Belle Dingle is set to be released from youth custody, but she’ll face a tough time as she struggles to readjust to life in the village.
Next week’s episodes will see Belle persecuted upon her return to school, all of which leaves her wanting to change her appearance in a bid to leave the past behind.
“Initially, she feels fine about going back to school, but then Gabby and her friends start to circle around her and start calling her a murderer,” says actress Eden Taylor-Draper. “Even though she’s outwardly quite calm, the experience really messes with Belle’s head. So she ends up dyeing her hair from blonde to black. Belle’s quite scared to tell her mum about what she’s done, but Lisa appears to understand why her daughter wants to change the way she looks.”
The trouble is that Belle’s past won’t leave her alone. As she tidies Gemma’s shrine, Chrissie’s son Lachlan arrives and begins to quiz Belle about her friend’s demise. And then later in the week, Gabby makes the horrific admission that Belle has threatened to kill her!
Although Belle denies making the threats, Gabby is left in absolutely no doubt as to how Belle is feeling when the pair have a clandestine confrontation. “Gabby was definitely stirring at the beginning, but then Belle is absolutely awful to Gabby. Absolutely disgusting.”
In the end, Lisa and Zak will be left wondering whether they are right to believe Belle over Gabby, especially when they return home on Wednesday to find ‘Murderer’ spray painted on the wall of their home. But who is it that’s slandering Belle in this way? “It’s a mystery as to who’s doing it,” says Taylor-Draper, who’s returning to the ITV soap after a couple of months away sitting school exams. “But it’s good that so much is kicking off for Belle. It’s really unusual. And I’m so happy to be back.”
Watch below for your 60-second rundown of all the upcoming drama in next week’s episodes: