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Emmerdale: Jane Cox on Gemma Andrews death aftermath

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Jane Cox as Lisa Dingle in Emmerdale

© ITV


Emmerdale's Lisa Dingle is at the centre of a big storyline this fortnight as she repeatedly urges her teenage daughter Belle to keep quiet over her violent clash with best friend Gemma Andrews.

A new plot on the ITV soap sees Gemma pass away in hospital after being injured in a scuffle with Belle (Eden Taylor-Draper).

With the circumstances surrounding Gemma's demise unclear to everyone else in the village, Belle wants to tell the police everything. However, when Belle confesses to her mum, Lisa advises her to keep the secret to herself.

Here, Jane Cox - who plays Lisa - explains why the Dingles close ranks to protect Belle.

What did you think when you first heard about this storyline?
"I thought that it was a huge story for a young person to do, and also a massive thing for the character of Belle to have to go through. I didn't know quite how it was going to play out until we started to film it, and since then it's been very emotional and intense."

Are you pleased for Eden as she's been given such a big story?
"I am excited for Eden - I think she's a wonderful, accomplished young actor and she's really developing incredibly well. Throughout this whole filming period, I've been so impressed by her professionalism and her emotional commitment to the whole story. I am very excited that she is being entrusted with it, and she can certainly carry it off as well as any other actor."

Will Belle's actions change the Dingles forever?
"The story will necessarily change the Dingles because somebody dying is such a huge thing, whether somebody is responsible for it or not. Gemma has been a close friend of Belle's and she's so young, so it will definitely have a knock-on effect."

Belle struggles with Gemma's death.

© ITV

Lisa comforts Belle


Why is Lisa so adamant that Belle should keep quiet about what happened?
"From what Belle has told her, Lisa knows that it was an accident so she feels that it wouldn't do any good for Belle to go and say, 'Look, I killed her'. Clearly she hasn't - she did push her, but it was something that happened in the spur of the moment and Gemma got up afterwards.

"Belle thinks that she has killed Gemma, but there wasn't any premeditation or anything like that. Lisa knows that there was no intent from Belle for this to happen - it was a terrible accident that could happen to anyone at any time. Yes Belle and Gemma were cross with each other, but they're kids and it wasn't a deliberate thing."

Does Zak have any inkling that Lisa is keeping something so major from him?
"I think he does. They do have a few words and Zak says, 'I know something is up', but Lisa just says, 'I'm doing the best I can and you have to trust me'."

Ahead of Gemma's funeral, Belle goes missing for a while. How does Lisa react?
"Lisa obviously knows the pressures on Belle, as Belle thinks she has killed her best friend and so she runs off. Lisa doesn't know where on earth Belle is. Anything could have happened to her - her guilt could have made her do anything. She could have done something awful to herself, and that's what Lisa fears."

Fortunately, Belle returns and later goes through with attending Gemma's funeral. Can you tell us about those scenes?
"They were really awful to film. The thing that really set me off as a person was this lovely choir that we had there, singing 'Don't You Worry Child'. It was the purity of the voices. They were just normal kids and so beautiful as they were singing. There was obviously also a coffin there beside us, so I just couldn't stop crying. It was very sad.

"I'm sure it will be very emotional for the viewers to watch, too. A young girl has died, her father is there grieving and so it's an emotional day. Lisa is the only one there who knows what Belle is going through and she doesn't know what on earth Belle is going to say. Belle gets up and she starts to say something that Lisa thinks will be a confession, but luckily she doesn't go through with it. Instead she reads the lyrics to a song that Gemma liked."

Belle talks at Gemma's funeral.

© ITV

Belle talks at Gemma's funeral.


Later, Belle does another disappearing act. Does Lisa think that she has confessed to the police?
"Belle rushes out of the church after the funeral, so Lisa thinks that if Belle hasn't gone home, she's gone straight to the police station."

Cain soon starts to become suspicious. Why is that?
"Cain's antennae are always out for the slightest thing! He notices that Lisa is acting a bit oddly. He's sharp as a knife."

Is Lisa relieved when she later decides to share the burden with Chas and Cain?
"By that point, Lisa is so anxious about Belle that she just blurts it out. She is very relieved that she's got them both with her. Chas and Cain absolutely agree that they should all keep it a secret. Cain is very frightened of what the truth could do to Zak, and he's also aware of what it's like to be involved with the police."

Is Lisa tempted to be honest with Zak too?
"I think she is tempted later on, but at this point she really doesn't want him to know. She is terrified that he could get ill again."

It's such a big secret - could it split Lisa and Zak up?
"I think it could, because of the underlying currents of what's going on. They row and later on in the story, they'll want different courses of action."

What advice would you give to Lisa?
"I think if I was a friend of Lisa's, I would advise her to go to the police with Belle and not be afraid to tell the truth, because it really was an accident."

Emmerdale: Eden Taylor-Draper on Gemma death storyline
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