Emmerdale’s Matty Barton Struggles with his Masculinity!
Matty Barton is still trying to find his place in the world – let alone Emmerdale – but next week, he goes the wrong way about it when he tries to be one of the lads. Actor Ash Palmisciano explains all.
Fitting in doesn’t come easy to Matty Barton, so when he meets some ‘bad lads’ while playing football for the Emmerdale team, he tries to win over his new mates with disastrous results. Actor Ash Palmisciano explains what’s going on with Matty.
“It’s a hot topic at the moment, isn’t it?” says Ash, who plays Matty Barton. “It’s a whole ‘toxic masculinity’ thing. Through Matty, we’re looking at the ways men can behave with other men, and the ‘rules’ that lads feel they have to live by – such as not showing emotion, and never talking about feelings.”
During a Woolpack Cubs football match, when Matty’s barged by Jono, the opposing team’s defender, Pete Barton (Anthony Quinlan) acts protectively and risks outing Matty.
At the pub, Matty’s frustrated at Pete but happy when Jono asks him to join him and Ste (Jono’s team mate) for a drink. Matty faces peer pressure from Ste and Jono and Pete is worried Matty’s trying too hard to impress his new friends.
When Amy Wyatt (Natalie Ann Jamieson) reveals to Matty that Victoria Barton (Isabel Hodgins) is leaving for Cornwall, he is gutted to have been left in the dark, Matty shames Victoria for not telling him and heads off to spend time with his new friends.
The next day, Matty crosses paths with Victoria and ignores her attempts to seek his forgiveness.
At the Woolpack, Billy Fletcher (Jay Kontzle) and Ellis try explaining to Matty what Ste and Jono have been saying about him behind his back, leaving him hurt, but even more desperate for their approval, how far will he go?
“What Matty’s dealing with here is something that most blokes go through in their early teens, you know; trying to figure out how to act with the other lads, and how to be a ‘proper man’. But it leads him down a very dark path.”
Meanwhile, Matty, Ryan Stocks (James Moore) and Rodney Blackstock (Patrick Moore) decide to continue with their business partnership but Rodney’s acting suspiciously. What is he hiding? Actor Ash Palmisciano explains where Matty’s head is at…
How does Matty take the news about his beloved Victoria?
Well, that’s the heart of it. Matty is absolutely gutted, because she’s his bestie. He’s heartbroken. And this comes at a time when he really beginning to settle into the village – feeling great, and more like himself. Victoria’s departure makes him feel as though he’s not good enough. Meanwhile, he gets mixed up with these lads from the visiting team – Steve and Jono – and they’re pretty bad boys.
And, in his attempt at being ‘one of the lads’ to impress Steve and Jono, Matty goes too far…
It’s classic bad-boy stuff. He’s talking disrespectfully to women. He’s getting into fights. He alienates himself. He’s not talking about his emotions. And he gets into a tricky place with Dan. But Matty’s friends can see what’s going on.
Who tries to support him?
Pete is worried about him, and then Ellis Chapman (Asan N’Jie) tries to tell Matty what these lads are saying behind his back, although that just leaves him feeling even more desperate for their approval.
Do they end up finding out about Matty’s background?
They know about that and they are using his need for acceptance to manipulate him. In Matty’s head he thinks it’s all going well, but they’re taking him for a ride, taking the mick out of him, and that’s the sad thing about it. They’re bullies. They’re using him to get what they want, and they eventually use him to do something very bad – but I can’t say too much about that!
It sounds as if what Matty needs to do is find himself, rather than look to others to validate him…
Exactly. He’s on a road to becoming his own person. In the end, I think we’ll see the real Matty – which I’m excited about.
Can you identify with what he’s going through? Have you ever felt that same kind of peer pressure?
Yeah, definitely. I think everybody goes through it at school at some point, when you’re growing up and want to fit in, and you just copy everyone else. That’s why it’s interesting to explore it here. I think that things are slowly getting better all round in our society, aren’t they? We’re looking more at the way that we behave. The #MeToo movement has really shone a light on how women are treated, and now we’re looking at men and how they behave with each other. If maybe that can change, then things will be better.
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