Lydia Dingle is about to face new trauma in Emmerdale after she is raped by old friend Craig.
Lydia has recently reconnected with Craig – who was the father of her stillborn baby, Toby – and was thrilled when he offered her a job cleaning the offices of his successful business.
But things take a sinister turn when Craig rapes poor Lydia in heartbreaking Emmerdale scenes.
Shock attack for Lydia in Emmerdale
We sat down with Karen Blick, who plays the Dingle matriarch, to find out what’s in store for her alter ego after Lydia’s rape.
“My initial reaction was ‘please don’t do this to Lydia’ because I felt very protective,” Karen reveals. “It was the strongest reaction I’ve ever had to a potential story, emotionally.”
On screen we’ve seen Craig reappear in Lydia’s life and the pair find a connection over their shared past in the children’s home where they lived as teens.
Lydia was initially shocked to see Craig, because he didn’t know about the baby they shared. But once she’d revealed the truth, the pair shared their grief and feelings about what happened.
Craig’s not the knight in shining armour he first appears. When he makes a move on Lydia, she knocks him back.
And that’s when things go wrong.
“This is not a consent storyline,” Karen explains. The audience is definitely left in no uncertain terms about what has happened to Lydia.
“Craig divulges that he’s got feelings for Lydia. She’s clear and concise. She says: ‘I’m married. Nothing will happen between us. I love Sam.’ But Craig doesn’t hear any of that.”
Karen says filming Lydia’s rape scenes was “exhausting” but the filming itself was handled “incredibly sensitively”.
“I watched the replay back and it’s uncomfortable viewing,” she reveals. “I’m not going to shy away from that at all. It’s a difficult, uncomfortable subject.”
What’s next for Lydia?
So what happens after Lydia is raped?
Lydia doesn’t report the crime, Karen tells us, because she is worried she won’t be believed.
“She feels guilty,” Karen says. “She feels ashamed. And she feels that it’s somehow her fault, that she has put herself in that situation – which is completely incorrect.”
And so, Lydia shuts down, and carries on with life. She even goes back to work at Craig’s office, where the assault takes place.
“That’s horrendous for Lydia,” says Karen. “Reliving that experience. She’s having to go into work, back to the place where it happened, seeing the perpetrator, who’s denying it even happened…”
She says that while initially she didn’t understand Lydia’s decision, she soon realised why her alter ego tries to carry on as though nothing has happened.
“Lydia is a protector, that’s what Lydia is,” she says. “She wants to protect her family from it. That’s what’s running through the initial aftermath. She just wants her family to be okay, and she’ll put her own feelings to one side.”
Friends and family of Lydia in Emmerdale rally
In the weeks to come, Lydia will find support from her family, of course, but there are other women in the village who she might open up to.
“Kim is an obvious choice,” says Karen. “Kim certainly suspects because she can see something’s not quite right.”
And according to Laura Shaw, one of the Emmerdale producers, Lydia will also find a friend in Rhona.
“Rhona will be somebody who will be really important for Lydia,” Laura reveals.
The end for Lydia and Sam?
But what about Lydia’s husband, Sam? Can their marriage survive this trauma?
“They’re a really strong, solid couple,” says Karen. “They absolutely love each other dearly. They are soulmates. Lydia’s biggest fear is how Sam will view her once he knows what happened. Will he look at her in the same way?
“I really hope they can support each other, come out the other end, be open, honest and find and seek support. But Lydia is terrified this could mean the end of her marriage.”
For more information and support, viewers can visit the Rape Crisis website – www.rapecrisis.org.uk. You can also call their 24/7 Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Line on 0808 500 2222 or chat to them online 247sexualabusesupport.org.uk.
Read more: Who’s leaving Emmerdale this year?
Emmerdale usually airs weeknights at 7.30pm on ITV, with an hour episode on Thursdays.
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