Olivia Bromley interview: Inside the life of Emmerdale actress whose 'life has changed' playing Dawn Taylor

Emmerdale’s Dawn Taylor has a troubled past that always seems to catch up with her.

In the midst of a custody battle for the daughter of her late best friend, Dawn has seen old traumas resurface - as she is confronted with memories of her own time in care.

And while the life of actress and musician Olivia Bromley might seem worlds away from her on-screen character, she insists there are more similarities than meets the eye.

Olivia told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “Dawn is a troubled character, but she has a lot of empathy and a good heart.

Olivia Bromley plays Dawn Taylor in ITV soap Emmerdale

“A lot of the decisions she makes are because she’s trying to do the right thing.

“She’s funny and dry, and can be very grumpy, but the most interesting thing to play is that she’s got this very troubled past.

“And she’s trying all the time to get over it.”

Born in Manchester, Olivia studied music at university in Bristol before landing a bursary at the Oxford School of Drama which allowed her to switch up her career path.

Dawn rescued Clemmie from Jade’s threadbare house - and is now determined to win her back. (Photo: Mark Bruce/ITV)

After roles in fringe theatre, Olivia made her debut on the ITV soap in 2018 - her first television role.

She said: “I’d always wanted to do screen and it’s hard to get your first break.

“The opportunity to act every day and play such a great character, and get so much television experience, has really changed things for me.”

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Olivia is also a talented musician

From murder mysteries to marriages, Dawn has been at the forefront of many explosive storylines.

Next week’s episodes will see her fight to get Clemmie back in her care - the daughter of her best friend, Beth, who died of a drug overdose.

Dawn found Clemmie sleeping in a dog bed in a threadbare house, unaware that her mother had died.

But Clemmie was then taken away from Dawn by social services, at around the same age that Dawn was taken into care, unearthing her own childhood trauma.

Billy Fletcher, played by Jay Kontzle, and Dawn Taylor at their wedding (Photo: ITV)

Some shocking discoveries are on the horizon next week - as Dawn discovers that her and Clemmie are more connected than she first thought.

“Clemmie is a really interesting addition to Dawn’s life,” Olivia said.

“At a very similar age, Dawn was put into care and her life spiralled out of control at that moment.

“Finding out that this girl is her best friend’s daughter, and also has a connection to her, Dawn is significantly affected.

“She wants to make a difference to this child’s life so that history doesn’t repeat itself.

“It’s a traumatic memory for her. It’s very wrapped up in her own experience, as well as this little girl’s future.”

As her storylines grow, Olivia is being recognised out in Leeds more than ever before.

She says that while the Emmerdale schedule is “relentless” - the breadth of acting experience has catapulted her career forward.

“I love the variety in soap,” Olivia added.

“The storylines are explosive and dramatic - one moment you can be having a huge breakup, the next moment you can be getting married to somebody else.

“The highs and lows of the drama are amazing and you’re really stretched as an actor.”

And acting isn’t the only string in Olivia’s bow.

She’s also a talented musician, the lead vocalist of five-piece band Damsen.

Olivia played a lot of music growing up and cites woman-of-the-moment Kate Bush as her “hero” as a teenager.

She added: “I did act, but it was always a hobby - I never thought it would be something I’d do as a job.

“I love performing, but I prefer playing a different character. It’s sometimes harder to be on stage when you’re being yourself.

“But I’ve always loved music, it’s a huge part of my life, as well as my enjoyment of film and TV. They’re very wrapped up in each other.”

Olivia has now relocated to Leeds and is looking forward to being part of Emmerdale’s 50th birthday celebrations.

She said: “As soon as I started this job, everyone was so warm and friendly. Now I’ve moved up to Leeds, I’ve realised that’s a Leeds and Yorkshire thing.

“I love living and working here. Emmerdale has a really significant role in the Dales and in this city’s history.

“It’s a really special representation of Yorkshire.”

Advice for aspiring stars

Olivia knows how hard it can be to break into acting - and she shared her advice for aspiring stars.

She started her career as an intern for a theatre production company, before studying at drama school and landing roles in theatre.

Getting regular screen time has changed Olivia’s life - and she says there are a wealth of opportunities in the North.

“A good starting point is going to see loads of theatre,” Olivia said.

“Get to understand what kind of things you like - reading plays, watching TV, working out what kind of writing you like and really immersing yourself in it.

“For northern actors, it’s important to remember there’s amazing work being made in the North.

“It’s one of the best times to be living and working up here.”

Celebrating Emmerdale’s 50th birthday

The much-loved soap has been on the go for five decades, having started life as Emmerdale Farm in 1972.

Emmerdale recently shifted to a 7.30pm weekday slot to accommodate an extended ITV news programme, having been at 7pm for many years.

Although a staple part of prime-time TV diets now, Emmerdale might never have reached its 25th anniversary.

The show was in serious danger of being axed amid poor ratings in 1993, before a plane crash storyline in December of that year drew 18 million viewers and changed its fortunes for good.

Olivia said: “I am incredibly proud to be part of such a significant milestone for the soap.

“What an achievement to keep these storylines going for 50 years - so much drama for half a century.

“It’s a really important moment for the soap and the cast, and for everybody who watches.”

Emmerdale’s 50th birthday could be tied into next year's Leeds 2023 celebrations.

With Leeds planning to host a huge series of events celebrating the city’s culture and heritage next year, programme bosses are in talks about marking the birthday in style.

Emmerdale is produced at ITV’s Leeds studios on Kirkstall Road, near the city centre, while most of the outdoor scenes for the soap are shot around the rural Harewood area, around eight miles north.

Speaking during a discussion about Leeds 2023 Year of Culture last month, Harewood councillor Ryan Stephenson suggested a link-up with Emmerdale, adding that the programme has “huge influence” locally.

In response, the director of programmes for Leeds 2023, Emma Beverley, said: “I’m having a fantastic series of conversations with ITV at the moment about Emmerdale’s 50th anniversary.

“So that’s a great opportunity for us to reach a whole range of people and tell them about the year of culture.”