Emmerdale’s Aaron Dingle has been sent to prison for 18 months. In tonight’s episode the popular character was handed the sentence for his assault on Kasim Sabet last month.
The moment itself took place off screen, with Aaron’s distraught mum Chas breaking the news to the locals as she returned from court. New husband Robert was shocked by the severity of the sentence, and was barely placated to it already being reduced to 12 months due to Aaron pleading guilty to the crime.
Earlier in the episode Robron fans were treated to an emotionally-charged goodbye between the boys as Aaron refused to let Robert attend the hearing, and they said their farewells in the backroom of the Woolpack.
Just days after his wedding, Aaron arrived to start his jail stint. During his formal induction with a prison officer, Aaron wavered on declaring his true sexuality. The officer warned him that being out in prison “won’t be a walk in the park…”, so Aaron reluctantly ticked the ‘prefer not to say’ box on the sexual orientation section of the form, and forlornly removed his wedding ring. This could cause problems with Robert on visiting day…
Later meeting top dog Jason (he’s got previous with Aaron’s uncle Cain, although it’s unclear whether that’s a good thing or not just yet), Aaron was uncomfortable as he witnessed an openly gay inmate being bullied by the other prisoners.
Torn as to whether he should be true to himself or stay out of trouble so he can get out and return to his beloved Robert as quickly as possible, it’s clear Aaron’s not in for an easy time behind bars.
Next week, Aaron panics that a moment of intimacy with Robert during a visit will be spotted and used against him. And there’s further trouble ahead when Jason learns Aaron’s father was Gordon Livesy, who was jailed for sexually abusing his son and killed himself in prison.
Emmerdale producer Iain MacLeod has confirmed Aaron will have a major new storyline as the show follows his experiences inside, including a special episode devoted to the plot, promising it will be a “dark and disturbing chapter” for the character.
Judging from tonight’s episode, the start of Aaron’s sentence is only the beginning of the drama…
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.
Sign up to the Radio Times newsletter for the latest TV and entertainment news