Tell us about the moment when Belle confesses all to her father?
In the end, Belle tells him that she pushed Gemma and that was how she banged her head and what resulted in her death. Belle then says that she’s harbouring terrible guilt about this.
In the end, Zak tells her that he ended up nearly killing Cain – up to this point, Belle didn’t know that her father was responsible for this. So in order to explain that he can empathise with her situation, Zak feels that he has to tell Belle about the situation with Cain and how difficult it was getting over that.
And, of course, for Zak, it was that act which caused him to spiral into depression…
Yes, Zak’s mental breakdown was as a result of that so he does understand that Belle needs some help with her sense of guilt.
So, how does Zak react when he realises that the family have kept all this from him?
He’s angry. Belle tells him that they feared the stress and shock would have led to another breakdown. Zak feels that he could have dealt with the news and that they needn’t have done that.
Does Zak feel that Belle confessing is the best thing to do?
Not in the first instance. He initially says, “I’m not taking a daughter of mine to the police”. But Belle goes on telling him about the state he’s in. And Zak thinks back to the situation he was in and how he could at least speak to Cain afterwards.
Belle points that she can’t make it up to Gemma – and it’s then that Zak realises that perhaps the only way Belle can get over her terrible guilt is to go and tell the truth to the police. But Zak doesn’t think that she’ll be charged with anything except death by adventure.
Lisa does say to Zak that she’ll never forgive him if Belle goes to prison – do you think all this will harm their relationship?
Certainly. Not for one minute did Zak think she would be charged with murder. But the police find what looks to be incriminating stuff on Belle’s laptop and put all this together to build a case for murder.
Is Zak strong enough to cope with this situation?
I don’t know what the writers intend to do in the future, but at the time of these episodes, Zak is doing reasonably well and is trying to be supportive. He does start to lose the plot a bit with the police, which is down to anger and frustration. But not to the point where he’s having a breakdown.
Could he cope if Belle went to prison?
That remains to be seen. It’ll certainly be difficult – she’s the lining light of the family and the one who was going to break the mould of the Dingles. So it would be a massive blow for both Zak and Lisa.
And how has it been working with Eden Taylor-Draper – who plays Belle – on this storyline?
It’s been fantastic. She’s so clever – she actually raises my game. Let’s put it this way: we even got applause from the crew on one occasion, which is quite rare. Anyone with a father or a daughter will understand the pain they’re going through. You know, some child actors are cute, but then when they get older the cuteness disappears and they’re not very good. But Eden is going to go on to be a really clever actress. She’s got the talent now but you can see how she’s going to deal with adult parts.