Emmerdale mum Laurel Thomas (Charlotte Bellamy) faced a big dilemma when son Arthur Thomas (Alfie Clarke) admitted he had been violent towards little Archie Breckle, young son of her estranged lover Jai Sharma (Chris Bisson).
Conflicted as to whether to tell Jai when he returned from rehab begging for another chance after lapsing back into using cocaine, in Thursday 6th February's Emmerdale Laurel decided to keep her bullying son's secret and is now wracked with guilt. How long can she protect her violent offspring?
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"The story is very complex," says Bellamy. "I know as a parent myself, you'd always stick up for your child and see the good in them, even if they're being horrendous and a bully. You'd ask why, is it your fault? The maternal instincts kick in, and I think every parent can kind of understand that."
Blaming herself is exactly what Laurel did, as Arthur tearfully owned up to being responsible for the mysterious bruises on Archie that led to Jimmy King (Nick Miles) being wrongly accused of hurting him, driving a wedge within the community.
"She's disappointed and shocked in Arthur, but thinks she should have paid her son more attention. Arthur is vulnerable didn't know what he was doing, but Laurel is also in denial.
"It's a complicated, emotional journey that we're embarking on and turning pointing the story. Things are set to get a lot worse, and there are other things in store that will make it even more complex."
The catalyst for Arthur's confession was the news his beloved granddad Sandy Thomas had died, as Emmerdale acknowledges the real-life passing in July 2019 of actor Freddie Jones who played him. Following her boy's bombshell, Laurel decides to take the kids to Australia, where Sandy was living, for the funeral - meaning she puts more distance between her and Jai.
"She feels that going to Australia will be a good way for Arthur to bury everything," continues Bellamy, "but it's the perfect chance for Laurel to ignore the fact she has to deal with this. Laurel will protect Arthur to the end, she is that matriarchal figure who doesn't think that her child is in the wrong…"
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