Emmerdale boss Iain MacLeod has revealed a bunch of red-hot spoilers for the months ahead.
2017 is off to a flying start for the soap, what with winning the National Television Award for Best Serial Drama and preparing for the most hotly-anticipated wedding of the year as Robron take centre stage on the eve of Aaron’s looming prison sentence. But there’s even more to come – over to MacLeod for seven juicy teasers as the show heads further into the year…
“I’ve just signed off on the final version on the episode in which Ashley dies and it is unbelievably beautiful, and oddly joyous – it’s a celebration of the character. In a story that is already desperately sad, we wanted to give him the best possible death we could, and construct the right circumstances for it. The funeral will be every bit as quirky – though not in the same way – as last year’s special Ashley ‘point of view’ episode. It’s as experimental as that but in a different way and will be really special. The story has been so well written and so well played that I’d be hard pressed to find anything we would have done differently.”
Rhona and Pierce explodes
“Their story is swinging into top gear. As soon as people saw Pierce getting together with Rhona so quickly, they started to suspect there was something not quite right about him. We’ve taken our time and let that story develop slowly, and it reaches a kind of peak in April/May time, it doesn’t come to an end but there’s a big story explosion at that point. The episodes are heat-stoppingly dramatic – quite a tough watch but an unbelievably big talking point heading into the summer.”
Two big and unexpected affairs
“Basically, everyone is at it! There’s a love triangle kicking off over the summer which is crazy, sexy, destructive and also kind of funny – it’s a man and two women with the bloke haplessly stuck in the middle. The other one which starts around April – well, chalk and cheese doesn’t even cover it! Pick the two characters least likely to end up in bed together, the most ying and yang in the village – that’s who it is. It’s sexy and dangerous and insane – I love it. When it was first suggested, we went from thinking “Really!?” to then: “Yeah, I’m weirdly turned on by that!” Hopefully the audience will agree otherwise, I’ll look very silly…”
Andy Sugden’s possible return
“I’d be an idiot not to have that in the back of my mind, as Andy is such a huge character and Kelvin is an amazing actor. There’s nothing on the table to that effect at present but I never stop thinking about random, surprising things that might happen or people who could return, so I wouldn’t rule it out.”
Chas leaves the village
“Obviously Lucy Pargeter is going on maternity leave as she’s expecting twins, and Chas’s exit story is tied in with her recently-returned mother Faith. Obviously, viewers know Chas won’t be gone for good so we didn’t want to lead the audience up the garden path – but it’s big and emotional with some of the funniest and most heartbreaking scenes between Faith and Chas in the run up to it, which sums up their whole relationship.”
Emma cracks up
“The soap gods are currently adjudicating on whether Emma Barton will get her comeuppance and they haven’t made their ruling yet… Fundamentally, no bad deed goes entirely unpunished, but in terms of what form that punishment takes is very much still to be decided. I love the character and I love Gillian Kearney so I’m in no rush to lose her. We’re storylining the beginnings of her conscience eating away at her so we want to explore what she’s done. The joy of Emma is that she can do anything – she’s quirky, odd and brilliant and can go from scolding her sons for not washing the dishes to pushing James off a bridge! I’m reluctant to do anything that nails her fate down in one definite direction just yet.”
The next big event week
One of the big things we’re currently working on is something along the lines of what we did last year with the big super soap week car crash, where everything was all jumbled up and the storytelling was a bit crazy. This won’t be as stunt driven, but it will be equally as quirky and interesting and probably non-linear.”
You can watch a 60-second rundown of all next week’s drama on Emmerdale below.
And visit our dedicated Emmerdale page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.