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 all the goings on in the Dales during May 2020…
With May in lockdown, we’ve had to make do with another month of fewer Emmerdale episodes and we’re approaching a time of the ‘new normal’ as soaps return to filming in a social distanced way. But for now, here’s a look back on our last month of ‘normal’ Emmerdale in May.
One of May’s biggest stories was the Arthur Thomas (Alfie Clarke) and Archie Breckle storyline coming to a head. At Rishi Sharma’s birthday party, the situation spiralled out of control when the boys messed around with fire. A distraught Laurel Thomas (Charlotte Bellamy) struggled to know what to do, even admitting to Manpreet Sharma (Rebecca Sarker) that she’d become scared about Arthur’s recent behaviour.
Taking drastic measures to try and scare Arthur, Laurel called the police round, prompting Archie to admit he’d also lied and provoked some of Arthur’s behaviour. While this story has been a divisive one among viewers, it’s provided a number of talking points about complex family situations such as these. Arthur reacted with anger and frustration at his mum’s lack of belief in supporting him and he also struggled with the responsibility of trying to live up to his reputation as the nice boy trying to make his dead father proud.
The strength of this story has been its grey areas, and I’m sure there are moments where we have empathised with both. The performances too, particularly from Charlotte Bellamy and Alfie Clarke have been excellent, helping to smooth over parts of the story that may have felt rushed.
Still reeling from discovering Jamie Tate (Alexander Lincoln) is cheating with Belle Dingle (Eden Taylor-Draper), Andrea spent May seething. Her first plan of an impromptu holiday seemed to do the trick until she realised Jamie’s feelings for Belle hadn’t changed. Andrea (Anna Nightingale) tried and tried to keep him, but it became increasingly clear that his heart’s not in it and had it not been for Andrea inventing a work emergency, he was close to admitting the truth.
Seeking out Leyla Harding (Roxy Shahidi), Andrea refused to give up and suggested she has a bigger plan up her sleeve. This looks like it might turn out to be a fun plot and Anna Nightingale has done a great job at playing the scorned woman – she’s much more fun this way. Can’t wait to see where this goes…
Another story I’ve got my eye on is Cain and Moira Dingle. This month saw them meeting to finalise their divorce and for Cain (Jeff Hordley) to collect his things from Butlers. It was an end of an era for them but as they talked there were definitely signs of lingering feelings in the air. With the chemistry as good as ever and both parties stubborn and secretly hurting, surely a reunion is on the cards somewhere along the line?
Leanna Cavanagh (Mimi Slinger) was on a mission this month to drive a wedge between her dad Liam (Jonny McPherson) and Leyla Harding and it ended up working, when Liam put an end to their romance. This is another of Emmerdale’s stories with varying sympathies but it was difficult not to feel a little sorry for Leanna when she opened up about how she felt like she’d been pushed out continuously by Liam’s dating decisions. She might come across as bratty and cruel at times, especially when unlucky in love Leyla is so likeable, but there were moments this month when Mimi Slinger made Leanna empathetic and more than just a spoilt teen.
May has been dominated by the draining DI Malone story, but outside of that storyline we’ve seen some nice character moments within individual stories. Paddy Kirk’s struggles with his parenting came to a head this month when Chas Dingle (Lucy Pargeter) realised how difficult he was finding things. There was a welcome balance to their conversation where she talked to him without judgement and lots of empathy, recognising that Grace’s death would always impact on their parenting. Then there was the great use of Diane Sugden (Elizabeth Estensen) in Vanessa Woodfield’s story, reminding viewers that she’d been through bowel cancer herself and used Emmerdale history in a satisfying way. It was also welcome to have a break from the unrelatable Malone strand to have versatile ‘everyday’ characters like Manpreet, who give us the grounded normality a soap should have. Emmerdale shouldn’t be all drug raids and bent coppers, a friendly GP is needed for balance!
One big downside of the Malone story, apart from it seeming to take over the show, is the way it’s effected Harriet Finch (Katherine Dow Blyton). This month saw the Malone plot take a predictable twist as Harriet fell (back) into the arms of dodgy Mark Malone (Mark Womack) and begun an affair. Having found out what Will had been up to and briefly dumping him, it seemed even more hypocritical for Harriet to jump so readily into bed with the man she knew was behind all the corruption. Unless this is all a long game from Harriet, it feels really cheap and we’re faced with another story of Harriet undermining all her principles to be with a man capable of tearing her family apart. She forgave Will quickly and now Malone? I don’t buy it. Their chemistry and hastily written history isn’t believable. This was another bad move in Emmerdale’s biggest story at the moment. At least lockdown episodes should put a stop to any more Harriet and Malone hook ups for now!
Next month will eventually see us move into a new time for soap filming and inevitably storylines will change and adapt to fit new filming regulations. We won’t see any snogging or fighting for a while but I hope what we will see is a return to character focused drama and Emmerdale has a great cast more than worthy of this challenge. It might be a change for the better!
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