Ross Barton is a man with a guilty conscience – having taken his mum Emma to the viaduct and instructed her to take her own life, he has been plagued with feelings of blame and regret ever since she was found dead.
Tonight, fans were finally let into the secret that it was Moira Dingle who pushed Emma from the viaduct after she was pressed by her nemesis. Emma had wanted Moira to push her to absolve her of the sin of suicide and after slating Moira’s kids, she got her warped wish.
Ross admitted that he shoulders a lot of the blame for what happened but actor Mike Parr has shared that he is glad his alter ego wasn’t the one to commit the killer act – if only because t would have been too obvious an outcome.
He told Metro.co.uk: ‘I knew quite far in advance but only because I knew about other stories further down the line. When I was talking to Iain about a story in the future, there were no repercussions that suggested it had been Ross so I was like “right, okay, I’m here for a little while.”
‘I think it would have been a little too obvious if it were Ross but it would have also have been a bittersweet story which had come full circle because she had tried to kill him and then he finished her off. He does think he has done it though so I still get to play the guilt and shame. It was really hard to portray as I couldn’t play it so obvious that it gave it away so we almost had to act out the story rather than the truth of the performance. We had to tone it down a little bit and we had to play it a bit ambiguous.’
Speaking about how Ross has dealt with the pressure of his part in Emma’s demise, he continued: ‘It’s been high stress for him – he had to get out of town to get his head straight. It’s been weighing on his conscience but he has been trying to justify it by thinking that he didn’t actually push her but still, he did walk her to her fate. With what she did to Finn, he also tries to use that as a justification but the longer it went on, the more the cracks started to show.
‘Ross’ default emotion is retaliate and revenge but we are starting to see a different side to him where he starts to think things through.’
There has been a bit of a Barton exodus of late. With James, Finn and Emma all brown bread and Adam on the way out, Mike is conscious of the dwindling family. And he admits that feeling sad by their departures helps with emotional scenes.
He told us: ‘It does help that they’re gone as it is easier to access that sadness is there. When Donna died, I was genuinely crying because Verity left on the Friday and I was back filming on the Monday. We’d worked really closely together so I was absolutely sobbing. I was gutted she’d gone.
‘This was a little different as it was so long after they had gone – but it’s still very sad especially as Bill and Joe came in with us as the four boys. The Bartons are getting a little thin on the ground now – me and Quinny (Anthony Quinlan, who plays Pete) need to work really hard here or we’re going to lose our jobs!’ he joked with a laugh.
And what about Ross and Pete moving forward? Mike revealed: ‘It brings them closer together. They bonded when their parents first died and the suspicion drove them apart a bit but ultimately you will see that closer bond forming which I love because it was always Ross and Pete at each others’ throats so it’s nice for me and Quinny be on each others’ side. There’s potential for a good brother storyline where they actually get on and cause trouble together.’
But one bond that isn’t going to be restored in full any time soon is the romantic feelings between Ross and his ex Debbie Dingle. And Mike is quite happy for the show to leave that storyline in the past for the time being.
He said: ‘I hope they don’t get back together. She’s barely been there. Ross has been lovely to her and was doting on her – whenever Sarah was in need he did all these naughty jobs and stole Porsches and gave her all the money and she was just cold hearted towards him. Now she has met handsome Ned Porteous’ character so he’s my upgrade! I’ve let him win!’
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