Emmerdale: Ned Porteous reacts to Joe Tate twist

“Joe has spent his whole life planning revenge,” says the actor as his character’s masterplan is revealed

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Emmerdale delivered a huge twist tonight when Tom Waterhouse was revealed to be Joseph Tate posing under a fake identity.

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The orphaned son of Chris Tate and Rachel Hughes, Joe was last seen in 2005 aged 10 when he emigrated to New Zealand with his aunt Zoe and little cousin Jean.

Fans have been suspicious of enigmatic millionaire Tom since he was introduced last September and began buying the affections of Debbie Dingle.

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After it emerged Tom was behind a development plan to destroy the Dingles’ cottage, Mr Waterhouse came clean about who he really was, explaining his long game of ruining the Dingles as revenge for gold digging stepmum Charity driving his troubled father to suicide 15 years ago. Cue huge showdowns, scathing accusations and drinks thrown in faces as years of pent-up rage came flooding out…

So how long has actor Ned Porteous known the big secret about his character? Let’s ask the man himself…

Did you know Tom was actually Joe Tate all along?

I did. I had to keep it quiet especially from my mum because she is a notorious chatterbox, so I was telling her there would be a twist but not what it was. She’s been ringing me once a week trying to get me to tell her but she’ll be finding out as the public do. I told my dad but he forgot twice!

Did you know the history of the Tates?

Bits and bobs. When I auditioned I did as much research as I could, but there was only so much information they could give me before I was confirmed in the role.

Can you explain Joe’s vendetta against Charity?

From very early on Joe has been under the assumption Charity was behind the death of his father. He’s spent his whole life planning his big revenge, he was orphaned very young and everything has been boiling and simmering until he finally manages to worm his way back in.

Who’s he grown up with?

He moved abroad but returned to England to go to boarding school where he spent most of his childhood, and met Graham when he was in his early teens. They have a very interesting relationship, it’s paternal but there’s also a business side to it. Graham is the parental figure in Joe’s life.

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Where has all his money come from?

A lot of it was inheritance from Chris Tate and some he built up himself. Joe has a very strong business mind and with his aptitude and Graham’s help, has turned his inheritance into more than what it was.

How does it feel to bring the Tate name back?

It’s a lot to take on, and also knowing the character won’t be very well liked and is the son of someone who was pretty much hated. But I can’t lie, I was really excited! It’s much more fun playing baddies, but as an actor you need to find something you can love and understand when you might not agree with the character’s actions. You need to believe what they’re doing which is interesting to play.

Has he got any redeeming features?

I’d like to think so…

He blames Charity for his dad’s death, but why has he got it in for Debbie and the rest of the Dingles?

In the time he’s been brooding over this revenge there has been a significant amount of collateral damage, and whether or not he realises he’s gone too far will be explored later on. There’s an element of regret. I think a lot of that is covered by his drive to complete his goal.

Has he got genuine feelings for Debbie?

Definitely. There’s a lot of Debbie which Tom finds endearing, her determination her thick skin – he really admires her. He wouldn’t want her to come to any real harm, he’s not a monster. I just think he’s been set on this path for so long now maybe it gets a bit misconstrued. I want to think he’s a good person and sees the good qualities in Debbie.

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Was he ever distracted from his scheme by her?

Possibly. The entire time they were together the walls were up and there were very few moments where he was completely himself. Even if there were sparks of true feelings, I’m sure he would’ve nipped them in the bud and stopped them from being a hindrance to his devious plan!

Have you enjoyed all the speculations about your character?

I love it, especially when a fan theory comes out that isn’t quite right. I try and stay away from it because I don’t trust myself on Twitter. One time my mum picked up on something and was convinced I was one of the Kings. I neither confirmed nor denied! The viewers adore the show and it’s fascinating how they remember so much and put the pieces together.

Did you enjoy the confrontation scene with Charity?

The beauty of playing a character like this is he gets to be quite outlandish and say mean things because he knows he’s protected by his faithful bodyguard and his money. So it’s been fun to have those big moments with Charity knowing I can be as sinister as I want with few repercussions! Emma Atkins is a real professional and such fun to work with.

So is it really all over for him and Debbie?

We don’t know, you’ll have to stay tuned and find out!

You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of Emmerdale below.

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And visit our dedicated Emmerdale page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.