Emmerdale’s Robron wedding is set to provide soap fans with plenty to talk about in the coming week, but the show’s boss Iain MacLeod has now revealed details of what else will be happening in the next few months.
Speaking at a press event, the executive producer told The Huffington Post UK and other reporters about what we can expect to see, teasing a mystery affair that’s sure to shock fans and hinting at how Ashley Thomas’s devastating dementia storyline will come to a surprising end.
Here are all of the spoilers he revealed (and, trust us, you won’t be disappointed)...
1. Aaron Dingle’s jail time will take centre stage
At some point, we will see an entire episode dedicated to exploring how Aaron’s prison sentence affects him and his family. The show’s team have built a prison set, which will feature heavily in the coming months, and Iain warned that the storyline will be “quite heavy”. “It’s big and complicated and interesting and feels very much of our time,” he said. “[The storyline] feels quite topical.
“With every news report that comes out I feel more and more pleased that we’ve been able to do something in this area.”
2. Ashley Thomas’s death
Ashley’s dementia has been slowly worsening and Iain told us that the character’s “exit story is not that far off”.
“It’s tragic to say it but he will soon be no longer with us,” he said. “I’ve just signed off on the final version on the episode in which he dies and it is unbelievably beautiful.
“It’s oddly joyous – it’s a celebration of the character. We didn’t want to do a story where he just absconded from a care home and was discovered dead from hypothermia or something, it would be too bleak.
“In a story that is already desperately sad, what we wanted to do was make this the best possible death so that coming out of the other side of it, his family members think, ‘Well none of us wanted him to go so soon’, but knowing that he had to go, these were the best circumstances for his death that we could construct.
“It’s super warm and funny and almost festive and boisterous. It’s just beautiful and I couldn’t be more proud of the script, which is in very capable hands with our cast and crew.”
3. Ashley’s funeral will also be very special
Obviously, the Dales veteran and former vicar will be given a fitting send-off and Iain revealed that they have big plans for the funeral.
“What we’ve got for the funeral is something that is every bit as quirky – though not in the same way – as the special Ashley episode that we did,” he teased. “It’s as experimental as that but in a different way – that will be really special and will probably be talked about for quite some time to come.
“I hope people are as surprised as I was when I read it. It’s pretty special, I have to say.”
4. More experimental episodes
Last year, ‘Emmerdale’ featured a car crash story that was told across a week’s worth of episodes, with each one showing the same day, but from the point of view of different characters and it’s success means the writers are busy planning another “non-linear” episode set.
Iain said: “One of the big things we’re currently working on is something that will be a bit like what we did last year with the big car crash, where everything was all jumbled up and the storytelling was a bit crazy.
“This won’t be as stunt driven but it will be equally as quirky and interesting and probably non-linear.”
5. Chas Dingle’s exit
Chas will be leaving the Dales for a short while, as actress Lucy Pargeter will be going on maternity leave and Iain revealed that “her exit story is tied in with Faith”.
“Obviously, Chas is back in the not too distant future and there’s a risk,” he said. “It’s big and emotional with some of the funniest and most heartbreaking scenes between Faith and Chas in the run up to it, which sum up their whole relationship - but nobody dies or anything.”
6. Drama for Rhona Goskirk and Pierce Harris
Pierce’s dark side has been seen on a number of occasions, but his development has been slow-burning for a reason.
Addressing what’s to come for the couple, Iain said: “Rhona and Pierce’s story is swinging into top gear and what I’ve loved about it so far is that as soon as people saw Pierce getting together with Rhona so quickly, started to suspect that there was something not quite right about him.
“We’ve taken our time and let that story develop slowly and it reaches a kind of peak in April/May time, I think.
“It doesn’t come to an end there but there’s a big story explosion there. The episodes are heart-stoppingly dramatic – quite a tough watch but an unbelievably big talking point heading into the summer.”
7. A ‘sexy’ love triangle
While Iain couldn’t tell us who will be involved, he tease a “love triangle that’s mental, sexy, destructive and also kind of funny – it’s a man and two women and the bloke haplessly gets stuck between two people that he can’t choose between which will be good fun”.
8. And a shock affair
Starting in April, this plot will see two very different characters find romance together.
“Chalk and cheese doesn’t even cover it!” Iain said. “If you thought about the most ying and yang characters in the village, it would be them. It’s unbelievably sexy and dangerous and insane – I love it.
“The early phases of that are just coming into the scripts now so I’m only really just dipping my toe into the water with that at the moment.
“When it was first suggested, it’s the sort of thing that you go: ‘Really!?’
“And then you kind of go: ‘Yeah, I’m weirdly turned on by that!’
Hopefully you’ll all agree otherwise, I’ll look very silly. Honestly, pick the two characters who are least likely to end up in bed together…it’s a fun game to play at home!”
Don’t worry, we’re going to spend the next three months desperately trying to work out who it is as well.
Catch up on all the latest soap news and spoilers here.