I kind of feel like 2017 is not the year Iain or the Emmerdale story team wanted, they’ve had to make sacrifices and a lot of that was out of their control.
This year feels like filler and a transitional time for the show.
3 of their best actors and storylines had to end because they realistically couldn’t be dragged out any longer (John M, Gillian, Jonathan)
Lucy had a baby meaning Chas who is such an onscreen presence wasn’t around
3 of their best young actors needed time off for exams
Gemma, Joe and Adam asked to leave/quit
The only characters Iain himself has chosen to axe are imo deadwood and the right choices - Joannie, The Whites, Rakesh (not sure about Pasha actually).
Usually i can see what each story is trying to achieve but the execution and pacing hasn’t been great for a lot of them this year. The pacing issue in particular could be because they are trying to accomodate so many actor exits. They’ve had to hit story points at key times and in between stories have either dragged, ended abruptly or started abruptly with no build up.
I don’t think anyone is going to remember 2017 as a standout year of storytelling but i also think TPTB know this (i hope they do). My guess is they are looking forward to 2018 as much as i am.