With teenage serial killer Lachlan White in prison, it looks like his days are numbered in Emmerdale, but actor Thomas Atkinson says there’s still hope for his onscreen alter ego…

Lachlan White played by Thomas Atkinson

Time is running out for Emmerdale’s latest serial killer Lachlan White, and sadly that also means the same for the brilliant Thomas Atkinson who plays the murdering maniac. With long list voting coming to the end in this year’s Inside Soap Awards, Thomas tells Inside Soap why Lachlan is still hopeful for the future.

“There is still hope for Lachlan – but in his head and not anyone else’s!” explains Thomas.  “He’s had a lot of things happen in his life that he’s been able to manipulate and keep control of, and he’s managed to get a lot of people wrapped around his little finger.  It’s all starting to unravel, but he is still clinging in to those things. It’s exciting that it’s all building towards his comeuppance. Lachlan needs to go to jail for a very long time. He’s a psychopath who shouldn’t be on the streets!”

How does it feel to be one of soap’s youngest serial killer?
I’ve not thought about it that way, being one of the youngest murderers on TV. It’s a bit weird actually, when I think about it! I guess it’s a nice thing to be known for. Well, kind of!

Lachlan White takes girlfriend Belle Dingle hostage

How long have you known about Lachlan becoming a murderer, and what was your reaction when you found out?
Iain MacLeod (Emmerdale’s former executive producer) told me about two years ago. It was going to happen a lot sooner than it did, actually. We didn’t start filming the White family car crash until November last year, but I think the shoot had originally been planned for the August. So I knew for a while that it was going to get dark, and I was really excited.

It’s been a very busy killing spree! What have you enjoyed filming the most?
One of my favourite weeks was the White car crash, although it was very cold. I think it was -5c and they had me in a tshirt, which was horrible! But it was my last week with Lou (Louise Marwood, who played Chrissie White) and John (John Bowe, aka Lawrence White) who I’d joined the show with. Saying goodbye to them was hard.

Was it a comfort, then, knowing Rebecca would survive the crash?
Emily Head (Rebecca White) has been like an aunty to me over the past year, and one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Being able to film with someone like her is very calming, as I’m quite an anxious person in general. But Emily is so reassuring, and great at bringing me back down. I’m 19 and quite inexperienced, so having someone like her has been great for me.

Wed 22 Aug 2018: Worried Lachlan White sneaks through the woods and watches the security guard walk away before heading towards the cabin he held Rebecca in.

Did the two of you bond while filming Rebecca’s kidnap in the shack?  It didn’t look pretty!
We thought it was going to be like a box in the woods where I’d have her chained up with poo everywhere, yet I remember arriving to film there for the first time and thinking, “Wow, this is really nice – I would actually live here!” It was like a chalet. There was a log burner, a kitchen, and an upstairs! We filmed in that shack for about six weeks, which sounds ridiculous, but it was a lot of fun.

How do you switch off from Lachlan’s psychotic mindset?
I go home, I like to relax, I like my photography and I go out for walks, if I’m being completely honest. I don’t watch the show. Obviously, I tune in for the big stuff like the car crash and Gerry’s death – which was also great to film. But it’s also good to switch off, watch youtube and do stupid 19-year-old things.

Is your time on Emmerdale coming to an end as the story hurtles towards its climax?
You’ll have to wait and see. Every character does get their comeuppance eventually, so I will miss playing Lachlan if and when it does eventually come. When I think about it, I’ve spent a quarter of my life on Emmerdale, and that’s a long time for anybody.

What will you miss the most, and what memories will you take away?
I was quite a shy person when I joined, but I feel like I’ve grown out of that now. The people are what I’ll miss the most. I remember a speech that John Bowe made on his last day. John has worked on a lot of stuff – he’s done James Bond and things like that – but I remember him saying that Emmerdale had the best crew he’d ever worked with, and I agree with him. I’ve loved my time here.

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