Emmerdale’s Chris Bisson on Charity kidnap
‘Jai was driven to it’
Emmerdale aired a big reveal moment at the end of Tuesday night’s episode (October 14) as Jai Sharma was confirmed as Charity Macey’s kidnapper
A number of names had been in the frame after Charity was attacked and locked up in a shipping container, but viewers now know that Jai has taken the drastic action – wanting answers over the whereabouts of his young son Archie.
Chris Bisson, who plays Jai, is interviewed to hear his thoughts on this surprising storyline twist for his character.
When did you first hear that this storyline was coming up?
“It came out of a conversation that I had with the show’s producer Kate Oates at an awards ceremony. I asked, ‘How are we going to resolve the Archie story once Declan leaves?’ Kate told me they were thinking about it, and I said that from my experience of being a father, there would be no lengths that Jai wouldn’t go to in order to get information on Archie’s whereabouts from Charity. It would be a gloves-off situation, as he would definitely hate her and be thinking of doing something nasty to her!
“Further on down the line, Kate told me that she’d been thinking of what I’d said at the awards, and so they’d decided to go bigger with this storyline. Obviously they were planning on it anyway, but it was the severity of it that changed.”
Is it unusual for the bosses to take on board ideas from the cast?
“It’s not unusual, but I think sometimes you just have conversations that resonate with them. Obviously I only think about Jai – that’s what they pay me to do! So that’s why I said that I thought Jai could be taken to extremes with this story. That obviously struck a chord with the writing team and it all just fitted together nicely.
“I’m definitely playing a much darker character than I came in with, but like everybody in Emmerdale, bad things happen and that changes your character’s personality!”
How did you feel when you saw the scripts for these episodes?
“I was still quite shocked by what Jai had done and the way that he’d gone about it. What he’s done is very much premeditated, and that’s the disturbing thing! Once I’d read the scripts twice, I realised that Jai must have got all of this organised in advance. He’s gone away, found this shipping container and then decided what he was going to do to Charity. He’s been driven to it.
“On Friday, you saw that Declan told everyone that Charity had Rachel’s mobile number. Even when Jai went round to Home Farm afterwards, Charity denied that she had anything. Another thing is that Declan said to Jai that getting rid of Archie might have given Charity the greatest pleasure.
“Because of that, Jai has realised that if Charity has gone to those lengths to hurt him, she is absolutely never going to give up the information of where Archie is unless he forces it out of her. That’s why what he does is so severe!”
Is Jai planning to kill Charity, or is he just trying to scare her?
“Jai just wants the information of where Archie is from Charity. If he gets his son back, Charity will be released and there’s no two ways about that. You’ll have to wait and see how far Jai goes because I don’t want to spoil this week’s episodes, but he’s already gone to the lengths of premeditated kidnap and torture. Those are very, very extreme emotional responses to a very difficult situation.”
Is Charity shocked when she finds out the kidnapper is Jai? After all, she accused him of making empty threats on Friday…
“Yes, I think she is surprised! As Declan is still on the loose, Charity thinks that he must be the kidnapper.
“I think the audience will be surprised by this too. It’s nice to hold things back and for there to be some genuine surprises in the show. It’s an appointment-to-watch storyline, rather than just reading everything in advance online or in a soap magazine. In some ways spoilers can be counter-productive and certainly for my generation growing up, the watercooler moments came when people were talking about stuff that they hadn’t been forewarned about. Those are the things that make the biggest ripples.”
Do you think the audience will have any sympathy for Jai?
“I know that they didn’t have much sympathy for him when he sacked Lisa the other week! (Laughs.) That was funny because my Twitter went absolutely barmy after that storyline! I wasn’t expecting it, but if they write your character horrible, you play horrible and that’s the way it goes.
“I think that the audience may understand Jai’s actions, partly because Charity has been so devious. She has manipulated and hurt so many people on this whole journey that she’s been on with Declan. Charity has chewed people up, spat them out and had no regard for anyone.
“When you play Jai against that and the audience’s desire for Charity to get her comeuppance, which is long overdue, I think people will understand why he’s been driven to these lengths. Although I think he’s probably taken it a bit too far for some people’s liking! We’re playing out a case of ‘Who’s worse?’, but you probably always get a little bit of sympathy and understanding if you’re playing against Charity!”
Jai also has a shock accident of his own later in the week…
“Yes, I don’t want to give too much away about that, but it’s in the 7,000th episode of Emmerdale on Thursday that Jai ends up coming a little bit unstuck. That’s pretty much as a direct consequence of what he’s done to Charity.
“It’s all related to that, as Jai is not a professional kidnapper, torturer or hitman! He’s very much out of his comfort zone. He may be trying to play it hard and his emotions are driving him, but he’s definitely out of his comfort zone and that pressure will start to get to him.”
Do you think it’s likely we’ll see Gemma Oaten on screen again as Rachel to tie up all of the loose ends?
“I think so – I think it’s inevitable that it comes full circle at some point, but whenever that is, I don’t know. I honestly don’t know what’s going to come of that. I suppose the audience like to have things wrapped up, but at the same time it’s nice for us to have ongoing stories that aren’t resolved and are driving characters forward.
“Something like a missing son can certainly make people bitter and twisted. Jai is suffering from the emotional consequences of having that happen to him. I don’t expect you to see him get nice again any time soon. It’s the new emotionally damaged Jai that we’re dealing with!”