Emmerdale’s Olivia Bromley reveals secrets of soap’s DI Malone murder scene which changed drastically due to coronavirus


WHEN dispatching a soap baddie, there are usually many imaginative ways of killing them off.

But doing so under Covid restrictions, with actors staying two metres apart on set, is another matter entirely.

Emmerdale’s dramatic socially distanced killing of DI Malone by Dawn Taylor shocked fans
Olivia Bromley, who plays Dawn, said the scene was originally more of a close quarters fight

Last week, Emmerdale’s Dawn Taylor finished off bent copper DI Malone, played by Mark Womack, by shooting him three times – something scriptwriters thought up in response to social distancing.

Olivia said: “Originally, it was going to be much more of a physical fight between us which would have been amazing high drama but the writers very cleverly added in a psychological element.

“The stand-off between the characters was, in a way, much darker and more eerie than him using his physical power over Dawn.”

Back with a bloody bang

Olivia, who spent lockdown back at her parents home in Manchester, with her younger sister Claudia, 25, and family dog, admits returning to filming has been challenging.

She said: “It’s the first big storyline since coming back to filming, so I’m pleased it’s gone down so well.

Ofcom received scores of complaints about the drugs and violence in the dark Emmerdale story line

“Being very strict with social distancing obviously affects the crew and the actors. All your intentions are a bit more restricted.

“It’s hard but it’s worked really well and there have been some interesting positives too.

“We were all worried coming back with the landscape having changed but the writers have adapted so it works well and camera angles help.”

Before his body was bundled up in the living room rug and shoved in a car boot, viewers saw Malone tempt Dawn, a former drug addict and prostitute, with a needle filled with heroin.

Malone tried to force ex-drug addict Dawn overdose on heroin

Olivia, who joined the cast in 2018, said: “I did a lot of research at the beginning and spoke to people who have suffered from addiction or gone into recovery.

“We spoke with various charities and Narcotics Anonymous. What struck me is that anybody can be an addict, it’s a disease that can affect you regardless of wealth or class, and there can be a lot of judgement around narcotics addictions and that needs to be treated with more empathy.”

‘Isolation and loneliness can be real killers’

While Dawn might be relying on Harriet, the village vicar, to help her through this latest drama, in real life, Olivia is the one who people lean on.

During lockdown, she posted a tweet urging people who might be feeling lonely to reach out to others, and for people to check on their friends and neighbours.

Olivia now lives in Yorkshire to cut travel time while making Emmerdale

She said: “I was getting a lot of private messages from people on social media and I have previously worked with a mental health charity called Shout, which is like the Samaritans but it works over text. They were getting a lot more people texting in because of loneliness.

“ITV has also had a campaign to Get Britain Talking, and so I am very aware that isolation and loneliness can be a real killers.

“People were struggling with the uncertainty of everything, they were very depressed. I had messages from people reaching out for support.”

Olivia was one of the first batch of volunteers for the charity and spent six months as a counsellor, giving a couple of hours of her time every week, and she hopes to have the time to do it again.

Olivia has volunteered as a counsellor with a mental health charity

She said: “I’ve got friends who have suffered with mental health issues. We all go through periods of times when things are difficult.

“I just felt that it’s really important, that when people are in crisis, they can reach out to somebody. It can make so much difference to bring them from hot to cool, it can change things quite significantly.”

Rising star

Growing up, Olivia and her sister would regularly tune into Emmerdale. Being Mancunians though, their grandparents and parents, who run a small business together, were Coronation Street fans.

“They’ve swapped allegiance now!” said Olivia.

Olivia says people are ‘shocked’ when they hear her real accent

She trained at the Oxford School of Drama before heading into theatre.

In 2018, she appeared in the horror flick, Here Be Dragons, and the same year, got her break on Emmerdale in what was supposed to be just a 10-episode run.

The writers, and the viewers, though, saw much more potential in the character.

Olivia said: “Dawn came in to support a storyline with Mike Parr, who plays Ross Barton, and his acid attack storyline. Then she came back for a bit more and a bit more and basically didn’t leave, which is great.

“When I first started I never would have expected the character would have such longevity but the writers have made a really cool backstory for her and she has become part of the family.”

She joined the cast of Emmerdale two years ago for what was originally planned to be just 10 episodes

Olivia’s polished accent comes as somewhat of a surprise to fans when they first meet her, something she puts down to living in London for many years.

She said: “I’ve lost my Manchester accent. People are shocked when they meet me.

“When I first got the part, I had a specific place where I thought Dawn was from, still in a Mancunian place, but I didn’t expect I’d be doing the part for so long.

“If the accent ever wobbles, I have the excuse that she grew up in care all around the north west.”

Lockdown family worries

When lockdown was announced, Olivia made the decision to leave her home in south west London and head back to the family home.

“I told them I was going to stay for a couple of weeks and I ended up being there for months,” she said. “My assumption is that my parents loved having us back, but you never know.

Olivia with actor Dean Andrews, who plays her father Will Taylor in the show

“It was really nice to have the opportunity to spend so much time together when you’re not all working, and nice to be out of London with more outdoor space.

“It was a lovely time but also stressful for many people. My parents run a business, so it was stressful not knowing if it would survive, there were vulnerable family members so that was a worry.

“I felt very lucky that I wasn’t isolated on my own because it would have been difficult to be on my own for a long period of time.”

She spent the time writing music, drinking wine with her mum, acting as sous chef to her sister and on video calls with friends.

As well as starring in Emmerdale, Olivia performs in a band called Damsen

She said: “I had a lot of Zoom calls, that was something that really kept me going. I seemed to have quite a full itinerary of Zoom calls at one point.”

Bagging BAFTAs

Olivia is now living in Yorkshire to save time and travel up and down the country.

“It’s good to be back up north,” she said. “There’s a good group of us from Emmerdale who have done the same thing.”

Olivia was at home with her pet pooch when Emmerdale won its BAFTA

In normal times, she would have got dolled up for this year’s BAFTAs, and walked on stage with her castmates to collect Emmerdale’s award for Best Soap and Continuing Drama.

As it was, it was a much more low key celebration.

She said: “I did watch it at home, it was a very different show this time, but I didn’t get dressed up. I was in my PJs with the dog.

“It was so exciting when we won. We’ve been working so hard post-lockdown to go back to working and the team has really had a lot to deal with, as every production company has, so it was really positive to have that boost and it’s such a big one to win.”

There is still one part of filming that hasn’t returned to normal, and that’s being reunited with her gorgeous onscreen son, Lucas, played by Dexter Ansell.

She said: “I love kids so much, I really do. I would like to have kids.

“Not working with Lucas has been sad, I’m missing him a lot. He’ll be six foot by the time he gets back!”