Get ready for more wedding bells in Emmerdale as Leyla Harding is going to propose to Pete Barton next week!
But whether they actually make it down the aisle is another matter as Pete has been having it off with Leyla’s best friend, Priya Kotecha!
So far they have managed to keep it a secret but seeing as this is soapland, the news is sure to explode in the coming weeks.
Here Roxy Shahidi, who plays Leyla, reveals all…
What’s happened to the girl code between Priya and Leyla?
I think it’s particularly awful because they’ve been such good friends. It’s not like they’re just friends in passing, Leyla’s really been there for Priya through her eating disorder and her break up, she’s been her one, closest friend.
Fiona: She is her only friend, her best friend, like you said, been there through the eating disorder. Having said that though, I do also think that – obviously it doesn’t make it any better, but Leyla has done the same thing in the past. But still, it doesn’t make any difference in our relationship.
What did you think when you first saw in the scripts that this was going to happen?
Well, I love working with Fiona, so I was really excited that she was going to ruin my life! So it was fine.
Fiona: We were like, ‘oh gosh, we’re going to fight, and we’re going to have to hate each other’. Because usually we have quite girlie, giggly, fun scenes. But it’s good we get to work together lots.
What do you think Leyla would do when she finds out?
I think there would be some very, very harsh words at the very least. I mean, like Fiona said, we’re not sure exactly what happens with that, but I imagine she’s not going to take it sitting down. She’s not going to cry into her pillow. She’ll probably rage and scream and do heaven knows what. What I’m interested in seeing in whether they then work towards repairing that relationship, because it is such a long standing friendship for both of them. I’m interested to see if they try and heal their relationship. Because I think she’ll be more hurt about Priya’s betrayal than she will about Pete, because as much as she loves Pete, it is a very new relationship, and he’s a man.
Are they both too good for Pete?
I mean, Pete’s not the worst guy! It is quite surprising that he’s doing what he’s doing, considering what he went through with Debbie. He’s never really been the bad guy, he’s always kind of been the more decent, stable, upstanding, hard-working farmer, he’s never the one who comes up with crazy scams, he’s never the one who goes out of his way to hurt anyone. So it is quite surprising that it’s happening. So I don’t know how he’s going to feel at the end of it, I don’t know whether. I’m getting really deep now, but is he trying to sabotage it because he’s scared that Leyla’s going to hurt him in the way that Debbie did? I don’t know. It is that he doesn’t want to get really close to someone again because of that? Or is it that she’s just so gorgeous, which is obviously true? I just don’t know. But I don’t think he’s essentially a good guy, so I don’t actually think they’re too good for him – because Leyla’s been awful to people in the past, Priya’s fairly strait-laced…
Why does Leyla decide that now is the right time for her and Pete to get married?
I just think she wants to get married, I think she wants to lock him down quick! She’s always been after- even though she walked away from David, who was the perfect guy who really did love her, there was other things going on at that time with Jacob and everything, but aside from that, I think she’s always in every relationship she’s been in, she’s keen to get the marriage thing done. And I think now, she’s a little bit older, she really wants to have children, because she didn’t ever get the opportunity to raise Jacob. And I think again, Pete is that steady guy, and I think she feels she can trust him, and they’re nearly 12 months together now. So she’s nearly hit the year mark, and I think she knows he’s mot 100 per cent ready, and then her good friends say to her, come on, if you want something, go for it. it’s 2017, just ask, go on! And so she does.
Has she got a any niggling doubts in her mind?
She shouldn’t have but I think she thought maybe she’d roll the dice and she might win. And that need to ‘oh yeah let’s’ was too strong.
What do you think Leyla’s wedding would be like?
Ridiculous! There was an opportunity to have a unicorn themed wedding because these two characters she was planning it for didn’t end up getting married and she would have gone for that. That would have been brilliant but I think at this stage to be honest her dream wedding is just Pete saying yeah. But I think the more ridiculous for her probably the better.
So she would want a unicorn wedding?
The unicorn wedding, yeah. I really wanted that to happen. It was in the forest as well, and we were going to have to do some sort of dance around the fire or some sort of ritual and there were all these unicorns! That would have been amazing but Pete doesn’t take the hint, it’s too much but the discussion of this wedding being available and people talking about maybe you guys should do it Spurs her on. Tracey really wants her to get married and wants there to be a commitment from him and I think it’s a few other people encouraging her makes her believe that potentially it could happen.
So she’s got no inkling that Priya’s been up to no good then?
Absolutely not and I don’t think she should because I think she’d react to that, I don’t think she’s the kind of person that would deny it, I think if she had a suspicion she would strongly investigate and I also think when she wants to be she’s very blind. She can be really savvy sometimes and she can be completely blind to a situation so I think until she finds out and it’s literally in her face, if that ever happens, I don’t think she would suspect.
But there’s been some tense moments with the two of them…
I just think she has to believe in this friendship so much and in her own blinkered obsession with Pete that it’s just not on her radar at all. Otherwise I don’t think she’d be so obsessed with Pete and she’d talk to her about it straightaway as soon as there was an inkling. I just don’t think it’s something that she’s not for a second thought about.
So Leyla asks Pete to marry her, would you ever ask a guy in real life?
No I wouldn’t actually and I don’t think, I mean if any of my friends said I’m going to propose, I’d be like ‘amazing that’s brilliant, go for it’. Actually I don’t know, maybe that’s not true. I don’t know, I think it depends on the situation doesn’t it? And on the person. So maybe, I think it just depends. I don’t know the answer to that question.
Do you get flirty messages from guys online?
Oh god I don’t know! I wouldn’t respond or even acknowledge them. I’m the wrong person.
Would you like Leyla to have a happy ending or do you quite like the drama?
I would love her to have a happy ending and then some more drama. Part of me now I do empathise with her a little bit, I do feel like ‘oh’ it would be nice for her to have a nice…
Would you two like to see Priya and Leyla have a full on cat fight when the truth comes out?
Roxy: Yeah probably, it would be good fun!
Could she forgive Pete?
Leyla probably would I think, I don’t know the answer to that question but I think Leyla probably would do short term, I think she’d be so upset and wounded about what had happened and that desire to hold on to some love, I think she would as long as he promised and promised and promised and cried, she would probably say ‘fine I believe you, I believe you, let’s try again’. But then over time I don’t know if she yeah the doubt would eat away at her but initially I do think she’s kind of person that could go ‘right okay yeah let’s try again as long as you’re really really really really sorry’. I think so.