Aaron (Danny Miller) and Robert (Ryan Hawley) will take centre stage in the soap’s festive line-up this year
The soaps pull out all the stops at Christmas to deliver us the kind of stories that stay long in the memory, and Emmerdale’s Christmas Day episode promises to do just that, with an hour-long instalment almost entirely dedicated to Robert Sugden (Ryan Hawley) and Aaron Dingle (Danny Miller).
TV Times caught up with Danny Miller, aka Aaron, to find out more about the Emmerdale Christmas Day episode…
TVT: Emmerdale series producer, Iain MacLeod, has described the Christmas Day episode as one of the weirdest the show has ever done. Would you agree?
Danny Miller: “I’m not sure whether it’s weird, but it’s a very unusual concept. Iain likes to push the boundaries, in the way stories are told and the way episodes look. When I read the script, it was kind of baffling, but when you get to the end of it, everything that needs answering about Robron is answered. It is unusual, but it’s very clever at the same time, and I’m just happy that I’m a part of it.”
TVT: Iain has also described it as a mixture of Groundhog Day and A Christmas Carol…
DM: “So I believe – I’ve just read that like everyone else! I think what’s important is that it’s about tying up the loose ends of Robron. It’s about trying to work out a future for them both, and working out the past as well. But it’s not about them getting back together. This is Robert’s story, and Aaron is very much in there with him.”
TVT: Is there a different atmosphere on set when you are filming a Christmas Day episode?
DM: “For us, nothing changes, in the sense that we try to maintain the same level of production that we give every week. But it has to be a bit special or family orientated at Christmas, so that people have got that Christmassy feel and it’s different to a normal day in the village.”
It’s been a tough year for Robron
TVT: You’ve already filmed the Christmas episodes – does it feel weird, having a soap Christmas in October / November and then another one in December?
DM: “No, it’s nice, because you get two Christmasses! You do that and then you’ve got another 6 or 7 weeks before Christmas is actually here. Though we don’t walk through the village and see the lights and think “Oh it’s Christmas”; we walk through and think ‘it’s dressed for Christmas.’”
TVT: Robert and Aaron have been living separate lives for much of this year. Is it nice to work with Ryan Hawley again, who plays Robert?
DM: “It is, yeah. I think the writers wanted to put distance between them, to allow them to come back together. There is a wedding on the calendar next year, and it’s about teasing it and keeping it going as far as we can, before we give viewers the final “Here you go, this is what you wanted.” Ryan’s been doing a lot with the White family, and I’ve got stuff coming up with Alex the doctor…”
TVT: Is Aaron a stronger person as we approach Christmas?
DM: “Definitely. One thing I was keen to do, as was Iain, was to allow Aaron’s mental health to get better. It was important that he got away from Robert for that, because Robert only added to the paranoia and the things that were making Aaron self harm and self loath. Next year, when he’s fully comfortable with himself, there might be room to bring Robert back in – but in different circumstances and under different rules.”
TVT: What are your own plans for Christmas, away from Emmerdale?
DM: “This year it’s my nephew’s first Christmas. He’ll have absolutely no idea about it, but for us, it’ll be amazing. He’s only six months old, and my niece is eight. I’ll be cooking dinner with my brother Paul, and everyone will be round at mine. It’ll be very quiet and family orientated and that’s exactly how I love it. Me and my brother panic for about two weeks before, but I’m sure it’ll be fine.”