis Chapman (Aaron Anthony) still seems a little flat, but hopefully now we know more about Al, that’ll help to change their dynamic. Marlon had his own worries about having the virus and not seeing his kids which I’m sure was relatable for a lot of viewers.
With regular episodes back on air we’ve returned to the drama where things left off. This has made the timeline a little mind-bending but it’s good to have the ‘normal’ episodes back and catch up with the village properly, even if things are a little different for now.
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