Aaron Livesy is a fictional character from the British ITV soap opera Emmerdale, played by Danny Miller, who took over the role from Danny Webb in 2008. He made his first on-screen appearance on 24 December 2003. Aaron is the son of Chastity Dingle and Gordon Livesy. His storylines have included being involved with the criminal McFarlane family, making a pass at his best friend Adam Barton, coming to terms with his homosexuality, and his relationship with Jackson Walsh.
Storylines (Early Years)
When Aaron was a child, his parents, Gordon Livesy (Gordon Fletcher) and Chas Dingle (Lucy Pargeter), separated and Chas left her son to live with his father and Gordon’s second wife, Sandra (Janet Bamford). Aaron visits his mother in the village of Emmerdale, where he tells her that he resents her for not raising him and explains that he feels that she abandoned him. The two begin to bond, before Aaron returns home to his father. Shortly thereafter, Aaron returns to visit Chas, but she reprimands him after she catches him talking to other people about her behind her back. Louise Appleton (Emily Symons) witnesses Chas slapping Aaron, and tells Gordon when he arrives to collect his son. Gordon tells Chas that her relationship with her son is over, and that Aaron will not visit her again. Despite this, the youngster returns to Emmerdale several months later, staying longer than expected as he has been in contact with a person who had German measles and his step-mother Sandra is pregnant. Aaron eventually returns home to his father and his step-mother, after telling Chas that while she was in the Army, her partner Carl King (Tom Lister) had a one night stand with her cousin, Del Dingle (Hayley Tamaddon).
Storylines (2008 – 2009)
Aaron returns in November 2008, when he is arrested by Ross Kirk (Samuel Anderson) in Emmerdale for possession of drugs. He receives a caution, and, after being released from police custody, goes for a meal with Chas, who had been informed of his arrest. Aaron runs away from his mother later in the day, after the two have an argument. In an attempt to track down the teenager, Chas’ family visits Gordon and Sandra, who reveal that Aaron was thrown out out for hitting the latter. It is soon learnt by the Dingles that the teenager has become a drug courier for the McFarlanes, a local criminal family. The McFarlanes are angered by the discovery that Aaron had been with the police but reach an agreement with the Dingles that they will leave the teenager alone and no longer ask for his services if he never discusses their criminal activities. At her son’s request, Chas agrees to take Aaron home to Gordon, but he refuses to allow the teenager to return. Aaron vandalises his father’s office in revenge, but Gordon cannot prove this and Chas gives her son a false alibi. Aaron then reluctantly agrees to stay with his mother and the Dingles in Wishing Well Cottage.
Aaron initially clashes with Victoria Sugden (Isabel Hodgins), but they become friends and, on Christmas Day, he helps rescue her when she falls into a frozen lake. A few weeks later, Aaron trashes Carl King’s house and vandalizes the graves of his relatives. Aaron tells Chas that he does not want her dating Carl (now her ex) again, and she informs a disappointed Carl that they cannot get back together. Days later, the teenager convinces his younger cousin Belle Dingle (Eden Taylor-Draper) to take the day off school and go with him to Home Farm, where the Wyldes are moving in. Aaron steals from their van, accidentally leaving Belle to take the blame. When her mother Lisa (Jane Cox) finds out, she throws him out, and he and Chas move into Smithy Cottage, the home of his mother’s boss, veterinarian Paddy Kirk (Dominic Brunt). When the vet catches the youth selling animal drugs, Chas and Aaron return to stay with the Dingles, and Lisa has Aaron take a job as a mechanic at the garage of his cousin Debbie Dingle (Charley Webb).
Aaron begins a relationship with Victoria, but he and her foster brother Daz Eden (Luke Tittensor) constantly argue about her, with the latter claiming that Aaron has been taking advantage of the underage girl. One argument results in Aaron being punched and knocked to the ground, while a seconds ends in Daz being left bloody-mouthed. Aaron loses his virginity to Victoria, but breaks up with her when he finds out that she has had sex with Daz. As Chas has started dating Paddy, her and Aaron move back into Smithy Cottage. Aaron begins flirting with Holly Barton (Sophie Powles), after her family move into nearby Butler’s Farm. When Aaron ignites a bale of hay at the Barton’s farm, Holly’s father John (James Thornton) hits him and locks him in a stable for a short time. The teenager reports John to the police but agrees to drop all charges after the Dingles and the Bartons learn that Aaron attempted to use the situation to blackmail Holly for sex.
“John can’t believe that Aaron’s gone to the police because as far as he’s concerned, this lad has started a fire in his barn and all he’s done is dealt with it in an old-school way by putting him in the stable to cool off…John could have gone and phoned the police but he’s not that sort of guy. The fact that Aaron reports him for assault and false imprisonment is absolutely shocking to him.”
James Thornton (John Barton) discussing a 2009 storyline in which Aaron ignited a bale of hay at the Barton family’s farm.
After a holiday abroad, Aaron discovers that during his absence from Emmerdale, Chas has cheated on Paddy with Carl. His mother has left her job at the vets and moved in with Carl, leaving Aaron to stay with Paddy, who the teenager has bonded with. A furious Aaron tells Chas that he hates her and wants nothing more to do with her. Shortly thereafter, the Barton’s show some forgiveness to the teenager. He becomes best friends with Holly’s brother Adam (Adam Thomas), and tries to kiss him after they are involved in a run-off-road collision. A shocked Adam pulls away and confronts him. Frightened that everybody will know his secret, an embarrassed Aaron tells his friend that he did not try to kiss him, and that Adam must have misunderstood the situation. Adam is unconvinced and expresses disapproval when Aaron enters into a relationship with Holly.
After Aaron sleeps with Holly, Adam tells his family what happened on the night of the crash and asserts that Aaron is gay. All of Adam’s family believe that he has misread the situation, and state that Aaron is as straight as they come. This view is shared by the Emmerdale locals when the claim is spread. Aaron confronts Adam, who tells him that he is fine with Aaron being gay, but that he does not want his sister to be used to conceal his friend’s sexuality. Aaron again denies being gay and states that will continue to date Holly. Aaron’s friendship with Adam deteriorates, and his relationship with Holly ends when she tells him that something is missing from it.
In an attempt to accept his sexuality, Aaron visits Bar West, a gay pub. He quickly leaves, however, and in his haste misplaces his phone, which is picked up by builder Jackson Walsh (Marc Silcock), who returns the phone to Paddy and leaves his number for Aaron to call. Aaron is terrified that Paddy will work out what has being going on, but returns to Bar West to meet with Jackson. This time Paddy watches from the car and is convinced that Aaron has returned to his drug dealing when he sees him and Jackson exchange something outside the bar, not realising that Jackson gave Aaron his business card. Paddy confronts Aaron, who denies being a drug dealer. When Paddy discovers that Bar West is a gay pub and asks Aaron if he is gay, the teenager lashes out and attacks him. Aaron tearfully apologises, admits that he is gay, and that he once had feelings for a straight boy named Kyle. Aaron rejects his sexuality and states that he does not want to be gay. Paddy attempts to convince him that he cannot deny who he is, and tells Aaron that he is like a son to him and that he loves him. Unable to face Paddy anymore, Aaron runs away, though he soon returns to the village, intent on living in denial of his sexuality. Chas and her cousin Marlon Dingle (Mark Charnock) suspect that Aaron is responsible for the assault on Paddy, who lies to them both about the origin of his injuries to cover for the teenager. The two Dingles, however, remain unconvinced.
Aaron agrees to meet Jackson, but changes his mind and has a drink with Victoria, who suggests giving their relationship another go. Aaron turns her down and she apologises, telling him that they can be just friends. Jackson visits the local village pub The Woolpack and talks with Aaron, who takes a girl home with him, but rejects her advances. When Jackson turns up at Smithy Cottage, Aaron realises that they have a lot in common. They talk about when Jackson came out, and just as they go to kiss, Paddy and Marlon arrive. They do not see the attempted kiss, but Aaron tells Jackson to leave. Marlon raises the issue of how Paddy received his injuries and, in private and unbeknownst to Aaron, Paddy confesses that it was the teenager who hit him and reveals to Marlon that Aaron is gay.
Aaron returns to Bar West to find Jackson, who initially ignores him but eventually relents and offers to buy him a drink. Aaron relaxes in his company and the two part amicably. They meet again at the gay bar and, upon leaving, Jackson kisses Aaron. When the teenager turns around, he sees Adam—with whom he has reconciled—staring at him. Aaron ignores Adam the next day, when the latter again expresses that he has no problem with Aaron being gay. Jackson later arrives uninvited to The Woolpack, where he has a drink with Aaron in front of Adam, Paddy and the rest of the locals. When Jackson touches Aaron’s arm, he is punched in the face by the teenager, who has to be dragged away. Aaron is charged with ABH and told he will stand trial. Chas is one of the villagers who believes the attack was homophobic, so Paddy tells her the truth about Aaron’s sexuality.
After Marlon explains to Aaron that he knows that he is gay and that it does not bother him, Paddy tells the teenager that his mother is also aware of his sexuality. Aaron then goes to the garage, where he tries to kill himself by inhaling car fumes. His uncle Cain Dingle (Jeff Hordley) and Adam drag the unconscious teenager outside, before he is taken to the hospital in a coma. When he wakes, Aaron is visited by Chas and Adam, and their support for him in the following days restrengthens his relationship with both. At court he admitted that he was gay in front of his of his family.
Aaron gets community payback off the judge and attracts the attention of a homophobic thug named Wayne. When a newcomer starts at community service, Wayne begins to taunt him but Aaron comes to his aid, embarrassing Wayne in front of the whole group. Wayne, wanting revenge, comes to Aaron while he is at work and comes at him with a spanner. Jackson, having started work at the house next to the garage, witnesses Wayne about to attack and protects Aaron. Aaron buys Jackson a drink at The Woolpack and they start to talk, Aaron revealing why he tried to take his own life. Aaron invites Jackson to Smithy Cottage for a beer and the pair share a passionate kiss and spend the night together. The next morning Paddy sees the pair in the kitchen and he feels awkward but later tells Aaron that he’s happy if Aaron is happy.
Jackson’s mother, Hazel, accidentally floods Jackson’s apartment and Paddy asks them to stay at Smithy Cottage. Aaron, having met Hazel previously, is none too thrilled about the arrangement and makes his feelings clear to Jackson and Hazel. Jackson picks up on this and, having finished the renovations on Declan’s house, decides to book his mother into the B&B and go on holiday himself, giving Aaron some space. Aaron, having finished his community payback and not wanting Jackson to be scared off by his moodiness, offers to go on holiday with Jackson and also allowing to let Hazel stay on at Smithy. Upon their return, the boys decide to give living together at Smithy a try.
After trying to sell a dodgy car to Pearl, Aaron sells it to a scumbag named Mickey. Which comes back to haunt him and causes Aaron and Jackson to argue. Aaron uses his dog, Clyde to try and intimidate Mickey and it seems like it worked, but Mickey returns to the village with his own dog and seriously injures Clyde. Paddy and Rhona have no choice but to put Clyde to sleep, which causes Aaron to break down in Paddy’s arms. However this only makes Aaron want to get back at Mickey even more. In a bid to end it all Jackson pays the money back to Mickey and tells Aaron. They begin to argue again and Jackson gets caught up in the moment and blurts out that he loves Aaron. Aaron walks away and later tells Adam that Jackson is getting too serious for him and the pair don’t talk for days.
While in The Woolpack Hazel plays match-maker and sets the two up again. They don’t finish their conversation after Jackson tells Aaron to forget it. Aaron talks to Jackson again and asks if they can give their relationship another go by having a night out and Jackson says yes. They plan a night out at a gay bar and Paddy and Marlon come with them not realising where they are going.
While at the bar Jackson calls Aaron his boyfriend and the pair make up once again and share a kiss with each other. Aaron goes out for a cigarette and spots Mickey. Jackson once again dumps Aaron after realising Aaron will never change his violent ways. Jackson tries to drive off but Aaron gets in the van and they drive off. Jackson tries to talk sense into Aaron, but Aaron can’t handle it and angrily yells for Jackson to stop the van. The pair have an emotional talk where Aaron reveals that he feels that anyone who gets close to him gets hurt in some way, and that he doesn’t know if he loves Jackson because he’s not used to people caring about him, so he doesn’t know how to care about others, let alone love someone.
Jackson, unable to handle this gets back in his van and drives off, leaving Aaron behind. Aaron tries to ring him to say that he didn’t mean it, which makes Jackson lose control of the van when he tries to pick up his phone. He crashes onto a level crossing and a train comes hurtling towards the van. After an almighty collision the van is flung into a pile of crates with Jackson still inside. Aaron runs to the van and finds Jackson unconsious and with obvious head injuries. Whilst waiting for the ambulance, Aaron tells Jackson that he’s sorry for everything and pleads with Jackson not to leave him.
At the hospital, Hazel calls Jackson’s father, Jerry, and he wastes no time in blaming Aaron for the whole situation. Jerry warns Aaron not to come near Jackson again, to which Hazel blows her top when she learns of it. Aaron later calls back to the hospital, against Jerry’s wishes, and Jerry attempts to start a fight with him. Aaron follows him into Jackson’s room while Jerry is alone and confronts him. Jerry backs off when he learns that both he and Aaron had similar circumstances with not being able to accept the gay parts of their lives.
Jackson later wakes and asks for Aaron. Aaron goes into him and they reconcile. Aaron visits Jackson everyday after that. After the doctors bring Jackson down to surgery, Aaron gets impatient and starts to become unsettled. When the doctor will not give them a straight answer, Hazel quizzes him and he tells her that it is unlikely that Jackson will ever regain sensation or movement below his shoulders. Aaron realises that Hazel has disappeared and he goes to find her crying in the family room. She tells him what the doctor told her and she admits that she cannot face telling Jackson herself, so Aaron offers to do it.
Aaron goes into Jackson and sits in the chair beside his bed. He breaks the news to Jackson, who begins to cry. After this, Aaron continues to visit but Jackson is depressed after finding out that he will never move again. Jackson refuses to eat and spits yogurt all over himself to prove a point to the nurse. Aaron suggests that he will clean it up, but Jackson tells him that he doesn’t want him to. Aaron sits in the family room and the nurse comes in to tell him not to give up hope and continue to be there for Jackson. After Hazel gets Jackson cleaned up and gets him to eat something, she leaves and Aaron returns to Jacksons room. Jackson asks Aaron why he continues to visit and Aaron says it is because Jackson needs him. Jackson gets angry and tells Aaron that he does not need anything for Aaron, that he blames Aaron for his condition and that he wishes that he had never met Aaron. Aaron says that he would go back and change it if he could and Jackson shouts that he can’t and that he should leave before he causes more damage.
Aaron goes to the Woolpack and talks to Adam. Hazel turns up and tells Aaron not give up just because Jackson told him he doesn’t want to see him. She gets annoyed that Aaron would give up so easily and brands him a coward. Aaron retorts that these are Jacksons wishes and she tells him that Jackson is just confused after his recent shock. Hazel continues to hassle Aaron for not going to visit Jackson. Aaron asks how Jackson is and she suggests he go and ask himself, but Aaron gets annoyed and storms out. Chastity defends Aaron to Hazel and Aaron is grateful when he finds this out in the pub later.
Hazel continues to make comments towards Aaron about not going to see Jackson in the days that follows. One day, Hazel is offered the Dale Head, the house Jackson was working on for Declan, for a reasonable price. Hazel and Paddy tells this to Aaron, which only causes him to get upset and storm off. Later at the Smithy, Victoria tries to talk some sense into Aaron. He tries to brush it off, but it’s obvious that he is still concerned about Jackson.
Hazel returns to the Smithy later that night, after an emotional conversation with Jackson in the hospital, and reveals that the real reason Jackson finished with him was because he knew Aaron was too immature to cope with what had happened to Jackson and gave him a way out. Aaron storms off and gets dressed for a night out. Before he leaves, he overhears Hazel saying that her son had found someone he love, but now he’d lost him. Feeling guilty, Aaron leaves.
Aaron goes to Bar West and meets a guy named Nick. At first, he tries to ignore Nick’s attempt to start a conversation, but then changes his mind and accepts a drink. After a brief conversation, Nick offer to move somewhere else to make a night of it. Aaron hesitantly agrees, but leaves while Nick is distracted by his friends.
He visits Jackson, who has mixed emotions about seeing him. Aaron wastes no time in trying to get Jackson to move to Dale Head with Hazel, even going so far as to saying he’ll leave Emmerdale if he’s the reason Jackson won’t come back. When Aaron relizes that nothing else was getting through to him, he told Jackson about him and Nick, which caused Jackson to get agitated. Aaron then explained that he couldn’t go through with it because all he could think about was Jackson, which left Jackson near speechless.
Jackson continued to try to push Aaron away, but Aaron wanted so badly to be there for Jackson, saying that it was them against life and that he would never let him down again, which left Jackson relieved and nearly in tears. The following day, Hazel commented on cancelling the the renovation plans for the Dale Head, to which Aaron told her not to rush into and then explained that he and Jackson are back together again and he had decided to move to Dale Head. Hazel was overjoyed, and Paddy, though questioning Aaron at first if he was really up to the task of taking care of Jackson, was happy for them as well.
To make up for all the time he didn’t spend with him, Aaron “kidnaps” Jackson and takes him for a night on the town, much to the amusement of Hazel and Jackson’s nurse, Ashley. Aaron takes him to Bar West as a last stop. Jackson hesitates a first and becomes nervous, but when he sees that Aaron was really trying for him, he puts on a brave face and agrees to go in. While there, Jackson feels uncomfortable, but Aaron tries to reassure his boyfriend that he’s alright, while at the same time trying to intimidate people from either looking or saying anything towards him.
Hazel arrives at Bar West later that night to lighten the mood. When she and Aaron notice Jackson was growing more and more uncomfortable, especially after finding out Hazel had signed them up for karaoke, they decided that it was time to go. But not wanting his mom and Aaron to feel bad, he went through with it and it seemed to have cheered him up a bit, which made Aaron and Hazel very happy. Before leaving, Aaron overhears a guy crack a joke about Jackson, to which he almost blew his top. Jackson, noticing this, confronted the guy himself, making a joke about his paralysis and causing the guy to feel stupid about himself, which once again made Aaron and Hazel very happy.
Back at the hospital, the nurse tells Aaron that she has no problem with him taking Jackson out as long as he signs him out first. Aaron tells Jackson that he was happy to have spent some time with him and kisses Jackson on the forehead. Before they’re able to leave, Jackson suddenly breaks down and begs them not to go. Hazel and Aaron try to comfort him and calm him down by telling him that he’s doing great and not to give up. But at that moment, Aaron could truly feel the pain that Jackson was going through.
The renovations for the Dale head were underway, but Aaron and Cain have their doubts about it being done before Christmas due to the builders slacking off. During this time Aaron continues to visit Jackson at the hospital, where they continue to patch their relationship up. Aaron starts to learn how to take care of Jackson with the help of Ashley, which make Jackson very happy, stating that he was glad they made up and he really missed him.
Due to the efforts of Declan, in a way to repay Jackson, he hires trustworthy builders to work on the Dale Head and hasten the renovation process, much to the surprise of Hazel and Aaron. Aaron sits with Chas in the Woolpack and they discuss her and Carl’s “wedding plans”, although it was only to lure the snake out for Chas had found out that he’d been cheating on her, mostly during her abscence after Aaron’s suicide attempted. Chas questions if Aaron can really handle looking after Jackson, and he replies that it’s going to be a lot harder for Jackson. This made Chas extremely happy to see that her son was growing up.
The day came for Jackson to move into the Dale Head, which had everyone very nervous and excited, especially Hazel and Aaron. They’re gutted, however, when they’re told Jackson will have to stay overnight due to high blood pressure. Aaron, not wanting Jackson to spend the night alone, visits that hospital well after visiting hours, with the help of Ashley, and watches a movie with him.
The next day, Aaron and Hazel bring Jackson back to Emmerdale for the first time since the accident. Aaron tries to help Jackson a couple times, but Jackson states that he could still make his own decisions, wanting to just enjoy the moment of being around friends and family. Aaron gives Jackson a shirt as a christmas gift, to which Jackson once again comments on his poor sense of fashion. But Jackson was happy that Aaron was trying so hard for him.
When Aaron and Cain return from a business trip, they’re stunned to find out that a fire had started in Emmerdale during their abscence. Aaron visits Jackson, who tells Aaron how chaotic that night was and how useless he felt not being able to help or do anything. Charity Tate arrives to the Dale head later and tells Jackson that his builder buddies are wearing her down and constantly making passes at her, and that Jackson was her serect weapon, to which Jackson was caught off guard. Later at the pub, Charity thanks Jackson for a box of chocolates he had left for her and for helping with the builders. She and Aaron go to order him a pint, but she refused to pay, revealing that she came up with the story because Aaron wanted to make Jackson happy and feel useful. So he owed her, and he reluctantly agreed, though Charity promised not to tell anyone of his kind deed.
Aaron first appeared in Emmerdale as a recurring character in 2003 and was played by Danny Webb. In 2008 the character became a full time member of the cast and the decision was made to recast the part. Danny Miller, who previously appeared in Grange Hill, successfully auditioned for the role of Aaron. Miller admitted in an interview that he would have quit acting for good if he had not landed the role.
Personality & Identity
Aaron was first described as a teenage tearaway and the village “bad boy” when he re-appeared in 2008. His return to Emmerdale was marked with his own promo video. Violent, angry and always in trouble, the character quickly established himself as the ‘baddest’ of bad boys. Describing Aaron, Lucy Pargeter (Chas Dingle) said “Aaron’s an absolute pain in the arse for Chas. Danny Miller, who plays him, is brilliant. He gives so much and he’s only young”.
A high profile storyline for the character was when he began to question his sexual orientation. As the storyline progressed, Aaron was seen struggling to come to terms with his sexuality, before admitting the truth to his friend and guardian Paddy Kirk (Dominic Brunt). Miller admits that he was apprehensive when the Emmerdale writers approached him and told him they were making Aaron gay. Miller said “Being a straight actor and having to kiss another lad, I’m not going to lie, I was a bit worried about it, because it’s a great test of your acting skills”. Miller’s co-star, Dominic Brunt has praised the storyline and told Media and Entertainment website, Digital Spy, that “It’s done more realistically than I’ve seen in a soap.” He went on to describe Aaron as being a homophobic homosexual, who doesn’t like what he is. Miller has stated that he is enjoying the challenge presented by the storyline saying “It’s definitely been a big challenge – I feel a big responsibility to get this right and portray it in a way that makes it real, because there are so many lads that are going through what Aaron is going through”. Miller’s co-star James Sutton, who previously played a gay character in Hollyoaks, has said that Miller did not need any advice for the role and said, “We’ve chatted but I’ve given him no advice – he’s a great actor, he doesn’t need me to give him any pointers”.
“I’d never thought Aaron could be gay – he’s probably the most unlikely person in the village to be gay. I saw it as a challenge and said yes, but I was still quite anxious about it.” — Miller on his reaction to finding out Aaron is gay. (2010)
Emmerdale producer Gavin Blyth explained the gay plotline to Miller saying, “There are hundreds of thousands of teenage lads out there who are struggling with it as we speak – they’re sexually confused”. He also added “Aaron keeps it in so much because he’s worried about what people think of him”. Miller has admitted that he felt “awkward” and “strange” when he filmed an intimate moment with his Emmerdale co-star Adam Thomas, who is his real-life flatmate. He said “You’d never think yourself to be in the position that these two are in. Knowing myself and knowing Adam and his long-term girlfriend, he’s the last person you’d expect in that position.”
For his portrayal of Aaron, Danny Miller was nominated for the Best Newcomer Award at the Inside Soap Awards of 2009. He lost out to Craig Gazey, who plays Graeme Proctor in Coronation Street. Danny has said that he has been verbally abused in public for portraying a bad boy and a homosexual. He stated some viewers initially find it difficult to differentiate between character and actor. Miller said, “I get the odd bit of trouble here and there but nothing that I can’t handle. I get people shouting stuff, names in the street, but nothing serious.” He added, “There are people who think I’m the character but when they realise you’re not they warm to you.”