Blast from the Past with Emmerdale’s Alicya Eyo (Ruby)
She was sad to leave, but Alicya Eyo was thrilled by Ruby’s Emmerdale exit…
It must be a strange experience to be told you are about to take part in one of soap’s most ambitious and exciting stunts, but that it will be the end of your character. For Emmerdale star Alicya Eyo, finding out that her alter ego Ruby would take centre stage in an epic episode was bittersweet. While it was a fantastic opportunity, it also brought four years in Emmerdale village to a close.
“It was incredible,” enthuses Alicya. “First of all, I was thankful to the
Emmerdale bosses for the way I went out because it was so dramatic. But I filmed those scenes on my final day, and it was pretty emosh! I was saying goodbye in the show, but also saying goodbye to the people I’d been working with for years. It was quite full-on – sad and brilliant!”
Ruby’s death was a defining moment for the Spencer family, as her wife Ali’s ex-husband Dan tried desperately to save his former enemy. Their relationship had been fraught in the past, but they ended up being close pals – and there was a lovely dynamic between Ruby and her step-children Sean and Amelia.
“I loved working with those kids,
Luke Roskell [Sean] and Daisy Campbell [Amelia]!” grins Alicya. “We had some wonderful stories, like my wedding to Ali, and the one where Sean got a crush on Ruby. Have you seen Luke recently? He’s filming a series for Sky – Jamestown – and he looks so grown-up. I look at him and think, ‘Oh my God, my little boy!’”
It’s lovely to know that the bonds formed off camera between the Spencer family actors remain firmly in place.
“The joys of social media mean I’m able to keep tabs on everyone, and Liam Fox [Dan] has stayed with me a couple of times when he’s visited London,” Alicya tells us. “It’s nice as it’s too easy to lose touch when we’re all so busy. Luckily, I’ve stayed in contact with all of them – and with my friends from Bad Girls.”
As Denny Blood in the prison drama, Alicya made a big impression with some hard-hitting storylines. Although the show finished in 2006, the star says that she still constantly gets people coming up to her to talk about the antics of HMP Larkhall.
“It’s immense because for the past few years, they’ve been showing Bad Girls repeats, and now it’s got a whole new audience,” beams Alicya. “I get a lot of young people coming up to me to talk about it, and I’m like, ‘But you’re 15!’. I’m so proud that it’s still having an impact and that people are still watching and enjoying it.”
Since Alicya left Emmerdale, she’s been working primarily in television, but she’s recently returned to the stage in the play In Event Of
Moone Disaster. As we catch up with her just before the show opens, Alicya admits that joining the production was a nerve-wracking prospect. “I haven’t done theatre for 10 years!” she says. “But I read this script and thought, ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway!’. I am anxious, but I don’t mind that because nerves mean you care about what you are doing. The show is super-interesting, and I haven’t felt like this about a play for a long time.” Life is good for Alicya right now, and she has fond memories of her time in the Dales. But she also has a bizarre leaving present related to her character’s demise. “Let’s just say that if you are going to go, get a helicopter blade to the stomach – it’s pretty cool!” chuckles the actress. “Everyone at Emmerdale signed the blade, and I have it in my room. What a gift!”
Blind Ali: Ruby’s marriage didn’t work out how she’d hoped
Bad times: But they were all good for Alicya!