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More 'Emmerdale' chat from Steve November

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Emmerdale executive producer Steve November
I recently had a chat with Emmerdale's executive producer Steve November to hear about what's to come for the ITV soap.

If you haven't already read the first part of the interview, then click here to get up to speed.

Here, however, is the second part of the Q&A - featuring exclusive character teasers and more!

James Sutton is a really popular actor with our readers but many of them felt that he never had the big storylines or screen time that he deserved. What are your thoughts?
"I've heard that and I find it quite odd, because we almost felt like we'd worn his character out with too much story. He arrived, he discovered his long-lost father, had an incestuous relationship with his long-lost sister, was accused of a murder that he didn't commit, was framed by his half-brother who he'd only recently met, went to trial, went to prison. You think, 'My goodness - what more could anybody have done?'

"That amount of drama is quite remarkable and there's not many people who can do all that in the space of six months! Being in the family that he was in and losing other actors around him meant that his story didn't stay at the absolute fore for as long as it might have done, for various reasons, but he was in the middle of our biggest story of last year at every stage of it and did some fantastic stuff for us. But I don't think he was under-served, no."

Have you got anything special planned for Emmerdale's 6,000th episode?
"We haven't, but we hope that every episode is special in some way. We have 312 episodes in a year and it's difficult to make them all stand out, but that's our aim and we wouldn't particularly want to say that the 6,000th is any more special than episode 5,999. We've got a lot of great stuff planned but we won't be marking any particular episode - we'll just be hoping that every episode in every week will bring something to the viewers that they can enjoy."

Would you ever consider a live episode of Emmerdale after seeing how well it worked for Corrie and EastEnders?
"We would, absolutely! We've got a particular production difficulty, though, as both Corrie and EastEnders are shot in the same place inside and out, while Emmerdale isn't and we've got eight miles between our village and our studio, which means you can't quickly get from the inside of The Woolpack to the outside. So that would create some very interesting logistical problems as we'd have two productions going on eight miles apart, and we'd have to consider where the director would be and where the cast would be. But I think that because we've thought of those problems, you can see that we've considered it and it hasn't been ruled out."

Is there any update on new opening titles for Emmerdale?
"Yes, that's all happening. It's been quite a lengthy process involving audience research and talking to the viewers. We really wanted to update the branding in a way that reflects what we think of the show and what we want to say about the show, but also in a way that reflects what the viewers think of the show. So we've been working on the brand and we will see new titles - significantly new titles - hopefully half-way through the year."

Will the theme music change?
"The theme will be the same, but probably reworked a little. But maybe not even noticeably - we haven't worked on that yet. I think the theme is very important as it's more recognisable than the pictures. It's absolutely unmistakable that the music is Emmerdale, so we don't want to change it too much but we might revamp it a little."

The Emmerdale New Dynasty: The Maceys
We've heard that the Macey and Barton families will soon be coming to the forefront of the show…
"Yes, there's a couple of things coming up for them. We like to see the Bartons in big drama - they do very well with that, when they're tested. Adam Barton will be getting a very big storyline. We saw Holly bringing trouble to the family last year, and now it will be Adam's turn when he becomes the object of desire for one of our women, who really won't take no for an answer. His relationship will have a huge effect on him, the Bartons and the Maceys. Also, John and Declan's antagonism will grow and reach a peak as the year goes on. Declan's obviously the landowner and landlord of John, but they're both alpha males and John won't take kindly to being patronised by Declan."

The Maceys have been quite a slow-burn family so far - has that been deliberate after the Wyldes' high drama at Home Farm?
"It has been very deliberate. I think people, naturally, always go back to the Tates who were so big and so defining at Home Farm, and since then we've gone through various new families who've ruled the roost. The tendency has been to have big characters, big villains, big situations and big plots almost from the outset. This time, though, we wanted to bring in somebody who has money, influence and affluence but we felt it would be too predictable to have a family come in and wreak havoc, be the villains or have a big plot almost immediately. We wanted a slower-burn so it wouldn't be quite as obvious what was going on with them."

Debbie Dingle and Cameron have also been tipped for a big storyline - can you give us any hints about it?
"I can't give you any hints, but it will be a big story for this year and through into next. Debbie has taken some time away, come back and been fairly quiet, but it won't remain quiet for her for very long at all. She will absolutely be at the thick of it for a long time to come."

Cain makes it clear Charity is not going anywhere
Cain and Charity had a brilliant episode at the hotel recently. Is it all over for them now?
"I don't think it's ever quite over! Charity seems to be moving on with Jai, and obviously she's found someone who's slightly easier to live with and more successful than Cain, and that's all good for her. But I think the question is always whether Cain can ever move on. They've now had almost a 23-year obsession with each other, and I don't think it's going to go away that easily. Charity might think that that she's moved on, but Cain very much hasn't - which probably spells some sort of disaster! Cain has almost become a bit domesticated with being a granddad, so the question is whether he's settled - and of course he hasn't, so we'll be seeing the best and worst of Cain in the months to come."

You've also got Kelly back - will she be an out-and-out villain, or will there be hidden depths there?
"I hope very much that there will be some depth there. She made a mess of her relationship with Jimmy last time she was on screen, but she loved him and I think that's always quite redeeming. She loves Jimmy and there's nothing wrong with that. If she's doing it for love, we'll probably see some depth and we might even sympathise with her a little. So she might not always do the right thing or always be popular, but she'll be doing it for love and I hope she won't only be villainous."

Will Doug definitely be back?
"He isn't definitely coming back, it's something that is currently unknown. Duncan's off doing some theatre which he wanted to do, but the door's very much open for Duncan and for Doug. We'll keep talking to him and hopefully he'll return, but we haven't got a definite plan yet."

Chas handles Carl whilst helping behind the bar
After their big Christmas storyline, will Chas and Carl move forward separately or still have storylines as a pair?
"I almost think that, not unlike Charity and Cain, Chas and Carl have got unfinished business and they're somewhat star-crossed. Carl certainly knew that he'd made a mistake with Eve - he'd had a bit of a dalliance, but it wasn't a patch on Chas! He probably lost the woman he really wanted, so I don't think it's over for Carl yet and I think he'll be interested in Chas for a while to come, so that will mean more stories for them."

What's ahead for Alicia and Leyla?
"Obviously there's a big secret in there, which is that Jacob is Leyla's son, and I think that we're seeing that Leyla has always regretted giving him away. Leyla is a character who is burdened by regret because of that and now she's watching him grow up in close proximity, we have to wonder how happy Leyla can be with that, especially as her sister is somewhat flighty and not always making the right decisions. So does Leyla still think that it's best for Alicia to bring up Jacob? Or it time that Jacob knew the truth? I think that's the big question. There's definitely a lot more to come - they're two sisters who won't agree on many things."

We've seen Marlon, Rhona and Paddy preparing for the challenges of raising a child who has Down's Syndrome. What's ahead for them?
"We don't want it to be too challenging for them. I think it's easy to say that Down's Syndrome is bound to be a challenge, and we actually want to do exactly the opposite in a way. We'll be showing that Paddy, Rhona and Marlon are three grown-ups - they've had some trials and tribulations along the way, but they are great friends and what's at the heart of that is three good people who want to do the right thing, make sensible decisions and look after each other.

"Above anything else, they're excited about and committed to raising a child. It's a story that's more about friendship and parenthood rather than being specifically about Down's Syndrome - we don't see that as an 'issue' or a negative. It's something that brings different elements, cares and concerns, but - as you'd want from those characters - it's going to be a very positive story."

Nathan is forced to leave  by Ryan
We saw with the Wyldes' storyline that Emmerdale can do big, long-running, intriguing storylines very well. Is there anything like that on the horizon?
"There is, yes - definitely. There's a lot of big stories this year and hopefully we've got a very broad range - some very big issues, big questions, some real-life human drama. And also a very big thriller towards the end of the year!"

Are there any new signings you can tell us about?
"Just about to hit our screens is Kurtis Stacey, playing Alex. He's a young guy, a working-class farmhand who arrives in the village. He's not unattractive by any means, so he'll be a bit of a heart-throb and romantic lead, break a few hearts, and provide some great stories for our younger women and girls. As for other new signings, there's nothing definite yet but there will be new people coming in through the year."

What's ahead for the Sugdens?
"The arrival of Alex will really bring Victoria Sugden back to the fore - she's had quite a quiet time, but she will leap back into the thick of it with Alex, along with the Sugdens in general. Andy has got an exciting time ahead with Alicia - his new and rather troublesome girlfriend."

Who else should we be watching out for in the months ahead?
"Debbie's story will be huge and I think it'll be a big talking point. It will really challenge the characters and challenge the viewers - it's a fantastic story that will really touch Debbie and everyone around her. Aaron, Jackson and Hazel are all in big storylines. Also, Laurel and Ashley have been very quiet for a while but will be in the centre of a very big story!

"I think there's plenty, plenty more to come this year. I think there's a long way to go - we certainly haven't seen everything that Emmerdale can do. We're certainly not going to rest on our laurels or think we've done it all - we're going to give the viewers something even more exciting and engaging this year."

Are you excited about what's in store for Emmerdale? Let me know your thoughts using the form below! Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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