There are headlines from the world of TV news, and then there are headlines… Being perfectly honest, one headline I never thought I’d read when perusing the daily dispatches is:
Amanda Donohoe joins Emmerdale
I had to look twice and make sure I’d read it correctly, but it is indeed true that the former LA Law star will make her Dales debut sometime over Christmas as Natasha Wylde, one half of a sexy new couple…
The other half of this sexy new couple, Natasha’s husband, will be played by former Dynasty actor Maxwell Caulfield, also late of Casualty, which seems to add to the surreal sense of Hollywood glamour around the casting.
As a Yorkshireman, I’ve always had something of a soft spot for Emmerdale, although in the last year it does appear to have become something of a forgotten soap in the face of EastEnders and Corrie. This is a shame as it had a couple of years of being utterly fantastic, which seemed to peak with the well-executed and publicised Who Killed Tom King storyline over Christmas 2006. We still have the Cluedo set that the ITV press office sent out to tie in with the storyline sitting in pride of place at TV Today towers.
But now, there’s a sense of a soap on the downward phase of the perpetual soap cycle. It happens to all of them, by and by - ‘Enders was practically counted out of the game two years ago, regularly beaten in the ratings by some margin by Emmerdale when they went head to head. Even Corrie has had something of a fallow year, but its stock is rising with some strong storylines surrounding the Connor family on the slate over the next month or two.
It’s a shame that Emmerdale seems to be missing some attention right now - it’s ratings are as solid as ever, but not scaling the spectacular heights they were a few years back, although I’m confident they will rally before the end of the year. But there are some strong storylines in Emmerdale at the moment, especially Jo Sugden suffering domestic abuse at the hands of her husband Andy. It’s well played and well written, but doesn’t appear to be getting the attention it really deserves.
But soaps, as we know, are cyclical and Emmerdale will be back in the fight sooner rather than later. The Wylde’s are set to be at the heart of some dramatic storylines next year on the soap, but for now, I applaud the soap’s ability to pull some leftfield casting out of the bag as Donohoe and Caulfield follow in the grand tradition of Lorraine Chase, Linda Thorson and Patsy Kensit.