Affairs are two-a-penny in Soapland, but it’s not often you see the likes of Emmerdale’s Paddy Kirk doing the dirty. Paddy loves his wife Rhona and they are on the road to adopting a baby, yet he cannot resist the charms of teaching assistant Tess Harris.
He’s not a natural cheat, but Paddy is getting more confident and invites his mistress to an overnight stay in a hotel this week. All goes to plan until Rhona turns up unexpectedly. Is the game up for the two-timing vet? TV Times spoke to stars Dominic Brunt, Nicola Stephenson and Zoe Henry about their take on one of soap’s most shocking affairs yet.
Dominic Brunt explains Paddy Kirk’s motives…
Paddy loves Rhona, so why is he risking his marriage like this?
"He has told Aaron that he finds it exciting. He feels 10-years-younger and his flagging ego has been bolstered. I don’t condone what he is doing. He has thrown his morals away and I think he is being pathetic. At first, a tiny part of me worried that Paddy was going to lose his likeability over this, but nobody can be a saint for that long. Everybody is a mixture of both good and bad."
How do you feel when you watch the scenes back?
"I cringe – nobody wants to see a 45-year-old man kissing on screen, do they? But I am enjoying the drama. What is great is that nobody saw this coming and I am relishing it, even though I think the betrayal is awful."
What can you tell us about the hotel moment?
"Paddy has made this bold move of inviting Tess to a hotel because he knows it will end soon-ish. He thinks he is in for this great romantic weekend, which will make a change from doing it in the back of a car in a layby somewhere. Suddenly his wife turns up and it is all really uncomfortable. Paddy knows full well it is right on the line and he is petrified that Rhona will work it out.
"It is a turning point for him because he realises that he doesn’t want to sabotage his family. He thinks ‘This is it, I want to get out.’"
Have you been hit by any handbag-wielding fans?
"I live in the middle of the countryside and don’t go out much, so no I haven’t, not yet. I don’t really pay attention to Twitter either, so I don’t know what viewers are making of it.
How do you find the canoodling scenes?
"I find that a bit embarrassing. It is not a natural thing to go to work and say ‘How was your weekend?’ and then start snogging. I haven’t done it for so long – Lisa Riley was probably the last person I snogged for the cameras."
How is this all going to end?
"Basically, it has to end badly really, doesn’t it? It is going to get good. Tess’s husband comes into it and stuff with Aaron boils up."
What is Tess thinking of! Nicola Stephenson explains…
What does Tess see in Paddy?
"Tess’s husband doesn’t want kids and she doesn’t feel loved and cherished. Paddy represents everything she wants. He is the epitome of a lovely trustworthy family man. She has convinced herself that Paddy is not happy with Rhona and would be much better off with her."
Why does she flirt with Marlon?
"She sees an opportunity to make Paddy jealous and it works because he then asks her if she fancies a night in a hotel. Paddy has told Tess he is happily married and she is angry that he believes she tried to sabotage their chances with the adoption panel. She feels used and her self-esteem is slowly being whittled away. She is a desperate woman really."
Is she tempted to blow the whistle when Rhona shows up at the hotel?
"She is furious. Paddy shoves her in the bathroom but she knows that if she bursts out and ruins things for him, he might dump her. It all happens very quickly, but she hopes that Paddy will sort it out and get rid of Rhona."
What do you think of the story?
"It is interesting because it is not black and white. It is not just bad people who have affairs, it can happen in any marriage. It does look exhausting though. I can’t imagine having the time or energy to do what Tess is doing. My husband calls me about 10 times a day and if my phone is switched off he uses ‘Where’s my iPhone?’ to locate me, so I could never get away with it!"
How have viewers reacted to Tess?
"I get people saying to me ‘Leave that Paddy alone. You are the hussy of Emmerdale.’ I’m glad about that. It is great to come in and do something so exciting. People seem to be enjoying the juicy and scandalous elements of the story."
Could Tess make life very difficult for Paddy?
"I think she will. She could get really damaged by this and will behave in ways she will later regret. She sails close to madness at some points."
Zoe Henry opens up about poor innocent, Rhona...
Has Rhona got any idea that something is up with Paddy?
"In her mind, Paddy is the last human on earth who would ever do anything to hurt anyone else, so no. It isn’t even on her radar. He is being a bit jumpy and unusually attentive, but it would never occur to her that he is seeing anybody else. Anyway, he is a bit of a jittery person by nature."
So what is in her mind when she dashes off to the hotel to surprise him?
"I am a mother myself and know how excited I get about a night with my husband [Emmerdale’s Jeff Hordley] without the children. It is ‘Woo-hoo, me and Jeff can have a drink and a lie-in.’ Rhona has just had good news about the adoption process and she can’t wait to celebrate with Paddy."
Does she notice anything strange when she pitches up?
"She has no idea that Tess is in the bathroom! Paddy says that he had a bad head and fell asleep; so poor old innocent Rhona accepts that."
Is she going to find out the truth?
"Things will hit the fan and it is going to be very exciting and there is an unexpected twist at the end."
Will Rhona leave Paddy?
"We’ll have to wait and see. I hope not as I really enjoy working with Dominic Brunt. She will be so shocked. Not just about Paddy, but Tess too – the woman has confided in her about having an affair with a married man!"
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