Emmerdale Review: Guest blogger The Woolie Weekly is back with a run down of the best and worst happenings in the past month in our monthly Emmerdale review. Here’s what they had to say about all the goings-on in the Dales in December 2018…

Emmerdale Review: December 2018's best (and worst) bits
It’s Christmas in Emmerdale but that doesn’t mean the drama stops as Jessie springs a surprise wedding on Marlon!

After exits and entrances, returns and reunions, a year in Emmerdale has flown by. As we enjoyed the holidays and overindulging on mince pies, the drama continued in our favourite fictional village.

Jacob Gallagher’s controversial storyline with Maya Stepney really began to take shape in December, as Maya showed her true manipulative colours, kissing Jacob and persuading him to keep quiet. As Jacob tried his best to make Maya jealous and keep her at arms’ length, at Christmas the two kissed again and Jacob struggled when Maya slipped easily back into his father David’s arms. So far this is a subtly told and uncomfortable story to sit through – but rightly so. Maya isn’t a caricature, she’s a clever, hidden predator, using all the right words to prolong Jacob’s attention and keep their secrets. While some viewers are up in arms, finding the shock plot distasteful and disturbing, that’s entirely the point. This is exactly the kind of story Emmerdale should be telling, a contemporary story to get everyone talking about inappropriate relationships.

Emmerdale Review: December 2018's best (and worst) bits
Billy Fletcher arrives in Emmerdale

As Jacob learned at Christmas, happiness is a fragile thing and Jessie Grant learnt the same when her previously imprisoned son, Billy, arrived at her surprise wedding to Marlon Dingle. The big Christmas Day wedding was a fun, colourful event and it made the perfect stage for Billy’s shock arrival.

I can’t say I’m invested in Jessie and Marlon’s love, because it feels like they’ve only been together five minutes, but Billy caused an almighty rift and disruption and that immediately made things more interesting. Not only did Billy manage to trigger a Dingle drama when he was revealed as one of Aaron Dingle’s prison tormentors, causing Robert Sugden to take revenge, but the brewing tension between him and brother Ellis Grant is definitely one to watch. Ellis continues to be one of Emmerdale’s brightest new gems, so this brotherly war seems very promising.

Another villager whose world was rocked by a shock arrival in December was Harriet Finch, whose secret past with troubled Dawn Taylor was revealed. As the two came face to face, Dawn called Harriet “Michelle” and later confronted her when Harriet denied all knowledge of Dawn. When the two met in the church we learnt that Harriet acted as Dawn’s stepmother in an undercover operation investigating Dawn’s dad. Not only has this story given new ties and intrigue to Dawn, it gives Harriet purpose and a much-needed emotional storyline. Harriet’s not the most riveting villager in Emmerdale but this story might change that – it already has my interest.

Emmerdale Review: December 2018's best (and worst) bits
Thurs 20 Dec 2018 – 8pm: After a few failed attempts, Faith Dingle uses her womanly charms to seduce Rodney Blackstock.

One of my favourite stories in December was Faith’s funny quest to rid Eric Pollard’s home of Rodney Blackstock. Employing several different tactics, Faith Dingle used her best lingerie and womanly wiles first to seduce Eric and orchestrate an ill-timed interruption and then to stage a moment of adultery to disrupt the Pollard and Rodney bromance. Not only did it work a treat but it was a great comic use of these characters and the winning Eric and Faith chemistry. More of this humour in 2019 please Emmerdale!

Another winning formula when it comes to comedy is the sharp-tongued rivalry between sisters Nicola King and Bernice Blackstock. With Nicola handing Bernice her eviction notice the two weren’t the best pals, but even worse for Bernice was the prospect of turning 50 and younger lover Liam Cavanagh learning her age. Whether it was the competitive choir singing, the dinner table food fight or Bernice going crazy and popping her balloons, Bernice and Nicola are consistently entertaining in their clashes.

Other ones to watch this month were troublesome Noah Dingle who faced police suspicion and temptations from the school mischief makers, stemming mostly from mum Charity being too pre-occupied to parent him. Young actor Jack Downham continues to impress, but surely it’s about time Noah had a look in at home, after all Charity seems far more bothered about her son Ryan these days.

Emmerdale Review: December 2018's best (and worst) bits
Tues 25 Dec 2018: Bob Hope pawns his new watch in order to get the twins the presents they want.

Emmerdale also performed a small miracle this month as Bob Hope almost became likeable again. After the Laurel Thomas debacle tarnished him, it’s been a struggle to warm to Bob, but as he faced destitution over Christmas, it was hard not to feel for the guy. With struggling Bob really short on cash it feels like this might be the start of us fully embracing Bob back into our hearts again.

As Emmerdale sets up for another big year of fresh stories, it was a shame to see Debbie get away with her involvement in the acid attack. It always seemed unlikely she’d face prison, but to walk away not guilt felt like a cheat and hasn’t done her any favours when it comes to audience sympathy. For 2019 it’d be nice to see something very different for Debbie Dingle before her smug sense of entitlement makes her even less popular.

Daz Spencer was another victim to repetition in December, as after a hit and run, where he drunkenly knocked down Graham Foster, he let Amelia take the blame. Rather than face up to his actions, Daz tried to make several swift exits only to be stopped by the far too forgiving Spencers. Considering how fragile his relationship with brother Dan is, I didn’t really buy this desperation to keep him around, not after this new low.

So a new year awaits, with big name comebacks, a Women’s Day special and plenty more to look forward to, fingers crossed for another big year of Emmerdale!

For weekly highlights including the best quotes, GIFs and my favourite bits of every week on Emmerdale visit The Woolie Weekly!

Emmerdale Review: September 2018's best (and worst) bits
Visit The Woolie Weekly