Emmerdale spoilers: Leyla confronts Priya over her eating disorder – Fiona Wade interview

"Priya starts to feel suffocated that somebody has been watching her that closely," says the actress

Leyla (Roxy Shahidi) is to confront Priya (Fiona Wade) in next week’s episodes over her eating disorder. The showdown comes at a Sharma family meal when Leyla’s hunch is seemingly confirmed after Priya makes her excuses and abandons her plate of food. But an argument breaks out after Leyla lays her suspicions on the line, the effect being that Priya is left both humiliated and annoyed. Here, actress Fiona Wade reveals what lies ahead for her character as concerns grow for her wellbeing:


How is Priya feeling about her pregnancy?
At the moment, Priya is feeling really overwhelmed. She’s not in a good place. She’s got very low self-esteem and is scared about what the future has in store. She’s on her own and feels very mixed up – deep down she’s struggling.

Has she come to terms with losing David?
Like any relationship break-up, it’s a journey. She’s come to terms with the fact that he’s with Alicia. But I don’t think she’s over that situation. In her head, she feels that it shouldn’t be like this. There’s a lot of confusion and there’s still a long way to go.

What about the fact that she’s not eating properly?
We’re starting to see that Priya has had issues with this in the past and I think her demons are coming back. And we’ll be seeing more and more of that as time goes on. But at the moment, she just feels that everyone’s crowding her and she just wants control of the situation. She thinks that if she’s left alone, she’ll get through this. But she feels she has to do it her way.

Has she been tempted to confide in anyone?
Yes, she’s become quite good friends with Leyla. She hasn’t really had a friend like that in a long time and she does feel like she wants to confide in her. But at the same time, she’s not sure if she’s ready to give that trust. To an extent, she wants someone on her side, but it’s a question of how much she wants to give away.

And how are her family dealing with the situation?
Her family are oblivious to it. The Sharmas are all very busy and everyone’s got their own dramas going on. At one point, Jai suspected but Priya has assured him that everything’s fine. He’s moved on and got his own problems. I think Leyla’s the one who’s closest to her, in that sense. Leyla can see that what Priya is saying isn’t matching her actions.

Viewers will see Leyla broaching the subject with Priya – can you tell us about that scene?
The Sharmas have a little get-together with Brenda and Bob to show the pictures from Georgia’s visit to Canada. And Priya decides to do the cooking. She does an enormous amount of food – too much, really – and Leyla is watching her all the time and noticing that she’s not really eating anything. After the meal, Leyla tackles Priya, but all the defences go up and she’s just horrified that her friend can say all these things about her. Priya starts to feel suffocated that somebody has been watching her that closely. They end up falling out.

How does Priya feel when she realises that Leyla has spoken to David about her concerns?
Priya goes crazy. She tries to turn everything around and manipulate the situation by saying, “Well, actually, you’re just jealous”. She makes it hard for Leyla and becomes adamant that nothing’s wrong. She genuinely thinks she’ll be OK.

Does the confrontation prompt her to start eating at all?
Oh God, yes. And she does try. She really does want to eat, that’s the thing. But at the moment, she feels that she just can’t. She just feels so worthless at the moment. And eating is the one thing she can control.

Tell us about Priya’s medical scare…
Yes, she has stomach cramps and is taken to hospital. Everything’s fine, but although the situation scares her, she still feels that she has things under control.

How would she cope if she lost the baby?
She’d be devastated. It’s not what she wants at all. She wants to eat, she wants the baby to be fine – it’s herself that she doesn’t love so much at the moment. She’s scared because she feels that she’s on her own without support. I don’t think she’s ready to be a mother, though. She wouldn’t have chosen this situation. If she’d have had David, then I think she’d have been out buying little outfits. It would have given her confidence. At the moment, Priya doesn’t feel that she’s going to be a great mother.

Is there anyone she could reach out to?
She tries to reach out to Jai. She and Jai have a close relationship. But she also knows that if he gets too close, he’s going to want her to help. She wants to do this on her own because she feels she can.


And what would you advise her to do?
I’d definitely be telling her to get professional help. You can’t do this type of thing on your own. It’s too big.