The older generation are the glue of any soap opera. They have the connections with the characters and enough life experience of love, loss, murders and, in some cases, crabs, to be able to watch over the younger folk. Emmerdale hasn’t been lacking drama lately but if it is short of one thing, it’s the quantity of older characters.
When she is around, Betty is as much of a joy as ever, and she is never short of a bit of gossip at the moment. Diane, meanwhile, is juggling a pub and the antics of her dizzy daughter Bernice, while Edna continues to create a fascinating character whom we all learn from. Just last week, we had the revelation that her marriage had been a sham.
Based on my affection for the old guard of the Dales, it’s been a welcome sight to see Diane’s old flame and Laurel’s dad, Doug, back in the village. Actor Duncan Preston, who reprises the role after a lengthy absence, discusses the circumstances surrounding his alter ego’s reappearance.
Doug’s back where he belongs, where his roots are. He’s finding it as exciting as I am to be back,” enthuses the acclaimed actor. Duncan (and, may I add, in an utterly unbiased fashion, what a strong, pure forename that is?) reveals that Doug is back primarily to see Laurel and, while his predominant focus is his niggling doubts about her pairing with Marlon, there is also unfinished business with Diane. “He would love to reunite with Diane, but she’s being careful. But she blew him out, remember, or it was at least a mutual thing,” Duncan recalls. “He has loads of regrets about leaving her behind to try again with Hilary. When he walks into the pub for the first time, there’s a spark there but he tries to hide it. He’s surprised by his feelings. They both are.”
The Emmerdale fan base will surely agree that it’s about time that Diane had something to smile about. Could Doug be the man to bring that light back into her life? Duncan is adamant that his character will take a real shot at it. “He will try everything. If it happens, he will be over the moon,” he says. “He likes the rapport he has with Diane. She’s been alone and so has he, really.”
While tension bubbles between Diane and Doug, and Doug also keeps an eye on Marlon, there’s no shortage of drama on the horizon and Duncan couldn’t be happier. “It’s like coming home. It’s so lovely to see people. I feel like I’ve never been away,” he says. “It was actually another female member of the cast, one of the younger girls, who was the catalyst for my return. I love being back!”
And we love having Doug back. Are you pleased to see Laurel’s dad back in the Dales? Who else would you like to see return to the village? And would you like to see a reunion between Diane and Doug? Let us know, using the usual method!
I can be followed on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/Our_manPLA
Written By Our Man In The North