Emmerdale’s Jonny McPherson reveals ‘wonderful’ new girlfriend after co-star split
Ever since Jonny McPherson first made an appearance on Emmerdale back in 2014, the actor has had his fair share of traumatic scenes.
Jonny plays the soap’s resident medic, Dr Liam Cavanagh, who, since 2018, has gone on to become a major character.
From the murder of Liam’s daughter, Leanna, two years ago by psychopath Meena Jutla, to his subsequent depression and mental health battle trying to come to terms with Leanna’s death, Jonny, 41, admits it has been tough at times not to bring the hard-hitting storylines home with him.
But now in scenes that wouldn’t look out of place on a Carry On film set, Liam is embarking on a passionate affair with nurse Wendy Posner (played by Susan Cookson) behind the back of her unsuspecting partner Bob Hope.
They bond when Wendy unearths Liam’s secret hobby – he’s been writing murder-mystery stories under the pseudonym of Anna Le Monde. When she starts suggesting racy ideas herself, they soon find themselves letting fiction roll over into their own lives.
For Jonny, the hilarious scenes that will air over the coming weeks have been a joy to play.
“I actually only expected to ever be in Emmerdale for three months when I first joined,” he explains. “Every time I sign a new contract, I am delighted.
“Over the next few weeks there’s going to be a lot of campness going on with Liam. He has started submitting stories to Murder Most Murky and when Wendy realises it’s him, she starts talking about racy stuff that gets him fired up. It ignites him and you soon see him walking past an empty champagne bottle and her on the surgical table under a mac!
“It’s been great fun to play out and we’ve had a lot of laughter filming the scenes. At the same time, you don’t want to lose the sparkle if you are too aware of the campness of the scenes, so it’s about getting it all right.”
Reflecting on the roller-coaster of emotions his alter ego Liam has experienced over the years, Jonny admits it’s a relief to finally not have to reach for a tear stick – a device that actors use in emotional scenes – every time he films.
“People say, ‘Oh, I never take work home with me,’ but you can’t help it,” he adds.
“With the whole Leanna storyline, it felt like coming home from a funeral every day. I must have got through about
10 tear sticks, but if you’re going to do it properly then you have to go through it all.”
Scriptwriters are keeping Jonny in the dark about whether Liam and Wendy’s affair could develop into a long-lasting relationship. However in real life, enjoying secret steamy passion with another person’s partner is definitely not on the agenda.
In 2021, Jonny and his co-star, Natalie J Robb, who plays Moira Dingle in the soap, split up after getting together during lockdown. They have remained firm friends ever since and it had been thought Jonny was single.
But today the actor confides he has been happily dating a mystery woman, whose identity he is keeping a secret to protect her privacy, for two years.
“I am with someone,” he says. “She is absolutely wonderful. We’ve been together for a couple of years. I am really happy.”
Jonny has also bought himself a new flat in Leeds after spending several years living on a canal boat.
“Acting is a precarious profession,” he explains. “It can be very difficult to get a mortgage if you are only working for six months of the year. So, when you get two years of working on something like Emmerdale, it allows you to
get a mortgage finally. I’ve got a flat now in Leeds and I’ve sold my boat.
“I did put it on Airbnb for 18 months before I sold it, and it really took off. After a while, though, it began to get more difficult to manage. I was having to check in guests at 10pm on a Friday evening on top of my full-time role in Emmerdale and I decided to sell.”
What did guests say when they realised they were renting a canal boat from an Emmerdale star?
“A few people got very giddy standing on Dr Liam’s boat,” he replies, laughing. “But others didn’t realise at all. I will go travelling on a canal boat again one day, but I certainly don’t miss emptying the poo tank twice a week any more!”
The very down-to-earth and easy-going actor says he particularly loves the camaraderie on set working closely with his co-stars, after years spent on the road at different theatres.
And while Jonny – who can be found going on walks with his beloved dog, Molly, cooking and watching films when he isn’t working – doesn’t actively court fame that can come with a high-profile TV role, he reveals he doesn’t mind exchanging cheeky banter with fans who stop him in the street.
“A firm favourite on a Friday night if you are strolling along the streets of Leeds is a lady, who might have had one too many, asking if ‘the doctor can check a lump on her breast’,” he chuckles. “I always try to make a joke of it because I am very grateful to be here.”
As for what beckons next, fans, including his mum, will be relieved to hear he has no plans to quit Emmerdale.
“My brother is an actor too and my mum is our greatest fan,” he says proudly. “She doesn’t miss a single show. I’ve no ambitions to conquer Hollywood and it’s such a pleasure being a part of Emmerdale.
“What’s great about the soap is that they do the funny stories, like what’s happening with Liam and Wendy, so well, but also the dramatic scenes too. I really enjoy being in the soap a lot.”
Emmerdale airs every weekday at 7.30pm. You can also watch all the episodes on ITVX.
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