Most newlywed couples like to walk arm in arm and stare lovingly into each other’s eyes, but that’s not how Katie and Declan are currently operating. Ever since Katie admitted to setting Robbie up on CCTV, Declan has been in doubt of his new wife’s honesty.
“There’s a worm that’s got into Declan’s head and it’s about Katie lying to him about setting up Robbie,” admits Jason Merrells, who plays Declan. “He’s become a little bit fixated on the fact that she’s been dishonest. He kind of held her up as an icon of virtue. I think that it’s a storm in a teacup, actually, but he runs away with it. It all spirals out of control, really.”
To say matters spiral out of control is something of an understatement. Next week, an argument at Home Farm ends with Declan haring off on a quad bike and Katie climbing onto a second quad and tearing off in pursuit. Another confrontation follows, but this set-to ends with Katie crashing the quad and falling – bike and all – down a disused mine shaft. High drama to be sure, but how did the Emmerdale team film the rescue attempt that ensues?
“We had to be quite clever about it,” says Merrells. “They dug a hole and made a mine. And then we had the interior of the mine made in the studio, which looked amazing. So it was all filmed in different stages and then put together. We had to fake the depth at certain points and imagine the unevenness of the ground. To build a hole in a mine shaft would have been beyond the pale, but we did our best.”
But back to Katie, who’s now finding that the ground beneath her is starting to crumble away. How does Declan react knowing that his wife’s life is in danger?
“He’s in bits. He’s a complete mess. He’s said things he didn’t really mean and now he could have lost her for ever. He goes into a meltdown about it. He runs to Moira’s farm, gets help and a tractor. What he’s doing is pretty logical and is in fact what most rescue teams would do, which is to get a rope down there and tow her out. But unfortunately, the tractor gets too near the hole and there’s a further collapse. So that causes her to fall a bit deeper. He’s made things ten times worse.”
As a result, Katie is seen lying unconscious, the headlights from the quad flickering, while those above listen for any sound, horrified by the deadly silence. Will Declan manage to hold his nerve in the wake of such a calamity?
“It gets very dark for him when she disappears and he can’t hear her anymore,” says Merrells. “As the rescue team begins to slow down, he thinks he’s killed her and that there’s nothing anyone can do. He spirals down into self-hatred.”
Find out how bad things get for Katie in next week’s episodes. Can she make it through the ordeal in one piece?