Aaron Dingle has been hiding something – and that’s always a cause for concern. The troubled Emmerdale resident set alarm bells ringing by acting strangely and sneaking off, and best mate Adam Barton feared the Dingle lad could be self-harming again in the wake of his split from husband Robert Sugden.
But tonight’s hour-long episode revealed what Aaron was actually up to – he’s secetly training to be a boxer, with ex-bare knuckle fighter Uncle Zak teaching him how to succeed in the ring.
Fans breathed a sigh of relief when they realised Aaron hadn’t relapsed into hurting himself again, and actor Danny Miller reveals Zak’s coaching is a new way for his character to combat his demons and channel his aggression. But could he still be dicing with danger?
Why is Aaron being secretly coached in boxing by Zak?
It’s a much healthier form of self harming in a way. There is a worry, initially from Adam, that he’ll overdo it with training and damage his health and get injured, but actualy it helps with his anger and aggression as he channels it all into the training. Aaron enjoys it, as it keeps him fit and healthy – and he’s learning a new skill.
Zak has had his own mental health issues, is Aaron grateful for his help?
Absolutely, his uncle is the apple of his eye and really he looks up to him. And of course he’s been through his own difficult times with Lisa and Joanie and come out the other side. Zak used to do bare knuckle fighting when he was younger, so Aaron knows he can teach him some techniques in the ring, it’s great he’s there a role model both for his character and as a potential boxer.
What was it like filming the boxing scenes?
They were tough. We filmed in the Dingles’ barn and dressed it to look like an old-fashioned gym with a punch bag, training gear, cobwebs and all the rest of it. I was worried it might be corny but it looks really cool and quirky. And I always love working with Steve Halliwell who plays Zak, he’s a legend.
Did you have a fight arranger?
We had different stunt arrangers coming in, proper boxing trainers showing me how to throw puncesh and all that. If I’d known six months ago I’d be doing this I probably would’ve started training back then! It’s interesting because I’m a boxing fan, I watch it every weekend, but it’s not until you give it a go you realise how easily you could get knocked out in the ring! There’s a lot of hand-eye co-ordination to think about…
Is this another dark chapter for Aaron?
Actually it’s really different and is more about moving away from the darkness of Aaron’s storylines as he learns to box. It’s nice to have a bit of laugh with Steve, plus Adam Barton gets involved so I’ve got more scenes with Adam Thomas. It’s a whole new dynamic for me as an actor and it’s been really nice.
How far will Aaron go with this? Could he take up bare knuckle fighting professionally like Zak?
I don’t see why not. Aaron thinks this is a cool way of working out with his uncle but also he’s getting good at. Although Aaron has quite an addictive personality so he might go too far… It will be interesting to see where it goes. Ultimately we want to show a different way of dealing with your emotions for people prone to self harming. Exercise, particularly boxing, is a good way of controlling it.
Has it been tiring filming these scenes?
Yes! They started off spraying water on me to make it look like I was sweating, but in the end they didnt need to as I was sweating for real! It took a lot of effort to make it sound and look good, you don’t want to look like an idiot in front of millions of people do you, so i gave it my all. I couldn’t move the next day! But genuinely this storyline is something completely different for me as an actor and I’m enjoying it.
You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of Emmerdale below.
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