Do you have any big stunts/explosions/fires coming up? Or are you just concentrating on the show itself?
"I am very much concentrating on the show. There are big events that come up, but they arise because they very much feel part of the dynamic way of telling that particular story. It's the way characters go – you take one and decide what the worst thing you could do to them is and that's where the drama comes. Katie has her baby pretty soon and the villagers are already talking about the village show on screen – I think what happens there will take people by surprise in a good way."
What's coming up for your characters?
Laurel / Ashley
"John [Middleton] and Charlotte [Bellamy] have been outstanding, as have Shaun [Prendergast] and Caroline [Strong]. Every time I watch them, I'm mesmerised by them. It's such a difficult story and I think it's easy to underestimate how difficult it is to act it believably. It's compelling. The reality of their situation is that it's not easy. For me, this is a prime example of taking two characters that you love, doing the worst thing possible to them and see how they deal with it. You want her to bond with the child because she's such a loveable character and you see how she manages to do it. Charlotte and John are so good that I wouldn't want them to then slip out of sight. We'll be looking at where we take them for there. You want them to have a happy life – they're a couple that'll work through their problems, they're grafters and love one and another so much that I want to be true to their relationship."
"She's a character that had already been set in motion when I joined. I looked at her and thought 'is she somebody who just comes in for a story and goes, or is she someone who we invest in and carry through?'. The actress is fantastic and I think that the character could be brilliant. Gennie's a Dingle and it's about her finding that inner Dingle and how it expresses itself, which is where the life and fun comes in. She has really hidden depths – it's more about her future in Emmerdale, rather than her past. It's about what happens when that inner Dingle is released. Do you let it out?!"
Jo / Andy
"It's one of those difficult stories to do well in a 7pm style. We very consciously decided to not make it violent on screen. None of us wanted a story that went that way. It is going to get grittier, though, and where it gets to is really dramatic. I think the audience are going to be split in a lot of ways. I hope we can get people talking about the story and the issues which surround it. There's a really big turning point where it all kicks off."
Do you struggle with the fact you might end up pushing a character to a point where they're irredeemable?
"You have to be really careful. When you enter into a story, you need to know what the end point is. You either go into it with the knowledge that you're letting a character go, or sometimes you realise that you didn't mean to take a someone that far, but the logical momentum of the story essentially dictates their fate. This potentially could be one of those, but I hope not. Viewers have an extraordinary empathy with Andy, which is a credit to the way Kelvin plays him, so I believe he's always redeemable."
Dolands – were they brought in purely as a plot device?
"Yeah they were. They knew that when they came into the show. The story was originally planned across an 18-month arc and they were part of that. They are fantastic actors, too. They do fulfil a part in the show – the working class family unit. However, the story dictates that they have to go as originally envisaged. There's a natural ending for them but we need to make sure that we're not betraying audience expectations. You don't want it to end predictably and dull, but that particular story is focused on Ashley and Laurel, so in that sense, you're not betraying the audience by using them as a device as we have done."
"This one's really funny. He writes a children's book but he doesn't want anybody to know about it because he's embarrassed about people finding it and what it'll do to his image. This is one of those storylines that's starting small and will surprise viewers by how big it gets."
Katie / Gray / Perdy
"It's fairly well publicised that Grayson and Perdy are leaving the show, but I think that because Katie is such a strong character, the story has to develop her in a strong way that leaves us with a very dynamic Katie who's active in the programme. I don't want to underestimate viewers' investment in Gray and Perdy either. Never underestimate Grayson... And Perdy – we really do justice to her when she goes... It's one of those where you think it's one thing and it comes back and bites you..."
"Jonny gets very much caught up in another storyline and ends up leaving Paul heartbroken. It's really sad."
"Miles goes too, and that plays into his relationship with the De Souzas. He has a habit of just disappearing and then reappearing. He's not coming back in the foreseeable future, but with soaps you can never say never."
Viv / Bob
"I'm really excited about Viv and Bob's trial. A lot of people might think that it's going to be predictable, but when it comes to that week, I'm really, really pleased with what happens there. It'll move viewers in a way that they're not expecting. It was another of the stories that I took on when I came on board and I though 'everyone's going to know that she's going to prison' and we struggled and struggled and struggled until we eventually came up with a story and it just made me cry."