Danny Dyer’s entrance isn’t the only big drama in E20 — we also have Janine trying to mow down David Wicks after she reconsiders her decision to confess to Michael’s murder. “There’s loads of stuntwork,” promises Charlie Brooks, who plays Janine. “It’s always exciting when you get to do something like this. It’s like doing a film. Personally, I’d like to see Janine escape and not go to jail — but can you really get away with murder in a soap?”
Hayley’s last Christmas is marked with an unusual snowy offering, as actress Julie Hesmondhalgh explains: “Hayley’s very weak by this point, but it doesn’t stop her from enjoying a snowball fight on the cobbles. And that night, when she’s looking out of her window, she sees that her friends have made snow statues of Roy and Hayley out on the street. And the Hayley statue even has a red coat on. It’s lovely, and they’re not so brilliantly done that it’s unrealistic.”
It’s been a year of stunts in the village, what with the fire at Dale View and the siege at the Woolpack. So, it’s only fitting that Emmerdale exits 2013 with a bang: this time, one caused by a despondent Declan. “Charity catches Declan with a can of paraffin and he’s about to torch both the house and himself,” says Emma Atkins. “In order to film the blaze, a replica of the front of Home Farm was built on the set. It looked fantastic, so it was such a shame that we then had to burn it.”
You can always rely on Ambridge to warm the heart: this year, there’s Kenton as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Lynda’s show, while Emma hopes George will be cheered by a role as a shepherd in the Nativity play. But don’t go thinking that this is entirely the season of goodwill — after all, the loathsome James is back on the scene and he’s demanding some answers from Leonie.