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Emmerdale has faced many changes over the years, with villains coming in left, right and centre wanting to make their mark on the village. Currently, Al Chapman (played by Michael Wildman) is one ruthless businessman who is using his powers of manipulation to see through a deal that will line his pockets with money for a long time to come. However, to do so, he needs to bring in an associate and it seems a newcomer called Gavin (Ben Richards) is going to change the landscape of the ITV soap forever.
In recent weeks, viewers have discovered why Al wanted to invest in The Woolpack as it seems he doesn’t want the establishment to be a pub any longer.
Instead, he wants to turn the iconic venue into luxury apartments and he is currently manipulating Chas Dingle (Lucy Pargeter), Paddy Kirk (Dominic Brunt) and Marlon Dingle (Mark Charnock) to agree to subtle changes he is making to the pub.
This is all part of a bigger game plan which will eventually see him get his hands on all shares to bring it to the ground.
The village villain can’t do this all on his own, however, and it’s been reported the show has cast former Footballers’ Wives star, Ben Richards, to play a role in the storyline.
Earlier this month, it was explained he would be playing a new villain in the village with a secret link to crook Al.
An unnamed source explained of the casting: “Ben’s a great signing for the soap and Gavin is going to ruffle a few feathers.
“He’s connected to Al and his scheme for the Woolpack and it’s going to be explosive,” they continued to tell The Sun.
It’s very likely the rest of the village will have no idea the newcomer has a secret link to Al and the pair are planning on changing the face of the Dales forever.
Ben recently posted a picture of himself outside the iconic establishment as he revealed he has started filming his stint on the show.
With Christmas lights wrapped around the trees outside the pub seen in the image, it is likely he will make an appearance over the Christmas period.
Ben’s a great signing
It is likely Gavin could be a property developer who has been working away from the village on the plans to turn the pub into luxury apartments.
He could arrive in the Dales to get the plans moving along quicker as he feels Al is dragging his feet on the project.
However, the ruthless businessman could explain he is having to play the long game because people already doubt his character.
With this in mind, Gavin could become part of the plan and could use his charm to try and sway Chas into Al’s line of thinking.
But it is yet to be seen whether he is cleverer enough to keep his real identity a secret or if he will fall at the first hurdle?
In response to Ben’s post on Instagram, some of his followers took to the social media platform to share their thoughts.
Miss SJ wrote: “Cannot wait to see you back on our television screens again,” referencing his days as a star on Hollyoaks.
Martin added: “Can’t wait to see who you’ll be playing. Love Emmerdale (and everything you do – of course).”
Sam commented: “Looking good, you’ll be great in Emmerdale,” with Sanddancer sharing: “Can’t wait to watch you on Emmerdale.”
But as Gavin gets to know some of the villagers, will he regret going into partnership with Al as he realises how much The Woolpack means to the locals?
When the actor who plays Al, Michael, joined the show back in 2019, he teased his character was going to make a change to the village.
The soap star said in a statement: “I’m seriously looking forward to joining the Emmerdale family.
“On paper, Al Chapman will be a dream to play for any actor and with the help of the current cast I look forward to him mixing things up in the village and for myself, bringing him to life.”
With the newcomer set to ruffle feathers, viewers could see a power battle between Gavin and his associate in the village.
As they go head to head, Al might betray his business partner to ensure his needs come out on top above everything else.
Taking to Twitter, viewers aren’t too impressed with Al and his shift behaviour, with Dan writing: “Oh Al don’t give us the sympathy act #Emmerdale.”
Ryan posted: “Al really is a piece of work. Flirting with Chas and wanting to get his hands on Priya [Sharma] again too.”
Chris shared: “#Emmerdale Al buys a share and thinks he can tell everyone what to do. Maybe the partnership means something different in Emmerdale than the rest of the world.”
Alan commented: “Al has easily got to be one of the worst dad’s in soap history. He’s literally trying to ruin his son’s love life for his own gain #Emmerdale.”
So will anyone end up taking out Al before he can work his villainy on the village?
Emmerdale airs weekdays at 7pm on ITV, with an extra episode airing on Thursdays at 8pm.
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