Rosie Bentham as Gabby Thomas (2016)
|Portrayed by||Annelise Manojlovic (2001–2015)
Jemma Giles (2001–2002)
Rosie Bentham (2016–)
|First appearance||25 December 2001|
|Introduced by||Steve Frost|
|Home||Mulberry Cottage / Brook Cottage|
Annelise Manojlovic as Gabby Thomas (2015)
Gabrielle Bernice "Gabby" Thomas is a fictional character from the British ITV soap opera, Emmerdale. She made her first appearance on 25 December 2001. She was played by both Annelise Manojlovic from birth in 2001 until 2015, and Jemma Giles from her birth in 2001 until 2002. The role was recast in 2016 to Rosie Bentham.
Gabby is the daughter of Ashley Thomas (John Middleton) and Bernice Blackstock (Samantha Giles), the stepdaughter of Laurel Potts (Charlotte Bellamy) and Lawrence White (John Bowe) and half-sister to Arthur Thomas (Alfie Clarke) and Dotty Thomas. Gabby's storylines have included her mother Bernice re-entering her life, dealing with her father and stepmother's break up and them eventually reconciling, learning that Ashley has dementia, her teenage rebellion, her friendship with Liv Flaherty (Isobel Steele) and her crush on Jacob Gallagher (Joe Warren-Plant).
Gabby is born on Christmas Day 2001, with her paternity in doubt. Her mother, Bernice, had an affair with Carlos Diaz (Gary Turner), the chef at The Woolpack where she was landlady, at the time Gabby was conceived. However, a DNA test reveals Ashley to be the father and he forgives Bernice and the family reunite. However, Bernice does not take to motherhood easily, and decides to leave the village in 2002. Gabby occasionally visits her mother, who later remarries and has a second daughter, Diane "Dee Dee".
Gabby continues to live with her father Ashley and on 6 November 2005, he marries Laurel Potts (Charlotte Bellamy), who cares for Gabby as if she was her own. On 26 August 2007, Laurel and Ashley have their first child together, Daniel. Although Gabby initially resents Daniel, when he dies of cot death on 21 February 2008, she is very upset. Months later it is discovered that Daniel was not the Thomas' biological son, due to a baby swap in hospital. Their biological son is Arthur Doland (Alfie Clarke). The stress of this causes Gabby to lean more on her grandfather, Rodney Blackstock (Patrick Mower), as Ashley and Laurel briefly separate. In June 2008, a court decides that Arthur should go to his natural parents, and Ashley and Laurel take him home. Gabby finds this difficult, and drops Arthur off in front of the house of Greg (Shaun Prendergast) and Mel Doland (Caroline Strong). Eventually, she is taken to a psychiatrist, who finds out that Gabby was afraid she was switched at birth and would be replaced. She soon bonds with Arthur.
When Sally Spode (Siân Reeves) arrived, Gabby was always sent to her bedroom, so she could not see Laurel. At the end of Sally's scheming Gabby became upset. Laurel left and told Ashley that she wanted their children to join her for Christmas Day which Ashley agreed to, even though he was not invited. In 2010, Laurel's father Douglas Potts (Duncan Preston) returned to Emmerdale and this made Gabby very happy as she and her Doug became very close. She enjoyed spending time with him and made him realize that she loved him, by giving him a painting she did at school, with Laurel, Ashley, Arthur, Sandy and herself in the picture.
Gabby returned with Laurel and Arthur in February after Laurel decided to return from her mother's house to give Ashley a second chance, Gabby was overwhelmed to see Ashley and her grandfather Sandy. When Ashley and Laurel split again Gabby went with Laurel and her little brother Arthur to live with Laurel's new boyfriend Marlon Dingle but saw her father Ashley regularly. When Gabby's mother Bernice returned to the village in October 2012, Laurel was a little put out when Gabby wanted to get to know her mother but did not stand in her way. When Laurel and Ashley officially divorced in 2013 she realised she no longer had any rights to Gabby and allowed her to move in with Ashley. Gabby is asked to be a bridesmaid at Laurel's wedding to Marlon Dingle.
In January 2016, Gabby and Arthur both learn that Ashley has dementia. In her mum's salon, Gabby discovers a sex tape of Kerry (Laura Norton) and Dan Spencer (Liam Fox) and she shares it online. Bernice discovers Gabby was responsible and Gabby is forced to clean at the salon. When Bernice refuses to let Gabby get her eyebrows done, Gabby draws them on with permanent maker and Bernice doesn't allow her to go on the skiing trip. When alcohol is found, Ashley suspects it belongs to Laurel, but Douglas Potts (Duncan Preston) finds out it was Gabby's. Gabby is forced to confess to Ashley, who flies off the handle at her. Gabby develops feeling for friend Jacob Gallagher (Joe Warren-Plant) and goes on a date with him. When Jacob gives Gabby a magazine she wants for free, Laurel and Ashley take it back to the shop as she wasn't allowed it. Jacob tells David Metcalfe (Matthew Wolfenden) that Gabby and Lachlan broke into Eric's house and took his ring. David confronts Gabby and Lachlan's family, insisting on phoning the police and unhappy with Lawrence White's (John Bowe) suggestion to pay for the damage. Ashley finds out about what Gabby and Lachlan did and he tells Bernice that he wants Gabby to live with him full-time. Later, Lawrence admits to Ashley that he wants to be a good father to Gabby, but feels it isn't his place to discipline her and later, they both inform Bernice of the plan for Lawrence to adopt Gabby when his dementia worsens. Gabby and Lachlan later apologise to Eric in front of their family and after, when Gabby complains about being embarrassed and that Lawrence can't tell her what to do as he isn't her father, Ashley tells Gabby that Lawrence is much of a parent to her as him and Bernice. At Laurel's hen do, Gabby learns that Laurel is pregnant. Gabby acts as a bridesmaid at Ashley and Laurel's wedding. Gabby wants to go to a gig that Lachlan is going to, but Ashley and Bernice won't allow her. Lachlan suggests to Gabby that she makes out Ashley gave her permission and forgot. Gabby and Lachlan convince Ashley he gave permission, which is overheard by Jacob. Ashley later tells Gabby about the plan for Lawrence to adopt her, but Gabby doesn't take it well. Jacob tells Ashley what Gabby and Lachlan did when he fears his dementia is worsening. Gabby decides herself not to go to the gig and when she goes to tell her dad, Ashley and Laurel are furious with her. When Gabby feels that Ashley hasn't forgiven her, she gets drunk with Jacob after he tells her that David may have cancer and Gabby later returns home drunk. Gabby overhears Laurel and Ashley discuss discipline methods, with Laurel suggesting boundaries and Ashley suggests talking to her. Gabby also tells Eric that David has cancer. Gabby apologises to Ashley and they make up. Gabby goes shopping with Liv for her schoolwear. Gabby falls out with Liv when Liv's half brother Aaron Livesy (Danny Miller) believes Liv has a crush on Jacob and lets it slip to Gabby. Gabby insults Liv and her parents. Liv and Gabby make up and Liv confides in Gabby about the horrible messages she is receiving online. Liv and Gabby decide to arrange a party at Gordon's house, which he left to Liv and they are collected by Bernice and Chas Dingle (Lucy Pargeter).
Jacob steals vodka from David's shop and Gabby and Jacob drink it at Gabby's house when Laurel and Ashley are out. Gabby and Jacob think about having sex, but Laurel arrives home and catches them in a compromising position with a condom and she forcefully throws Jacob out. Laurel tells Ashley about Gabby and Jacob, who then discuss the situation with Bernice, David and Leyla. Gabby and Jacob arrive and they defend themselves with that they haven't slept together and Gabby is unhappy that her parent's have banned her from seeing Jacob and she shows everyone the bruises on Jacob caused by Laurel. Gabby is annoyed with Bernice when she left following her and Lawrence separating and she and Lachlan meet and talk about their family situation. Gabby is furious with Lachlan when he kisses her and in the cafe, Gabby doesn't want to listen to Lachlan and Lawrence embarrasses him. Gabby tells Liv what happened and that she wants the life she had living at Home Farm. She asks Bernice and Rodney for the money to go to Pony Club and she later notices Sandy's wallet, containing a large amount of money. Gabby finds April Windsor's (Amelia Flanagan) locket and returns it to her. Gabby and Liv break into Victoria Sugden's (Isabel Hodgins) house and take her clothes. When she returns, Gabby manages to escape, but Victoria is left shaken. Ashley and Laurel find out Gabby was responsible by her injured face and torn jumper and that she took Sandy's pension. Gabby fails to apologise and Ashley reports her to the police. Gabby accuses Ashley and Laurel of assaulting her. Douglas witnesses Gabby falling out with Liv and attempts to talk to her. He gets Gabby and Ashley to meet at the church, but Gabby and Ashley upset each other by Gabby wishing her dad would die and Ashley wishing she was never born. Gabby admits to Ashley that she is scared that he will die and they make up and Gabby apologises to her family. Laurel later gives birth to Gabby's half-sister, Dotty Thomas.
Laurel discovers Gabby has been bunking off school to see Ashley at the day care centre and Gabby and Laurel talk to each other. Gabby and Liv steal alcohol from the village hall. Gabby and Liv skip school and a drunk Gabby streaks across the cricket pavilion field with Liv filming and sending the video. Gabby collapses at home and is taken to hospital with suspected alcohol poisoning, but is later sent home. Gabby is bullied online because of the video. Laurel tells Gabby and Arthur that they are looking at full time care for Ashley following a stroke he has, which upsets Gabby, but she decides to make Christmas special for Ashley. Gabby looks after Ashley on her own and she fails to realise that Ashley needed to use the toilet. Ashley's carer, Will, tells Gabby that Ashley is getting worse and Gabby promises to tell Laurel, however Gabby lies and tells Laurel that Ashley had a good day. When Will is ill, Gabby is forced to look after Ashley and Dotty, and Laurel is angry with Laurel when Ashley is found alone after Gabby had to change Dotty, but they make up. Laurel decides to move Ashley into full time care, upsetting Gabby and Arthur. Gabby accompanies Laurel to take Ashley to his care home and Laurel reassures Gabby she can still live with her as she still sees her as her daughter. Gabby is hurt when she visits Ashley with Laurel and Arthur and sees Ashley with a woman he has developed a bond with, but Laurel reassures her. Gabby and Liv skip school with two of their schoolmates, Josh (Conner Chapman) and Jamie (Jake Heyward) and Gabby has sex with Josh. Laurel slaps Gabby when she finds out Gabby and Josh had sex in her and Ashley's bed. Bernice finds out about Gabby having sex from Liv, and confronts her and Laurel. Gabby reveals that she is being bullied online over it and Laurel defends her actions. Laurel takes her and Arthur out of school on compassionate leave. Ashley is diagnosed with pneumonia when he coughs up blood and Laurel is told that Ashley is not responding to treatment and that the family should start saying goodbye, which she tells Gabby and Arthur. Laurel brings Ashley home for his final days. Gabby stays with Bernice, struggling to come to terms with that Ashley is going to die, and with Bernice's support, Gabby goes to see Ashley. Gabby tells Ashley how much she loves him. Gabby wants to say goodbye to Ashley, but he passes away before she can. Gabby blames Bernice for her not being able to say a final goodbye to Ashley, but Diane encourages Gabby to make up with Bernice. Bernice plans to visit Dee Dee and Gabby and Bernice talk to Laurel about Gabby going too. Gabby explains she needs to get away and Laurel gives her blessing. Arthur overhears Laurel and Douglas talk about Gabby going away. Arthur is upset with Gabby and thinks Dee Dee will take his place, but Gabby reassures him that won't happen.
From the character's birth, Gabby was played by both Annelise Manojlovic and Jemma Giles, however, Manojlovic continued as Gabby until 2015. The character was recast to Rosie Bentham and she appeared from January 2016. Of her casting, Bentham said, "I was out shopping with my mate when I found out I'd got the role. I was jumping around in Boots. It was amazing. I went up to Leeds four times because of call backs. I knew I was down to the last five but I wasn't really expecting to get it. It was incredible when I found out. It's a bit weird, but I had been watching Gabby before I started going up there to see what I could find out about her character." Bentham stated that Lucy Pargeter, who plays Chas Dingle and James Hooton, who plays Sam Dingle, helped her as they attended Television Workshop "They were both excited when I told them I was from Television Workshop. I couldn't wish for better people to work with. It sounds like a cliche but we're all one big family." She also added "It was a bit of a shock for people when I first appeared as Gabby. It happens a lot in television and people get used to it. I just took it as 'I'm not playing this character' and didn't really think about whatever had happened in the past." Bentham is chaperoned by her parents.
Ashley and Laurel's separation
When Ashley and Laurel divorced, Laurel started a relationship with Marlon Dingle. Gabby takes a disliking to Marlon, resulting in Laurel losing Gabby to Ashley. Bellamy said, “Gabby’s taken a real dislike to Marlon. It’s not personal but, to Gabby, Marlon is the reason she, Arthur, Laurel and Ashley are no longer a happy family. I think the writers are handling this very well and very realistically. It’s what often happens when a family unravels.” Bellamy added how she ends up losing Gabby, “Gabby’s off school sick and behaving badly to irritate Laurel. She then sees Laurel and Marlon kissing and yells at Laurel, telling her how much she hates her and also saying Laurel’s not her real mum. Not surprisingly, this really upsets Laurel, but worse is to come. Marlon tries to calm Gabby down and she lashes out. Gabby then claims Marlon hit her! She decides to tell Ashley what’s happened and that Gabby’s making things up. Laurel doesn’t want Gabby telling Ashley her own version. She’s also angry with Ashley, believing he’s trying to turn Gabby even more against Marlon than she is already. Ashley makes arrangements for Gabby to move into the pub with him." Speaking of how Laurel is towards Gabby, Bellamy said, "Legally, Laurel is only Gabby’s stepmother. But as far Laurel as concerned, Gabby is her daughter. And I think Gabby would very happily accept Laurel as Mummy again if only Laurel and Ashley would get back together. But I very much doubt that is going to happen.
In 2012, Giles reprised her role of Bernice. Giles explained how her arrival would impact on Gabby, saying, “Bernice thinks they’ll enjoy spending time together. She hasn’t really thought about the hard time that Gabby’s had recently with the breakdown of Ashley and Laurel’s marriage. Bernice isn’t being intentionally horrible, but it just hasn’t occurred to her that Laurel might be worried about how Bernice’s reappearance will affect Laurel’s relationship with Gabby. Bernice has always been rather patronising and dismissive towards Laurel because she sees her as a cleaner, which is what Laurel was when Bernice first met her.”
In episodes broadcast in February 2016, Gabby was seen drawing on a Scouse brow with permanent marker as part of her under-age drinking storyline. Many viewers took to social media to ridicule Gabby's look, despite the serious nature of plot. A columnist for Inside Soap commented, "Gabby Thomas isn't a bad girl, but she really ought to think twice before listening to sneaky Lachlan." Duncan Lindsay from Metro praised Bentham and her on-screen family for the portrayal of Ashley's dementia, saying their performances "continue to be outstanding". For her portrayal as Gabby, Bentham was nominated at the 2016 TV Choice Awards for Best Soap Newcomer.
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