On 3 December, Chrissie Sugden's suspended sentence court verdict was delivered, which left Eric Pollard, still convinced she was behind his wife's death after the disaster in the summer, furious. Those events lead him to him throwing a water bomb full of paint at Chrissie and him subsequently being taken away by the court's officers.

To top it off, he returns home to find his home has been broken into and his shrine to late wife Val has been destroyed and her engagement ring stolen. The events send Eric into a downward spiral and his rage causes him to board up his home so no one can touch Val's things again. His mental instability plays a part in him becoming a hermit over the Christmas period.

Meanwhile, Paddy's affair with teaching assistant Tess hits a bumpy patch after he tells Tess that he and Rhona are planning on adopting a baby in the new future; she retaliates by saying she thinks she could be pregnant. Later, already in her bad books for messing up an adoption interview, Rhona gets way more angry with Paddy when he lets slip her drug addiction in front of the social worker, which could jeopardise her chances of adopting.

As many soap fans will know, Debbie Dingle will wave goodbye to the Yorkshire village on New Year's Day, and the plot has already started to touch upon the reasons behind her departure. Her fights with Emma over spending time with son Moses are getting more heated than ever after Debbie forbade Emma from seeing her grandson.

And if that was not enough, her boyfriend Ross's criminal activity is becoming more and more frequent. Ross was famously employed by Robert Sugden's vengeful brother Andy to kill his rival villain in the Dales, but as luck would have it, Robert made it out of his lengthy coma alive. But the drama is far from over and there is more than a good chance Ross will try again, said actor Michael Parr recently. Could all this cause Debbie to walk out on her family for good?

Elsewhere, Laurel attempted to reunite with ex Ashley (despite him now dating Harriet), by inviting him to an AA meeting. Touched, he agreed to go, but it turned out he had double-booked and had to attend an important appointment of his own, as he is still hiding his devastating dementia diagnosis.

The storylines on the cards in the run up to Christmas will have you in need of a box of tissues. "It's going to be a very emotional Christmas," Emmerdale boss Kate Oates told the Radio Times. "There won't be whistles and bangs. It will all be very heartfelt. I think that's right for us because we've had such a stunt-led summer and it's good to bring it down to grassroots."

For more entertainment news follow A-List on Twitter @Alistinsider