Ross Barton leaves Emmerdale next week, bringing Michael Parr’s five years as the brooding bad boy to an end. Seeking a fresh start away from the village and its countless bad memories, Ross and girlfriend Rebecca White have decided to move on, but a last-minute change of heart from his other half could mean the buff Barton exits alone.
“Ross needs a clean break,” Parr tells RadioTimes.com. “He’s been through so much, from finding out his mum tried to drown him as a kid, then losing his mother, dad and brother, getting his heart broken and having acid thrown his face – every time he leaves his front door he is reminded of it all. Equally, Rebecca needs a new start after all her dramas.”
Unfortunately the couple’s assumption they can take full custody of Ross’s son Moses from his mother Charity Dingle, and Bex’s baby boy Seb away from dad Robert Sugden, doesn’t go down with either co-parent.
“Robert is doing what he does best, getting all creepy lurking in the background, and overhears Ross and Rebecca discuss their plan to leave with the kids,” reveals Parr. “He protests their decision. Ross narrow-mindedly thought Charity would be willing to let Moses go as she’s not been the best parent in the past. But since long-lost son Ryan Stocks came into her life she is trying to correct her mistakes.”
Ross and his lady have a fight on their hands as Charity, Robert and husband Aaron Dingle unite to try and keep Moses and Seb in the village, and guilty Bex eventually caves and announces she’s changed her mind and is sticking around until the situation is sorted.
“Suddenly, Ross realises he has no choice but to leave without Rebecca. This was a massive opportunity for him to turn away from all his bad boy antics and go straight, and do it with the girl he loves. But he understands she has to do the right thing by her son.”
So the time comes for Ross to pack his bags and bid farewell to his family and friends, including big brother Pete who has stuck by his sibling through all their ups and downs. Parr speaks fondly of how his relationship off-screen with Anthony Quinlan, who plays Pete, has become an extension of their alter egos’.
“I’ve made friends for life here, and got an older brother role model for me in Quinny! But everyone’s been amazing to work with, particularly Verity Rushworth (Donna Dingle, one of Ross’s many love interests) along with Charley Webb (Debbie Dingle), and of course the little boy who plays Moses who I’ve seen go from a three-day-old baby to the most charming toddler!”
As to whether this is also the final bow for Emily Head as Rebecca, fans will have to wait until next week to see whether Ross goes it alone. Whatever happens, Parr confesses to feeling the same conflicted emotions his character no doubt will be as he steps back into the outside world after five years of high-profile, challenging storylines.
“It’s a mixed bag of anxiety and happiness,” he reflects. “I feel like I’m breaking up with Emmerdale, it’s very sad but ultimately the right decision for me at this time in my life. I’m taking the plunge and going to be a desperate dole-y actor again! The immediate plan is to go to LA where I’ve got some mates, including Adam Fielding (who played Emmerdale’s Kirin and recently appeared in US Superman spin-off Krypton). We’re going to live the American dream until our money runs out!”
Having survived countless attempts on his life, including one genuine return from the dead, Parr is pleased the door appears to be open for Ross, and he’s not ruling out a possible return some day. “I’ve had the best five years of my life and hopefully I can come back and do a bit more in the future. But if I get killed off screen you’ll know I’ve annoyed somebody somewhere!”
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