Emmerdale’s Isabel Hodgins almost turned down Victoria Sugden’s rape storyline

Emmerdale's Isabel Hodgins nearly begged ITV producers not to give her the horrific rape storyline that her character Victoria Sugden is currently going through.

The 25-year-old actress, who has been on the soap since she was 12, wasn't sure she'd be up to handling the sensitive nature of the plot, which sees Victoria attacked by rapist Lee Posner (played by Kris Mochrie) and fall pregnant with his baby as a result.

Speaking on today's Loose Women, Isabel admitted she had reservations about the rape line.

"It was just that it was my first story for me as a women, and I know how strong our female cast is and I was like, 'you're giving it to me? Are you sure you want to do that?' But they were so nice and so supportive, like, 'it's your time, we know you can do this'," she told the panelists.

"I didn't want to let anyone down but I'm very grateful."

"Have we ever heard any actress say on here, 'oh, please don't give me that storyline'!" Nadia Sawalha joked to the audience.

"It just felt like a big responsibility and I was like, 'oh no!'. Because I knew there's so many people out there who have gone through this, who have lived it, I wanted to make sure we told it right and it was done respectfully but also so people got it and knew how horrendous it is," Isabel said.

To prepare for her character's brutal attack, the actress watched notable rape scenes from The Accused and Three Girls, but there was still the issue of how much Emmerdale could show before the 9pm watershed.

"We had to negotiate that, how we're going to do it so we get the message across that this is a brutal, horrendous attack but within the [limits of what can air]," she said.

Since the horrific scene was shown in May, Isabel has been inundated with messages of support from survivors of rape.

"They've been in touch to say wow, thank you for doing that so truthfully, that's a pat on the back for Emmerdale. It's been quite overwhelming," Isabel went on.

Speaking about the unusual decision for Victoria to keep the baby conceived by rape, Isabel said: "I feel like it depends on the person but we've set the story up, she wants to be a mum, she wants a baby. She's been through this horrendous thing but what she's wanted for so long has come out of it."

And speaking of how harrowing it was for her to film the heartbreaking scenes, the actress said: "I remember afterwards, it was the bit between the flashback and finding out she'd been raped, I was like [to hair and makeup], 'I want to look as awful as you can possibly make me'.

"When it was telling Moira and the crying and everything, obviously I've worked there a long time and I love all the crew, but it was so exposing that when they yelled cut I covered myself with a blanket! They were like, 'what's going on?', I said: 'I'm embarrassed!'"

"You just have to give yourself over to it," she added.

*Emmerdale airs tonight at 7pm on ITV

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