Many viewers have long felt that the soap set in the Yorkshire Dales is underrated and has been floating along quietly in the shadow of its Manchester and London rivals, but the past month has shown that the show has leapt over its rivals to take the crown of Britain’s Best Soap.
The secret to its success is what Coronation Street and EastEnders have struggled to do over the past 18 months, and possibly longer. With a stellar cast, relatable storylines and realistic writing they have found the perfect blend of drama and comedy.
The #SummerFate storyline has shown what can be achieved when you don’t attempt to patronise the audience and keep your characters as real as possible. Last week we saw all the pieces of the last few months come together with the secret affairs of Debbie and Ross, and Robert and Aaron being exposed in spectacular fashion.
But alongside this we had the amusement of the ‘three drunk Grandad’s’ competing to see who could embarrass themselves the most and the sisterly banter of Val and Diane as they tried to find each other in the mirror maze, prior to the crash.
Yet while the helicopter may have been removed from the church halls roof and the memorials are being planned, the characters are all suffering the affects of Debbie and Pete’s dramatic wedding day.
Unlike other soaps – yes I mean you EastEnders – the writers know that viewers don’t want to watch months or years to see the last domino fall.
Any writer of fiction or scripts will know that finding that blend is often the hardest challenge as you try to engage your audience without patronising or boring them, something that the hugely talented Kate Oates and her team do to perfection.
With the fallout from the crash still ongoing, I expect to see more great acting from Liam Fox (Dan), Daisy Campbell (Amelia), Jeff Hordley (Cain), and Chris Chittell (Eric), – among many others.
It has reminded us exactly what a soap requires and the rest will have to up their game if Emmerdale – as I expect them to – sweeps the board at the British Soap Awards. And while others continue to drag out storylines and give parts to wooden pop stars, the ‘Dales looks like it will continue to go from strength to strength.