Brenda Walker (Emmerdale)
|Portrayed by||Lesley Dunlop|
|First appearance||Episode 4953 |
2 April 2008
|Introduced by||Anita Turner|
|Occupation||Postmistress (until 2011)|
Shop assistant (2008–2009)
Café Waitress (2008–)
B&B worker (2012)
Brenda Walker is a fictional character from the British ITV soap opera, Emmerdale, played by Lesley Dunlop. She made her first appearance on 2 April 2008. She was introduced as the adoptive mother to Gennie Walker (Sian Reese-Williams). In 2013, Brenda was diagnosed with a brain tumour, one of the character's biggest storylines.
Brenda and her husband Bernard adopted Genesis Pascoe (Sian Reese-Williams), known as Gennie, when she was a baby. They were traditional people and had a good relationship with Gennie. Once Bernard died, Gennie began looking for her birth family and began to move away from the strait-laced life she'd lived. By spring 2008, Gennie had tracked down her birth father and was involved in a serious accident upon her arrival in Emmerdale.
Brenda first appeared when she visited Gennie in hospital. She was friendly with Paddy Kirk (Dominic Brunt) only to recoil when she learned he was responsible for the accident. After Gennie recovered, Brenda went home. When Gennie got to know her biological father Shadrach Dingle (Andy Devine) and his family, Brenda was upset. When she saw Gennie involved in a noisy street protest, she asked Gennie to go home with her. She refused, and Brenda again left. Brenda returned in July 2008 and was concerned by the way Gennie had changed. Eager for Gennie to find employment, Brenda lent her some money - thinking it was for hair dressing materials - but Gennie spent it on a hot tub instead. When Gennie refused to go home with Brenda, she said she would stay until Gennie changed her mind. Soon, Gennie got a job at Eric Pollard's (Chris Chittell) factory, and Brenda got a job at the Post Office/Café in the village, working for Bob Hope (Tony Audenshaw). Bob moved in with Jamie Hope (Alex Carter) and Terry Woods (Billy Hartman) and rent out his flat so Brenda rented it for her and Gennie.
Brenda and Bob initially clashed when Brenda tried to remodel the café, but Brenda soon developed feelings for Bob, and took a more active role in his personal life. When Bob realised what was happening, he decided to fix her up with Terry. Brenda was reluctant, but to convince Gennie that she had no feelings for Bob, she kissed Terry during the bonfire night celebrations. Brenda became more interested in Terry but also became insecure, as she'd only ever been with her late husband. Val Pollard (Charlie Hardwick) convinced her to go a diet, which she did - an all-cabbage diet. Her first date with Terry was ruined by her constant trips to the bathroom. Terry thought she thought he was fat, and Bob told him to try self-affirmation exercises. Terry stood in front of his bedroom mirror in nothing but his boxers, telling himself how sexy he was and how Brenda couldn't resist him. Unfortunately, Brenda walked in on him, and thought he was a pervert. Terry followed her to the Woolpack and they quarrelled, he belittled her for only being with her late husband. Brenda was furious. The next day, Bob told Brenda how long Terry had been alone, and Brenda decided to try to patch things up with him.
For their next date, Val, Bob, and Betty Eagleton (Paula Tilbrook) convinced Brenda to wear a sexy dress and vamp Terry, but Terry was put off by her aggressiveness. He followed her home to apologise, and they began to kiss. Deciding to take their time, they spent the night in a room at the B&B. Now that they were officially dating, Brenda became concerned that Terry's young son T.J. didn't like her, as he frequently interrupted them when they were trying to have alone time. Brenda tried bribing him but stopped when Terry opened TJ's lunch box one day and found it packed with sweets. Brenda, Bob and Terry decided to spend Christmas together with their children. Unfortunately soon after, Terry received a letter from TJ's grandmother and his ex, Jean, asking if TJ would like to visit her in Morocco. Brenda convinced Terry to go with TJ for a Christmas break but a few weeks later, Terry emailed, telling her that Jean had been in an accident and he and TJ were staying to look after her. Brenda was suspicious of Jean but tried to stay positive. She began trying to convince Gennie not to go on holiday and asked Gennie to let her tag along. Finally, Brenda booked her own room, and Gennie agreed to go on holiday with her. When Terry returned, Brenda had gone with friend Douglas Potts (Duncan Preston) to the Wylde family's party at Home Farm. Terry crashed the party and explained to Brenda, who was happy to have him back.
Douglas and Brenda worked on a project for the children of the village. Known as Emmerdale Explorers and funded primarily by Natasha Wylde (Amanda Donohoe), they came up with various games and crafts. Douglas was annoyed by Terry's suggestions and felt shut out. Emmerdale Explorers was a success, but in March 2009, Natasha's young son Will was upset when she refused to let him go on an Explorers overnight campout. The next morning, Will was missing, and Natasha assumed he'd gone to Explorers and berated Douglas and Brenda. Although she later learned that Will had spent the night in the bushes at Home Farm, Douglas was angry over the way she had treated him, and he returned her donation. Brenda's co-worker, Bob, struggled to make ends meet, due to the credit crunch and Viv's fraud conviction. Although initially reluctant, Brenda persuaded him to sell her half of the business. Douglas, resentful of her relationship with Terry, and made Bob and Terry doubt Brenda's motives for wanting to buy into the business. Brenda was furious that Terry doubted her and Bob called off the deal. When she discovered that Doug was responsible, she poured a pint over his head and told him to mind his own business.
Relations between Bob and Brenda further deteriorated after money was stolen from the cash and carry delivery guy. Before the theft, Brenda had chatted to the delivery man and he assumed that Bob and Brenda had planned to steal the money back. He told Bob he'd make sure he didn't get credit from anyone in the area and Bob blamed Brenda. She walked out angrily but returned after Bob apologised. Bob revealed exactly how bad things had become and was about to sell the building when Brenda told him she had the cash to pay off the debts in return for 50% of the business. Brenda had planned to sell her house and pay off the loan but no one was interested in buying her house, causing her to fall into arrears on the loan. Viv, now released from prison, heard her telling Bob and he urged her to tell Terry but she refused so Viv told Terry for her. Terry loaned Brenda his savings to give her some breathing space. While grateful to Terry for his support, she was furious to discover that Viv had told Terry about her financial problems. Angrily, she told Viv to either mind her own business or buy her out. Viv could not afford to buy her out so she agreed to leave Brenda alone. Later the café was set alight later proved to be arson but in the fire Viv was trapped inside and not listening to protests from the other villagers Terry went back inside the burning building but the café exploded and it was later confirmed that Viv and Terry were dead. Brenda later starts a relationship with Bob and is given a granddaughter after Gennie gives birth to her and her fiancé Nikhil Sharma's (Rik Makarem) baby, Molly.
In early 2013, Brenda is diagnosed with a brain tumour after losing centration at the wheel of a car and almost running over rival Val. The doctors advise Brenda to have surgery, but she refuses, much to Gennie's anxiety. Brenda decides not to tell Bob, but confides in his friend Dan Spencer (Liam Fox), leading to Bob thinking that Brenda is having an affair with Dan, and the two men coming to blows outside the café. Brenda reveals that she has a brain tumour, and Bob tells her he will stand by her no matter what. Brenda decides not to have surgery, but after constant nagging from Gennie to have it, Brenda agrees. Nikhil and Gennie bring the date of their wedding forward, which angers Brenda and she tells Gennie that she will not be attending. Brenda also decides not to have surgery to remove the cancer. This leaves Gennie heartbroken, and at the altar just as she is about to marry Nikhil, she has a change of heart, saying she does not want to get married without her mother there. Brenda does eventually attend, but collapses and suffers a seizure whilst there. She is rushed to hospital, but she is told she will be fine. Afterwards, Brenda tells Gennie that she will have surgery.
Brenda goes to hospital to have her brain tumour removed, with Gennie, Bob, Nikhil and Dan waiting anxiously. The wait proves too much to Gennie, revealing to Nikhil that she wishes she never pushed Brenda to have surgery. Brenda survives the operation, but she has to wait a few weeks before she is told whether the cancer has fully been removed. In May, Brenda is told by the hospital that the cancer could be reoccurring, which unnerves Brenda. She undergoes chemotherapy in the hope that the tumour will not return, but is devastated when her hair starts falling out. She pleas with Gennie to shave all of her hair off, which leaves both Brenda and Gennie distraught. Brenda is reluctant to show Bob her head, but Bob reassures an worried Brenda that he will always love her, with or without hair, so she reveals her head, and the pair passionately kiss, showing Brenda that Bob really does love her. Brenda prepares for her surprise wedding to Bob but he and Dan appear and takes her on a picnic where a brass band appear and Bob proposes to her which she accepts. Later, Dan contacts a helicopter to take them to the wedding venue that Brenda set up and she proposes to Bob which he accepts then they get married in a hand fasting ceremony by Gennie.
Days later, Brenda and Bob are at the Woolpack where the police, along with Debbie and Jai appear. They tell them, Chas and Nikhil that Gennie has died, hitting the quartet hard. They reveal that Gennie was in a car accident at the time, but really Chas' serial killer fiancé Cameron Murray (Dominic Power) suffocated Gennie after her crash as she overheard him admitting to killing Carl King (Tom Lister) the previous year. Following this, Brenda becomes good friends with Kerry Wyatt (Laura Norton).
In 2015, Bob's troublesome daughter Carly Hope (Gemma Atkinson) returns to the village having left her fiancé and stays with Brenda and Bob. Brenda immediately clashes with Carly, who Brenda is convinced is taking Bob for a ride and trying to break up Bob and Brenda's marriage.