Emmerdale’s evil Emma Barton thinks her dead husband James is haunting her next week when a string of strange occurrences make her believe she’s receiving messages from beyond the grave. But there’s a logical explanation – vengeful teen Gabby Thomas is behind it all, by way of getting revenge on the nutty nurse for her cruel manipulation of Gabby’s little brother Arthur. Is Gabby putting herself in danger by messing with the unstable medic’s mind?
Returning to the village after some time away, Gabby is horrified to find out what went on between Arthur and Emma in her absence and she vows to teach her sibling’s tormentor a lesson.
When Emma visits the cemetery and sees a prayer card left on James’s grave she’s confused and shaken by how it got there. Confiding in sons Ross and Finn she thinks it could be a message from their dead dad, the Barton boys are concerned for Emma’s state of mind and try to get to the bottom of the strange goings-on.
“It’s comforting for Emma to think it actually could be James trying to communicate with her,” reveals Gillian Kearney, who plays Emma. “But deep down she’s intelligent enough to know that’s not possible and that it’s a set-up. It doesn’t stop Emma hoping James is watching over her in some way, though.”
After Laurel is wrongly accused, Gabby secretly admits to Arthur that she was responsible for the sick prayer card prank and reveals she intends to teach evil Emma a lesson – and seizes the opportunity to drive Mrs Barton even more barmy by telling Arthur to pretend to Emma he had a dream in which his late father Ashley told her to be nice to him. In the next phase of her plan, Gabby takes things a stage further by taking advantage of Emma’s strong religious beliefs and ‘haunting’ her in the church via a walkie-talkie and some spooky hoax noises…
This leaves Emma suspicious and she eventually discovers Gabby is responsible. “She’s disappointed,” shares Kearney. “Emma is ashamed of what she did to Ashley and has been trying her best to atone, but she thinks what Gabby is doing is cruel, this girl is playing with her and using Emma’s vulnerability.”
As Emma menacingly holds her crucifix necklace and prays for God to forgive Gabby her wrongdoing, will the Thomas teen become her next victim?
“The audience should be worried for Gabby!” teases Kearney. “There’s a button you don’t push with Emma because she’ll snap. It’s not coming from an evil place but she’s so volatile you don’t know what she’ll do next…”
Almost a year after she pushed James off that bridge, Emma is heading for an imminently epic exit from Emmerdale (teased in a newly-released promo above), and Kearney teases fans are in for quite a ride.
“When our producer Iain MacLeod discussed it with me a few months ago I was exhausted just hearing about it, never mind acting it out! There’s so much still to happen to her in those final weeks, things will get very desperate. I know the audience can’t wait for us to get to the pinnacle of the story!”
You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of Emmerdale below.
And visit our dedicated Emmerdale page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.