There’s no sign of life calming down in Emmerdale village in 2022, and we’re not just referring to serial killer Meena Jutla’s (Paige Sandhu) reign of terror.
The soap’s executive producer Jane Hudson and producer Laura Shaw have plenty to share, as they tease all the drama and look ahead to the show’s 50th anniversary.
Read on for a packed preview of upcoming storylines in the Dales…
First on the agenda: will evil Meena finally be unmasked, and will she pay the price?
“I think it’s fair to say that judgement day for Meena is coming, but whether she’ll get away with murder or not you’re going to have to wait and find out,” Hudson reveals.
“There are still some more twists and turns to be had in this story, some that you probably won’t see coming. It won’t play out quite as you expect, and there will be a lasting effect on a lot of our villagers. But I think within the next few months, Meena will get what’s coming to her.”
Leyla Cavanagh (Roxy Shahidi) will have her time in the spotlight this year, following a tough 2021 for her and husband Liam (Jonny McPherson).
“Leyla’s got a big story coming up in 2022,” says Shaw. “We’ve seen her be a huge support for Liam through the loss of his daughter Leanna, but is all quite as it seems? Is Leyla really coping as well as she seems to on the surface, or is there a bit more going on there?”
Heartbreak for Charity
There’s fresh drama ahead for Charity (Emma Atkins), and fans will be thrilled to hear that Emmerdale hasn't completely abandoned the history between her and former flame Vanessa (Michelle Hardwick).
“Vanessa’s back,” Shaw cheers. “Obviously that’s going to throw the cat amongst the pigeons for Charity and Mackenzie (Lawrence Robb). Will we see Charity and Vanessa back [together] in 2022, or will we see Vanessa head off in a new direction?”
Meanwhile, Charity’s son Ryan Stocks (James Moore) is set to give her “some heartbreaking news.”
Read more: Next week on Emmerdale
“That’s going to see some hugely emotional scenes play out between mother and son, and this is going to have some influence over Charity’s relationships too.”
Life-changing story for the Dingles
Elsewhere, the rest of the clan are in for a tough time too.
“Two of our most loved Dingles are going to be facing huge, life-changing situations that are going to have repercussions for the whole village,” Shaw tells us. “The effects of this are going to be long-lasting over the course of 2022, and actually into 2023.
“The next few months at the Dingles, we’re going to see drama, joy, fun, laughter, agony, pain, grief, despair…if you can think of a word, they’re going to experience it.”
More of Moira
Shaw also assures us that Moira has not been forgotten. “She’s going to be the person to lean on for more than one of her family members. We’re going to see her be given one of the most difficult decisions of her life when she’s asked to keep a huge secret; and she’s going to struggle massively with that.”
“On another side of the fence, we’re also going to see something that Moira thought was in her past come back to haunt her in quite a big way.”
Bombshell for Kim Tate
“Up at Home Farm, we know that Jamie Tate (Alexander Lincoln) is actually still alive, so obviously that information is still to come out,” teases Shaw.
“Who’s going to find out, what will they do once they know? We know what a tough cookie Kim (Claire King) is, but we also know that Jamie is her Achilles heel, so we can expect huge fireworks if she ever finds out.”
Emmerdale’s penchant for unique non-linear episodes has been praised over the years, and Shaw promises they will be revisiting this format in the coming months.
“We do have a very special episode coming up. [It’s] going to spark off one of our biggest stories for this year, but in a different way. It’s something we’ve not done before, and it’ll enable the audience to see the story from a whole different perspective.
“I can also confirm we do have one of our big special weeks planned for later in the year, where we’ll see the culmination of some of our huge stories, as well as the start of other big stories.
Hudson offers a taste of what viewers can expect from these episodes. “Cain (Jeff Hordley) and Al’s (Michael Wildman) feud is definitely not over, as you will see. Something will happen which will make these two men have to look at their relationship with each other.”
Shaw is happy to add that it’s not all doom and gloom ahead in the Dales. “We’ve got some fun stuff coming up in the salon, where we’ll see a new unexpected member of the staff joining the team.
“We’ve also got more for Cain and Liam who are probably one of my most favourite friendships in the show at the moment, I could watch them all day long.
“When you’ve got brilliant comedy actors, when you’ve got Marlon and Paddy, Nicola and Jimmy, Bernice, Bob, the laughter’s never going to be far behind.”
50th anniversary celebrations
Hudson promises excitement is on the way for Emmerdale’s milestone birthday in October, with “a golden month of celebrations.”
“There’s going to be mind-blowing stunts, there’s going to be moments of heartbreak, there’s going to be secrets and lies revealed. It really is going to be the gift that keeps on giving.
“So our 2022 is very much going to be building our stories for that 50th golden month of celebrations. We need to make this the biggest year we’ve ever had.”
Shaw adds: “Obviously we want October to be epic, and it absolutely will be, but we won’t be resting on our laurels until then. Some of what we’ve got planned for the first half of this year will undoubtedly go down in Emmerdale history as some of our finest moments.”
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