Robert Sugden’s upcoming exit from Emmerdale may not be as straightforward as fans think, as it appears he might be secretly planning to go on the run to avoid a prison sentence for attacking his sister’s rapist – is this how Ryan Hawley will be written out of the soap after five years?
Thursday 5th September’s double bill kept viewers on their toes, first by having Victoria Barton (Isabel Hodgins) agree to lie on the stand for her brother that he was provoked into beating Lee Posner (Kris Mochrie) unconscious, then delivering a surprise twist when Rob decided to at the very last minute to change his plea to guilty – meaning his pregnant sibling wouldn’t have to compromise herself.
Back at home there were emotional scenes that no doubt left Robron fans wiping away the tears as Aaron Dingle (Danny Miller) was forced to confront the consequences of his husband’s actions and face up to the fact he’d definitely be going to prison.
Convincing upset Aaron he’d done the right thing and had to take the correct punishment for his crime, even though it meant they’d be apart, Robert smoothed things over and the boys ended up united over the uncertain future that now lies ahead.
But Emmerdale viewers should know by now to expect more from a major character’s upcoming departure, and Thursday’s second episode ended with Rob sneaking off from a last supper-style family dinner to make a furtive call to Cain Dingle, begging him to help get his hands on some “serious money – and I don’t care how…”
No one calls Cain unless they’re in a serious predicament, so we can only deduce Robert is planning to avoid a custodial sentence by doing a runner and making a fresh start elsewhere.
What’s not clear quite yet is if he’s going to do this alone – or will he try and get Vic and Aaron to come with him so they can be there to help Victoria raise her baby?
Or is Robert selfish enough to flee in order to protect his own freedom and leave his loved ones not knowing where he is? What if his plan goes wrong and he ends up dead? Cain is involved, after all.
“Whether you stay or choose to go, you’re at the mercy of the producers,” says Hawley, reflecting on the chance he could be killed off. “If they decide Robert has to die, you can’t have any ill feeling. It is what it is.”
“I personally think it would be a shame,” chips in Miller. “It’s a character who has been so popular over the years, and Ryan has come in and done it justice. But if Robert did die it would be a great storyline for Aaron – just saying!”
Another possibility is the shifty blonde businessman is not actually plotting to scarper at all, and is hoping to corrupt the legal system by paying off the judge to get him off.
Emmerdale won’t reveal exactly when Robert is off our screens, but we know it’s some time during the autumn which means it could be any day now…
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