Emmerdale's James Chase explains public reaction to Tom and Belle story

Emmerdale actor James Chase has explained how fans have reacted to his character Tom King's horrifying abuse storyline with wife Belle Dingle.

Since the beginning of their relationship, Tom has well and truly shown his true colours as his campaign of mental and physical abuse against Belle continues.

The danger posed to Belle has heightened since she discovered she was pregnant. Despite Tom expressing how excited he is to become a father, Belle has decided to terminate her pregnancy in secret.

tom king, belle dingle, emmerdale

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When Belle lies to him about suffering a miscarriage, Tom's rage spills over and his violent outburst in the barn leads to him being electrocuted, while Belle flees the village.

Speaking to Digital Spy and other media, James explained the public reaction he has received as the harrowing storyline begins.

"Luckily, I haven't really had anyone be mean to me on the street at all," he said. "I was walking back after we filmed in the studio the other day and somebody was on his phone, walking through the bike lane, and he looked up and saw me and his face kind of dropped! He tracked me as I walked past him, but he didn't say anything.

"I haven't had any eggs thrown at me or anything like that. It's been good, to be honest, the response I've had from most people."

tom king in emmerdale

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The actor said he was prepared about the story's content ahead of time and how viewers would not like his character.

"I always knew this role was going to have this storyline within it, and even when Tom was a relatively good guy for the first six months, I knew this was going to happen because this was the agreement we had initially," he continued.

"Like me and Eden [Taylor-Draper, who plays Belle] have said before, you have to honour the storyline as realistically as possible because this is something that does go on. If the audience do hate you, it's a good sign that you're doing it properly."

Emmerdale airs on weeknights at 7.30pm on ITV1, and streams on ITVX.

Read more Emmerdale spoilers on our dedicated homepage

If you've been affected by any of the issues raised in this story, organisations including Refuge (www.refuge.org.uk), New Beginnings Peer Support (www.newbeginningspeersupport.com) and Women's Aid (www.womensaid.org.uk) can provide further support and information. The 24-hour, freephone National Domestic Abuse Helpline is 0808 2000 247. The US National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or text LOVEIS to 22522.

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