Emmerdale has kept fans gripped as the past catches up with Lydia Hart (Karen Blick) following the revelation she was the mother of a baby whose remains were found buried in the local school, eventually handing herself into the police on Friday 5th July.
Forensic evidence determined a child had been in the grounds, formerly a children’s home, for almost 30 years and identified a woman called Jenny Finn as the person who gave birth to the tragic tot. Jenny went missing from the home in 1990 aged 16, but a picture of her from the time released as part of a public appeal for information had a startling resemblance to kooky cleaner Lydia, girlfriend of Sam Dingle (James Hooton).
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After disappearing from the Dingle cottage and leaving a cryptic note for baffled Sam explaining she had left him but pleading to ‘try not to hate her’, viewers saw Lydia enter the police station at the end of Friday’s episode and confirm she was Jenny Finn, and the baby they found belonged to her. In the coming week, Lydia finally opens up to Sam about her childhood as she faces the consequences of what occurred decades before.
In her first interview since the dark storyline was launched, Blick speaks out about Lydia’s painful past and how the plot unfolds in the coming weeks:
How did Lydia feel when the bones were found?
It was a mixture of shock and disbelief. What she went through was something she has put behind her for years and never spoken about. The school is on the site of the children’s home where Lydia was brought up, so she knows exactly what it was.
What drove her to leave Sam and hand herself in?
She doesn’t want to bring this to the Dingles’ door. As far as Lydia is concerned this is her shame, she loves Sam and has huge respect for all the Dingles and is worried for them about getting involved, so in order to protect the family she hands herself in.
Does she thinks she deserves to be punished?
Yes. She has carried this guilt and shame with her throughout her whole adult life. Now there is no more hiding from it, this is her day of reckoning. At her heart she is a good person but she feels she did the worst possible thing and as a result, needs to receive the punishment.
How did you feel when you found out about the storyline?
I thought it was massive to tackle such a sensitive topic, and wanted to make sure I did it justice and tell it truthfully from Lydia’s perspective and with empathy. There’s always a reason for people’s behaviour and I was interested in the psychology of Lydia’s need to control, her obsessive cleaning, her quirkiness and eccentricity and preoccupation with how others perceive her – that will all unravel. From an acting point of view it’s a great challenge, and daunting.
Why did she not confide in any of the Dingles?
After what Chas and Paddy experienced with Grace, Lydia doesn’t equate her loss with what they had and views herself as a criminal, a bad person who should be punished accordingly. But she has never come to terms with her loss. In her mind the baby died because of her, because she didn’t tell anybody or go for proper check ups – she believes the miscarriages during her marriage to Steve are proof she wasn’t fit to have children. It’s like she’s cursed.
Have you liked digging deeper into the character’s backstory?
It’s been great. Lydia is usually quirky and daft but we are going to see her highly emotional and frustrated. We know she is good at offering advice to others, but in terms of taking her own advice and managing personal traumas she will struggle. I love playing her and the emotional baggage she’s got will be interesting to unpack.
What can you tease about where the plot goes next?
I’m hoping Lydia can come to terms with the past and put it to rest appropriately, grieve for the baby and understand what happened. She is transported back to that frightened 15 year-old and stays in that frame of mind for quite some time. Lydia worries Sam will reject her and that people will see her as a bad person. Her picture is in the newspaper, the whole village knows – it’s mortifying to think she will be judged and people will make assumptions. But she is wiling to pay the price.
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