Emmerdale viewers were shocked to discover that cafe owner Bob Hope had a one-night-stand with the recently bereaved Laurel Thomas behind partner Brenda’s back. Ever since, Bob has been desperate to save his relationship until now – when he realised he loves Laurel and wants to be with her instead!
Bob Hope (Tony Audenshaw) has been pulling out all the stops to get his partner Brenda (Lesley Dunlop) to forgive him for sleeping with another woman – her not knowing it was their mutual friend Laurel Thomas (Charlotte Bellamy) – even proposing and encouraging an official wedding.
As far as Brenda’s concerned, they’re to be married and he’s promised he’ll stay faithful. That is until Bob, rumbled by ex-copper turned vicar Harriet Finch (Katherine Dow Blyton), that he has feelings for Laurel.
“He does love Brenda,” actor Tony Audenshaw tells Soaplife. “But I think he’s falling in love with Laurel.”
So how does Harriet Finch find out about Bob’s night of passion with Laurel? Tony explains: “It’s the twins’ 11th birthday and Brenda invites Laurel and her kids along. They have a really nice time and Harriet notices something between Bob and Laurel. Later, she confronts her and Laurel confesses to everything, including the fact she has feelings for Bob.
“Bob’s completely unaware. He and Laurel have agreed not to talk about it to anyone because the ramifications would be terrible if it gets out. Laurel explains to Bob that she has told Harriet and he thinks, ‘Oh no. That cat’s out of the bag.’
“Harriet talks to him and she says he needs to decide what to do. He feels the pressure and he has a little bit of a breakdown. He goes AWOL for a bit. He needs to get away so he goes and stays in a country pub.”
Where does that leave partner Brenda Hope, who has been the mother to his twins for many years? Tony adds: “Bob really wants to make a go of it with her. He feels very guilty about betraying her. He wants to marry her and show her how committed he is. He’s convinced himself it’s the right thing to do because it will make her feel better.
“But when Harriet reveals she knows, he decides to come clean. He wants to know if there’s anything there to hang around for or not. He’s hedging his bets a little bit. If Laurel says ‘No’ then he’ll probably go ahead and marry Brenda.”
Being soapland though chances are that the secret will come out so how Brenda will react if she finds out? “It will be terrible if that happens,” admits Tony. “He’s worried about the twins, too, as Brenda’s a great mother to them.”
Talking about Bob Hope’s latest storyline, Tony said: “It’s great. I’m really enjoying it. There are a few too many lines to learn, though. It’s much easier dishing out coffees, then going out for a run! Seriously, though, I love having a big storyline to get my teeth into and working with Brenda and Laurel actresses Lesley Dunlop and Charlotte Bellamy is fantastic.”
Want to know more about Emmerdale characters Laurel Thomas and Bob Hope? follow our The Emmerdaily character profiles: