Emmerdale stars on emotional impact of filming baby storyline

Emmerdale spoilers follow.

Emmerdale stars Jay Kontzle and Olivia Bromley have discussed the emotional toll of a recent story, seeing their characters' baby boy Evan being diagnosed with leukaemia.

Jay, who plays Billy Fletcher, and Olivia, who stars as Dawn Fletcher, have been working with Leukaemia Care to portray the storyline in an accurate and sensitive manner.

"We had this really amazing conversation with parents who do have children who've been diagnosed recently and they were really open and generous with their own experiences," Olivia told Digital Spy and other media.

dawn, billy, emmerdale

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"Billy and Dawn's life is just going on and they have other stuff going on to deal with and this just comes as a curveball and they just have to deal with it and it impacts their relationship and their family life," she continued.

"So we've been talking about parents and families how, in that split second diagnosis, out of nowhere, everything changes and you just have to deal with it."

Jay said they "requested" to talk with people directly affected by leukaemia in order to deal with such a delicate topic in the way it deserved to be depicted on screen.

"We requested that we wanted to have case studies and speak to people, not just the charity, and understand the fundamentals of this type of leukaemia but what parents have gone through, the stresses, and just understanding it properly, because there's no point in doing a story [otherwise]," he said.

Filming the scenes hasn't been easy for the two stars, as they both admitted being profoundly affected by the storyline.

"I thought it was dead difficult when I got this story because I'd literally just had another baby in real life," Jay said. "I was like: 'Now I'm worried about my own child, watching him grow, I don't want something like this happening.'

dawn fletcher, billy fletcher, emmerdale

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"The last block [of scenes] has been really intense," Olivia added. "It is because it's a lot of hospital scenes and you're trying to really put yourself in that headspace for a long period of time and also this isn't a quick story with a quick solve so there's a lot of dynamics."

The actor also said that the diagnosis comes at a moment where Dawn and Billy have hit a rough patch in their marriage, which complicates things further.

"The thing that's quite draining is the relationship between Dawn and Billy is quite strained," she said. "They've always been a massive support for each other but what has felt quite heavy is that they are pulling apart and really going for each other, so that's a difficult element of it."

She then opened up on filming the hard-hitting scenes with the baby who plays Evan, Malachi, and his parents.

"We're working with a real baby, Malachi, who we love and is amazing and his parents are amazing, but that's quite impactful, seeing him in the hospital," the soap star said. "I'm sure it's difficult for his parents to watch us play this story, it really brings it home. Yeah, it's quite full on."

Emmerdale airs on weeknights at 7.30pm on ITV1, and streams on ITVX.

Read more Emmerdale spoilers on our dedicated homepage.

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