Emmerdale’s whirlwind wedding ended in a washout tonight with both the bride and groom jilting each other at the last minute – and the bridesmaid continuing her secret affair with her best mate’s man.
Pete Barton and Leyla Harding got cold feet as they separately prepared to say ‘I do’, and ran to the restroom to get their heads together. Little did they know they had the same idea independently of each other: to crawl out of the bathroom window and do a runner from the ceremony – only they both get stuck as they attempted their escape!
High drama turned to farce as Pete and Leyla were wedged in the window and fumed at each other for running out on the wedding before agreeing it was best all round to nix the nuptials. Was this big day doomed from the start?
“Leyla always wanted that perfect ending,” says Roxy Shahidi, who plays the abandoned bride. “She’s a wedding planner and is surrounded by happy couples and she wanted that for herself. She thought she’d found an honest, trustworthy person in Pete, but the speed of it all became too much and his strange behavior in the run-up added to the doubts that had already set in.”
Pete’s uncertainty, of course, stemmed from his fling with maid of honour, Priya Kotecha. Sleeping with your fiancee’s best friend was not the greatest basis for a marriage, but does Anthony Quinlan think Pete the cheat was right to back out without explaining why?
“Pete should’ve stepped up and told Leyla the truth about Priya,” he begins. “He really loves Leyla but there is a mad, burning desire to be with Priya. He does feel guilty.
“But he knows this is a big commitment and he can’t go into a marriage with all these lies swirling around.”
Having the bride and groom face off while they’re both jammed in a window lightened the heartbreak of the episodes, and despite the discomfort and indignity, gave the actors added motivation.
“We were stuck in those windows for about seven hours,” laughs Shahidi. “I was laid flat on a board at first, then I ended up bent over on steps from inside once that got a bit uncomfortable.”
“I had a props guy holding my legs from behind,” adds Quinlan. “Roxy and I were basically upside down for ages. It was a bit of an awkward position to be in for a long period of time…”
“It definitely added to the intensity of playing the scene,” continues Shahidi. “It was funny and looked great on screen.”
Calling off the ceremony may have been the decent thing to do, although both Pete and Priya stayed silent on their fling – but by the end of the episode, the couple were back on, rolling around on the petal-strewn bed of the bridal suite no less…
“Priya really tries to resist but there’s such chemistry there,” sighs Fiona Wade, reflecting on the actions of the minxy maid of honour. “She feels guilty and I just want to tell her to stop what she’s doing. It’s the worst thing isn’t it? You might get the guy but you’d lose your friend.”
What happened to Pete being the most honourable of the Barton brothers? “There’s always been sides to him,” continues Quinlan. “He can be a wrong’un. Don’t forget he previously cheated on Leyla with his auntie Moira! He’s been a dirty dog in the past.”
So with Pete and Priya still sneaking around and Leyla none the wiser as to the true reason her dream wedding fell apart, what does the future hold for the love triangle?
“I think the real betrayal here is between Priya and Leyla, the two best friends,” teases Emmerdale producer Iain MacLeod. “Could we be seeing a catfight at some point? No comment! Pete will come to regret his actions, and this is definitely a story about sex and lust as much as it is about love.
“Either way it won’t be the end of Pete and Leyla, whatever happens…”
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