This article includes discussion of domestic abuse, including coercive control, that some readers may find distressing.


Emmerdale producer Laura Shaw has teased a Christmas comeuppance for evil Tom King (James Chase), as the harrowing domestic abuse storyline reaches new heights in the coming weeks.

Tom has been terrorising wife Belle (Eden Taylor-Draper) for months, with the ITV soap working closely with charities Refuge and New Beginnings Peer Support to accurately portray the subject.

Scenes airing next week will see Belle attempt to escape, just as Tom discovers that she terminated her pregnancy, having lied that she suffered a miscarriage.

With Belle missing from his view as she plans an exit to Scotland, Tom unleashes his fury in a barn, which causes him to be electrocuted.

More like this

But it looks like Tom doesn't meet a fatal end here. Speaking to and other media, Shaw has confirmed just how long Belle's ordeal will run for.

"We said right from the beginning that we wanted to tell this story as truthfully and authentically as we can. Let's face it, I think you know people who are subject to domestic abuse, this isn't something that's over in a couple of weeks," she pointed out.

Anxious Belle sits with Rachel from her mental health team in Emmerdale
Rachel picks up on Belle's unease in her marriage. ITV

"This is something that goes on for a long length of time and we wanted to be truthful to that. So I think you can expect [that] this storyline is going to run until the end of this year."

Does this mean we can expect a festive twist in this tale? We'll just have to wait and see, but Shaw revealed that the mystery ending of Belle and Tom's story has been planned from the start.

"I think we've always had a good idea in our head exactly where we want it to end. Obviously we've found new twists and turns as we've gone through, but we've always had a pretty clear picture in our head of where it would end."

Chatting to and other press about Tom's inevitable downfall, actor James Chase knows that his alter ego has a shelf life. "It has to happen, because it's what he deserves - he can't get away with it," he confirmed. "I don't know to what extent that would be, as to how the character would, how the storyline would end with Tom.

"But [Belle] needs justice for what's happened to her, and also the viewer needs that. From all the hell we've seen Belle put through, we have to see her win in the end or at the very least, for him to lose. Definitely at least prison, there needs to be at least that [for Tom]."

Expanding on how Tom's behaviour will continue, Shaw added: "What we'll see is Tom finding different ways to manipulate Belle and to control Belle. We'll see an escalation."

Asked if other Emmerdale villagers may start to piece together these manipulations, she replied: "We'll see people start to look a bit more quizzically and wonder what's going on and question certain things that they're seeing, but I think from the research that we've done and what the charities have said to us, quite often people don't really pick up on these things.

"It's very difficult as an outsider who's looking in to even broach that, and ask those sort of questions. So whilst we might see people picking up on it, I'm not sure that we're going to see anybody putting the whole picture together."

Why did Emmerdale choose Belle to be the victim of this insidious abuse? "We've known her for years, she's someone that we've grown up with, we know her really well. She's a confident young woman, she's part of the Dingles, she's got family, she's got friends.

Unconscious Tom King on the floor of the barn in Emmerdale
It looks like Tom's brush with death won't take him down just yet. ITV

"It was important to us that we chose somebody who wasn't isolated," Shaw explained. "It's your girl next door, it's someone who could reach out for help, who can get help, who has got people around her. It was really important for us to show that domestic abuse is not discriminatory in that way."

Touching on the public's perception of his role as Tom, Chase described a recent encounter. "I was walking back after we filmed in the studio the other day, and somebody was on his phone through the bike lane. And he looked up and saw me and his face kind of dropped! He just sort of tracked me, but he didn't say anything."

While he thankfully hasn't received any extreme reactions, he notes that viewers' fury at Tom shows the impact he's having, and the awareness the show is raising on this sensitive subject.

"I haven't had any eggs thrown at me or anything like that. If the audience do hate you, it's a good sign that you're doing it properly."

Emmerdale has been working with Refuge and New Beginnings Peer Support for the Tom and Belle storyline. You can access free and confidential support from Refuge's 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 and digital support via live chat Monday-Friday 3-10pm via

Read more:

Emmerdale airs Monday to Friday at 7:30pm on ITV1. Stream on ITVX.


Check out more of our Soaps coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to The Radio Times Podcast.