Posted by: Kimbaforeva | March 17, 2011

Interview: Steve November

Emmerdale has undergone significant changes in the past two years, drawing in new viewers and rewarding existing fans as new faces and old favourites feature in compelling, character-led storylines. Recent achievements for the show have included being named ‘Best Soap’ at the 2011 Broadcast Awards and ‘Programme of the Year’ in the annual TV Times Awards. Here, the programme’s executive producer Steve November chats to Digital Spy in an in-depth interview, discussing recent plots and giving hints of what’s to come in the months ahead.

First of all, congratulations on Emmerdale‘s recent success at the Broadcast Awards! How did it feel to get that recognition?
“It was fantastic, especially because it’s an award that’s given by industry insiders and critics – people who know the business and the programmes very well. It’s a real honour and very, very exciting that Emmerdale is getting that recognition, which it hasn’t always had but we obviously feel it did deserve. It was really gratifying.”

How are you planning to build on that success this year?
“I think what we’ve been doing very, very well is telling big, bold stories with great characters, so we’ll be doing more of that. I think they’ll be real stories – stories that are heightened, dramatic and quite extreme in some ways, but they all come back to very real, recognisable situations and emotions. I think that’s very important to us – that we’re not doing extraordinary or fantastical situations, or very rarefied situations of guns and gangsters. We’re telling many stories about a fairly real community – how people interact, how they react to difficult circumstances and how they work together. So we’ll really be building on that – big stories, great characters but keeping the emotions and motivations real.”

Is Emmerdale‘s ‘revamp’ period now over, or is there still work to be done?
“I think it’s constant. Every year in every show – with Corrie, EastEnders and everything – every year is a revamp year in a way. You can’t stand still – you have to refresh constantly, so I don’t think there’s ever a period of revamp that ends. We had a good year last year, but this year we have to give the viewers something different again. We need to give them their familiar characters and familiar locations, the atmosphere and the community that they feel part of and enjoy watching, but we’ve got to give them some entirely new stories, scenarios and unexpected twists. The refresh and revamp is never-ending.”

With regard to specific storylines, a big talking point among Emmerdale fans at the moment is Aaron and Jackson’s story and talk of an assisted suicide. Can you tell us anything about that at the moment?
“It’s difficult to say too much about it as we don’t want to do a disservice to viewers by giving too much away, when there’s still so much story to come. But there’s definitely an enormous amount of drama on the way – there’s still a long way for Aaron and Jackson to go, but it is going to get difficult and of course it’s going to get more emotional, more dramatic and I think it’s going to be a talking point for a long time to come.”

Jackson is a very popular character but some of his fans feel that he’s been written into a corner because of the train crash. Is that a fair comment?
“It’s difficult in a way, because you think, ‘Would he have been so popular if that hadn’t happened? What would he be doing now and what would the relationship be?’ I think what we’ve loved watching, and what I’ve really enjoyed watching, is the love story – Jackson attempting to set Aaron free, Aaron trying that but realising that he can’t get beyond Jackson and that it’s Jackson he wants to be with.

“We wouldn’t have had any of that story if we hadn’t have had the train crash. Jackson is not able-bodied and that reduces the things physically that he can do, but emotionally and mentally, Jackson is still a fantastic, wonderful character and we wouldn’t be getting any of this story without the experience that he’s gone through. Sometimes it’s difficult situations that form characters and make us love them. I think a lot of the popularity comes from the two guys fighting this huge problem and overcoming it. So I suppose I disagree entirely that he’s written into a corner, because I think he’s a very effective character who’s in the middle of a great story.”

Things have been quite bleak for the Aaron and Jackson fans lately, so is there anything they can look forward to – perhaps some more heartwarming scenes?
“There is, yes – there’s a long way to go. Obviously way before Aaron met Jackson, he was a bleak character and a very troubled teenager – which is probably why he’s very popular, because just about all of us remember being troubled teenagers and trying to get on in life with all of the problems that it throws at you. So I don’t think Aaron was ever going to be a happy, chirpy, jolly or funny character – it’s just not him. Having said that, yes, there will be a lot more heartwarming stuff. We think that, over the months ahead, Aaron and Jackson’s story will be a love story – it’s about them together and inevitably, because it’s a love story, there’ll be a lot of stuff to enjoy and a lot of heartwarming stuff there.”

The Lisa and Derek story has received so much praise – you must be thrilled with the positive reaction.
“Absolutely – it’s been everything we’d hoped for and more, because you can plan the stories, write the scripts and know exactly what you want to do, but it only ever comes alive with the actors and directors. I think that Jane Cox and Steve Halliwell have been so fantastic – and you can never quite predict those bits. That’s the fun of TV, in a way – whatever you write and plan, you wait to see it on screen and suddenly it takes life. I think that Jane Cox has been absolutely outstanding. We always knew it was a good story, but we’re still delighted by the way it’s come to screen, the work that’s been done and the way that people have reacted to it.”

How long will this experience affect Lisa and Zak for?
“I think we always hope that our characters are a product of everything that’s ever happened to them – Lisa will never forget this, so we never want to forget that she’s been through this experience. Obviously she will live and grow beyond it and have a happy life beyond it, but it will affect both her and Zak quite seriously in the immediate future – over the next few months. It’s going to take them a while to make this part of their lives and learn to live beyond it.”

The decision to write out Viv Hope received quite a strong reaction from some fans. Can you tell us how that came about?
“It was very difficult to say goodbye to Deena, who’s been such a key member of our close-knit team for so long. But unfortunately, it is part of that constant refreshing and revamping process – we need to bring in new characters and that means losing some older characters. The logic of not writing out even your biggest characters at times would mean that we’d still have the original cast on screen, and the show would be what it was when it first started.

“It wasn’t an easy decision to make at all, but there was a feeling that we needed to move forward – we needed to really shake up the heart of the show and some of the ‘givens’. With some of the things that people thought, ‘That is absolutely Emmerdale and always will be’, we thought we’d challenge that and change perceptions so that Emmerdale isn’t exactly what you expect it to be when you turn it on. It was a decision that was taken after much deliberation and soul-searching.”

When January’s fire episodes aired, some viewers were surprised that Viv and Terry didn’t get on-screen deaths. What did you make of that response?
“It’s interesting, because we did think about it and there was some debate about what was best. We just wanted to tell a story from a slightly different angle – we’d seen, a lot of times on TV, the inside of a fire, the flames getting higher and characters coughing and choking and burning, which is not always that pleasant or entertaining to watch!

“But what we hadn’t seen was almost the truth – what would you see if you were Bob or Brenda, the characters who were most affected? You’d be on the outside wondering what was going on, waiting and waiting before getting that terrible realisation that your loved one is not coming. So it was a dramatic choice to see it through Bob and Brenda’s eyes – I liked it, I thought it was successful and I thought it was a good dramatic choice. I guess not everybody did, but not everybody likes everything, unfortunately. But I don’t think it would have been any better to see Viv and Terry in awful and terrible pain as they burned to death!”

Are you pleased with the aftermath of the fire storyline?
“Yes, I think the measure of the story and its significance is the aftermath and what it leaves. We’re still seeing a village that has been rocked by the fire and the absence of Viv and Terry. I think that the funeral and memorial service were very affecting, and through Brenda in particular, we’re still feeling the absence of Viv and Terry. It’s a story that might not have put a lot of Viv on screen in her final moments, but it’s a story that meant Viv’s departure had a lot of impact on the village and on the show, which is what we wanted. We wanted her exit to be felt by everybody, and I think it was.”

Are you happy with where Emmerdale‘s viewing figures are at the moment, or are you always striving for further growth?
“I’m absolutely delighted with where they are – it’s fantastic. But of course, I don’t think there’s ever a time where we don’t think we could do a little bit better. We’ve achieved our aims so now we’ll set new aims and we’d like to grow that audience even further. And I do think that’s possible – we know there’s an enormous TV audience and that people still like traditional drama in a fairly traditional format. We know that people are liking Emmerdale and I think that we can continue to build our audience if we get the mix of characters and stories right.”

Gavin Blyth, Emmerdale‘s late series producer, did tremendous work in revamping the show. Is there anything that you’d like to say about his legacy?
“I think that his period as series producer was an extraordinary time for the show, and that was very much due to Gavin’s vision, energy and commitment. Every show ebbs and flows and has its high times and low times – you can’t be on screen for so many years and not have that – but Gavin just brought a particular and peculiar energy to it and Emmerdale had never quite ridden so high before, even with its natural ebb and flow. Gavin brought something above and beyond and really took Emmerdale to new heights, and I think he showed people – both on the inside and viewers – that this show really could grow and be more than it had been before.

“It’s gone from being firmly the third soap to snapping at the heels of the other big shows. I think Gavin brought something very, very unique as a producer in galvanising the energy of the show and taking it up a level. That was rewarded with the Broadcast Award, which was fantastic, and the TV Times Programme of the Year award in 2010 – some really high accolades for a show that was absolutely as good as it had ever been.”

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 andEastEnders 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.”

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 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.”

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.”

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.”

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Responses

  1. I feel a little bit patronized here. Jackson is popular because of the train crash? Has he not been watching his own show and seeing how MS has taken sh!!!!t and turned every scene into gold?

    On the positive side, if taken literally, MS has months left on the show, which makes me wonder if the Whitby scenes will be inserted into the story’s climax – and MS will continue filming until we reach this dark end.

  2. “but keeping the emotions and motivations real.”

    If you say so, Mr. November.

    But seriously, ladies and gentlemen, you are in the presence of history!. It is as if Zeus had decended from the mountain, or at the very least our dear beloved late Queen Mother had come back to earth and was visiting us individually on her golf buggy to take tea and cucumber sandwiches with us.

    The Great Man has spoken – I agree with Mark: Jackson (Marc) isn’t popular becausof that appalling crash Blyth dreamt up in a bleak moment, he is popular because he managed to tame one of the wildest characters on the show, he is a role model for young gay men, showing that you can be quite ordinary and just happen to love your own sex – you don’t have to turn into a camp, girly character who should really consider having a sex change operation(like Coronation Street’s “Sean”).

    He is also highly regarded because he makes you believe in his plight. You can believe Jackson is trapped in that wheelchairr in a way you can’t believe Jimmy has amnesia – that’s just one example.

    “November” comes over as extremely pleased with himself. It is also obvious he has his favourites (how much more juice can they squash out of the boring Cain/Charity slanging matches?) – she’s with Toffee Boy now, and she is going to try poncing money off him so Chas can buy the pub, as well as give her everything she wants.

    It’s equally obvious there are characters he doesn’t like Ryan and Viv for example. If I were Jim Sutton I’d be glad to have got away from crap plots overseen by a pompous old drama queen.

    It has become a tradition to end each and every Emmerdale interview with a tribute to the Alfred Hitchock/Cecil B DeMille/Guy Ritchie of TV drama, St Gav, so of course November is on his knees again. I’m sure he would have gladly licked the Blyth households loo seat clean.

    there is todays question: is an early, sad, cruel death (and I really do have sympathy for St G and his family) a down-payment on a halo?

    In his final months Blyth created some truly appalling storylines, death, fire, murder, suicide, all no doubt reflecting his own dark emotions. It is not very professional to bring your personal problems to work, but the late Mr B seemed to do nothing but. I am glad November is so overjoyed by these hideous stories, but he is suppsoed to be making a programme to make us fe good, not to make us feel at the end of each epiode that we need to phone the Samaritans.

    • Well Allan I am not as eloquent as you so I will just say THAT INTERVIEW SUCKED! The man is on LSD. He said “It’s difficult in a way, because you think, ‘Would he have been so popular if that hadn’t happened? Uh….yeah! I have enjoyed his character since the beginning. He doesn’t care about the characters just the situation that they are in. For me, Its the actors that make the characters popular not the situation. I really really enjoy Marc’s portrayal of Jackson. Then he said “I think what we’ve loved watching, and what I’ve really enjoyed watching, is the love story – Jackson attempting to set Aaron free, Aaron trying that but realising that he can’t get beyond Jackson and that it’s Jackson he wants to be with. “We wouldn’t have had any of that story if we hadn’t have had the train crash. Un…..yeah! You could have gone a hundred different directions with the story after the train crash and still created the same effect. I could go on and on tearing up his comments but what good would it do. So, I will just say revamp away Mr November you just revamped yourself out of another viewer.

      • Hi RoRo, I have had slight dealings with Mr November, and he really is one of the most ignorant schmuks I have come across – you can’t suggest anything to him, still less tell him anything, even if it is based on personal experience.

        I would guess he is just another media type who has crawled, er, sorry – climbed, his way to the top, and has no genuine experience of everday normal life

        At the age of 38 he has held several top jobs in soapland (on Coronation Street when he called himself by his real name of Steve Frost, he was known as “The Ice Man” so beloved was he by his subjects). I assume “November” is his maiden name! :-).

        On Emmerdale he has upset at least one cast member who objected to the cavalier way she was written out (he eludes to it in his interview, when he says old characters have to make way for new ones, – people like Mia, Ella and Declan’s dad – who frankly is so absent I even forget his character name).

        What really annoys me about people like him though is that they live in such a narrow privileged little world they wouldn’t know the lives ordinary people live, which is why, IMO, so many soap stories are so devoid of any meaningful point.

        But the interview shows a very smug little man and I think he does himself no favours.Certainly if they go down that repulsive assisted suicide road I shall stop watching – it’s too painful, totally unnecessary and as far removed from entertainment as it is possible to get

    • Hi Keith, There are many reasons to love Jackson’s character, as you say, without the accident.

      It showed, for about the first time in TV history an ordinary working class man, who was comfortable with who he was, without pushing it down peoples throats (as the character of “Christain” was inclined to do in Eastenders) – I’ve just realised I could have phrased that better, before that they were either camp (“Sean”) or, like Aaron, ashamed, closseted or denying (P.C. Luke Ashton, The Bill), who did an ordinary job. He also depicted a gay man as loyal and not a bed-hopper (again early Christain comes to mind). He was a very good ambassador for ordinary gay men as well as a good role model

      Not least he helped one of the most lost and wild characters to become reasonably likeable (I still remember the night Aaron beat Paddy up he said something like “I kicked a kids head in at school because he was one [gay]. All my mates thought I was cool for it. I hate them…..some sort of queer”.

      The fact that somebody could get through to him, and standing by him and supporting him help him to accept himself, showed a dedication that was very rare.

      We would have still loved him if he was still happilly setting off from Smithy Cottage in his white van every morning, they didn’t need to do what they did (and I still think Blyth was projecting his own despair onto this character in particular).

      One of the things I really detest most about ED is the way really decent characters are sidelined and/or made to suffer. Diane lost all her money to a con man, it looks as if Ryan will end up taking the wrap for one of Cain’s criminal schemes. And now, it looks as if Adam will have to endure the attentions of the airheaded spoilt daughter of Declan 🙂

      • Hi Alan, you mention Luke Ashton from the Bill. I didn’t watch the series but saw pictures and clips as, at the time, there was a a lot in the press about two “policemen in uniform” kissing each other!
        Anyway, my point is, didn’t the actor who played Luke appear as Aaron’s brief at the trial?
        Getting back to Jackson, you are on the money there. His character is likeable because he’s a nice guy. In a way, his “ordinariness” makes a refreshing change from the “look at me, I’m gay!” characters we’re often faced with. Not that there is anything “ordinary” about Marc Silcock, he can only be described as extraordinary! I think the way he always plays Jackson is spot on, disabled or not.

  3. I have to say i kinda disagree with the comment Mr November made about Marc :Would he have been so popular if that hadn’t happened:I am a big fan of Jackson even before the accident i think alot of people liked him alot and right after the accident his fans grew more and supported him more.We wanted him to survive and to able to walk again.Mr November has gotten it all wrong.His calling this storyline a lovestory i would of said no if the accident didn’t happen but.Sense Aaron told Jackson he loves him and wants to be with him.Aaron is changing for the good i can say this is going be the biggest lovestory.I have a feeling Jackson is not going to die his going to live.Why because of Aaron.Aaron love and encouragement will help Jackson.

    • Good morning Cathy. I totally agree with you about November’s totally inadequate knowledge of his audience, and I would LIKE to agree with you about Aaron helping Jackson to live, BUT even Aaron seems to think Jackson is just in a bad mood and can’t see his deep depression.

      This is incredible: I know Aaron is only 19, BUT eleven months ago, he was in such despair (about his sexuality) he became angry and depressed and tried to kill himself, and after being rescued by Adam still wanted to die.

      I would suggest people are born with their sexulity inbuilt, a bit like the operating system on a computer – a PC can’t be a Mac, likewise as Paddy very wisely said to him at the time “if you’re gay – you’re gay”.

      Aaron couldn’t face who he was or what he was born as.

      Jackson on the other hand wasn’t born disabled he has led an active full life, but since the devestation that has been put upon him, though he survives day to day he has far more valid reason to be depressed than Aaron was.

      But – Aaron doesn’t see Jackson’s despair. How can that be?. If you have ever been depressed yourself, you have an instinct for others in the same situation, so Aaron needs to remember how good Adam was to him – how he helped him face life and make him smile again. Can Aaron do that for Jacson?. Let’s hope so, but first he has to recognise Jackson’s condition for what it is.

      As for Jackson’s mother – I give up on her. Hazel, Mia and Ella ought to start up a group for the self-obsessed.

  4. Just as an aside, an observation, isn’t it rather strange that November chooses to give this interview on the day a new series producer is appointed?.

    He should have been giving interviews in January when the programme was drifting along, without a series producer in place, when there was a lot of uncertainty amongst the cast and crew, and when it was obvious the programme was being thrown together.

    It is as if he is telling his new producer what to do, rather than let him get on with the job as he wishes to do.

    • So glad to see other people chiming in on this tripe. Alan, you make an excellent point – the timing of this interview is extremely suspicious. Mr. November is no longer producer of the show – I assume he’s still serving in some capacity, but the helm has been handed over. He’s either explaining his story decisions for the last six months or, as you say, warning his predecessor how to behave.

      That kind of thing never sticks.

      If we are to believe this interview was conducted recently, we can assume that MS still has months of airtime ahead, so perhaps that will take us into the summer – and that, yes, the AS story is going forward. Unbelievable.

      • Hi Mark, November remains executve producer, which in British TV means he has overall control of the budgets, production logistics etc, but usually they are very much a figurehead and the day to day running of the programme is left to the series producer (in Light entertainment shows the one person is often both the producer and director, but to be fair that is for series where there is a limited run each season).

        To muscle in on the day a series producer is apppointed seems to suggest he intends to keep the man under his thumb. I should think all the main decisions, the hiring and firing and storylines are going to be dictated by November.

        But he sounds in that interview what he is – frankly an old woman. And those horrible obsequious never-ending tributes to St Gav he makes – surely it’s time they let the poor bloke become history.

  5. Thank you for the clarification, Alan – I fear more than ever for the show. Yeesh.

  6. I’d like to add my two-pennies worth to Mr November / Frost’s comments.
    1. “We wouldn’t have had any of that story if we hadn’t have had the train crash.”
    2. “Sometimes it’s difficult situations that form characters and make us love them”

    If there was to be a train crash involving Jackson (or any other accident for that matter), why couldn’t the character have recovered afterwards? Sophie in Corrie (a gay character, naturally!) fell off a church roof but recovered afterwards. Or isn’t an accident drama enough?

    Regarding his second comment, wasn’t the original “getting together” with Aaron a difficult enough situation as it was? These boys went through hell with the coming out story and then Aaron’s attempted suicide and subsequent splitting up because of Aaron’s attitude to Mickey, not to mention Clyde’s demise.

    Speaking for myself, I fell in love with Jackson way before the accident. I can spot a good actor without him having to play a tetraplegic role, thank you.

  7. Hi everyone, so this interview finally made its way on to here, this is the one I read part of the other day although only the bits regarding Aaron & Jackson were published.

    For what it’s worth, I too think he’s wrong about Jackson’s popularity and how he became loved by the viewers. I’ve said before that Jackson grew on me, probably because I was more caught up with what was happening to Aaron at the beginning. The longer he was on the show, the more I liked him. I loved the way he was just a normal guy, happy with his life and himself. We didn’t need to see him paralysed from the neck down in order to love him, that was happening way before then.

    Alan probably won’t agree with me but I also think what made viewers love Jackson even more was the way he stuck by Aaron. The patience, the forgiveness, the support, the love he showed Aaron. He saw that underneath that I don’t care about anything or anybody exterior was a scared young lad who was struggling with his life and didn’t like himself very much. He helped change that and that’s certainly part of what made me like Jackson more & more.

    He may have started off as part of Aaron’s story but he’s now just as much a character in his own right. Still love them as a couple though (sorry Alan)

  8. i Keith, We’re right out ofr buttons!

    “Hi Alan, you mention Luke Ashton from the Bill. I didn’t watch the series but saw pictures and clips as, at the time, there was a a lot in the press about two “policemen in uniform” kissing each other!”

    Yes the producer at the time was Paul Marquess, and he wanted The Bill to be the first show to see two policeman in uniform kissing (so probably a bit of a uniform fetishist!) but the first time Sgt Gilmour saw Luke (yes it was Aaron’s solicitor, Scott Neal) he was naked – in the shower at the station.

    Luke like Aaron had trouble coming to terms with being gay and he got married, but his wife outed him, but he was shown in the programme as being very brave, just as brave as the straight officers, it was just his private life was a mess.

    It was in no way offensive as a lot of the papers at the time made out – even in 2004 papers were more outwardly hiomophobic than they are now.

    Sharon: I do agree with you. It is Jackson who saw more in Aaron than I confess I did, and has really made him the man he is today – I thought, as I have made clear, Aaron – and indeed our SLFM, DM was exceptional last night.

    My only problem with tonights episode was though it had the same writer as last night, Paul Roundell, neither Aaron or Hazel could decide what best to do. Hazel should be speaking to Jacksn’s specialit PDQ> I say Hazel because she is his next of kin, and the authorities would be more likely to listen to her than Aaron, though my fear is Hazel ill try to sweep it under the carpet.

    • Agreed Alan. Just read what you have written on the other page and commented back to you!!

  9. “If it aint broke, don’t fix it” is an expression which applies perfect;ly to the opening and closing theme of Emmerdale. The so-called “contemporary” feel of the theme is both disjointed and unmusical.
    As a composer, arranger and singer I can assure you that I could have re-worked the theme (had it proved necessary to do so) well before taking my GCSE in music. Yes, it is THAT bad.


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