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Safe House's Jason Merrells: 'I'm glad they didn't kill me off in Emmerdale'

Safe House star Jason Merrells says he was pleased his Emmerdale character Declan Macey wasn't killed off when he left the soap last year – and not because he wants to return.

"I am glad. Because of the nature of the way soaps work, it is very predictable and everyone gets to hear about someone leaving, then it is like, 'Right what is it going to be? A truck? A disease?' And that is boring and so everyone expected that, but I don't think they did expect that he would nearly die, then come back, then not die, so we were trying to be a bit surprising with it," he told What's on TV.

The actor also revealed that he was incredibly impressed by the script for Safe House, in which he plays prison officer David Blackwell, who is seeking refuge with his family in a Lake District safe house after they are targeted by a sinister villain.

"When I first read it I just thought that it was one of the best I had read in ages. It wasn't about procedure and paperwork and it wasn't in a cop shop and it was in this amazing landscape and all the characters had something to reveal," says Jason.

His next project is finishing his first novel, which he has found a challenge.

"It is a story about a painter and his rivalry with his best friend, who is a conceptual artist and very successful, so it is a story about the art world and a story about friendship and rivalry and passion. I love writing, but honing a novel is a beast of thing and has taken me lot longer than it was going to. But I am on the second draft and I can see light at end of tunnel," he smiled.

Watch an interview with Safe House star Jason Merrells, above. Safe House continues on ITV on Monday