There’s just over a month to go until Emmerdale airs its special Christmas Day episode and it seems that this year’s visit to the Dales will be very unusual indeed.
“It is probably the weirdest episode we’ve ever done, and given we have done some pretty weird episodes, that’s saying something,” says show boss Iain MacLeod. “But I think it’s really entertaining and dramatic and it’s got a surprise cameo in it. It is stylistically a bit weird and romantic.”
What fans can expect to see is a Robert Sudden-centric episode that is – apparently – a cross between Groundhog Day and A Christmas Carol. But which figure from Robert’s past, present or future can the tortured Mr Sugden expect to see? Here are our top 5 likeliest candidates.
Katie Sugden (Sammy Winward)
Robert brought about Katie’s demise back in 2015 when he pushed through some unstable flooring at Wylie’s Farm, causing her to dramatically fall to her death. So might her spirit return to haunt Robert as he’s forced to revisit past sins?
Andy Sugden (Kelvin Fletcher)
Andy went on the run in 2016 after Robert procured him a false passport. His current whereabouts are unknown, but might he arrive back in the village to help his brother get redemption?
Ashley Thomas (John Middleton)
The village lost its moral guardian when Ashley passed away earlier this year – and Christmas would be the perfect time to see him put in an impromptu appearance. He’s already made one return from beyond the grave, having given Laurel guidance through her TV set. Perhaps he could do the same for Robert?
Sarah Sugden (Alyson Spiro)
If we really are going to revisit Christmases past (as in the original classic Scrooge story), then perhaps Robert’s adoptive mum could appear in some sort of ghostly dream sequence? Stranger things have happened in soapland…
A grown-up Seb
And where would A Christmas Carol be without a portentous glimpse into future events? What’s the betting Robert gets to see a possible future for his son – one that doesn’t turn out so well if he doesn’t become a better person. And naturally, there’d have to be some ageing make-up for both Ryan Hawley and Emily Head.
You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s drama on Emmerdale below
And visit our dedicated Emmerdale page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.