Soaplife caught up with Emmerdale‘s James Sutton to find out how his character Ryan finds an unlikely romance with prison guard Abi…

Obviously prison isn’t the perfect setting for a relationship. Tell us how the romance between Ryan and Abi begins?
“At first Abi just takes an interest in Ryan, listening to him and giving advice. He thinks she’s just being nice, but when she starts breaking the rules and sneaking him food and letting him use her mobile phone, he catches on that she fancies him.”

Abi’s blonde and we know your character Ryan likes blondes, do you think that’s why he fancies her too?
“Yeah, he does like blondes. Abi’s a good-looking girl plus she’s fun and very nice. I think maybe he’d be attracted to her if they’d met in different circumstances, but the fact he’s so isolated in prison makes things more intense. The circumstances are extremely unusual – you don’t usually go to prison to pull.”

How far could their relationship go while he’s in prison?
“Well, they come close to kissing on more than one occasion. The first time it almost happens, Abi’s comforting Ryan because he’s feeling so down and the only thing that stops them kissing is his cellmate Curtis walking in.”

What we really want to know is, will they eventually do more than kiss?
“It must only be a matter of time. They can only have so many charged moments together before things get dangerous.”

Aren’t they worried about being caught?
“Abi’s the only good thing in his life right now, but Ryan’s not thinking about the risks involved – although he should be, especially with a cellmate like Curtis.”

Is Abi helping him cope with prison?
“She’s just about making jail bearable for him. He’s depressed, sad and frustrated by the way things are going. And it gets worse when he gets his court date for next month. He feels he has no chance without Maisie there to stand up for him and tell the court what she knows.”

Does Ryan believe that he could actually be found guilty?
“The police have the planted evidence and he did have a motive, so yes. Serving a long prison sentence for a crime he didn’t commit is a real fear. It’s all gone so much further than he ever dreamed it would…”