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Sian Reese-Williams talks Emmerdale years

Soapworld

Sian Reese-Williams talks Emmerdale years

Former Emmerdale actor Sian Reese-Williams, says she had a difficult time on the soap series because of all the public attention.

In an interview for S4C’s new series Taith Bywyd, Sian says that viewers made personal comments when they saw her and that it affected her confidence. The programme will be broadcast this weekend when Sian Reese-Williams goes on a journey to meet the people who changed her life and those who influenced her career.

Sian joined the cast of Emmerdale in 2008 playing the part of Gennie Walker for over 700 episodes. In 2012, 8.8 million people watched Sian during a live episode of the soap opera on ITV. Although Sian says that her period in Emmerdale was ‘special’, and that she had a great time, dealing with the attention was hard.

Sian Reese-Williams:

“I found that quite difficult, it was a struggle for me. When you are in a soap opera, there is a kind of ownership, because people see you every night. You’re in their living room every night, and people forget that you’re a person sometimes, and the things people feel they can say to you are too personal…And there’s a lot of people who aren’t very nice, and that can be tricky.”

“The things people said about her [the character] were ‘unlucky in love’, ‘ugly duckling’…When you hear that every day for five years, for me, that had an effect on my confidence, and it took quite a lot of time to deal with that. And still now, when I hear a negative voice in my head, I know it comes from that period.”

On the programme, Sian will reunite with one of Emmerdale’s biggest stars at the time, Sammy Winward, who played Katie Sugden for 14 years and became Sian’s close friend. In 2018, Sian was cast as the lead role in three series of Craith on S4C. It was also shown in English as Hidden on the BBC and sold to other broadcasters around the world.

She also meets her sister, Heledd. Sian grew up in a happy family, with her sister, her brother Llyr, and their parents Gill and Jeff. Llyr found that he had a brain tumour in 2005 and died in 2019. Remembering him is vitally important to the family.

Sian Reese-Williams:

“I was a little scared that I would find it really hard to remember him in any other way than how he was at the end. We talk about him all the time…Something reminds me of Llyr almost every day. He was someone who showed what it was like to live through tough times – you have to keep going. It’s hard to do, and I’m not very good at it, but he taught us about that.”

Others taking part in the series are broadcaster Jason Mohammad, influencer and presenter Jess Davies, musician, guitarist and S4C cycling pundit Peredur ap Gwynedd, and former Member of Parliament and campaigner Sian James. The first episode of the series with Osian Roberts is available on demand on S4C Clic and BBC iPlayer. Each one will meet individuals who have been there through the good days and the difficult times. But none of them know who they’ll meet, or where they’re going next.

Taith Bywyd: Sian Reese-Williams, Sunday 14 January, 9pm on S4C

On demand: S4C Clic, iPlayer and other platforms
A Cardiff Productions production for S4C

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