Emmerdale boss Iain MacLeod reveals eight plots that’ll have us glued to our screens...
Gripping storylines and sensational performances have made Emmerdale the soap to watch in 2017 – and earned it wins at the National Television Awards, British Soap Awards and BAFTAs. As we head into autumn, the action is set to crank up, with edge-of-the-seat action that’ll leave us laughing, crying and gasping in equal measure.
Series producer Iain MacLeod gives us a taste of what’s to come…
The end for Emma?
Crimes rarely go unpunished in soapland, and with actress Gillian Kearney set to bow out of Emmerdale this year, it looks like her character, Emma Barton, will finally get her comeuppance for pushing fiance James to his death off that motorway bridge.
So far, Laurel Thomas is the only person who knows Emma’s killer secret – but sons Ross and Finn have started to smell a rat over what happened in the events leading up to their dad’s demise. Will they finally learn that Emma literally had a hand in his death? And if so, will they cut her out of their lives forever? Or could an even worse fate await the nutty nurse?
Teases Iain: “There’s a character in the novel Of Mice and Men called Lennie, who loves mice so much that he keeps squashing them – and I feel that Emma is like that. With everything she loves, she’s got this pathological need to squeeze it so hard that it ends up dying on her.
“That trait will come back poignantly as part of her exit storyline.”
Cain and Harriet to split?
What started out as a few cheeky fumbles in the vestry has quickly turned into a serious relationship for vicar and villain, Harriet and Cain. So now that they’re going steady, it’s about time their relationship hit the rocks – and that’s going to happen, courtesy of another woman. Could sultry Scot Moira Barton end up back in the mechanic’s arms?
Teases Iain: “If we’d taken a straw poll about six months ago, about 90% of our viewers would’ve been desperate to get Cain and Moira back together. I think that number has been reduced somewhat by the fact that people seem to really like Cain and Harriet – but even so, I think most people believe Cain and Moira are the ones that are meant to be together. The question is whether their relationship is too damaged to be repaired.”
Whether Moira will take a chance on her brooding ex remains to be seen, but what we can confirm is that she’s set to have more important matters on her mind than romance. Iain has promised a ‘massive story’ for the farmer towards the end of the year. “I love Moira, and I think that character deserves to be at the centre of the show,” he said, “and she certainly will be, heading into 2018.”
Paddy for Chas?
Someone ‘up there’ has made it clear that Paddy and Chas aren’t meant to be together – remember the series of calamitous dates they went on before she left the village at Easter? His ‘soldier’ is probably only just back on full manoeuvres after he got it caught in his zip.
But despite this tender moment, Paddy finds himself considering another attempt at a relationship with his ex when she returns to the village later in the year. The single vet reckons there’s nothing to lose. After all, Rhona doesn’t want to get back with him… does she?
“At the point where Chas returns, it seems that Rhona is not an option,” revealed Iain. “So the story then becomes: ‘How do you pursue a new relationship when the woman you thought you’d spend the rest of your life with lives up the road and runs a business with you?’
“It’s a nice, warm love story involving those three characters – but as to how it breaks down, you’ll just have to wait and see.”
It was revealed earlier in the year that a new hunk was headed for the Dales – and now we can finally unveil the man in question. He’s Tom Waterhouse, a business client of Charity, and he’ll be played by Ned Porteous – whom soap fans will recognise as the actor who played Mark Fowler Jr in EastEnders last year.
Not surprisingly, it won’t be long before he’s found himself a lady.
Revealed Iain: “To begin with, Tom exists a bit separately from the Emmerdale universe, so for the character who hooks up with him, he’s a bit of an escape from reality, and an opportunity for them to step outside their traumatic day-to-day existence.”
Tom isn’t the only new character heading to the village. He’ll be joined by his right-hand man, Graham, played by Andrew Scarborough – best known for playing Timothy Drewe in Downton Abbey.
Robert Sugden’s revenge plot
Believing he and Aaron are over, Robert Sugden has thrown his energies into getting his hands on Home Farm. And, as we head into autumn, his scheming knows no bounds.
“Robert feels that Aaron is an emotional cul-de-sac, and that has caused the more mischievous and malevolent aspects of his character to rise to the surface,” said Iain. “There’s a really fun Robert story running into the new year, and that will feed into another character’s exit.
“He’s not going to murder anybody, but his schemes will get ever more complicated and ingenious.”
Robert’s devious side was one of the things that drove a wedge between him and Aaron – so, as he reverts back to bad ways, could this be a final nail in the coffin for the pair’s relationship? Not so, promised Iain.
“Whatever fun and games we have with Robert being a rogue, they won’t take him so far away from Aaron that that they’re not going to get back together – because they absolutely will!”
Liv and Gabby return
The village’s teenage contingency has been depleted lately, with Liv in Ireland, and Gabby in Australia. But both youngsters will be back on home soil later this autumn – and they’ll probably be left wondering if they should’ve stayed put.
Already emotionally scarred after having paedophile Gordon for a father and emotional wreck Sandra for a mother, Liv finds herself buckling under the strain when she’s drawn into Aaron’s ongoing efforts to deal with his feelings for Robert.
“Liv’s only a kid, and when you’ve got your big brother leaning on you, and you feel like you’ve got to be the strong one, that can take its toll,” said Iain. “There’s a story coming up where everything will come crashing down on her.”
Gabby, meanwhile, will be caught up in a dramatic storyline of her own – but it’s not all doom and gloom for the teen, who’ll also be involved in a comedy plot with mum, Bernice. Smiled Iain: “Bernice visited Gabby in Australia and it turns out that when she was there, she told a few pork pies about how successful a life she had back in Emmerdale. Some of those fibs are going to come back to haunt her!”
Leyla discovers the truth about Pete and Priya
Secrets never stay that way for long in soapland, so it’s somewhat inevitable that Leyla will find out about Pete’s affair with Priya. The wedding planner is furious with the farmer but, of course, it’s her best mate that really gets it in the neck.
“Leyla has got used to men treating her badly, but Priya was her best friend, and the betrayal she feels from her out-strips what she feels about Pete,” said Iain. “Once the initial heartache has given vent, it starts to harden into anger, and there’s some really fun stuff in terms of how she goes about exacting her revenge.”
With Pete history, Leyla is single and ready to mingle – so the men of Emmerdale best watch out. Iain added: “Leyla would never do to someone what Priya did to her, but her newly available status is going to cause problems for some of our other characters between now and the end of the year.”