Emmerdale will do its own version of the Stephen King chiller Misery next week when an incapacitated James Barton is held captive by deranged partner Emma.
James will be seen breaking his leg when a showdown with son Ross results in him taking a tumble down some stairs. But little does James realise that Emma has ulterior motives in aiding him with his recuperation. Because Emma now knows about James’s recent fling with Moira and is determined to keep her eye on him – at all times!
“Emma is certainly not a stranger to jealousy and she wants to make sure that James doesn’t go anywhere near Moira,” says actor Bill Ward. “Emma is not twiddling her moustache in an overtly villainous way so, as far as James is concerned, it’s all going well and he’s being looked after by the woman he wants to remarry. Until he discovers that Emma is putting liquid morphine into his food.”
The ITV soap is keeping tight lipped about how James finds out that he’s being kept sedated, but suffice it to say that events will soon spiral out of control after James breaks his leg again! Now in real agony, James is ushered by Emma up to his bed, knowing that he ought to be getting treatment in hospital:
“Emma tells James that an ambulance is on the way, but it never shows up. And then James spies Emma out of the window stamping on his mobile phone and throwing it into the nettles. It’s at this point that he works out that things might be more serious than he’d previously imagined. So that’s when James tries to escape. He knows that he has a broken leg which hasn’t been set and that he should be in hospital.”
After scrambling out of the back door on crutches, James tries to attract the attention of a passing farmer, only for his cries to go unheard. At which point, Emmerdale fans will no doubt be left wondering whether – as in the original Stephen King horror – the battle of wills between James and Emma will turn deadly. So did Ward watch Misery as research for the storyline?
“I did buy a copy, but I chose not to watch it. I felt that our story wasn’t the same as Misery. Yes, it does have one person holding the other captive. But James and Emma are two people in love. And that’s very different from the set-up in Misery where it’s a fan and a writer.
“On Emmerdale, we have two people trying to make the best of a marriage that’s flawed. I will watch Misery after our storyline plays out, but I didn’t want the shadow of it hanging over me.”
You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of Emmerdale below.
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