There’s been a gripping storyline on Emmerdale in recent weeks, as Dan Spencer’s one-punch attack has left the village – and Emmerdale fans – reeling.
For those who need catching up, Dan’s teenage daughter Amelia – an aspiring influencer – has been attracting some unwanted attention. A man, Lloyd, began harassing her, eventually leading protective Dan to lose his temper and punch him. That one punch, however, seems to have changed Dan’s life forever, as Lloyd is seriously hurt and Dan is formally charged with GBH.
Now, the family consider fleeing the country as Dan faces prison. Let’s catch up with actors Liam Fox and Daisy Campbell, who play Dan and Amelia, to find out more.
LIAM, HOW HAS DAN’S LIFE BEEN IMPACTED SINCE THE ONE-PUNCH INCIDENT?
LF: It’s like a different Dan, really, like it would with anybody.
I think the particular scene where he actually goes and hits Lloyd, seconds before that he’s laughing and joking about cooking pork steaks with Cain, and the next minute he’s punched a man and he’s down on the floor. And I think that pretty much shows where Dan’s life has gone from in those seconds, where his life is just constant worry.
There’s not many smiles in this story…
He’s not the man he used to be, and can he ever be again? I don’t know. Yeah, (it) completely changed his life.
NOW THEY’RE CONSIDERING GOING ON THE RUN. HOW’S DAN FEELING AT THE MOMENT?
LF: He doesn’t initially want to do it, really. He don’t think it’s a good idea at all…
And then he thinks on it and thinks on it again, and just thinks: there’s no way out of this.
He can’t stand the thought of not being with his daughter and his granddaughter. He realises that he’s not going to be suited to prison life at all. So the only option at that point seems to be he’s gonna go on the run.
DAISY, DOES AMELIA FEEL GUILT FOR THE PREDICAMENT HER DAD IS IN?
DC: I think she does… she would have never expected anything like this to ever happen, especially to Dan because it’s so out of his nature.
I think Amelia finally found something that she enjoyed, that she got money from so she could help her dad with the bills and get nice food for the week and help out Esther and stuff, so I think it were a relief for her to get something that she finally enjoyed, but then obviously something so innocent turned into something so dangerous as well… so I definitely think she feels guilty.
I think, in her head, what’s running through is if she wouldn’t have made this account would this have happened? You never know. And obviously it’s not her fault, but I think she does feel guilty and I think that will probably stick with her for a while.
LIAM, DOES DAN ACTUALLY THINK RUNNING AWAY IS A SOLUTION, DO YOU THINK?
LF: He knows deep down it’s not a real answer. You’re gonna get caught eventually. It’s not going to be forever. It’s a fantasy world, really, and he knows that and he realises that and he’s just gonna have to face up to the truth.
HAS THIS SITUATION CHANGED DAN AS A PERSON?
LF: Oh, yeah. Hundred percent.
It’ll take a long time for Dan to get back to the person that he was, particularly the Dan we saw when he first came into the show, mister fun loving, daft Dan. Something like this is gonna make you look at life in a completely different way. And quite rightly so.
And hopefully that works for the audience as well, the fact that somebody as ordinary and everyman as Dan could get himself in this situation.
DAISY, WHAT’S AMELIA’S FEAR ABOUT LOSING DAN?
DC: Just being on her own. I think it’s a lot with her being a young single mum with Esther. Obviously, she’s got Noah and she has got a lot of people around her in the village that are there for her all the time. But I think, yeah, she’s just scared of being alone. She’s always used to having her dad there. He’s the one that’s actually stuck around. So I think she’s just scared of being lonely and on her own.
AND WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR DAN, REGARDLESS OF THE OUTCOME?
LF: Whatever happens, yeah, it just can’t be the same again. Whether it’s a custodial sentence or not, which obviously it looks like at the moment…
This is where my research comes in. So I was watching a bit about this lad… I didn’t meet anybody in person, but there was a guy on YouTube, I think he was from Derbyshire, and he done a one-punch thing and been out of prison for four or five years. And he was talking about it, you know, all these years later, and he was still affected by what he’d done and the pain that had caused to the family that were involved.
WHAT HAVE YOU BOTH ENJOYED ABOUT WORKING ON THIS GRITTIER STORYLINE?
LF: It’s just been constant. Because I have been quiet the last few years and suddenly… because all actors have doubt themselves. You know, if you’re quiet: ‘Can I do this? Am I actually any good at this?’
And then you get a good story and you reboot again and you go: ‘Oh, I can do it’.
That’s all an actor wants to do. You just want to do good work, audience to like it and then move on to the next script. As simple as that.
It’s just great… it’s working (with) great people every day, on good work – you can’t knock it.
DC: I love the grittier stuff. I just love really getting into a storyline, doing all the research… doing all the homework. Liam was the first person, and Laura Norton, to teach me how to do homework on my scripts. So that’s something I’ll always bring along with me through my career as well.
But I just love it, I just love getting into a really emotional storyline because we just think about the audience with these stories and how that’s going to reach out to them. Because obviously, in Emmerdale, and any soap, we deal with real-life problems, don’t we? So it’s nice to then get the stories and tell them to the audience in the best way possible.
– The dramatic events will unfold on Emmerdale from Monday August 7 at 7.30pm on ITV1.