Emmerdale‘s Robert Sugden (Ryan Hawley) delivered a massive curveball by changing his plea for assaulting his sister’s rapist to guilty at the last minute, virtually guaranteeing a prison sentence.
The cliffhanger of Thursday 5th September’s first episode of a dramatic double bill pulled the rug from beneath Robron fans, who thought the false testimony of Victoria Barton (Isabel Hodgins) that her brother was provoked into attacking her tormentor Lee Posner (Kris Mochrie) would determine Mr Sugden’s fate.
Unable to let his pregnant sibling lie on the stand, Rob decided not to give her the chance and switched to a surprise guilty plea to the judge at his hearing, leaving family and friends, including husband Aaron Dingle (Danny Miller) utterly distraught as gasps emerged from the gallery.
Ahead of his court appearance Robert ignored his solicitor’s advice to plead guilty when it looked like Victoria was ready to uphold her lie to the police about the truth of the beating that put Lee in a coma. His sudden change of heart has huge ramifications for the character’s future – fans know Hawley is leaving the soap this autumn, but not when.
Does the plea automatically mean he’ll be banged up? How will Vic cope without him, and will she blame herself for her brother being behind bars?
“Robert is her right arm,” sighs Hodgins, discussing the inevitable moment the siblings are separated. “The prospect of becoming a mum without her big brother is heartbreaking. Lee’s already taken so much from her, and she’s determined he won’t take her brother too.
“I’m really going to miss Ryan,” she says, sad at the prospect of saying goodbye to her co-star, who took over from Karl Davies in the role back in 2014. “He’s like a naughty little boy and can drive me insane, but I love him like a real brother. I see him more than I do my own family!”
What about Aaron? He’ll no doubt be angry his other half has made this big choice without consulting him – will Robert tell him to forget him and move on with his own life while he languishes at Her Majesty’s pleasure?
Fans will have to tune in at 8pm for the second half of the double bill to see the fallout of Robert’s reckless announcement…
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