TV & Movies

Emmerdale star reveals Laurel and Jai's story is 'hard watching'

Laurel Thomas (Charlotte Bellamy) has discovered that she’s pregnant in Emmerdale, and this is the beginning of what will be a huge story for both she and Jai Sharma (Chris Bisson).

Last week, Laurel wasn’t feeling all that well, and — upon Jai’s suggestion — she decided to take a pregnancy test.

‘Laurel is potentially menopausal,’ actress Charlotte Bellamy told Metro.co.uk, ‘So she doesn’t quite realise. It wasn’t a planned pregnancy. So, she thought: “Oh, my periods are all over the place like they can be.”

‘So, it was a surprise, but once they realise what is happening, they were pleased. She is aware of her age, being 46, she is aware of the risks, but they are delighted.’ 

Laurel’s pregnancy discovery kicks off a big story, which will see both she and Jai discover that the child has Down’s syndrome, before making the heart-breaking decision not to proceed with the pregnancy.

Speaking about how she felt upon learning about the storyline, Charlotte said: ‘I didn’t have any misgivings, no. I mean, Emmerdale deal with these very emotive stories very well. We do a lot of research, we work with charities.

‘Scripts are checked. Emmerdale is always so well informed. I felt a huge responsibility to obviously tell this story, of course, but I didn’t have any misgivings, no. 

‘Research is the most important thing to do when you’re tackling a story like this. We spoke to case studies, we spoke to parents that this had happened to. Heart-breaking stories.’

‘The show takes you on a journey, and you can see the thought process all the time, she’s feeling guilt, she’s feeling shameful about what to do. Should she do this? Should she do that? This is what real people go through. It’s so well-written.

‘It’s a huge team effort, and I’m very proud of what Emmerdale has achieved. It gives a really balanced view. It’s hard watching. It’s a very, very emotive subject, but we’re honest and we play it as truthfully as we can.

‘ Remember, we’ve got Rhona’s side as well. You see that bubbling along aside with Leo, who’s obviously nine years old now, he’s an established character. I feel it’s very balanced.’

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