Emmerdale’s Rebecca White gave birth to a health baby boy in tonight’s double episode, with new dad Robert Sugden so overwhelmed by holding his newborn son he decided to leave the village believing the kid is better off without him.
After going into early labour in a broken down car with Rob’s ex Aaron Dingle (awkward) and pal Victoria Barton, Rebecca was rushed to hospital where, after much screaming, her son was delivered. Summoned Robert came running after almost being seduced by former father-in-law Lawrence (double awkward) having manipulated the minted man into falling for him by way of usurping the White family empire.
In what seemed like an epiphany, Robert immediately bonded with the baby and later visited his dad Jack’s grave and announced he had to abandon his son before he ruined his life like he ruins everyone else’s. Obviously he changes his mind as we know by next week he’s offered a stake in Home Farm, but fatherhood is definitely set to make Rob question his scheming ways…
In an exclusive chat with RadioTimes.com today, actress Emily Head revealed all about filming Rebecca’s emotional birth scenes, what kind of parents her and Robert will make, and what she can tease about the Whites’ upcoming exit…
How did you prepare for filming the birth scenes?
I watched an awful lot of One Born Every Minute. From the day the scripts came out until we shot it I watched back to back episodes. I was blown away by how different everyone reacts giving birth, some women are very stoic, but Rebecca isn’t and has a hard time with it. So I fast forwarded to the episodes where they’re really screaming! I nearly lost my voice as there was so much shouting, and I didn’t practise at home beforehand in case my neighbours thought I was being attacked!
Did you have much medical guidance on set?
Yes, lots. We had a real midwife and a medical specialist there. The midwife was able to tell the actress playing the midwife what to do, and be there as guidance for me so I could make sure my reactions were as realistic as possible. It was really helpful.
Tell us about the real baby who plays the little boy…
The baby is amazing and is actually played by a girl as we needed a small baby because Rebecca goes into labour early. She’s wonderful, her name is Lily and she just sleeps the whole time, she’s a dream. We rehearsed and did the first bit of filming with a fake ‘jelly’ baby which is a special plastic one they use for TV that looks more realistic than your average doll! We can’t use a real baby the whole time so as not to tire them out, but from where it was put on my chest it was real from then on, so Robert meeting his son was all real. It was nice we managed to get quite a lot filmed with little Lily.
Had you acted giving birth before?
I have on stage when I was doing a play with Bristol Old Vic, every night and matinees! I was in Coram Boy, playing a 16 year-old in the 18th century giving birth on all fours! So I had a bit of acting birth experience. This was a lot more sanitised, this is Rebecca White – she’s going to go to a decent hospital, isn’t she?
What does the future hold for Rebecca and Robert as co-parents?
Rebecca just wants for her son to be loved and looked after, that is her number one priority now. She’s warmed by the fact Robert is bonding with him immediately, it takes him by surprise how much the baby means to him. He was obviously pretending for a while he cared but actually seeing a child that’s half of him takes him aback. If her son can have a bond with his father then that’s a positive as far as Rebecca’s concerned. When he holds him it’s the first time Robert realises how much of an impact this will have on his life – he’s surprised how much he cares already.
Do you think Rebecca will make a good mum?
I do, I think she’ll be really good. Its something she wanted previously. I don’t think she was expecting it to happen when it did, but here he is! Her whole world is in her son now. It’s the biggest thing that’s ever happened to her she bonds with him very quickly. She’ll definitely fight for her baby and will be a bit of a tigress.
Let’s hope he doesn’t turn out like cousin Lachlan…
Yes… admittedly there’s not great form for the White sisters having sons, but let’s blame that on Lachlan’s dodgy dad Donnie and not being brought up in the White family!
Finally, what can you tease about the Whites’ upcoming exit?
I haven’t even had the scripts so I genuinely don’t know! Apparently January is going to be a big month and the Whites are involved… I’m always excited about big storylines and I prefer being in the thick of the action. I like being busy!
You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of Emmerdale below.
And visit our dedicated Emmerdale page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.