Jai Sharma’s been leading a double life in recent months, having kept the fact that he’s the father of Rachel’s unborn baby from wife Charity. But Jai is to be left panicked and traumatised in the weeks to come when Rachel goes into premature labour. Will his secret come out? Will the baby survive? Actor Chris Bisson tells us what lies ahead for his troubled character:
So, what happens when Rachel goes into labour?
It’s the day of the auditions for the nativity and Jai arrives to watch Noah. But when he opens the door, Rachel and Charity are in the middle of a blazing row, at the end of which Rachel starts to feel twinges before going into labour prematurely. So Jai is immediately panicking – Rachel breaks down, she gets taken away in an ambulance and obviously Jai can’t go with her. But Sam is left hanging around so Jai, thinking on his feet, offers to give Sam a lift. So he gets away from Charity and manages to get to the hospital.
Is it difficult for him to hide the way he feels?
Jai’s very much under pressure throughout this whole period. He has the stress of leading a double life as he’s worried about his relationship with his wife and he’s also worried about Rachel. Obviously, he can’t reveal his secret, so he’s unable to get any information at the hospital because they believe that neither he nor Sam are relatives.
And how does his story play out over the course of the week?
Well, he’s constantly badgering people for information, whether it’s calling Dan into the office at the factory or thinking about getting hold of Ali because she might have some details. Basically, anyone who can give him an update. But Rishi tells him to stop doing that because it’s going to blow his cover.
So how does he learn that Rachel has had a baby boy?
From Rishi. His dad comes into the factory and tells him that it’s a little boy. So that’s the first Jai hears of it. All the way through, it’s second-hand information: he can’t be at the hospital. He can’t see the baby. His dad and Rachel are trying to keep them apart.
In some ways, you kind of feel for Jai because it’s his son and he doesn’t know if he’s going to survive. The other way of looking at it would be to say that it was always going to be this way. He’s tried to play this game and keep it all secret and this is the price he pays for that. He’s been incredibly selfish because he wants to keep his marriage to Charity and he also wants to keep the baby. And the two are just incompatible. But what’s interesting about the story is that it’s never been driven by an affair or a romance. It was always the human instinct, this desire to have a child. That’s why it’s so difficult for him.
And how is Charity reacting at this time?
Well, he’s absolutely freaking out and going crazy, so Charity knows something’s wrong but she doesn’t know what. She thinks he’s having an affair! But eventually Rishi tells her that it’s still to do with the fact that she won’t have a baby for him. And in some ways, that makes Jai realise why he’s gone through with it in the first place – because, if it was left to Charity, he would never have a son. But obviously it’s very deceitful.
Personally, I don’t know he could possibly live through something like this. It’s absolutely unbelievable and an unbearable amount of pressure that he’s under.
So does Charity believe the cover-up?
I think she does because they’ve argued about it so many times. In an ideal world, he wouldn’t have ended up in a marriage without having discussed whether they’d be having a kid in the future. Or he would have ended the relationship and moved on to someone who did want a baby with him. But it’s a soap and that’s not how things work out.
Does Jai get to see his baby son?
He does, eventually. Rachel responds to his calls and he goes to the hospital and says that this is the first and last time you’re ever going to see him. Which completely breaks his heart after all this time wanting a child. Now that he’s got one, he can’t have it. He didn’t see that one coming down the track.
Later, there’s an emergency christening and he sees Rachel looking very upset in the café and thinks the worst. The next thing he knows, Ruby is coming into the Woolpack to ask if she can hire the function room for a funeral. So he hears “emergency christening”, which is always a terrible sign, followed by “a funeral” and he’s panicked beyond belief. And what compounds it is that he’s not allowed to be there – and that’s of his own doing because he won’t admit that he’s the father.
So where does Jai go from here?
Probably on a downward spiral! The pressure is so great that he’s going to end up having a nervous breakdown. His marriage and his personal life are in absolute turmoil.