Leyla Harding (Rokhsaneh Ghawam-Shahidi)
Leyla HardingLeyla - her own worst enemy as times
Leyla arrives in Emmerdale for a job interview with factory owner Eric Pollard. She tells him that she won Machinist of the Year in 2007 and left her last job because of "inappropriate overtime" with a young manager. Eric gives her the job and Leyla soon makes friends in the village.
Months after starting at the factory, Lily Butterfield sees Leyla leaving the building late at night and arriving very early. Eventually, Leyla reveals she is sleeping there and that she was at university. Unfortunately her part-time jobs as a cleaner and barmaid meant things got on top of her and she left without finishing her course. Lily asked Leyla to move in with her and Edna Birch, Lily's sister, who was unhappy with the arrangement so Lily and Leyla joined Pearl Ladderbanks, who also works at the factory. When Pearl or Lily ask Leyla about her parents, she avoids answering their questions.
She takes an interest in David Metcalfe and they have a brief relationship but he dumps her when he thinks she believes he still has feelings for Nicola. In April, they reconcile and Leyla tells David that her mother is in a care home, which she is trying to fund. They grow closer when they campaign for election to the local council which David wins.
Leyla became deputy manager of the Wylde's farm shop but jealous of Maisie's new shoes, stole £250 from the shop, planning to put it back when she got paid. Natasha's son Nathan found out, and to Leyla's surprise, was much nicer than she expected. After going to a concert together, they got drunk and slept together.
Leyla tried quitting her job but Nathan turned nasty. He began blackmailing her until David became suspicious. She admitted sleeping with Nathan and, disgusted, he left. David later forgave Leyla and they reunited in December. Leyla now owns the farm shop that she used to work in and has renamed it 'Leyla's'
The death of Leyla's mother brought her estranged sister Alicia to the village along with Leyla's biological son. David was angry to learn that once again Leyla had kept the truth from him...but once again forgave her. Until the next time...
Rokhsaneh Ghawam-ShahidiRoksaneh was born in Manchester but is of Iranian descent.
She has previously worked as a drama workshop leader in Oldham and Bolton. She has acted in radio plays and theatre productions including East is East as Meenah in 2005.
She appeared on television in BBC3 drama Sinchronicity before landing the part of Leyla Harding on Emmerdale in 2008.
Roksaneh is a vegan, so you won't see her tucking into any of Marlon's steak and ale pie in The Woolpack.
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