Emmerdale At 40: Rik Makarem and Sian Reese-Williams on Nikhil and Gennie’s baby, the murder and their live show worries!
Next month is a big one for Emmerdale as it will reach its landmark 40th anniversary, and to celebrate, the show’s bosses have a whole host of shows lined up, including of course the highly anticipated live broadcast.
As we reported earlier this week, a huge amount of planning and preparation has gone into the live hour-long episode, which will feature the double wedding of Katie Sugden and Declan Macey alongside Chas Dingle and Dan Spencer’s big day.
And there will be the murder of one of the show’s major characters, but the introduction of two new ones in the form of Gennie Walker and Debbie Dingle’s babies!
Ahead of the milestone event, the cast have been talking to ITV about their roles in the anniversary episodes, and today, we have two more of those interviews for you as Rik Makarem and Sian Reese-Wiliams, who of course play expectant parents Nikhil Sharma and Gennie Walker, reveal their nerves about having such pivotal parts to play in the live show.
First, here’s what Rik had to say…
How is Nikhil feeling about the arrival of his baby?
Nikhil is excited about his baby although there have been a couple of false alarms. It is a nerve-racking time as Nikhil likes everything to be in order. It’s their first baby. It’s a new experience for both of them and it’s very scary. Nikhil wants to initiate some order to this birth. He has a strategy, but will it work?
Are Nikhil and Gennie ready?
They are living in a world of organised chaos. Nikhil and Gennie complement each other. They are both going through a learning process and both panicking in their own ways. It’s giving us some good comedy because they are getting on each other’s nerves quite a bit.
How will Nikhil cope with dirty nappies and baby sick?
I have a feeling Nikhil will be quite clinical about the baby; he will have a set of rubber gloves on standby! I don’t think even Nikhil will know how he will react to having his own child. Nikhil realises it is incredible to have a baby with the person he loves. It will be half him and half Gennie and that is just amazing.
Have you enjoyed this storyline so far?
I love it. Viewers are using the term Genhil to describe us. What we have with these two characters is two people who on paper, you wouldn’t necessarily put together but for whatever reason it works. For me it’s a dream as an actor to play as we get everything; comedy, tragedy, emotional moments, vulnerability and strength. Nikhil and Gennie work better when they are a team and working with Sian has been a real turning point for my career in the show.
How does it feel to be playing such a big part in the 40th celebrations?
I think Emmerdale is in a really strong position and I feel honoured to be part of it. We have characters that have the fine balance between reflecting reality with drama. I think we balance light and dark well. The show is in a really good shape and long may it continue.
What can the viewers expect from the celebrations?
It is going to be intense. Expect the unexpected. There are going to be shocks and it is going to be terrifying at certain points. It’s everything and I am proud to be part of it.
We have heard there is going to be a death. Do you think the viewers will be shocked?
I think they are going to be hurt by it. It hurts to even read what is happening, but that is just a tribute to the storyline and the strength of the storytelling. I think the audiences will be sad but it will be entertaining for sure.
How are you feeling about the live episode?
I feel great! It’s the opportunity of a lifetime. It has been a great year 2012, the year of the London Olympic Games, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. It has all been very exciting.
What are you most nervous about?
I am most nervous about doing my bit of the storyline as it’s in a difficult circumstance. Also having to nail my performance in one take is the biggest challenge. We won’t get a second take. I hope I do it justice.
On now to what Sian told the broadcaster…
Gennie is heavily pregnant. How is she feeling?
She has had a few jitters about it recently. She is also scared because her real mum died in childbirth. So Gennie is very apprehensive and nervous. Nikhil is trying to make her take maternity leave and she is in denial at the moment. Plus she is having a few false alarms. I don’t think Gennie feels very ready for this baby.
How is her relationship with Nikhil?
Gennie and Nikhil always bicker, but there is a lot of love there. He is being his usual obsessive self with folders and fake babies. Everything has to be regimented and it is like a training regime for him. He’s making her feel inadequate. He’s winding her up. I think Gennie is wondering how Nikhil will cope, whether or not he will turn OCD over it all. We just don’t know yet.
Are you enjoying the storyline?
I am loving Nikhil and Gennie’s journey it is such fun and working with Rik is a joy. My best double act scene was when Nikhil trashed the kitchen and Rik was really funny. I had yogurt absolutely all over me, which I didn’t really enjoy because I have a phobia of having food on me. I just wish I had been the one throwing the food.
How have you found wearing the fake maternity bumps?
Wearing those bumps was hellish. They were always hot and sweaty. I was filming in one recently then I had to drive to Wales afterwards. My back was in agony after wearing the bump all day. We have different bumps for each stage of the pregnancy. The bumps are good though as they do make you walk differently. I want to make Rik wear it, so he can understand why I moaned about it. I have noticed people laughing at me because they catch me rubbing it like a real baby. It feels natural. But I am very pleased to be getting rid of the bumps!
How are you feeling about having to pretend to give birth live?
To prepare for the birth scene I have been watching One Born Every Minute. My agent has also advised me not to make too much noise. I did a play before I started here and one of the girls played a pregnant girl so we researched giving birth. I cannot wait to do the scenes live as I am guessing it will feel like being in a play again. We never normally get
rehearsal time, but for the live we are getting almost two weeks.
There is going to be a death. Do you think the viewers are going to be surprised?
Yes and we are really trying to keep it a secret for impact.
What can viewers expect from the 40th celebration episodes?
It’s high octane! Births, marriages and a death, literally a bit of everything.
What is going to be your biggest challenge?
The other day we were doing the scenes when Gennie has a false alarm and I had to do lots of heavy breathing. I got really very dizzy and faint so on the night of the live episode I am scared I’ll get faint and forget where I am.
What is the atmosphere like at Emmerdale at the moment?
The atmosphere is electric. There is a mixture of excitement and nerves. However, I think we are trying not to think about it too much. It is so huge and the logistics are scary. There is definitely a buzz.
What has been your favourite moment during your time on Emmerdale?
I loved working with Alex Carter (Jamie Hope) because we were such good friends outside of work as well. I think Gennie and Nikhil are brilliant together. I love them as a couple and their storylines are really fun and exciting.
We’ll bring you more news and goss about the big anniversary week soon!