'Rocky road' ahead for Emmerdale's Leyla

'Rocky road' ahead for Emmerdale's Leyla

Following her explosive return to Emmerdale on Christmas Day, Leyla Harding is trying her best to settle back into life in the village, but as actress Roxy Shahidi reveals, it's not going to be easy for her character.

Leyla left the Dales over two years ago, and her sister Alicia and ex-fiancé David picked up the pieces of their lives and soon found love with each other.During her absence, Jacob also uncovered the truth that she is his mother and not Alicia.Trying to make amends to those she left behind, Leyla tries to build bridges but the task is harder than she first thought."It's been so exciting to come back," said Roxy."I really missed the character and the first few episodes, when she came back on Christmas Day, were absolutely brilliant."I think it was really, really important for Leyla that the truth came out between her and Jacob."The reason why she left the village was because she wanted to tell him "I'm your mum" - and she wanted to be his mum - and now that he knows the truth, he has said to her "you will never be my mum"."And I think in a way that has been a weight off her shoulders because now he can be open with him and she can be honest with him, but I think she knows that she is only ever going to be his auntie and I think finally she has accepted that and she is happy with that."It's obviously a very complicated dynamic between Leyla and David, and I think it is going to be a long time before we see him really welcome Leyla with open arms."But despite her family woes, Leyla also has her friends."A few of her old friends are still here," explained Roxy. "Unfortunately Gennie is gone, but she and Katie have always been great friends and they are still spending time with each other which is great."And she also rekindles her friendship with Priya (Sharma)."However it is not long before their friendship is put to the test as Leyla notices her pregnant friend is showing signs of having an eating disorder."Leyla has worked with a lot of girls who have had different types of eating disorders, so I think she recognises the signs and she becomes suspicious, mainly because Priya's bump is so small."But also because of certain patterns she has, she will cut her food up into tiny little pieces and tends to move it around the plate rather than eat it."Concerned for her friend, and her unborn baby, Leyla's fears are confirmed at a dinner party at the Sharma household."The more time that Leyla spends at the dinner party, the more she feels her suspicions are confirmed for various different reasons and I think she gets to a point where she feels that she has to say something."She does, and Priya's reaction is quite a big one."Leyla is a really loyal person and I think she really wants to stick by Priya, but it is going to be a rocky road for them - so we will have to see what happens."Emmerdale airs on UTV weekdays from 7pm.


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