GETTY 'I think every girl wants a nice wedding and a beautiful dress'
With two attempts at tying the knot ending in disaster and her latest wedding looking like its heading that way, too, Priya Sharma’s track record would be enough to put anyone off getting married.
I think every girl wants a nice wedding and a beautiful dress
But Emmerdale actress Fiona Wade insists her unlucky-in-love character hasn’t dented her own romantic dream of walking down the aisle.
“I’d definitely like to get married one day, for sure,” she says. “I think every girl wants a nice wedding and a beautiful dress. But the older I get, the more I realise it’s not about the wedding – it’s about the marriage. So I’d rather have an amazing marriage than just an amazing wedding, though of course it would be lovely to have both!”
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Sweet factory manager Priya’s first attempt to settle down ended in heartache when David Metcalfe dumped her shortly before their wedding. She then agreed to an arranged marriage with Rakesh Kotecha and even turned up for the ceremony in her wedding dress, before telling him she had cold feet.
Now the couple are about to try again but, on the morning of the wedding, Priya makes the shocking discovery that Rakesh has money problems after being put on unpaid leave from his job.
In an attempt to fund the wedding, he has been renovating his flat ahead of selling it, but Priya is bewildered when a builder arrives saying Rakesh owes him money.
“Rakesh hasn’t been honest with Priya – he hasn’t told her that he has no money. He wants to give her the biggest wedding ever and to feel like he’s the provider, so he’s ended up in a bit of a mess,” Fiona says.
“When the builder turns up, she’s shocked. She goes to find Rakesh and discovers he’s at Home Farm. She heads over there and catches him hugging Chrissie. It’s totally innocent – he’s there to ask Chrissie to lend him the money for the caterers – but Priya is fuming.”
So Rakesh is finally forced to confess his financial difficulties.
“Priya’s really hurt that he couldn’t tell her,” Fiona says. “Yes, she did want a lovely wedding, but she’s upset that Rakesh couldn’t see there was so much more to their relationship and begins to wonder if they have a future.”
GETTY 'I’d rather have an amazing marriage than just an amazing wedding'
When Rakesh asks Priya to forgive him and to go ahead with their marriage, she’s left with a difficult decision. Meanwhile, the residents of the village are gathered in the pub wondering where the happy couple have disappeared to – and there’s a shock in store for everyone when they finally arrive.
Fiona, 36, who divides her time between homes in Leeds near the Emmerdale studio and London, has recently started a new relationship.
“We’ve known each other a while and always liked each other and now we’re together, which is lovely,” she smiles. “We’re enjoying spending time together, but I’m trying to keep it as normal and private as I can.”
When she’s not filming, Fiona likes to spend time with her friends and family and, unlike many in her profession, you won’t catch her in the gym at weekends. So if it’s not the gym, what is the secret of her enviably slim physique?
“My mum is from the Philippines and she’s very tiny, so it’s in my genes,” Fiona explains. “I also eat very well – I have fresh juices and try to eat lots of vegetables. I don’t drink alcohol and I haven’t had children yet, so maybe all those things contribute. I feel very lucky, but a bit of exercise wouldn’t go amiss, so I need to get on to that this year!”
Fiona grew up in Hertfordshire and began acting at 16 in Grange Hill. A talented singer, she went on to appear on the West End stage in Miss Saigon and almost had a career in pop music, working in Sweden with the producers behind Kylie Minogue’s Fever album.
“Over the years I’ve thought about bringing out an album and various producers still want to work with me, but I’m not quite sure where it would fit in right now,” she explains.
“I’d love to get back into the studio and I’m definitely going to have singing lessons again, but I’m really happy with where my career has taken me.”
And while Fiona clearly enjoys every second of her time in the soap and has no plans to move on, she wouldn’t rule out trying her luck in the US at some point in the future.
“I love it at Emmerdale, but I’m still very ambitious,” she explains. “Who wouldn’t like to work in America? We will have to see what the future holds.”
GETTY Emmerdale actress Fiona Wade on weekends in Leeds and her character, Priya Sharma
Fiona Wade is best known for playing Priya Sharma in Emmerdale, a character who has had her fair share of dramas – from battling an eating disorder to coping with single motherhood.
Before being cast in the soap in 2011, she starred on the West End stage and had roles in Grange Hill, Doctors and Where The Heart Is. Fiona, 35, divides her time between her homes in Leeds and Hertfordshire.“Fridays are usually spent travelling. I love being in Leeds during the week but most of my family and friends are down south, so that’s where my heart is.
“I’ll catch a train and if I manage to get away early I’ll stop off in central London to meet some friends for lunch. I love The Riding House Café, a brasserie on Great Titchfield Street, which has the most amazing fresh juices. Or we’ll go to Busaba Eatha, a Thai restaurant in Soho.
Sometimes we’ll chat for hours and then go for coffee and cake later in the afternoon before I head home.
It’s difficult to leave [Leeds] sometimes but I can’t complain because Emmerdale is such a great job and I’m having such fun playing Priya
“As I’m always up early in the week for filming, I’m programmed not to sleep beyond a certain time.
A lie-in for me is until 8.30am. I might meet a friend for brunch, somewhere local like Harris + Hoole, and then we’ll jump on the train and hit the shops in town. I love browsing in Covent Garden or we’ll go to Selfridges and Harvey Nichols. I tend to buy one or two investment items – pieces that are good quality, rather than a bag full of cheaper clothes.
“In the evening I’ll chill out with my mum, who lives near me, and watch some Saturday night TV such as The Voice. Sometimes I’ll invite my friends over too. They all get along with my mum well and so we’ll either eat a Chinese takeaway or cook something together.
“On Sunday I’ll be up early again and will read through my scripts over breakfast. Then I’ll do some washing, have a little lunch and start packing my bags ready to head back to Leeds. Sometimes I’ll meet a friend for dinner before I go.
“It’s difficult to leave sometimes but I can’t complain because Emmerdale is such a great job and I’m having such fun playing Priya.
“The past couple of months have been fairly quiet for her but things are about to pick up again. She always has some kind of drama going on – there’s rarely a dull moment and that’s what I love.”
Emmerdale is on weeknights at 7pm on ITV with an extra episode at 8pm on Thursday.