David’s never been keen on the way Lachlan is clearly more than a little obsessed with Alicia. Then David sees that the boy has cut pictures of David and Jacob out of a photo album and he realises that Lachlan’s crush is twisted. Alicia, however, is willing to give the lad the benefit of the doubt.
“She’s not comfortable with his crush, but she know’s he’s a sensitive child with issues and she doesn’t want to make him feel worse,’ says Natalie.
Alicia’s soon going to feel very bad, though, isn’t she?
“I can’t say much, but this is the biggest storyline I’ve had to date on Emmerdale. It will change Alicia forever. When our producer Kate Oates told me, I was extremely shocked, as I didn’t see it coming. She explained why it was right for Alicia’s character and it will test everything she knows about herself. It’s brilliant.”
What does Alicia make of Lachlan?
“She feels sorry for him. He’s this kid who’s shy and doesn’t have a lot of friends. Alicia’s very maternal and sees a bit of herself in Lachlan [Thomas Atkinson]. To her, he’s a kid who needs a bit of guidance.”
Hasn’t she wondered why he’s always hanging around her?
“At first, she thought he wanted to be with her and David [Matthew Wolfenden], perhaps because they’re cool, young parents. He’s also very helpful because he spends time with Jacob [Joe-Warren Plant], which frees time up for Alicia. She doesn’t see any more to it than that.”
Until he buys her an expensive bag for her birthday…
“Yes, that causes her antenna to twitch. She thinks it’s a silly, schoolboy crush and that his actions are misplaced. Straight away she thinks she must explain that it’s lovely, but not right for her to keep it. But she gets cross with David for having a go at him. Alicia thinks David has embarrassed him and scarred him for life.”
Then Chrissie mentions that Lachlan has a mystery girlfriend…
“That happens when Alicia’s on her way to Home Farm to give the bag back to Lachlan. Chrissie’s comment makes her realise she must put a lid on it and clear the air and, when she returns the bag to Lachlan, he seems OK. Alicia thinks that’s that and they can get on with life.”
So what happens next?
“David’s taking Alicia to Paris for her birthday. They’re in the pub when David gets called to take Amba to the hospital. Alicia goes home a bit tipsy and Lachlan’s working in the shop. Alicia says she’s in no fit state to work and asks Lachlan to bring her a coffee – but he brings wine instead. She’s not comfortable with the situation and says, ‘Your mum must be getting worried’.”
Is Lachlan set to cause trouble for Alicia?
“Yes, he’ll cause an awful lot of trouble for her and David and Jacob. We’re still not 100 per cent sure about Lachlan. Things will unfold about him and his behaviour will shock Alicia and his parents.”
Will this test Alicia and David’s marriage?
“They’re a strong couple, but Lachlan will test their love for each other and every aspect of their life.”