Inside Emmerdale Jonny McPhersons life – co-star split to living on a boat

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Jonny McPherson, 39, who plays Dr Liam Cavanagh in Emmerdale shares a cosy traditional English narrowboat with his collie cross whippet rescue dog, Molly.

Playing a grieving father in the soap to the late Leanna, Johnny has been living on a 60ft boat named Benedict for four years.

He moors his beautiful boat complete with wood burner near the Emmerdale studios in Leeds, Yorkshire, and shares his life on the English canals with his 8,693 Twitter followers.

Jonny also shares a glimpse of everyday life on the barge which involves navigating the boat through heavy locks and large, old, intimidating tunnels.

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He was previously in a relationship with his ITV co-star, Natalie J Robb, 46, but it is believed the relationship ended earlier this year.

Natalie, who plays Moira Barton on the soap, got close to Johnny on a charity trip to Lapland with the rest of the Emmerdale cast in January 2020.

"We hadn't spent any proper time together until that Lapland trip and we got on like a house on fire," Jonny said.

The actors' relationship was confirmed by Natalie last July, who revealed how deciding to move in together during lockdown put their relationship in the fast lane after only three months of dating.

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Their romance was first revealed in June 2020 when the Emmerdale stars appeared on a Zoom call together to celebrate Liam Fox's 50th birthday.

Speaking to The Mirror Jonny said: "We had to make a decision as lots of couples did.

"We decided to move in together and so, yes, lockdown did fast forward our relationship."

Despite also being colleagues, Jonny said: "We get on so well. We come from quite different backgrounds but we are essentially the same person.

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"We are both a pair of big kids. We have exactly the same stupid humour."

The soap star said choosing to move in together during lockdown, after only three months of dating, could have been a make-or-break situation.

"There is nowhere to hide during lockdown. It's a real test of whether you do get on with a person and thankfully we got through with flying colours."

Appearing on Loose Women, Natalie opened up about her ex, saying: "Our first date was in mid-January, and then we were just having a couple of dates in February and then obviously March lockdown happened.

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"And we were together at the time that Boris Johnson announced it. So we're like, 'Oh'. So he's been kind of staying with me, and then they were saying, yes, it could be three weeks. Yes, it might be six weeks. I was like, 'Oh, okay!'"

Jonny also opened up on his real-life romance, saying: "We are just shy of a year and it's still early days but we are having a lovely time.

"I have learnt so much from Natalie. She has been working on TV since she was knee high. We both love the work so much, we spend whole evenings discussing scripts and learning lines."

However, the pair are thought to have secretly split a few months ago after a year of dating when their romance ran its course, according to The Sun in June.

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He and Natalie had not been seen together for several months but the couple did not announce their break up.

Following their break-up earlier this year, Jonny has been living on his boat with his rescue dog Molly.

Speaking on ITV's Lorraine about his boat life, Jonny laughed: "[You've got] everything you need. After living on it for about four years, I now feel that if I go to a normal house: 'What do you do with all this space? There's so much!'

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Jonny has made the interiors beautiful with navy paint and an emerald green sofa with yellow cushions.

He has also gone for dark wooden panelling throughout the boat with enough space for a wine rack for bottles of red.

The top of the boat features solar panels to provide an eco-friendly source of power for heating and electricity.

His traditional English narrowboat is 7 foot wide so Jonny can barely stick his arms out. He does, however, have a 7 foot cabin height so he can get on his tip-toes.

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He’s got a living area for watching telly or catching up on Emmerdale as well as a place to eat, a kitchen and a bedroom.

Jonny said: "The beautiful thing about living on a boat is that if you get annoyed with your neighbours, you can cast off and chug down the way!"

On the downsides, the actor revealed: "I suppose it's the constant low level anxiety! When you've got a permanent mooring, it's fine because you've got everything on tap.

"But when you're chugging about, you've got this low level anxiety of: 'How much water have I got left? Okay, I've got one shower and a couple of pots of tea. And then I've got enough electricity to last me half a day, so I've got to get to the next services but I haven't got time!"

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Jonny shared a snap of Molly relaxing on his checked bedsheets in his bedroom with green leaf patterned wallpaper and oak wardrobes.

He posted a collection of snaps of Molly enjoying boat life, captioned with: “Was introduced to this lovely collie lurcher last week.”

He said: "She's lovely. She's a collie crossed with a whippet. I got her from the RSPCA in Doncaster about six months ago. You never really know what you're going to get with a rescue dog, I think. She is an absolute diamond.

"I think her previous owner was an 82-year-old lady who just couldn't walk her anymore, so apparently gave her up in floods of tears, saying: 'It's just not fair for me to look after her'.

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"I think she's had a very good upbringing and she's just so calm and sweet and polite. She's the perfect pub dog. You can take her to the pub and she is incredibly calm, doesn't bark, you can have her off the lead, she's wonderful."

Lorraine Kelly joked with Jonny : "She's perfect! You don't need a woman in your life, because you've already got one!"

Emmerdale airs weeknights at 7pm on ITV, with an extra episode at 8pm on Thursdays.

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