Andy Sugden (Kelvin Fletcher) is to be hospitalised with serious injuries following an accident caused by a drunken Adam Barton (Adam Thomas).
Next week’s episodes of Emmerdale will see Adam struggling to cope with the surprise that James Barton (Bill Ward) is his real father, a secret that mum Moira (Natalie J Robb) has only now been forced to disclose. But it’s Adam’s actions in scenes airing on Thursday 3 July that will end up having far-reaching repercussions not just for him, but for Andy as well.
A drunk Adam will be seen climbing into a tractor and setting it going, oblivious to the fact that Andy is behind rethreading the baler. Moments later, Andy lets out a howl due to the intense pain. So just what has Adam done?
“He’s jumped on to the tractor and started it up without realising that Andy’s still there fixing the baler,” actor Kelvin Fletcher tells RadioTimes.com. “Obviously, we used a prosthetic arm, so the viewer can see where the damage is and it’s pretty graphic, really. I watched some of the footage the other day and had to turn away because I’m not too good at looking at that kind of thing. Andy is screaming with pain and falling in and out of consciousness.”
After the disaster, Andy is rushed to the hospital where doctors explain that they need to operate ASAP. Once out of surgery, Andy is shocked to hear that he will need to stay in hospital longer than expected due to the severity of the injury. “The fact is that he’s got nerve damage and might not ever be able to use his arm again,” continues Fletcher. “There’s this underlying factor of Andy being concerned that he won’t be able to support his kids. He’s really worried that his world has ended.”
In the wake of the accident, Andy’s current girlfriend Bernice (Samantha Giles) vows not to leave his side. But in an unexpected turn of events, it’s Andy’s ex-wife Katie (Sammy Winward) who proves to be the greater source of support:
“Katie really understands where Andy is coming from and tries to give him a bit of confidence and reassurance. She has a very different outlook to Bernice, who keeps telling him that he needs to sue. Andy ends up becoming detached from Bernice and getting closer to Katie. It’s Katie who reminds him that these people are almost like a family to him. She’s also hopeful of him getting the use of his arm back.”
This upcoming drama that’s set to befall Andy will mark Kelvin Fletcher’s 18-year anniversary on Emmerdale, an almost two-decade-long period of service that has seen his character accidentally kill his adoptive mum Sarah, get involved in a hit and run and become embroiled in a domestic abuse plotline with former wife Jo. So what memories does the actor have of his earliest days on the ITV soap?
“What was weird, as a 12-year-old actor, was being expected to behave like an adult while still being treated as a kid everywhere else. So I’d have to arrive on set on time, know my lines and basically be in this adult environment where people might swear a lot! Then, in the same afternoon, I’d be in the park playing football with my mates, in complete contrast to what I’d been doing that morning with professional actors.
“It was only when I got to 21 that my personality started coming out a little bit more. I remember getting really frustrated that people would think that I’d suddenly become really cocky, but it was really just me maturing and speaking where I previously didn’t think I had the right to.”
Yet despite being in the same job for so long, Fletcher’s enthusiasm for the show remains undimmed. Indeed, he’s at his most passionate when talking about Emmerdale being overlooked on this year’s Bafta nominations list, an omission that came following a particularly strong 12 months for the soap that saw an explosive siege filmed on the underwater stage at Pinewood Studios.
“It’s complete bollocks, to be honest,” he says of the awards snub. “I think that Emmerdale has been absolutely brilliant for the last three or four years and I’ve just lost all faith in us receiving an award. If we haven’t won one already then – in my eyes – we never will because the show has done things that are so amazing. It has, at times, been head and shoulders above the rest and we’ve still won nothing.
“But if you start to chase awards, then you lose what we’ve got. The true reflection is when you speak to viewers and they tell you how good it is.”
Emmerdale continues on Thursday 26 June at 7pm on ITV