Prepare for nerves to be shredded next week when Cameron Murray returns after escaping from police custody.
“His plan is to get Debbie back,” explains actor Dominic Power. “He’s still in love with her and forgives her. Everything has been about getting Debbie and her family back. Every murder, every wrong move, every bad decision, have misguidedly been about getting Debbie back.”
Over the past year, viewers have witnessed the murderous Cameron leaving a trail of dead bodies behind him. But after bumping off first Carl, then Alex and finally Gennie, Cam was captured after Debbie helped the police get a confession.
But now, after fleeing the scene of a prison-van ambush, Cameron is back in the village. So does he honestly believe that he and Debbie stand a chance?
“Absolutely. One hundred per cent. He refuses to admit defeat when it comes to Debbie. He truly believes that he and Debbie still have a chance despite everything he’s done. Cameron gives the police the slip by pretending to board a ferry, but his one mission is getting back to Debbie.”
Having made it back to the rain-lashed village, Cameron wastes no time in putting his plan into action. After luring Sarah away and locking her in a barn, Cameron gets his hands on Zak’s gun and heads for the Woolpack. So what is his state of mind at this moment in time?
“He has to keep it calm,” says Power. “Cameron can remain unruffled in very stressful situations. He’s managed to get himself out of so many scrapes. Whatever is thrown at him he deals with because he has this scary stealth-like control. He can become very measured and introverted but he also has the capacity to be the polar extreme, which, is wild, frightening and scary.”
And that capacity for violence is evidenced when Cameron surprises Marlon by slamming the butt of his shotgun against him, which sends the Woolpack chef tumbling down the cellar steps.
An unconscious Marlon is then locked in the cellar as flood waters begin to rise, while Cameron heads to the bar to surprise the regulars with his shotgun. In an instant, the assembled drinkers are plunged into a hostage crisis, with Cam calling the shots:
“He’s very much two different characters – the family guy and this crazy killer. He switches between the two and as things get more manic, it’s like a metronome swinging forwards and backwards faster and faster. He’s definitely at his most crazed when he’s holding hostages in the Woolpack. He will go from one character to the other in the space of a sentence.”
That crazy behaviour will spell disaster for one of the people being held against their well after an attempt to disarm Cameron goes horrendously wrong. By the end of Wednesday’s episode, a shot has rung out and a familiar face is lying seriously injured. “It’s someone you’re immediately going to worry about and feel sorry for,” reveals the actor. “It’s a great choice as it spins off and has its own complete storyline. The repercussions are felt not just by them but others around them.”
Cameron’s descent into murder and mayhem has fuelled plotlines for exactly a year – his killing of Carl being the twist that ended the 40th anniversary episode 12 months ago. So how does Siege Week compare with that live birthday special?
“This is also huge. People have been asking how it compares to the live episode, but it’s completely different. The live was amazing and I still think it was a miracle it went as brilliantly as it did. This story we’re telling is a very different beast and I think it’s trying to do something else.
“There was obviously a lot of tension in the live with all the different storylines. These episodes are focused on the one storyline and it’s a different kind of intensity. It’s more of a thriller. This week of Emmerdale will easily compete with the live in terms of audience enjoyment.”
And has the actor enjoyed being part of such a long-running and intense storyline? “I’ve loved every moment and I’m really proud of what we’ve produced. When you have these scenes that are so well written, you find you can’t go half measure at it. If you’re holding someone hostage and everything is at stake, you can’t give a restrained performance. You have to – if you’ll excuse the pun – give it both barrels.”