Emmerdale star Charlotte Bellamy will be celebrating 20 years on the show this year, and she considers herself 'very, very lucky' to be where she is.
Bellamy has played Laurel Thomas since 2002, and her character has endured plenty of love, loss and laughter over the years.
Speaking at a recent press event, the actor says she 'never ever' imagined that she would still be a part of the ITV soap two decades on. “But it’s kind of like Emmerdale is part of my blood, really,” she smiles.
“My children were all born in Yorkshire, I live round the corner from the village. I feel so lucky to be part of a team that is just so genuine and brilliant and hard-working, and I never ever take that for granted. I feel very, very lucky.”
Laurel is about to experience another tough time, as she discovers that partner Jai Sharma has taken out a loan in her name. While their relationship is set to implode, it also puts Laurel’s family home at risk.
Read more: Next week on Emmerdale
Viewers will remember that Laurel spent many years living there with late husband Ashley and their children. Bellamy admits that the concept of losing Mulberry Cottage is almost as difficult for her as it would be for Laurel.
“I’d be devastated, actually! That set is like part of my house, I’ve spent 20 years on that set so I would be devastated if I had to move out. I have so many memories.”
Looking back on that era, which storylines stand out the most for her?
“The cot death obviously was pretty hard to play,” Bellamy replies. “But very, very memorable. And of course Ashley’s dementia storyline. Goes without saying that it was such an amazing story to tell, and John [Middleton] was so brilliant. So I felt very proud of that, or to be part of that.”
Both Emmerdale plots aired almost a decade apart, and fans praised the sensitive performances from Bellamy and her co-stars.
Asked whether she would like to see Laurel having more fun to balance out the drama, the actor notes that when she first joined the soap, her character was brought in to entertain.
“I love all the comedy, in fact Laurel came in as a comedy character,” she recalls.
“A bit of comedy would be great, but I just feel so lucky to have this job, especially in today’s climate. I think the best storyline is to be kept alive in the village!”
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