Mimi Slinger talks Emmerdale murder and menacing Meena

Things were a bridge too far in Emmerdale this evening.

In this evening’s Emmerdale episodes viewers saw the demise of Leanna at the hands of Meena.

Leanne, mockingly grabbed hold of Meena’s ‘bits and pieces’ box, only to discover a newspaper cutting that led to an accidental confession of murder. Leanna now fully aware of Ms Jutla’s past sins attempted to get away, fleeing through the graveyard, but having fallen in high heels and injured her ankle it was only a matter of time before Meena caught up with her victim at Emmerdale village’s humpbacked bridge where after a struggle, and a bit of hair pulling, Leanne was shoved to her watery demise.

What prized position of Leanne’s will Meena put in her box of memories? In Friday’s episode Leanna’s lifeless body will be discovered in the stream.

As her character bows out of the popular rural ITV saga performer Mimi Slinger talks about the end of her character Leanna Cavanagh.

Leanna met her untimely demise tonight are you glad the secret is now out?

I am glad that the secret is out – I knew back in December that Leanna would meet an untimely death but I wasn’t told any other details until just before the scripts were published. It has been hard not to let on to anyone. I am sad to be leaving the Emmerdale family on one hand but so excited by what may be in store in the future- I am so excited by the storyline and the opportunity that I have been given to bring some drama to the Dales.

Was it hard to keep a secret?

It has been so difficult to keep the secret – of my decision to leave Emmerdale to pursue other opportunities, but also the secret of my demise. I am quite good at keeping secrets generally but this has been particularly tricky because so many people do ask me frequently about my plans for the future.

In tonight’s Emmerdale, Meena Jutla (Paige Sandhu) murdered Leanna (Mimi Slinger) by pushing her over the bridge.

How did you react when you heard what Leanna’s fate would be?

I had taken the decision to leave the Dales and I was so looking forward to hearing how the producers were going to engineer my exit. When Jane Hudson told me about my storyline, I have to say that I was shocked but so excited to be given the opportunity to be challenged and show my acting abilities. Of course, it is a very sad storyline and has been very emotional for me!

How much have you enjoyed playing Leanna?

I have absolutely loved playing Leanna. I can’t believe it’s been 3 and a half years – it has flown by!  I have had the most amazing experiences and have learnt so much from some incredibly talented actors, directors and producers.

What was it like filming such intense scenes?

I really enjoyed filming the scenes – those with my on-screen father, Jonny, were incredibly emotional. There were lots of tears but I actually enjoyed having the opportunity to challenge myself. The scenes with Meena, played by Paige were emotional and dramatic at the same time. Paige is great at playing a bit of a psycho – it was actually quite scary!

Did you have to do any stunts?

I did have to do a few stunts in order to film my exit which I seriously enjoyed!  There was a stunt coordinator on set who was fantastic at guiding Paige and I. As I am pushed off the bridge to my death, falling 40 ft, that was going to be a bit too much of a challenge – a stunt double was used for that bit!

Was it difficult to film with covid restrictions in place?

In order to film the scenes the best we could, we had to be closer than the social distancing rules would allow. Both Paige and I decided to form a “bubble” and we had to isolate for a few days in a hotel and have regular Covid tests to make sure that we were okay prior to filming. I was allowed to bring my mum with me to keep me company – thank goodness! On the shoot days, we were driven to and from set in a pre-fogged car, and had to stay in our dressing rooms unless on set and travel back and remain in our hotel rooms until the scenes were complete. I really feel it was necessary to make the scenes feel as real and raw as possible.

Are you going to miss working so closely with Jonny and your fellow cast members?

I am going to miss my Emmerdale family so much! Actually, I am missing them already! I filmed my final scenes at the end of May, so it feels like quite a while since I last saw them. It is emotional to watch the build up to the storyline. Jonny has taught me so much and I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with him and Roxy, as well as others. I have built some amazing friendships, for example with Daisy (Amelia) and Rosie (Gabby). I know that, even though I am moving on, my friendships are here to stay.

What will you miss the most about working at Emmerdale?

I will miss the community more than anything. Everyone is so friendly and it has been such a fantastic few years. I do feel that it is time for me to move on and pursue other opportunities.

Meena Jutla (Paige Sandhu) looks down at her latest victim

What was your last day on set like?

My last day on set was unplanned. We had to abandon filming in the village for my final scene from the previous week, due to torrential rain. I was called in (on my father’s birthday) to film and it was extremely emotional. My last scene was actually the last scene that will air on tv of me, which of course added to the many emotions I felt that day. I must say that I had shed many tears as I had read the scripts – it’s certainly strange to read about your death in advance! As soon as we wrapped, Paul Copeland, the fantastic director of these episodes, made a speech and I was given some gifts by the amazing production team. My dad (Jonny) and Jacob (Joe Warren Plant) were filming in the village that day too, so I got to say a final goodbye to them.

What’s next for Mimi?

Well, this industry is very uncertain! I am very keen to pursue other acting opportunities. Fingers crossed for anything in the pipeline. I definitely want to keep acting, I absolutely love it and can’t see myself not doing it! I would love to do something with my music too, as I am a singer and songwriter. I have also recently started modelling and have already done some fantastic, fun jobs. I do love it and am learning a lot.

How do you think Jacob and her dad are going to cope in the aftermath of her death?

Goodness… well, I can’t imagine the pain that Liam will feel after Leanna’s death. It must be completely devastating to lose a child – it’s not the way it should be. Poor Liam has already lost Leanna’s mother, and has experienced huge amounts of grief. He and Leanna were so close… I do hope that he manages to cope… Jacob and Leanna have certainly had their struggles but there seems to be something very special between them. I think that he will be deeply affected. Jacob has had a complicated life with many unconventional relationships – let’s hope he can find a way to cope.

Meena Jutla, played by Paige Sandhu, has only just begun her dastardly deeds in the dales, she’s already thrown a warning shot verbally to Jacob, but who will be next in her sights. Let’s just hope Princess behaves…
Emmerdale continues Friday at 7pm on ITV
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