Emmerdale resident Dom Andrews has of course faced every parent’s worst nightmare – the death of his child, and as fans of the show will know, Gemma Andrews’ death sent shockwaves through the village…
But what Dom doesn’t know as yet, but will soon find out, is that Gemma’s best friend Belle Dingle had a large part to play in the teenager’s death, given that after the pair rowed, Belle pushed Gemma, causing her to fall and hit her head.
Poor Gemma later went into a coma from which she never awoke…
This week, Wil Johnson, who plays grieving dad Dom has been talking to ITV about how his character will cope with the revelation that Belle – who’s played by Eden Taylor-Draper – kept her part in Gemma’s death a secret.
Here’s what he had to say…
Q: How is Dom Coping after Gemma’s death?
Dom isn’t coping at all, his world has stopped, and he doesn’t know which way he’s going to go now. Gemma was his whole life, his whole family, his whole everything, and once that’s ripped away from you, there’s no floor so the pit is bottomless.
He’s just falling basically and he has no sense of direction. He has no sense of anything so he’s just existing at the moment.
Q: Does he blame himself at all?
There is a certain amount of blame within himself because on the actual night that Gemma went missing, he was about to call his daughter but was persuaded not to by Harriet, so there is a certain amount of blame within himself.
He blames himself also because when she got pregnant, he persuaded her to have an abortion, and he’s thinking that maybe if she didn’t have the abortion and she did have the baby, she would be at home now.
There’s all kind of things that are stirring up in him in terms of what could have been had another choice been made.
Q: How does he hear about Belle’s confession?
Well, Zak calls him and tells him everything. He’s very honest about it, very direct, and it’s a tough call but Zak was brave enough to make that call. He says, ‘Look, this is the situation and there’s no other way to actually put it so I’ve just got to tell you straight.’
Q: What’s Dom’s reaction at that point?
His reaction is disbelief because up until that point, as far as he was concerned, Belle was a true friend to Gemma and stuck by her through thick and thin, so the last person he would ever think would be involved in Gemma’s death would be Belle.
So yes, at first it’s total disbelief, and then it’s the inevitability of the repercussions, which are catastrophic really.
Q: Belle’s thinking of pleading guilty; is Dom hoping that she will?
Q: Does Dom confront Zak and Lisa over what Belle did?
He initially confronts Zak, but then he confronts everybody because basically, Dom is on the warpath. He wants justice, because as far as he’s concerned, the only way he can resolve the situation is through justice, and so that sends him on a mission.
Q: Would he like to see Belle locked away for her involvement in Gemma’s death?
Well, as far as he’s concerned, if Belle is the person who was the cause of his daughter’s death, then she should be punished for that, and there should be justice.
Q: Does he confront Belle at any point?
Yes, there is a moment when he does confront Belle…
Q: How did you feel about this storyline when you first heard about it?
When I was first told about the storyline I thought ‘Wow! This is big,’ because in terms of being an actor, and in terms of being a parent, it’s just about the biggest challenge you’re ever going to face…
It’s kind of almost making your worst nightmare a reality, so it was a huge challenge and a massive one to get my head around. When we were filming those very, very crucial scenes in the hospital – we filmed it over two days – I literally didn’t speak to anyone for those two days because I just had to go into ‘the zone’ and stay there in order to access that raw kind of emotion.
I had to try and put myself in a situation where if it really was one of my children, how would I react and how would I feel about that, because you can’t conceptualise it. It was very, very challenging to play. Very challenging, but very rewarding at the same time.
Q: What’s it been like working on this storyline with Eden Taylor-Draper who plays Belle?
It’s been really great actually, and let’s not forget Steve Halliwell [who plays Zak] because he’s been an absolute anchor for me in this whole process, and when we get on set, it’s very, very focused…
It has to be very focused, not just from the actors’ point of view but also from the crew as well, and anyone who’s involved for that matter, because we’re dealing with very raw and sensitive emotions, and in order for us to actually access that, we have to have complete concentration. And for Eden as a young actress, she did incredibly well. It was great, it was really good.
Do you think Belle could – or should – go to prison over her part in Gemma’s death?
Let us know, but for now, here’s a look at what else is coming up on Emmedale…