A week of Macey madness on Emmerdale has climaxed with a body being recovered – and it’s Robbie Lawson who has ended up losing his life.
In scenes just broadcast, a distraught Megan (Gaynor Faye) was seen having to identify her son’s body following a lakeside stand-off that saw Robbie take a flare gun blast to the chest before sinking into the watery depths.
But what of Declan (Jason Merrells), whose unhinged plot precipitated Robbie’s death? His corpse has yet to be recovered, but Megan appears resigned to having lost both her child and her brother…
Here, actor Jamie Shelton – who leaves the ITV soap after two years playing Robbie – talks about his exit storyline, how feels about departing the Dales and what lies ahead for his career…
So, what was it like filming that final confrontation on the boat when Robbie took the flare gun to the chest? It was exciting – we got to do something different with this week’s episodes. Usually, you spend a lot of your days in the studio, so it was really good to be working on this storyline in a new location and do a bit of swimming!
How much of the stunt were you allowed to do? Unfortunately, they wouldn’t allow me to do the actual moment that Robbie got shot with the gun. They had to attach my stunt double to a harness and there was the potential for it being quite dangerous. I would have liked to do it, though.
What was your reaction when you were told you were being killed off? It was mixed feelings, really. I was sad that I was leaving because I’ve had such a great time on the show. It was my first big role and I’ll always appreciate it greatly. But also, I was happy that I was going out on such an explosive storyline and surrounded by actors like Gaynor Faye and Jason Merrells, who I both really respect. And, in a way, I was relieved that Robbie was being killed off – the doors were being closed and I had to move on. It made sure I wouldn’t be looking back over my shoulder.
Was that your final scene on the programme – I know that they do sometimes film things out of sequence? Fortunately, they timed it so that Robbie’s death was actually my final scene. It was an unusual experience – usually, they shoot everything out of order. Often, an actor who’s leaving will do all the dramatic stuff weeks in advance and then end up finishing with a quick moment in the Woolpack. But it was exciting to be going out with a literal bang.
So what were your feelings when they said, ‘cut’ and that was it for your time on Emmerdale? At the time, I felt quite numb. But a few hours later, it sunk in. It was a positive experience, I guess. But saddening to think that this was the end of my time on the show. Gaynor and I are really good friends and Jason also. When I joined, it was my first big role and they helped me massively. I couldn’t have asked for any more help. And because of that, it brought me closer to them. And I’m also friends with Sammy Winward, Laura Norton and Isabel Hodgins – I spend a lot of time with them because they’re great people.
What did you get as a leaving present? Gaynor got me a big painting, which is basically a cartoon of my character against a background of Home Farm on fire, with a boat being towed in the background – all things that tie into the storylines I’ve had on the show. It’s really well-painted and I was over the moon with it. I also got a copy of my first script that had been signed by everyone. It was lovely. Really nice.
You talk about Emmerdale being your first big role – how long was it before you felt accepted on the show? It was a massive change to my life, to be honest. That first day on set is such a nerve-wracking experience. For me, it took six months before I felt like I had my place on the show. The quick turnaround of the filming schedule was something that was hard to get used to. If he’s happy, the director will move on to the next scene. You might not be happy with your performance but it’s too late by then. So what I’ve learned is to give everything on the first take.
What’s been your personal highlight from your time on the show? This exit storyline because you got to see a different side to Robbie and there was a little more depth to the character. Rather than him just being a tearaway, he actually had a purpose and that was to help Megan. You’ve finally seen their relationship come together and they were a lot closer than they had been previously. The writing has been on top form.
He kind of became the moral backbone of this particular storyline, didn’t he? Yes and it’s something that I wish we could have explored sooner. If we’d have let the audience see things from Robbie’s point of view, then they could have understood him a little bit better. But it was nice that they did do that for my exit. I didn’t want them to make him a nice guy, as such, but he could have done with some common ground with another character. He never really had that on the show.
And what are your future career plans? I’ve got a film coming out next month called The Knife That Killed Me, which is being distributed by Universal. They’re hoping to get that released before the end of the year.