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Emmerdale's Gabby Thomas actress says ITV soap helped her cope with dad's death

By Sarah Robertson & Gemma Jones

Emmerdale actress Rosie Bentham says working on the soap helped her cope with losing her dad.

She is best known for playing Gabby Thomas on the ITV soap and worked on a storyline which was later tragically mirrored by her own life. Rosie was 15 in 2017 when her on-screen dad, vicar Ashley, died from dementia.

And just over two years later, Rosie’s real father John, also a vicar, died of a pulmonary embolism – a blood clot. She said Emmerdale was there to offer her ­support and stability at the time, reported The Mirror.

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Rosie, now 20, said: “I was doing the whole playing grief and then the next minute I’m actually grieving. Everyone was there for me and I had some time off. I had a text from the cast seeing how I was.

“Work was a saving grace in the sense there was something I still loved to do and was passionate about. Grieving can go wrong for teenagers.

“People can rebel but that was never me. You think life is so unfair I don’t know why I am here any more. I knew I had work – something I loved and was passionate about and I got to work every day. Emmerdale 100% gave me stability.”

Since then, Rosie has gone from strength to strength as mischievous Gabby, who this week took a shot at a suspected stalker. The soap’s young mum has gone up in the world and is now living at Home Farm with the Tates.

Rosie has been favourably compared with ex-Doctor Who star Jenna Coleman, who played Jasmine Thomas for four years in Emmerdale, and Harry Potter star Emma Watson. She said: “It’s so strange because Jenna Coleman started in Emmerdale aged 15-16 like me, in the Thomas family, like me, and now look at her. She’s thriving, so I’d love to go down that route. Would love to meet her.

“Emmerdale ­boosted her up so much and she loved it and that is where I’m at right now. That could be my vision.

“At the minute I am good, I am happy, Gabby Thomas is ­thriving. Very happy with my position.”

Another actress who inspires the young star is Line of Duty’s Vicky McClure who, like Rosie, is from Nottingham. Rosie said: “I live in Nottingham with my mum and it will always have my heart. I love it here and I’m privileged to live in the nice area of Nottingham where my childhood was.” And like Vicky, Rosie attended the city’s Television Workshop.

She said: “Their mission is to get you a job but also to bring out your character as a person and give you the confidence to go and do drama. If you don’t then fine, but Vicky was used as an example of someone successful in the business.

“She’s great. I watched her in Line of Duty and I’d love to play a detective in a police drama. I’ve not met Vicky, but I’m ­invested in where she is going. I’d say hi to her as I’ve heard that she is a really nice person.”

Rosie is close to her co-stars Daisy Campbell and Isobel Steele, and “very close to Mimi Slinger, all kind of my-age girls”. She has a holiday planned to Ibiza this year with Daisy and Mimi, and is looking forward to being ­“adventurous” while staying in San Antonio.

There has certainly been some ­on-screen adventure for Gabby who has gone from being a moaning village ­teenager to living at Home Farm with Kim Tate, played by Claire King.

Rosie said: "I love working with Claire and feeling a little bit involved with the Tates. I’ve had a baby so I’ve ­settled in quite well I think.

“People come up to me on the street and they say you’re going to be the new Kim Tate and I say, ‘Yes I am!’ I hope she never moves out of Home Farm because I love being a little mini Kim Tate.

“Claire King is an icon. She is always there if I need anything or any help.

“In covid a lot of scenes were two people – a lot of talking and lines to learn – and bless her, she gets twice as much as everybody else to have to say... she has a lot.

“Then I’d come in and say: ‘Oh Claire, I’ve had so many lines to learn that I might not be on it,’ and she helps me with learning lines because she is very experienced.

“All the directors love her – she’s great. Some people think she is scary. A very common question people ask is what is Claire King like? But that just shows her character."

Emmerdale airs weekdays at 7.30pm on ITV and the ITV Hub

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Dive Deeper:
Emmerdale star Rosie Bentham says playing Gabby in soap helped her cope with dad's death
Rosie Bentham, whose Emmerdale character Gabby Thomas also lost her father, tells how she was supported by her co-stars and…
ITV Emmerdale's Gabby star Rosie Bentham says soap helped her cope with dad's death
The ITV soap star's father, John, tragically died two years after her on-screen dad died on-screen
ITV Emmerdale's Rosie Bentham says show helped her cope with dad's death
The actress who plays Gabby Thomas saw her real life mirror what was happening to her character
Emmerdale star tells how soap helped her cope with grief of losing her dad
Rosie Bentham said her own life sadly followed that of the role she played in the long-running soap
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Emmerdale star Rosie Bentham says playing Gabby gave her 'stability' after dad's death
The actress has dealt with grief as her on-screen character but life mirrored art in 2019 when her dad passed…
Emmerdale for Jamie Tate twist next week amid 'return' after mistaken identity drama
Emmerdale spoilers reveal there's a twist in the Jamie Tate plot on the ITV soap in upcoming episodes, which could…
Get all your news in one place