Emmerdale’s Week of Specials and the Art of Soap.

Okay, so, my initial plan was to wait until Emmerdale’s special week was complete before writing a review. But quite frankly after tonight’s episodes there were a few things I just had to note down.

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Mondays episode cemented for me how brilliant Ryan Hawley (Robert) and Danny Miller (Aaron) are, what great chemistry they have and just how good Thomas Atkinson (Lachlan) is at playing one of the sleaziest, slimiest, sickest teens on TV.
Ryan and Danny had me in stitches with some of their dialogue and in tonight’s climactic episode they have moved me to tears. Ryan in particular has stood out for me tonight. Danny gets a lot of praise, and much deserved recently for his portrayal of Aaron throughout his sex abuse storyline, and again on Monday for his reaction to Lachlan’s sick lies. But Ryan this week has, without a doubt, outshone Danny in my eyes. His love for Aaron and the frustration and nervousness around trying to propose properly have felt so genuine that he deserves great recognition. The fact that he went back in to the water tonight proves to me how far his character has developed, which is a credit both to Ryan and to the writers.

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Dominic Brunt (Paddy) and Mark Charnock (Marlon) were ridiculous on Tuesday. And I mean that in the most heartfelt, appreciative way. It was a welcome light hearted relief and saw the characters at their best after months of finding Paddy irritating and downright pathetic. Their scene in the woods was  for me, one of the funniest soap moments I’ve ever seen.

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Gillian Kearney has been fantastic as Emma and has been since she came to Emmerdale. She’s had me declaring utter loathing for her character and had me shouting at everyone for not seeing through her, but in this storyline she has really excelled herself. It would be all too easy for her to have played bonkers, obsessive Emma in full on Annie Wilkes style, but she has danced a beautifully balanced dance between vulnerable fear of being left alone, bonkers obsession, anger and sadness. I truly take my hat off to her. Bill Ward has also done a wonderful job in making himself seem so small and vulnerable next to tiny Emma. He’s done a great job in letting her shine and making his fear but determination to survive seem very real.

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There were also some fantastic scenes from Joe Gill as Finn tonight, whose unknowing phone call to Emma and distressed call to Pete had me on the brink of tears.

But for me, tonight’s first episode has been the best so far. The way the shooting and acting have portrayed events from Ashley’s portrayal have been outstanding. John Middleton has done a sublime job and has truly, truly moved me. Every scene he was in was filled to the brim with genuine heartache and emotion. If these are his last episodes, he has gone out on an extraordinary high and thoroughly deserves an award at the upcoming NTAs.

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Finally, as someone who dreams of writing for stage and screen can I just take a minute to whole heartedly applaud every single member of the behind the scenes crew. The people whose names few will know, the writers the editors, the producers, even the camera men. All have been outstanding. I have been gripped by the storylines, made to laugh, gasp and weep. I have admired the artistry of every single shot and I have hoped and prayed to one day write something that moves someone else to be as powered up and as inspired as I am.

Emmerdale, if you guys don’t clean up at the NTAs this year I seriously wonder what goes through the minds of the viewing public.

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