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 how things kicked off the New Year in the Dales in January 2019…

Vanity got engaged in Emmerdale
Vanity got engaged in Emmerdale.

A brand new year could never start quietly for the villagers of Emmerdale and 2019 has seen plenty of big moments worth watching. So if January was a bit of a blur, here’s what you missed.

It was a miserable start to the year for Matty Barton who was attacked by an ex on New Year’s Eve, but with the support of family and friends, Matty was able to regain his confidence and decided to investigate getting top surgery. Ash Palmisciano gave great performances as the fear in Matty’s eyes was palpable, and Cain Dingle (Jeff Hordley) was a refreshing presence in the story, as he continued to deal with his own issues. I liked how Emmerdale entwined these storylines, as a batted and bruised Cain struggled with feeling emasculated and scared of his involvement in Joe Tate’s death.

Wed 9 Jan 2019: How will Graham and Cain handle their guilt over Joe?

The ongoing saga of Joe’s death has been a bit of a drag on the characters involved, as everyone feels far too blasé about Cain supposed murder of Joe, however performances have been consistently high. Jeff Hordley in particular makes Cain empathetic even when he shouldn’t be. Now that Debbie Dingle (Charley Webb) knows, perhaps we’re inching closer to a conclusion but with Emmerdale keeping Joe’s fate ambiguous, it’s removing all stakes from the story.

Paddy Kirk’s life was rocked with the return of Emmerdale legend Mandy Dingle in January and she soon had secrets to spill about Paddy’s parentage. Although Mandy’s return was short and sweet, Lisa Riley brings so much fun and nostalgia with her that fans are already calling for her return. With her hinting she had other secrets to divulge, we might just get our wish.

It was a huge month for Vanity as Vanessa Woodfield (Michelle Hardwick) faced a stabbing outside the pub, leading to Charity Dingle (Emma Atkins) realising it was time she put a ring on it. Scared that she came close to losing Vanessa, Charity set out to organise the perfect proposal and what followed was pure Charity Dingle madness as she hijacked a posh groom’s proposal plans at Home Farm. But when an unimpressed Vanessa realised what she’d done, Charity got drunk and later delivered a heartfelt speech to win her round. Luckily for Charity – it worked – and fans were treated to a funny and romantic proposal for the pair. Fingers crossed their wedding is just as fun.

Thurs 10 Jan 2019 – 7pm: Vanessa’s attacker makes a getaway in her car unaware that is Johnny strapped into the back seat.

One big misfire in the stabbing storyline was using Donny, Lachlan’s father, who hadn’t been seen in the village since 2015 and who barely any viewers remembered. Donny had no connections to any of the characters involved so his reveal as Lachlan’s secret tormentor of the Dingles was completely anti-climactic.

Making Lachlan’s final stand all about his revenge on the Dingles was a weird choice, but with all of family gone, this was a desperate attempt to still make him relevant. Lachlan’s exit last year was flat and disappointing, but this ending was little better and not even an empowered speech from Belle could save it. Lachlan didn’t need to return, not in a story long past its sell-by date. This was a waste of Thomas Atkinson’s talents.

As Emmerdale’s biggest story continued, with Maya’s manipulations of Jacob making him feel worse and worse, another big and serious story came to the fore. As destitute and desperate Bob Hope struggled to make ends meet, he ended up sleeping wherever he could, eventually resorting to a park bench. He was found the morning after by Harriet Finch and hospitalised in very upsetting scenes. Actors Tony Audenshaw and Lesley Dunlop gave moving performances in the hospital as she tried to explain to Bob how loved he is. While it was a hard storyline to watch, not only has it redeemed Bob after the unlikeable Bob and Laurel affair, it was an important move to show the silent struggle of a man’s desperate feelings of isolation.

Wed 2nd Jan 2019: Kerry Wyatt starts to inject Bernice with the Botox.

It was a busy month for Hotten General, as Bernice Blackstock (Samantha Giles) also ended up in a hospital bed in January after her paranoia about her age lead her to use dodgy botox injections and cause a frightening allergic reaction.

Despite Bernice worrying how Liam Cavanagh (Jonny McPherson) would react, this actually made the pair confess their love for each other in touching scenes. It was also good to see Bernice’s loved ones rally round with both Nicola King (Nicola Wheeler) and Bernice bond with difficult teen Leanna.

Speaking of Nicola, her schemes with Robert Sugden (Ryan Hawley) were discovered by Graham Foster this month, but it still feels like he’s twiddling his thumbs waiting for Kim Tate’s return. With him taking Joe’s place with ruthless revenge, Megan Macey (Gaynor Faye) taking bitchy delight in the payback and Moira Dingle (Natalie J Robb) becoming a bit like a cold hearted mob wife, January’s side affect was some unfortunate personality transplants.

Mon 28 Jan 2019: Jessie tries to keep Ellis and Billy apart as they fight.

The Billy and Ellis rivalry continued, saved from any staleness from brilliant newcomers Asan N’jie and Jay Kontzle and Victoria Sugden’s brief pregnancy scare gave actress Isabel Hodgins some beautiful and heart-breaking material. It’s a shame Emmerdale have barely touched on the big conflict between Billy Fletcher and Aaron Dingle, leaving it insane for their mothers to fight it out like a playground spat – I hope it gets revisited.

January was a pretty solid start to a new year in Emmerdale and I’m looking forward to our first full year of our new producers!

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