Emmerdale‘s James Thornton reveals to Soaplife how John and Moira are happily reunited – then hit by a terrible tragedy!

So, how does John and Moira’s reconciliation come about?
“When Moira says she’s going to agree to a divorce it’s a wake-up call for John and he realises just how much he needs to be with her. So there are quite a few scenes where they discuss their future and they decide to make a go of it. There are some really nice moments when they both finally realise that they can’t live without each other.”

Then they have a car crash!
“Yes. The kids book John and Moira a night in a hotel so they can spend some time together and have some fun. They set off in good spirits, but they hit a patch of ice. The car skids and they have this horrific accident.”

How did you feel when you found out about your exit story?
“We talked about possible exit scenarios for my character and I wanted to go out with a big, dramatic story, so we came up with this idea of the tragic love story. John and Moira love each other to bits and that relationship is so strong, so we needed to do it justice with the exit storyline. It’s a beautifully told story and you see how much these two people love each other. It’s mostly about that really, the car crash stunt is just part of that.”

It must have been a challenging storyline…
“It has been fun working on something so big, but really sad as well because I’ve known all along that I’m leaving the show and this is part of my exit storyline. It’s quite gruesome. We’ve really gone for the horror that John and Moira both face. They filmed us being spun upside-down which is an unusual experience, really good fun! Then they put the car on a scaffold rig and had an airbag under the car so that as it jolts and starts to fall, we actually fell with it for real. It was like being on a fairground ride.

“Stunts are great. As a bloke you want to do these kinds of things, it’s exciting. But the most challenging bit overall was the build-up to the accident. We wanted to take the audience on a journey of emotions. To make sure John and Moira’s reconciliation was pitched right and felt believable was the most difficult.”

Why did you leave Emmerdale?
“I live in London and have been working away from home for three years, so it was time to move on really. I’ve done a lot of drama series in the past and done them for two to three years and then moved on to the next job. It’s the actors’ way of life and that’s what really appeals to me. You never know what’s coming next.”