Sam Dingle is to find himself wrongly accused of arson in the wake of the fire at Home Farm.
The caretaker will come under police suspicion in the coming weeks after Charity (Emma Atkins) schemes to keep Declan’s (Jason Merrells) involvement in the blaze hushed up. And with Sam having been on the property during the night in question (he was returning gifts that he and Rachel had stolen from Declan), it’s not looking good in the eyes of the law.
“At first, Sam is concerned that he may have started the fire himself,” says actor James Hooton. “When he takes the presents back to Home Farm, he manages to knock a Christmas tree into the fire and some embers set fire to a rug in the living room. Sam stamps it out, but when he hears about the blaze, he initially thinks he could be responsible. But when he later finds out that an accelerant was used, he realises that it wasn’t him.”
The trouble is that the investigating officers are not convinced of Sam’s innocence and arrest him. “It could quite easily get even worse for Sam,” admits Hooton. “Obviously, at the moment, the evidence is circumstantial, but Charity and Declan could conspire to create more evidence that will point more of a direct finger at Sam. It’s possible that this is how the events will unfold.”
So how would Sam feel if he found out that a member of his own family was responsible for fitting him up for the crime? “It’s all about solidarity when it comes to the Dingles, so it would be very difficult for him to believe that Charity was involved.”
And could he cope with a return to prison if that were to be the outcome? “The last thing Sam could cope with would be to go back to prison. He’s not cut out for life behind bars. He’s a very sensitive soul and he needs his loved ones around him. Plus his future with Rachel could be ruined – it would be a knife in the back of their relationship.”