Newcomer Ben takes the troubled Dingle back to a place he’d try to bury...
Ben, played by Our Girl star Simon Lennon, has landed a job as an instructor at outdoor pursuits centre The HOP, and instantly catches Aaron’s eye, who arranges a kayaking session in order to spend more time with him.
But Ben is noticeably standoffish, and eventually reminds Aaron that they have met before – they attended the same school, and Aaron used to bully him because he was gay.
Aaron’s mortified, and realises that he lashed out at Ben as a means of coping with the abuse he was suffering at the hands of his twisted dad.
Explains actor Danny Miller: “That part of Aaron’s life has a lot of dark moments for him, like self-harm. And in a way, this was almost self-harming – bullying Ben was his way of releasing the anger of what his dad was doing to him at home.
“In Aaron’s way, he thought ‘Something’s happening in my life, so I’m going to make somebody else’s life a misery.’ It’s a selfish approach, but it’s that self-loathing, inner angst that Aaron’s always had.
“Gordon’s now dead, and that’s a part of his life that Aaron wants to put in a box and put to the back of his mind. Then this comes up, and there are mixed emotions.
“He regrets what he’s done, but he feels he’s justified as to why he’s done it. Then he comes round to the other side and thinks it’s not actually justifiable in any means to bully somebody. He’s embarrassed as to why he would make those life choices back then, and bully a lad who was actually quite genuine and had a heart.”
Gordon’s abuse of Aaron was exposed in 2016, shortly after he returned to the village, suffering from cancer. Tormented by setting eyes on him again, Aaron revealed to Robert, and later Chas, how his father had raped him as a child.
Aaron later reported the historic abuse to the police, and Gordon was given an eighteen month prison sentence. However, he died soon after, having taken his own life in his prison cell.
Emmerdale continues on ITV.