Emmerdale pulled off a neat twist tonight when it was revealed that Ross Barton – last seen being killed by his bother Pete – isn’t really dead at all!
Yes, nearly three weeks on from Pete dumping Ross’s body in woodland, it turns out that the Dales bad boy actually survived the pair’s shock showdown.
“It’s been difficult keeping the secret,” says actor Michael Parr. “I’ve even had to make up lies for my family. I’ve been telling them that I’ve been working in a hotel! There has been a bit of speculation that Ross wasn’t dead, so I’ve tried to throw people off the scent by tweeting lies about having auditions. It’s been good fun.”
Scenes just broadcast on ITV saw Ross hooked up to monitors in hospital and briefly opening his eyes just as a nurse expressed hope that they’d soon be able to find out the identity of their mystery patient.
The revelation came just as Debbie – who remains in the dark about Ross’s true whereabouts – was debating whether to call the police following new husband Pete’s murder confession.
“I’ve known for a good few months that this was going to happen,” continues Parr. “Anthony Quinlan, who plays Pete, found out first when he had a meeting with our producer Kate Oates. He came out looking shellshocked but wouldn’t tell me what was going on. So automatically, I assumed they were getting rid of me. And then when she told me, I was chuffed to bits. It’s another great storyline and keeping the twist hidden from viewers seems to have worked.”
In order to ensure that no one outside of the show found out, Parr has taken to wearing disguises when entering and leaving the ITV studios in Leeds where Emmerdale is filmed.
“I have been sneaking in and out,” he admits. “The other day, there were a few people waiting outside, so I had to borrow this massive cagoule from the costume department and walk all the way home in that, even though it was a hot sunny day.”
And it seems that even friends were convinced that Ross had met a fatal end at the hands of Pete. “Yes, I’ve had people reassuring me that I’d get another job soon. Or that it’d be good for me because I’d get a film off the back of it! Hopefully, now that the truth is out there, people will be excited. I hope they won’t be saying, ‘oh bloody hell, I hated that character.'”
As for what the future holds for Ross, Parr is sure that vengeance will be at the forefront of his character’s mind. “Ross is in a lot of pain. Pete gave him a good beating, so he’s got to have time to recover. But he’s got two things on his mind: revenge and the whereabouts of Debbie. Where is the love of his life?
“He doesn’t know what went on. He can’t remember too much. But the doctor tells Ross that he’s either been attacked by a large animal or someone was trying to kill him. So Ross is furious. It’s a pretty cold thing to do to anybody, but to your little brother!
“Ross has always been painted as the bad one, but he’s never done this to anybody. But I think getting Debbie will be his revenge.”
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