Emmerdale’s Sam was completely devastated when wife Alice died last year. Would he ever fall in love again? Looks like he may already be moving on, says actor James Hooton

Ever since Sam was the first to stand by Emily after her return with Debbie’s baby there’s been a bond forming and we reckon it’s forming into love…
“Sam cares deeply for Alice and he’s eternally grateful for her help with Samson. But love? Alice is still very much alive to him and Sam, being the kind of person he is, would regard having romantic feelings towards Emily as a betrayal.”

Which doesn’t mean the feeling’s not there, just that Sam isn’t admitting it yet?
“It could be. Certainly Marlon suspects as much. When Sam confided in him that he’d called Emily Alice, Marlon tried to tell Sam that loving again wouldn’t be wrong. He told him that Alice would want him to he happy… and she would.”

But Sam didn’t really take it on board.
“Maybe deep down he has started to have feelings for Emily but if he has he can’t bring himself to admit it. He still feels like he’s married to Alice.”

When baby Samson is rushed to hospital with meningitis though there is no Alice to help Sam through… and it’s Emily who dashes to be there by his side.
“Sam’s terrified when Samson is so ill. He’s in a terrible state because he can’t find any guidance in the book Alice left him. He’s so upset that he treatens he’ll kill himself if anything happends to Samson and it’s Emily who tries to calm him down and reassure him. It’s Emily, too, who’s there to share his joy when the doctors say Samson will be ok… and Emily again who Sam thinks of when he decides it’s time he stood on his own two feet more. Sam convinces Chas to let him rent Dale View. He tells her it’s so he he and Samson can have more space but he also But it doesn’t happen. Before Sam can tell her his plan Emily finds out that Kelly is moving out which means she doesn’t have to. So does James think Emily might have feelings for Sam?
“At the moment Sam’s just a very good friend to her. But I think they’re kindred spirits in many ways, both being quiet, shy and reserved.”

Though Sam does seem to have changed since he lost Alice. Does James think there’s a difference?
“I think he’s more clued-up these days. It happened quite naturally I think as part of losing his wife and becoming a dad. It was an incredibly difficult time for Sam but it made him grow up and come out of his shell a bit. Personally I prefer this change in him as it’s another dimension to his character. He’s a more complex character now which gives me more scope as an actor. For now I’m enjoying playing him as a single dad.”

But maybe not for long… wink, wink.