Earlier this year, former Hollyoaks actor Marc Silcock joined Emmerdale as Jackson Walsh, a new love interest for sexually confused teen Aaron Livesy (Danny Miller). Having met Jackson in a gay bar, Aaron took a keen interest and the pair eventually shared a kiss outside a club, witnessed by Adam Barton (Adam Thomas). Aaron and Jackson's friendship, however, took a turn for the worse when Aaron punched him in The Woolpack - presumed by locals to be a homophobic attack. Aaron's case reached court and with Jackson sat in the public gallery, Aaron seized the opportunity to publicly come clean about his sexuality. Here, we chat to Marc about Aaron and Jackson's future, Pauline Quirke and Emmerdale's rejuvenation.
What are your thoughts on the reaction to the Aaron and Jackson storyline?
"It's been unbelievable the amount of people that have been in contact with myself and Danny throughout the storyline. We set out to make a point and showcase the issues that we have been. Personally, I never expected it to be as big as it's become. It's a massive weight off our shoulders to know that people in the same situation are relating to the characters. It's been fantastic."
Do you think Aaron and Jackson are meant to be together?
"There are points where it looks like they're the perfect couple but on the other hand, there are underlying problems with both characters, especially Aaron. It'd be difficult for them to be together forever - it's probably be too much of a fairytale for Aaron to settle down with his first ever boyfriend. They'll be together for a while, but it'd be Disneyland to think that they'll end up as 40-year-old blokes getting married and adopting kids."
Are you excited about Pauline Quirke joining?
"Pauline's such a fantastic actress - I'm so excited that I'm going to be working with her. It'll be great to know a little more about Jackson's family!"
What's it like working with Danny?
"When he's out of work, he's one of the funniest guys but when he's at work, he's so focussed on every single scene. It's scary sometimes having to work with him because you know that at no point there'll be any let-up! He knows exactly where his character is from the scene before, what time it was… It's fantastic, though, because it makes me want to work harder!"
Were the kissing scenes awkward to start with?
"Danny and I sat down and had a quick chat about it beforehand. We're not going to lie and say that it's not difficult for two straight guys to kiss each other, because it was difficult and a bit awkward. But it's only as uncomfortable as you make it, so we had a chat, decided what we were comfortable with and just got on with it. We're not going to start doing it in our spare time!"
Do you think Danny deserved to pick up something from the Soap Awards?
"Don't even get me started on the Soap Awards! It's the way the voting goes, though. Danny apparently had the problem of coming second in a lot of categories. The stuff he filmed with Dominic Brunt was incredible. I do think it was wrong that he didn't get anything, but there's always next year. It's brought the whole cast together and it's made us all want to work that bit harder so we don't go through the same thing next year."
Aaron turns to Jackson during next week's episodes and confides that he's being bullied at community payback…
"The relationship between Aaron and Jackson's still a bit frosty since Aaron attacked him. Now Jackson's working in the village, they're trying to make it a little easier for each other to get along. Aaron 'lets slip' that someone is bullying him at his community service for being gay. Jackson's quite dismissive of him, though."
What happens when Jackson sees Aaron about to be attacked by Wayne?
"The bully, Wayne, follows Aaron back to the village and Jackson sees their altercation - Wayne's actually threatening him with a spanner! Jackson eventually goes over to help Aaron and sort Wayne out. Jackson knows that if Aaron gets into another incident, he'll be sent to prison. Wayne eventually skulks off and that's the key turning point in the thawing of Aaron and Jackson's relationship. As soon as you see it, you see that Jackson really does like Aaron."
What happened after that?
"They end up going to the pub and talk turns to Aaron's suicide attempt. It's the first time Aaron's opened up about it and Jackson just wants to understand why. At this point, you actually start to see that Jackson wants a relationship with Aaron because it seems like he's finally coming to terms with his sexuality. From that, they take the next step and end up back at Smithy where they have their first passionate kiss. It all leads from there."
Aaron and Jackson become involved in Holly's drug story, don't they?
"Yeah, they do. With Aaron comes Jackson and they get trapped by the whole situation and have to start keeping secrets from everyone else. But where that leads I actually don't know."
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