When Arthur Thomas (Alfie Clarke) came out as gay in Emmerdale he was surrounded by nothing but love and support from his family and friends. There was an especially heartwarming scene where he talked with his mum Laurel (Charlotte Bellamy) and she reassured him that his dad would have been proud of him.
‘One of the best things about being a parent is seeing the person your kids grow up to be, and he would be proud of the young man you’ve become,’ she told her son.
If only all parents were as supportive as Laurel, but of course that’s sadly not the case.
Arthur has recently been helping his friend Marshall Hamston (Max Fletcher) come to terms with his sexuality. The two boys have grown close and at one point almost shared a kiss after Marshall admitted that he had genuine feelings for Arthur and wanted to go on a date with him.
Soon after that, however, Marshall got a text from his dad who was revealed to be councillor Colin (Mark Noble) – the person who’d made a complaint about the LGBTQ+ presentation Arthur was due to give at school. And when Colin discovered that his son had been spending time with Arthur he insisted the two boys have nothing more to do with each other as he thought Arthur was a bad influence.
Monday (February 27)’s episode saw Arthur making his presentation in the church hall, where he spoke powerfully and movingly, undeterred by the fact that Colin was in the audience and even getting in a dig about people who were ‘backward thinkers.’
When Laurel spotted Marshall coming into the hall she was worried that his father would see him, but the boy hid out of sight and watched as Arthur delivered his speech. Afterwards they talked outside and Arthur took Marshall’s hand as he told him he was there for him whenever he felt ready to be honest about who he is.
And then Colin appeared and called Arthur some awful names, accusing him of being a ‘pervert’ and trying to corrupt his son.
So in tonight’s episode Arthur was worried about what had happened to Marshall after he and Colin left, especially as he hadn’t turned up for school.
To his surprise and short-lived relief, Marshall came to find him later at the Hide. But he had some terrible news for Arthur – Colin was sending him away to boarding school. ‘I’m not going to be able to see you again, ever,’ he said.
He told Arthur that Colin thinks he’s the problem and has been putting pressure on his son. He insisted that he just sees Arthur as a ‘mate’ and if Colin hadn’t interrupted the previous day nothing would have happened. ‘It’s all in your head,’ he told an incredulous Arthur. Then he said he had to go.
Arthur was left in tears as Jai (Chris Bisson) stepped forward to give him a hug.
Is this the end of the story for Marshall and Arthur?
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