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'Emmerdale': Character teasers, gossip from producer Stuart Blackburn

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Emmerdale's series producer Stuart Blackburn appeared on This Morning today (April 4), promising "spectacular" plans for the soap's 40th anniversary - including two births and a wedding.

Stuart also answered viewer questions and offered a number of character teasers for the coming months. Here, Soap Scoop presents the main snippets of gossip from what he had to say.



Zak Dingle from Emmerdale
Zak and the Dingles
Fans have recently noticed that Zak is behaving strangely - a situation which intensifies next week when he collapses at The Woolpack and is told that he may have had a panic attack.

Asked whether Zak will return to his old self, Stuart replied: "Eventually, but it's going to be a long, long road. He's had the worst year of his life. His wife was raped, and he was unable to do anything about it.

"And then his son Cain - [there were] a litany of offences that man committed, to the point where Zak attacked him. It's been awful - the consequences of that are hanging really heavily on him, and will hang heavier still. But the Dingles are the strongest family in the Dales, and this whole story is about their love."



Ashley interrogates Sandy over what he has been saying to Edna and Rachel. Sandy is left shaken and scared when Ashley grabs his wrists, injuring him
Ashley and Sandy's storyline
Stuart was also asked about Ashley's recent angry behaviour towards Sandy, but denied suggestions that the village vicar's personality has been transformed for the storyline.

He commented: "I'm not sure his personality has changed. Obviously there's been the whole story with Laurel and Marlon and the non-affair. I think the worst thing that happened was Laurel admitting that she loved Marlon. Pretty much everything Ashley held dear, his sense of self, vanished that moment.

"He's said he's got over it, but he hasn't… I think if we just transformed their personalities, people would switch off in droves. For me, it's been a long, long journey for Ashley. And there's a long way to go yet for him, Sandy and Laurel."



Debbie and Cameron discuss the new baby and it all becomes too real for Cameron when its discovered that Debbie is having a boy
Debbie, Cameron and the saviour sibling story
Stuart hinted that the focus of this story will soon be shifting towards Cameron - which viewers may have already guessed with a possible affair on the way for him and Chas.

Stuart said: "I think there will be surprises, but not necessarily in terms of the story about Sarah and the saviour sibling. It's such an important story - we don't want any tricks, any games, any fanciness.

"[We'll explore] the pressures in that household - the stuff that Cameron has had to cope with. What's happened to him while Debbie's focusing on her daughter? That's going to be the big twist."



Val Pollard from Emmerdale
Val and Eric
Stuart confirmed that the door remains open for Charlie Hardwick to return as Val, but it won't be plain sailing for her and Eric. As readers may have already seen in our spoiler section, Eric will be getting together with Brenda in the coming days.

"Eric Pollard's still a very virile man, and considers himself in his prime," Stuart said. "He's not going to sit around and wait for too long. If and when Val comes back, she's in for a big surprise, I think."



Aaron waits at the cricket pavilion in his suit, as he thinks about the day ahead and his impending court case
Aaron
The door also remains open for Danny Miller to reprise his role as Aaron in the future. His exit episodes air tomorrow, but Aaron's story will continue via the soap's new digital initiative.

Stuart said: "Whatever happens in tomorrow's episodes, the door will be left open. And just so people know, his story doesn't end there. You can follow his story for at least another month, two months online.

"We've got a brand new Emmerdale 24/7, that no other soap is doing. So you can follow his Facebook. Log onto the website and you'll be able to follow his love story over the coming weeks."



Megan Macey (Gaynor Faye) and Robbie (Jamie Shelton) from Emmerdale
The Maceys and Home Farm
Stuart spoke of how Emmerdale's new bad boy character Robbie will be stirring up life at Home Farm once he makes his debut in May.

He said: "We've got a wonderful, wonderful cast up there [at Home Farm] now. Things are going to change. There's going to be a brand new character coming very soon, who explains a lot about Megan and Declan's past.

"It's a character that is absolutely going to divide Home Farm. It's getting back to old style Home Farm - the struggles for power and loyalty."



Moira and the Bartons scatter John's ashes. The Barton's are unaware that Holly has pocketed her heroin before leaving
Moira
Moira's had a tough time of it recently following the death of husband John, but it sounds like there could be happier times ahead for her with a possible new romance on the way.

Stuart revealed: "It's been horrendous, but I think Moira's future is going to be really optimistic. I don't want to give too much away, but there's a period of grieving obviously, and then we're really going to see some fire in her belly.

"She's going to have fun. It may not be entirely appropriate, but she is going to have some fun."



Nikhil and Gennie finally kiss
Gennie and Nikhil
Finally, Stuart promised that Gennie and Nikhil will be staying together as a couple - albeit with some big drama ahead…

He said: "We're absolutely going to keep them together, and they've got a big story coming through in the next few months, running right through autumn and onwards.

"There's going to be massive changes for the pair of them. I adore that couple. They're staying together, but with some really, massive life-changing challenges."

> Emmerdale casts new Home Farm bad boy Robbie
> Emmerdale boss teases "spectacular" anniversary plans
> Read more Emmerdale spoilers and news

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