Belle's new romance as villain returns to Emmerdale after 10 years

A new romance is on the cards for Emmerdale’s Belle Dingle (Eden Taylor-Draper), but before we all rejoice that she’s finally about to bag herself a decent bloke, it turns out to be a blast from the past thundering back into town – an ex, no less.

Belle has had a string of dodgy lovers, from killer Lachlan to the iniquitous Jamie Tate. Now, not only is this new bloke as questionable as the rest, he’s her ex from 10 years ago, who ran off and left her behind without a word.

She bumps into this mysterious man and it quickly becomes clear that Thomas King, son of the late killer Carl King, is back in the village.

Thomas was last seen a decade ago hotfooting it out of the village in a campervan and running back to Saudi Arabia after having admitted he wanted revenge on Chas (Lucy Pargeter) for the death of his dad just as things got serious with Belle.

In fact, things had been so serious, she’d temporarily turned her back on her loving parents in favour of the relationship they didn’t support. That boy had a hold over her, right before he ditched her with no warning.

But he’s back in town and despite his hasty exit, the spark between them has not been extinguished. They easily fall back into their flirting as they reminisce. Tom asks Belle for a drink and she’s only too keen to accept.

But does he have an ulterior motive? Why else would he return to the village after all this time?

Show producer Jane Hudson shone shone light on things.

‘He’s been living overseas for quite some time and then he’s come back to England,’ she explained to us.

‘He’s qualified as a vet so I think we all probably know where he’s going to be working.

‘Of course Tom and Belle have a history, which they see each other and rekindle and we will be on a journey with Tom and Belle for quite some time as we play out the story.’

However, he might not be as villainous as we would assume – actor James Chase took up the conversation to reveal more detail.

‘They were childhood sweethearts and they loved each other,’ he reasoned. ‘Even though there was a lot of drama going on in his life at that time, she was a real shining star for him, the one good thing he could remember that gave him hope and love.

‘He’s come back to Leeds to work as a vet there, it just so happened that’s where he was transferred to, and then he realised “I’m much closer to the village, now could be the time to get closure and perhaps to see her again.”

‘I think partly he just wanted to see her again just to make sure she was all right and happy and I think that was the main reason he came back.’

So no shady intentions?

James promised his love for Belle is ‘absolutely genuine’.

‘He really did love her and cared for her. He’s scared to see her again because the people you love, there are a lot of emotions there and it’s not so easy.’

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