Updated 28th September 2004
This Profile was provided by Eithne
Character: Gabrielle Bernice ("Gabby") Thomas
Parents: Bernice, mother and Ashley, father
Half-Sister: Diane N. (born offscreen September 21st 2004 to Bernice and her new partner Charlie)
Grandparents: Diane and Rodney Blackstock
Born: December 25th 2001
Played by: Heather Franks and Jemma Giles and currently Annelise Manojlvic
Gabrielle, sometimes called Gabby, was a little Christmas surprise for Bernice. There were some questions over Gabby’s paternity, because of Bernice’s affair with Carlos. It was later proved that Ashley was Gabby’s father.
Gabby’s mother, Bernice, left the village in April 2002. Gabby remains with her father with occasional offscreen visits to her mother.
See also [IMDB Entry: Heather Franks]
Sun to Fri - ITV1
BERNICE makes a comeback to Emmerdale as the villagers prepare to say a sad farewell to her mate Tricia.
But Bernice’s return is delayed when her car breaks down in the middle of nowhere as she and baby Gabby drive back from Brighton.
Gabby’s dad Ashley is upset by her anguished phone call because - still suffering injuries from the New Year road accident - he can’t drive to the rescue.
Loyal Laurel volunteers to go, only for Bernice to take her car and thoughtlessly leave her abandoned at the roadside.
"It’s a bit of a comical comeback in some very tragic circumstances," says Samantha Giles, who plays popular Bernice.
"She is devastated by Tricia’s death and she’s desperate to get Gabby to safety, but she does leave Laurel in the lurch."
Laurel drives out to fetch Ashley’s ex in her tiny car, which is already full with cleaning products. When she arrives, Bernice quickly takes charge and jumps in to the driver’s seat with Gabby beside her.
"There is no room for anyone else," says Samantha. "So Laurel is left behind. And when Bernice gets to Emmerdale, she has a happy reunion with Ashley and they forget all about poor Laurel."
Bernice’s return comes at the end of a week that is totally dominated by the preparations for poor Tricia’s funeral.
Marlon wants a service to suit his late wife’s fun-loving personality.
He doesn’t want black veils and miserable hymns, insisting it’s not how Tricia would want to be remembered.
Steph, Tricia’s mum, struggles with her own emotional turmoil, and grandfather Turner is angry when she rows about who will speak at the service.
The Dingles offer a horse for the procession but Steph thinks it’s tacky and hits the roof.
She says she won’t go to the funeral and Turner walks out in disgust, leaving his daughter to burst into tears.
The lovelorn clergyman was grateful for dizzy cleaner Laurel's support and quick thinking when daughter Gabby was taken ill earlier this week.
And when he returns from the doctors, where Gabby has been diagnosed as having chicken pox and not meningitis, he starts to ponder how important Laurel is to both him and his daughter.
Although he knows Laurel has long held a torch for him, Ashley is attracted to glamorous and unsuitable women like Bernice and Louise. But when Laurel offers to give Ashley a hand with caring for poorly Gabby, he starts to become more and more impressed with her.
Actor John Middleton - who plays Ashley - explains, "Laurel is very good with Gabby, and Ashley finds himself enjoying her company.
"He likes having her around as a friend, without the pressures that come with being in a relationship."
Can Laurel settle for just friendship with the object of her affections?