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'Emmerdale': Liam Fox talks awards, Dan Spencer plots, more

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Liam Fox as Dan Spencer in Emmerdale

© ITV

Emmerdale actor Liam Fox took centre stage in one of soapland's most surprising stories last year as his character Dan Spencer became engaged to Chas Dingle after just a few days as a couple.

The plotline put Dan right at the heart of the ITV soap's 40th anniversary celebrations, while in real life, Fox has won support from fans and made the shortlist for 'Most Popular Newcomer' at the National Television Awards 2013. He features in the category alongside Coronation Street's Natalie Gumede, EastEnders' David Witts and Hollyoaks' Joseph Thompson.

Digital Spy recently caught up with Liam to hear his reaction to the nomination and what's coming up for Dan.

How does it feel to be in the running for the 'Most Popular Newcomer' award?
"It's amazing, really, especially as before I joined Emmerdale, I was just plodding along as a normal jobbing actor having a quiet time. Six months before I joined the show, things started to pick up a lot, and that culminated in me getting the role of Dan. To get this nomination is just phenomenal, really - it's a great honour. I'm absolutely over the moon."

How do you rate your chances?
"I really don't know what to expect. Obviously I'm up against some really great actors in the category, especially Natalie in Coronation Street, who's doing a great job there. Who knows? If I was to win it, I'd be chuffed, but if not, the nomination is great. That's not just me being cheesy, it's genuinely how I feel about it."

Is there anything you'd say for why our readers should vote for you?
"Well, all of us nominees are doing a similar job and it's nice to get the recognition. If you like Dan and you like what you know of me - which probably isn't a great deal at the moment - then please do vote!"

6370: Chas' nerves are in tatters as her wedding ceremony begins. Will Chas and Dan tie the knot uninterrupted?

© ITV



Out of all the scenes you've done, do any stand out as ones that you're particularly proud of?
"It's got to be the scenes in the live episode, I think. It was such a massive part of my first year in the show and working with Lucy Pargeter, who plays Chas, was just fantastic. Every day was a pleasure.

"When we were preparing for the live episode, it was great to work with the director Tony Prescott, who was really amazing. The live episode wasn't an easy task for us, but he made it as relaxed as it possibly could be, considering what we were setting out to achieve! To be a part of that was absolutely fantastic."

After the 40th anniversary was so well-received, do you think Emmerdale stands a chance of getting the top soap prize at the NTAs this year?
"Well, if there's any year that Emmerdale's going to get it, it should be this one. I think it's been on fine form in the past year, and the viewing figures have been much higher than they were a while ago. We've also sustained that since the live episode, so here's hoping.

"The audience share we get for Emmerdale is fairly comparable to Corrie and EastEnders, so it'd be nice for us to win. As great as Corrie and EastEnders are, I think it's about time that Emmerdale got the recognition it deserves."

Will you have any nerves over the live ceremony, or will you just enjoy the moment?
"I think I'm just going to enjoy the moment. I did my first Daybreak interview last week and I thought I'd be nervous about that, but I'm just enjoying every minute of it. I was more nervous when I wasn't working and wondering where the next penny was coming from!"

6365: Dan is chuffed when Bob gives him two tickets to the festival as a way of celebrating his stag do

© ITV



Can you give us any gossip on what's coming up for Dan?
"I honestly don't know that much at the moment. I know that Dan and Bob are going to be getting up to lots of things. Dan is determined that Bob should get together with Brenda, so a lot of the stuff I've been filming recently has surrounded that storyline. It's a lot of humorous stuff at the minute!

"We have a new producer at Emmerdale who I've not had a meeting with yet, so I'm not sure what the big plans are for the next six to twelve months, but part of me doesn't want to know! I really like picking up the scripts and finding out in there. For example, I'm really enjoying having Dan working in the garage with Cain, and I didn't know that was happening until I read the script."

We've heard there are some troubles ahead between Dan and his son Sean. What can you tell us about that?
"Sean's had enough of his dad pussyfooting around Chas! Sean realises that his dad has still got a thing for Chas, as much as he's letting her get on with her life. Sean's at that age where he'd like to be able to look up to his dad. It's very important for young lads to respect their father, but I think Sean has lost that respect a little bit.

"Although Sean's behaviour is fairly out of order, you can see where it's coming from because he wants his dad to be a man about things and stand up for himself more. Although Dan's upset with Sean, he can also understand where he's coming from."

Would you like Dan to get a new love interest?
"Oh yeah, but not too quickly. I don't think he should be looking to marry anyone again too soon! But Dan's had a couple of little shenanigans since the wedding, nothing major, and hopefully further down the line there could be something more. To get a good woman in his life would bring some drama and comedy to his life, so I think that'd be good."

An angry Dan marches into Ali and Ruby's after Sean lies to him, claiming Ruby tried to kiss him

© ITV



Dan was initially introduced to cause trouble for Ali, Ruby and the kids. Was there always a long-term plan for him?
"I don't think so! I originally came in for eight episodes and was told that Dan might return now and again. Within a couple of months of me doing that, I was told that he was coming in as a regular character. That was all new and out of the blue for me.

"When I came in for my first day as a regular, I heard that I'd be marrying Chas, so that was another surprise! I didn't have a clue how it was going to happen, but luckily the writers have always written well for Dan. Everything I've had has been brilliant."

You've had other parts in the past, but is a regular soap role life-changing in terms of public recognition?
"Definitely. I've done bits in the past - Dinnerladies, Coronation Street and other different things - but this is one major part and it's very different when people want your autograph at the Tesco counter on a Friday afternoon! But people generally are great. I've never had that or even thought about that before. As with most actors, you don't do it to be famous - you do it because you love it."

Do you prefer Dan's comedy, or the more serious scenes?
"I really enjoy both. He's done a lot of comedy lately, and I'd love to get my teeth into a bit more drama again. One of the pleasures of doing the live episode was that there was a real balance. We saw the fun side of Dan, but also a more dramatic and sad side when he was dumped by Chas.

"It's nice to have a bit of everything, as we're all three-dimensional and we can have good days, bad days, fun days and dark days."

6443: When Chas offers Dan a drink on the house, Bernice pipes up and Chas lays into her

© ITV



Your wife Nicole Barber-Lane plays Myra in Hollyoaks. Is there any playful rivalry when it comes to the soaps competing in the awards?
"Not really, we're just very supportive of each other, and both soaps are very different. Nicole's been doing Hollyoaks for seven years now, so I already had an understanding of what it's like to work on a soap when I joined Emmerdale.

"We're both very honest with each other. If we like what the other has done, we're very supportive of it. If we think something has been a bit over the top or not quite performed as it could have been, we tell each other and we don't get upset about it. It's nice to be honest in a relationship."

By coincidence, your fellow nominee Joseph Thompson has had lots of scenes with Nicole as Doctor Browning in Hollyoaks! Have you watched his storyline?
"Absolutely, it's been brilliant. Nicole thinks Joseph is great and he seems to be a spot-on actor. I've never met him, but he's very popular over at Hollyoaks apparently. It's great for Nicole to be so busy, so I've really enjoyed Hollyoaks in the past few weeks."

Back in Emmerdale, Cameron is becoming quite a dangerous character to have around. Is there any gossip going on among the cast about whether he'll strike again?
"Absolutely - you never know, do you? There's always got to be a chance that he's going to strike again somewhere at some point. It could be any of us at any time, so fingers crossed it's not me!"

Might Chas want Dan back if she ever saw Cameron's true colours?
"Potentially, but I don't think it's a road Dan should go down! They're mates and they've become fairly pally again, despite what happened. I don't think Dan would fall into that trap again, and I don't think Chas would want to do that to Dan again. I can't see them getting back together again, but you never know!"

> National Television Awards 2013 - nominations in full
> 'Coronation Street' star Natalie Gumede: 'NTA nod is a real honour'
> 'EastEnders': David Witts talks awards, Joey Branning future
> 'Hollyoaks': Joseph Thompson talks awards, Doctor Browning plots
> 'EastEnders': Adam Woodyatt talks awards, Ian Beale future
> Read the latest 'Emmerdale' spoilers and news

Viewer votes for the National Television Awards can be cast via the event's official website.

New! Digital Spy Soap Scoop video - watch Amie Parker-Williams discuss the biggest storylines on the way in Coronation Street, EastEnders, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks.

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