Laurel Thomas

DOB: 31 May 1974

Marital status: Married to Rev Ashley Thomas

Address: Mulberry Cottage

Occupation: Housewife

Laurel Potts first arrived in Emmerdale in September 2002. Laurel made a suitably eccentric entrance in Emmerdale - dressed as a bumble bee. The kooky romantic turned up to perform at Marlon and Tricia's engagement party but collapsed midway through and had to be rushed to hospital. However, the disastrous start was the beginning of a whole new adventure for Laurel, who was taken in by kindly pensioners Betty Eagleton and Seth Armstrong.

Laurel is full of the joys of spring and is always fun to be around. Alongside her energy and enthusiasm is a naivety and optimism.

Laurel longed for a man and set her sights on someone who didn’t share the same feelings. Reverend Ashley Thomas thought the world of Laurel but didn't fancy her and, after the heartbreak of his divorce from wife Bernice, wasn't really looking for anything serious.

In 2004, tragedy struck the village when a freak storm claimed the life of Tricia Dingle and caused Ashley and his then girlfriend Louise Appleton to crash their car. As the desperately ill vicar clung onto life, Laurel proved to be his guardian angel and the strong bond between the pair deepened.

Ashley finally began dating Laurel and although she now had everything she'd ever dreamed of, Laurel wanted to broaden her horizons and went off to work as a volunteer in Tanzania. When she came back, Ashley proposed for a second time – and she said yes and it seemed we were going to have a fairytale wedding. But the storm clouds were gathering and Ashley's boss, the bishop, was not impressed with his employee's hectic love life and banned him from marrying Laurel.

In defiance, Ashley quit his job but soon found he couldn't cope with not being a vicar. However, Laurel was willing to wait for him. Ashley’s curate, Ethan Blake, had been Laurel's confidant throughout her agony and realised that he was also in love with the potty Laurel Potts and wanted her for himself.

When she didn't reciprocate his love, he didn't take it on the chin, instead he told the bishop that he and Laurel had kissed. Ethan eventually came clean to the bishop, who decided that Ashley and Laurel had waited long enough to tie the knot and gave them his blessing.

Laurel and Ashley had a son called Daniel who tragically died of cot death when he was just a few months old. They later found out that Daniel had been swapped at birth and wasn't their son at all. Daniel had been mixed up with their neighbours Mel and Greg Doland's baby, who they had named Arthur. Inevitably, when the truth came out, Mel and Greg were forced to return the child they believed was theirs to the Thomases. The heartbreak was too much and the Dolands left Emmerdale. Still pining for Daniel, Laurel struggled to accept that Arthur was hers, but eventually bonded with him and the family were happy once again.

Things turned sour for the pair when Laurel started spending more time with Marlon Dingle, who she developed strong feelings for. The pair kissed on more than one occasion, and when Ashley found out he was furious. Keen to try and mend his relationship with Laurel, Ashley applied for a job outwith the village, but Laurel wasn't happy about them leaving, and when she had a pregnancy scare, Ashley was unsupportive, causing Laurel to leave him.

The pair are now working on their marriage and trying to get things back on track.

Charlotte Bellamy plays Laurel. She is no stranger to soaps having played the role of the religious fanatic, Sue Taylor, in EastEnders.