What reaction have you had from fans about the assisted suicide story?
Pauline: “I get feedback all the time when I am out wandering around Sainsbury’s and I have to say that 100 per cent of it has been absolutely positive. People said it was very sad and made them cry, but they were also very very complimentary.”
Danny: “I have had mixed responses, but not many people have disagreed with it. Nobody has had a go at me, which is good! There were some complaints, but you have to remember that seven million people tuned in.”
What was it like filming Jackson’s death?
Pauline: “That particular day, I got back to my flat and I went straight to the bedroom and got into bed. My head was throbbing because I’d been crying all day. I have been acting 43 years and I never take it home with me, but in those scenes, I put my body through things it is not prepared to take.”
Danny: “It was heavy. I went to the gym afterwards. That shuts it all out really. It’s my way of unwinding and relaxing.”
How do Hazel and Aaron feel about the court case?
Pauline: “Hazel is in a state. This is Aaron’s future resting on her shoulders and she doesn’t want to muck it up. She is worried that she’ll go to pieces in court. Chas is very concerned that Hazel is starting to lose it.”
Danny: “Aaron is more worried about the state of Hazel’s mind. He wants to stay true to what Jackson asked him to do and look after her. He is not bothered about what happens to him. He’s prepared to take everything they throw at him. He’s lost the love of his life, so he’s not exactly looking forward to the future.”
How would you like to see it pan out?
Pauline: “I don’t think like that. I’ve never asked them here about what will happen to my character in the future either as I love watching TV and I love to sit at home and watch Emmerdale like other people. If a couple of actors are talking about their storyline in the green room, I’ll say ‘Shut up, I don’t want to hear.’”
Danny: “It is not going to be great for him whichever way it falls, but I suppose I’d like him to get off. It would spare me weeks wearing a prison uniform!”
Do you think Hazel and Aaron have any regrets?
Pauline: “The only regret that Hazel has is that she wasn’t the one who gave Jackson the drink. Aaron had to do it because she couldn’t and the repercussions of that split second thing are enormous. It is why Aaron is on trial.”
Danny: “I think he feels angry that he has killed the one and only person he has loved. He’s not angry with Hazel though. He is not about to stand up in court and blame her. I would like to think that in time he can look back at this and realise it’s not his fault. He gave the love of his life what he wanted.”
Pauline, you’re leaving the show at Christmas. How do you feel about that?
Pauline: “I am excited because I am going on a Birds Of A Feather tour with Linda Robson and Lesley Joseph. I have never done anything like that before – I’m doing all sorts of things now that my children are grown up! I didn’t do theatre when they were younger as I liked to be home of an evening for them. Now they are grown up they don’t need me so much. Lesley, Linda and I had a lot of fun together, so I am really looking forward to working with them again. I’ll miss Emmerdale, but they have kindly said they would leave the door open for me.”
Danny: “I will be very emotional when Pauline leaves. She is like a mum to me – she drags me round to her house and cooks me my tea. The show will miss her and everyone in the cast will miss her. I am going to see the theatre show – I will be in the front row.”
Hazel is half the woman she was when she arrived. What’s happened?
Pauline: “I have lost six and a half stone. I decided to try and get the weight off whilst I was away from home and went on a LighterLife diet in January. It was the right time personally and professionally. Hazel was a big personality when I joined and now she has lost her sparkle. I feel great though. I’ve bought myself a bike as I have so much more energy and I am wearing jeans for the first time in 30 years. The trick will be to make sure it doesn’t go back on again. That is where the hard work will really begin.”
Danny: “It’s unbelievable. When I looked at the TV Times cover pictures of us, I thought I was looking big there, as Pauline has lost so much weight. All credit to her really. Thanks to her, I am now addicted to black coffee. That was my little bit of support for her as her diet is so strict you’re not allowed milk or sugar.”