Emmerdale’s Robert Sugden (Ryan Hawley) lost his mum Sarah Sugden when he was a teenager and it has affected him more than he cares to admit. He was there when his mother died in a barn fire, started by his brother Andy (Kelvin Fletcher), and witnessing his mother’s death has never left him, damaging him in many ways in the aftermath. Though the fire was not his fault, I suspect he felt a guilt for not being able to save her.
Given Robert’s history with the Whites, he also feels responsible for Lachlan’s actions. He feels he started a whole chain of events – right from encouraging Rebecca to come to Emmerdale, manipulating Lawrence, tormenting Lachlan.
Whilst he’s seen the error of his ways and tried to be a better person, thanks mainly to his partner Aaron Dingle (Danny Miller), if Rebecca (Emily Head) never returned home, he would think that it’s all his fault his son doesn’t have his mother anymore.
His son going through the same anguish that he did is something that Robert doesn’t want to even contemplate. He knows first hand how hard it is to lose a parent, and it’s breaking his heart that his son might have to go through the same pain. So he’s pushing himself to the brink because he doesn’t want to think about it being a possibility.
Whilst his actions may seem over the top to some viewers, for me they are completely in character and very true to who Robert is and how his life up to this point has affected him. These scenes aren’t about the loss of Rebecca to him; they are about his unresolved heartache over losing his own mum and history repeating itself with his son Seb.
To me, being a father has changed Robert for the better. He no longer just looks out for number one, instead always conscious of how things will affect Seb. He wont rest until he knows he has done everything to ensure Seb has a happier, more secure life than he had.
It’s worth noting that Ryan Hawley has been nothing short of fantastic in this story and the levels that he manages to bring to Robert never fail to amaze me. I’m looking forward to more incredible scenes from him and of course the highly anticipated Robron wedding!