Emmerdale’s Belle forced to attack Charity in order to save Tom King

There was almost a point in a recent Emmerdale episode when Belle Dingle (Eden Taylor-Draper) managed to escape from her controlling husband Tom King (James Chase).

A staff member from the mental health assessment unit had helped Belle to realise that she was afraid of Tom, and that his behaviour in their marriage wasn’t normal.

She made plans to go and visit her dad and Debbie and a taxi was already waiting to take her to the station. Then she got news that Tom had been in an accident at the farm, where he’d been electrocuted. Viewers saw that this electrocution happened because he was in an almighty rage after discovering that Belle had had an abortion and not a miscarriage as she told him.

So when we saw Belle visit him in hospital and he pledged that he would ‘never leave her,’ it came across as a sinister threat and viewers will have been just hoping that someone would see what’s happening with Belle and try to help her.

 

 

That’s exactly what is going to happen in upcoming episodes, as Charity Dingle (Emma Atkins) realises that Belle’s behaviour has changed. Emma Atkins told us how it comes to Charity’s attention.

‘When someone becomes more introverted, inward, agoraphobic, not wanting to leave the house, it’s just Tom, Belle and the dog, she’s cutting herself off from friends and I think it’s more Belle’s behaviour that Charity is concerned about. I think potentially it could be as a direct result of Tom’s manipulation,’ she said.

While the rest of the family is distracted by the ongoing dispute between Matty (Ash Palmisciano) and Samson (Sam Hall), Charity – as a survivor of abuse herself – notices the signs and tries to intervene to help Belle.

‘I felt that if anyone was going to recognise the signs of abuse it would be Charity because she’s lived and breathed it in her past,’ Emma explained.

Charity arranges with Chas (Lucy Pargeter), Mandy (Lisa Riley) and Lydia (Karen Blick) that they’ll take Belle off for a girly night at the Woolpack. However, soon Belle starts to panic as she realises that her family members are concerned about her relationship with Tom. Charity in particular is trying to gently press Belle to open up, but soon Belle becomes angry and storms off.

Charity speaks to a worried Belle in Emmerdale
Charity follows her and asks her again to confide in her and it seems like Belle might be about to do just that – and Tom appears. Flustered, Belle pushes Charity away roughly and heads for home. Tom – in a wheelchair following his accident – warns Charity off, as Emma described to us.Charity speaks to a worried Belle in Emmerdale

‘She comes face to face in the street with Tom and there’s this stand-off,’ she said.

‘Belle runs off crying and Charity’s first instinct is to run after her. Tom comes up in the wheelchair and stops her and goes, “Enough. You leave Belle to me.” He shuts her right down in the street and she’s dumbfounded. She’s like, “Holy moly, this is another level of control.”’

 

While this storyline is set to run for many more months yet, at least we know that Belle now has someone looking out for her even though Charity realises she has to play a very tactful game.

‘They see each other in the street a couple of days later and Charity says “I’m not going to interfere but please know I am here for you,”’ Emma said.

‘Because at the end of the day Belle is an adult. Charity can’t be controlling and say “You will open up to me.” You’ve got to respect your friends and your family. If they won’t open up you can’t push it. So she says “I am the safe space if you choose it to be me, because I’ve been there.” I think Belle’s already closed the shutters, really, which is really sad. People will be really frustrated by that, in a good way, because it shows you how this stuff goes on every day in people’s domestic lives and they’re living that hell.’

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