Emmerdale: Debbie and Tom’s 50 Shades plot – exciting or icky?

The buff businessman attempts to buy her affections, but what's romantic about blackmail?

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Debbie Dingle’s dangerous liaison with wealthy newcomer Tom Waterhouse continued in tonight’s Emmerdale when the rich charmer splashed the cash in order to impress the object of his obsession.

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Following the dour Dingle’s lusty encounter with the entrepreneur in yesterday’s episode, Deb was trying to put the incident behind her after Tom turned the tables and hinted if she didn’t agree to see him again he’d report her for attempted robbery. Crucially, she also kept quiet to mum Charity that they’d done the deed.

Not wanting to be bought, Debbie had a big surprise when a brand new Bentley was delivered to the Woolpack by Tom’s assistant Graham – compliments of Mr Waterhouse by way of investing in the business…

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Awkward Deb squirmed as Charity congratulated her daughter that she didn’t even have to sleep with this mysterious millionaire for him to start throwing money in her direction. Uncomfortable with the attention, Debbie later called cocky Tom and agreed to going on one date – as long as he left her alone afterwards. He agreed, cheekily adding she wouldn’t be able to resist him…

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Emmerdale are clearly going for the 50 Shades of Grey concept here with a buff businessman trying to impress a buttoned-up girl with flirty banter and extravagant displays of wealth. But so far it’s coming across as more uncomfortable then irresistible – perhaps because the pair actually haven’t had that many scenes together for us to buy this supposedly instant attraction that’s got tough-as-nails Debbie all flustered?

It’s also hard to work out exactly what Tom’s motives are – is he some kind of psychopath? Has Debbie put herself in danger by getting into bed with him, literally and figuratively? Does she actually like him? If not, isn’t it a bit icky how he’s basically paying for her (ahem) company?

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Viewers are obviously meant to be intrigued and wrong-footed by the smouldering stud’s true agenda, but this is Debbie Dingle we’re talking about – she’s way too savvy to be swayed by a jumped-up rich kid. Wouldn’t she just tell arrogant Tom where to stick his Bentley and threaten to kneecap him if he shopped her to the cops? Or at least get Ross to kneecap him, which he’d probably gladly do.

It’s early days on a storyline that is set to run for quite a while, with lots more about Tom and Graham still to be revealed, so we’ll see how it all pans out.

A more entertaining (and believable) aspect of Debbie’s new dalliance thus far is the fact it’s turning her into her own mother – and she’s hating it. Allowing herself to get in over her head with a controlling rich rogue and becoming embroiled in some sexy power play is much more gold-digging Charity’s style, which is precisely the point. Debbie’s fight with destiny making her into a mini-Charity is an interesting arc for the character, and a much more palatable plot than some posh bloke’s pervy obsession.

Things develop further next week for Debbie and Tom when they go on their date, which apparently takes an unexpected turn. Considering what’s already happened this week, the mind is boggling…

You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of Emmerdale below.

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