Emmerdale role is Eden Taylor-Draper’s idea of paradise

MOST young actresses would bite your hand off for a starring role in one of TV’s top soaps.

2 Minutes
At the age of just 18, Eden Taylor-Draper has already spent more than a DECADE as one of the most familiar faces on Emmerdale.
Now as her character, Belle Dingle, is at the heart of more Dales drama, Eden told iN10 how the ITV show has shaped her life.
“I was six, just about turn seven when I started here,” says Eden after another morning’s filming at the Leeds studios.
“Looking back, it’s really helped me grow up. I’ve been around so many incredible, talented people and I’m really thankful for that.
“It must be rare for a child to have had that experience. This has become like a home to me. I look on Steve Halliwell and Jane Cox, who play Zak and Lisa Dingle, like my mum and dad.
“I’ve not struggled, if anything it’s helped me, as there’s always been someone to turn to.”

Eden has grown up on Emmerdale, first appearing as Belle Dingle when she was just six years old in 2005 (Yui Mok/PA Wire)
Eden has grown up on Emmerdale, first appearing as Belle Dingle when she was just six years old in 2005 (Yui Mok/PA Wire)

When Eden first joined the legendary Dingle clan, she admits she couldn’t have imagined it would be something she’d still be doing as she neared the end of her teens.
“I didn’t even think of it as a job. I just thought I’d come here, meet some nice people, say some words and go home.
“I hadn’t really acted beforehand so I didn’t have the pressure of coming in feeling that’s what I wanted to do.
“It was only when I was 13 I started to think this could be a career.
“When you get really big storylines and you know you’re being trusted with them you feel, ‘Why would I want to be anywhere else?’
“You realise that what used to be just fun and games could be your life forever.
“And I’m enjoying it every bit as much now as that first day.”
What has changed, since she turned 18, is being treated as an adult, not as a child, by the rest of the cast and crew.
It is, she acknowledges, a welcome change, although there have been adjustments to make.
Her eye-catching performances have seen her pick up major honours, including the British Soap Awards.
Like any soap star, red carpet events are part of the landscape and she’s now stepping out on her own.
“I was more comfortable when I was younger,” she concedes.
“Now at my age there is a pressure to get the right look, the right outfit and to behave in a certain way.
“It used to be just like going to a party and I’d have my parents but I’m not chaperoned now.
“It’s different, but it’s good to be in that position and to learn from it.”

Eden in Emmerdale (ITV)
Eden in Emmerdale (ITV)

What Eden has also been learning about is growing up on screen, with Belle embarking on a relationship with married doctor Jermaine Bailey, played by Micah Balfour.