Emmerdale actor Danny Miller has become one of the most talked-about soap stars in the past 12 months as his portrayal of troubled Aaron Livesy has won him praise from fans and critics alike. Following a year of intense scenes showing Aaron’s confusion over his sexuality and life-changing decision to embark on a relationship with another man, Danny is now reaping the rewards with a nomination for the ‘Best Serial Drama Performance’ prize at the National Television Awards. Danny recently chatted to Digital Spy about the recognition.
How does it feel to be in the running for the ‘Best Serial Drama Performance’ award?
“It’s brilliant – it’s such an amazing honour to be shortlisted, let alone nominated, at such a young age. Especially when you see people like Steve McFadden in the category, who’s been in the game for years. So it’s an honour – an absolute honour. That’s the only way I can describe it, really.”
What would it mean to you to win the award?
“It would be a dream come true. It’s an award ceremony that is probably the biggest one of the year for actors – not just in soap but also for dramas and things like that. It would be an honour and it would mean quite a lot to me. I think I would round my life off then as a happy young lad!”
As you mentioned there, you’re up against Steve McFadden as well as Katherine Kelly and Lacey Turner – what do you think of your competition?
“Well, if one of those other three went and won it, I really wouldn’t be offended because Steve is a great actor and Katherine and Lacey are great actresses. They have a lot more experience than me and they know the game a lot better than me. I wouldn’t be offended at all if I didn’t win and, to be honest with you, I’m not expecting to win. It’d be nice to win, but I wouldn’t be disheartened if I didn’t. The fact that I’ve been shortlisted is a great honour anyway.”
If you had to give a plea for why people should vote for you, what would you say?
“I suppose because we’re a good show that needs a bit more recognition for the work that we put in day in, day out. I think it would be nice to have the show recognised more as a whole, rather than just me as well. It would obviously also mean a lot to me.”
Are there any particular scenes of yours that you’d like people to bear in mind as they decide who to vote for?
“I think all of the scenes that I did with Dominic Brunt – I really enjoyed all of Aaron’s coming out stuff. We were locked inside a studio for five days and it was really intense stuff that was amazing to film! I enjoyed that more than anything and I think that’s the most important thing, that it was enjoyable. I think those scenes will be a memory that I take through for the rest of my life.”
As an actor, how important is it to win awards?
“I think that awards are just an added bonus. It comes with the package, really. It’s nice to be recognised and nice if people are enjoying your work, but it’s not about the awards at the end of the day. The important thing is if your work is getting recognised and if you’re enjoying yourself. I suppose that if you’re just doing it for the awards then you’re in the wrong game, really! Some of the best actors in the world have only won a couple of awards and they’re still successful. I don’t think that the awards are that important but it’s always nice to win one as an added bonus!”
Emmerdale is up for the ‘Best Serial Drama’ prize at the ceremony – do you think it’s in with a good chance?
“I think we’ve got a lot of competition. I think that, sadly, we’re always seen as the third best soap after EastEnders and Coronation Street and the competition is mainly between those two. I’d like to say that we’re going to win, but I’m not 100% certain. I wouldn’t put my money on anybody really, as obviously Coronation Street have had a big live episode and it was seen as one of the best episodes in soap, so there’s that competition. And then there’s also the competition fromEastEnders who have also done a live episode successfully. So the competition’s high and I think any soap that walks away with it has got to feel as though they deserve it, but also don’t deserve it as well in a way – as the competition has been so high this year!”
What do you think Emmerdale‘s recent highlights have been?
“I think that the highlight in general was Gavin Blyth taking over. I think it was him taking over that made us the soap we are today. He created so many storylines, so I don’t think I’d have enough time to tell you which ones he would be proud of. But that was certainly my highlight.”
You must be pleased that Marc Silcock is up for an award too, as he’s in the running for ‘Best Newcomer’?
“Yeah, I’ve said this to Marc – I think he’s got a good chance of winning because of the popularity of Aaron and Jackson’s storyline and because we’ve been on screen a lot. People are familiar with Jackson and I think that some of the other competition haven’t been on screen as long as Marc, which is a great advantage for him. I wish him the best and I hope that we can at least walk away with one on the night!”
Are you looking forward to the NTA event itself?
“I’m really looking forward to it – it always gives me a good chance to catch up with people I know from the other soaps and see what they’ve been up to. It’s always great fun to mingle around with people and have a laugh with them.”
It’s been a fantastic year for you – what has it meant to you to have so much support from the Emmerdale fans?
“It’s been amazing – it’s been life-changing, really. It’s really nice that people have accepted the storyline, whether they’re gay or not. It’s a good storyline and I think, God rest his soul, if Gavin was here he would be exceptionally proud of the fact that we are up for these awards and people have accepted the story as much as he was hoping.”
Aaron has a new love interest called Flynn coming into the show – will that become quite a serious relationship?
“No, Aaron’s only doing this for Jackson. It won’t be a long-term relationship – it’s just basically Aaron being allowed to free himself of Jackson at Jackson’s request.”
What do you think of these new developments for Aaron and Jackson?
“I think that whatever’s been thrown at us so far has been interesting, so the more the better, really! I’m enjoying it – I’m enjoying filming the rest of what’s to come in the storyline. It’s definitely been interesting.”
From other interviews you’ve done recently, it sounds like it’s going to be another tough year for Aaron and Jackson – will we see any happiness for the pair of them mixed in with that?
“I think that, especially with the new storyline that Aaron’s going through – with having to grow up and see Jackson suffer – it’ll never be a happy time for Aaron. I’m sure that towards spring and autumn of this year, you’ll see some new changes in Aaron’s life, and they’re quite interesting.”
Whether Aaron can say he loves Jackson has become quite a big issue in the storyline – do you think he’s got to that point yet?
“I don’t think he’s got to that point as of yet, no. But I’m sure he will do soon. For now, I think that he hasn’t quite worked out whether he loves Jackson or not.”
In a recent interview, you were quoted as saying that some viewers wanted Aaron to dump Jackson, but many fans on the DS forums think the opposite and want them to stay together. What are your own personal thoughts – would you like to see them come through it all?
“I think that if they do come through it all and everything’s fine, then it wouldn’t be very dramatic and they’d have to throw some massive spanners in the works to make the characters still work together. I think I’d like to see a ‘break-up, get back together’ sort of routine. I know that Aaron may decide that he’s in love in the next few months, but he’s certainly not a person just to settle down and stick to one person. He does like to mingle and he’s quite a sociable person, and although he doesn’t show it, he enjoys having a laugh. I think it’d be interesting if they split Aaron and Jackson up and put them back together, but I’m not sure – I don’t know what the plans are!”
Do you think Aaron will approach his relationship with Flynn any differently to the way he approached the one with Jackson?
“No, because I think whatever happens in his life, Aaron will always be that same closed-off person. He doesn’t really do anything that anyone wants him to do. We’ll see – only time will tell and different things will happen over the next year which you’ll see on screen, especially towards April. Hopefully we’ll keep the interest of the audience and give them some bigger and better stuff this year!”
We don’t often see Aaron and Jackson show much physical affection for each other. Has that been a deliberate thing – perhaps to show how the relationship isn’t as strong as people might think?
“No it’s not, it’s more to do with my personal decision. I mean, this is Aaron’s storyline – it has been for the past two years – and it’s a point that I’ve always chosen to do. Regardless of girls or boys, Aaron has never been an intimate person and he’s never been a person who would walk up to someone else in The Woolpack and give them a kiss, because he’s insecure and he’s not a happy bunny, really. I think it’s been a personal decision on my part that I’ve chosen to do that with the character of Aaron, because he’s not an intimate, cuddly person – he shuts his emotions off and he doesn’t care what people think of him.”
Will Aaron have any storylines with Cain this year?
“Well, obviously Aaron’s always going to work at the garage and Cain’s always going to be his uncle. But yeah, I would definitely say that there’s going to be some good stuff coming up between Cain and Aaron towards the middle of the year. It’ll be an interesting year for Aaron, but I think there’ll always be that thing of Aaron wanting to be like Cain and Cain telling Aaron to shut up and pushing him around!”
Some of Aaron’s fans have discussed the possibility of his past being explored more, or bringing back his dad to explore that relationship – do you think that could happen?
“No, I doubt it. Aaron has found that he’s grown apart from his dad now and he’s accepted that. He’s got other people in his life and he doesn’t need his dad anymore. His dad and his mum were constantly pushing him from one side of the family to the other, but I think he’s learned to live without his dad now and I think that if his dad came in, it would just cause a whole load of new problems which he definitely doesn’t need!”
Finally, are there any other Emmerdale highlights that you’d like to mention?
“As I said earlier, I really enjoyed the intense stuff I did with Dominic and I’ve also really enjoyed working with Pauline Quirke – she’s been fantastic to work with.”
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