Emmerdale’s Eric Pollard is locked away, definitely not feeling the festive spirit. But his Christmas takes a surprising twist, reveals Chris Chittell.

How are things between Pollard and David (Matthew Wolfenden) on Christmas Day?

“Relations between him and his dad have hit an all-time low. He doesn’t want to see him. Pollard thinks, ‘Get out of my life. I don’t need you’.”

Does Pollard still blame Chrissie for Val’s death?

“Yes. She’s the one who instigated Val’s death. He can’t look at the bigger picture and see that if he hadn’t locked Val in the hall of mirrors, things might have turned out differently. It’s easier to blame somebody else.”

What will his first Christmas be like without Val?

“There is no Christmas without Val. The sooner it’s over and done with, the better. All he wants to do is keep himself in whisky.”

So what makes him leave his house?

“That pooch, Cheryl! She starts the ball rolling by snatching Valerie’s shoe, leaving Pollard out there in his dressing gown in the middle of winter, looking for it.”

What happens next?

“I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s really cleverly done and borrows elements from Dickens’ Christmas Carol.”

Do you miss Charlie Hardwick?

“On the odd occasion. Probably as much as Eric in various areas. She could be a pain in the butt, but I wouldn’t have changed her for the world.”

Emmerdale, ITV