Tinkerbelle Lisa "Belle" Dingle is the only child of Zak and Lisa Dingle as well as Zak's youngest child. She has been involved in numerous storylines over the years, and is currently having an affair with Jamie Tate behind Andrea's back.
1998-2006: Birth and early life
Belle Dingle was born in a pigsty of Wishing Well Cottage on Christmas Day 1998 to Zak and Lisa Dingle, who had no idea she was pregnant. Local vet Paddy Kirk delivered the baby as he was spending Christmas Day with the Dingles. On 9th March the following year, Belle's christening took place.
A young Belle later goes missing on Christmas Day 2005, after she was left at home under the care of her uncle Shadrach. Daz Eden soon paid them a visit, bringing his pet ferret Spike. Although Daz told her not to, Belle let the ferret out of his cage and in a panic, chased him through the fields. As she ran to get Spike, she fell down a mine shaft. Daz dives in to help her, but they turn out to be trapped, and it looks like they will either freeze or drown. When the Dingles discover her disappearance, they are beside themselves with worry. A brave Daz manages to keep Belle afloat for hours, until they are eventually saved by the Dingles and the fire brigade. Belle is overjoyed when her brother Sam and his fiancée, Alice have a baby, Samson, a year later.
In February 2006, she is a ring bearer at her cousin Marlon Dingle's wedding to Donna Windsor. She moves in with Marlon briefly just before Alice died from cancer. Whilst she was there, she refused to have a bath, so Toni Daggert challenged her to a duck race (if Toni's duck won, Belle had to have a bath but if Belle's duck won, she didn't). The whole village joined in and Belle was thrilled when she won the race. Sadly, her happiness was short-lived as Zak arrived and informed Belle of Alice's death.
2006-2009: School troubles
Belle begins playing truant, asking Shadrach to cover for her. She claims to be ill but her teacher visited and told Shadrach that Belle hardly ever went to school and didn't apply herself when she was there. Shadrach claimed he was her father, leading the teacher to ask Belle and her parents to come to a meeting at the school so Zak, Lisa and Belle went. Zak and Lisa are told that Belle was disruptive and she complained she was bored, but she is told that school isn't meant to be fun. At home, she promises to try harder. After Belle disables the ‘nanny guard' on the computer network, Lisa and Zak returned for a second meeting. Belle said she didn't realize but the headteacher doesn't believe her. Zak defends her, claiming Dingles don't lie, and Belle is suspended. With Belle at home, Zak attempts to teach her but he isn't very good. Although he taught maths - the problems involved either horse racing or fishing. When Lisa notices Zak is struggling, she suggests he teaches her botany, but this leads him to take her to strip building materials from a derelict property. When the Dingles find out, no one is impressed as Donna said the materials were stolen, and Lisa is annoyed that Zak is teaching her to steal. Realising Belle needs professional help, Zak and Lisa ask Jasmine Thomas to teach her. Jasmine is shocked by the lack of resources, but makes do, and has Belle recite a Japanese haiku about Shadrach. The Home Education Inspector later visits to discuss Belle's future and suggests she should see an educational psychologist to find out why she is so disruptive. Zak initially refuses but changed his mind as Belle had nightmares about Tom King's death – which she witnessed. Jasmine attempts to help Belle by taking her to Home Farm so she could talk to Pearl Ladderbanks but this only makes things worse. Later, when Jasmine looks for Belle, she finds she has vanished, but it turns out Belle ran home, terrified of Pearl. When the psychologist visits, Belle initially hid to avoid him but Lisa coaxed her out. She is delighted to fly through the psychologist's "easy" questions, but she still needs Zak's reassurance that she'll always be a Dingle.Belle's test results show that she is amongst the cleverest 2% of children her age, leading her to declare "I'm a priggin' genius!", but Zak and Lisa wonder what this means for her education. The inspector suggests a private school but Lisa disapproves of the idea. However, Zak is excited at the prospect of "the first Dingle to go to Heaton", whilst Belle dreamed of magic wands and capes. Zak and Lisa took Belle to sit her private school entrance exam and were awestruck by the establishment. A student guides them around, but she worries Zak and Lisa by telling them how disenchanted she was with the school, saying that she wanted to marry a footballer and be like Victoria Beckham. Belle leaves the examining room, downcast, telling her parents and Mrs Burgess that she had not done well, but Zak cheers her up by promising to take her for ice cream. Belle receives good news and bad news from her teacher, Mrs Burgess. She passed the exam with 98%, winning an automatic place, but she didn't get a full scholarship – meaning the Dingles would have to pay £2,000 a term. Mrs Burgess, however, is unaware they cannot afford it. Her parents argue about it, Lisa being concerned that if Belle went, she'd forget her roots and be embarrassed by her family, but Zak claims it is the best education - but tells Belle that she was unlikely to go. However, Rosemary King took a liking to Belle and offered to pay the fees. Lisa refuses to even consider it until Samson has meningitis. Worried about the little boy, no one took any notice of Belle complaining she felt unwell until the doctor checked her. When Rosemary hears Belle is in hospital, she visits, taking flowers and truffles with her. Her arrival coincides with the doctor's, who diagnoses Belle with a bad case of flu – but ensuring Rosemary that she will be fine. Zak and Lisa knew she was getting better when she complained she was hungry. Relieved, Lisa agreed to Rosemary paying Belle's fees.
On Belle's first day, Lisa and Zak do their best to make a good impression, as they prepare to meet the headmistress. Lisa is anxious about Belle fitting in, but Belle is assigned a ‘welcome buddy' called Ayesha, who would keep her company and show her where everything was. Belle and Ayesha get on well, with Ayesha even convincing her to talk about Shadrach in class, but the teacher is unimpressed as she described Shadrach's hygiene and flatulence issues. When Belle comes home, she gave Lisa a note about a school trip to Germany. When Lisa said no Belle persuades Rosemary to give her the money, but Zak returns the cheque, saying Belle shouldn't have asked. Rosemary says she has offered and Zak agrees to discuss it with Lisa. This led to Rosemary, Zak and Lisa agreeing Rosemary would pay the fees but anything else was down to them. After Belle attends a spa day with her school friends, Lisa feels guilty at not having her friends to visit, and suggested she throw a party. Belle isn't keen and tells Rosemary she is embarrassed about the Dingle house. Rosemary suggests holding the party at Mill Cottage, so Belle invited her friends but didn't tell Zak and Lisa. Rosemary said she needed their permission so Belle "persuaded" Shadrach to phone Rosemary, pretending to be Zak. At the party, Belle impressed her friends, claiming to live at Mill Cottage with her "auntie" Rosemary and "cousin" Grayson. However, Lisa finds out when she phoned Ayesha's mother to organize a sleepover. When Belle returns, she argues with Lisa. She is later upset to hear her parents discussing taking her out of private school.
After Rosemary confesses that she had poisoned Perdy to get her sectioned, Zak ends his friendship with her, warning her to stay away from his daughter. Her parents worry about how they could afford to send Belle's school fees. Belle's headteacher, Mrs Kennedy, told them the governors weren't prepared to give Belle a free place, leaving Zak and Lisa devastated, knowing they would have to tell Belle. The Dingles tell Belle she has to leave, lying that Rosemary couldn't afford the fees. Belle was pulled out of school on 14th September 2007. Zak later decides to compete in a bare-knuckle fight against an old adversary, Mike O’Shea, to raise the funds needed for Belle to stay at private school. When he is close to beating O'Shea, the police raid the building, ending the fight. Although Zak had almost won, he could not claim the money. Zak's granddaughter Debbie lends them the money, allowing them to send Belle back to private school. Belle attends Rosemary's funeral, and is the only person, apart from Grayson, who indicates genuine sorrow at her death.
In May 2008, the family again struggle to pay Belle's school fees. They refuse to borrow any more from Debbie, selling stolen manure from Emmerdale Haulage instead, but Matthew King takes the money when he finds out. Belle covers his car in manure, but Zak makes her apologise. When Eli Dingle accidentally backs the van into a plasma TV Matthew had bought for a presentation, an angry Matthew takes the money for the replacement out of the bonus he was going to give Zak. When his brother Jimmy convinces him to change his mind, Matthew refuses to give him the money until the new TV arrived. A furious Zak then quits his job. Lisa and Zak hope Belle will remain in the dark, but another student finds out from her father and tells Belle. Belle is upset, but a few days later, she tells her family that she was sick of the school anyway, as she was a Dingle and Dingles weren't supposed to be "posh".
In November, Belle auditions for the choir but she is slammed by Nicola De Souza, causing Ashley and Laurel Thomas to tell her that she was too young. Later that month, she decides to try to see what it would be like to be blind, but this phase doesn't last long. A month later, she and Shadrach steal Christmas presents from under the Woolpack Christmas tree, but they are eventually are found out.
2009-2011: Friendships with Will Wylde and Amy Wyatt
In February 2009, she develops a friendship with Will Wylde, who had just moved to Home Farm with his family. Two months later, Zak leaves and does not come home for Easter as he was supposed to, which makes Belle upset and so she calls a Dingle Court in which Zak gets ex-communicated from the family. Zak returns a couple of days later after a drinking spree and carrying an enormous brand new TV. As Belle and Will's friendship develops, they grow closer and Belle comforts Will when he finds out the shocking news about his father's death. Maisie Wylde and Nikhil Sharma announce that they are engaged and this news affects Will; when Belle comforts him he snaps at her. Belle is left devastated. Will immediately goes to say goodbye to Belle after it is revealed they are leaving the village, and he gives her his Nintendo DS and they part on good terms. Belle gives Will a goodbye kiss on the cheek and when he walks away she is left crying. She talks to Lisa, who encourages her to see him off. Just as Maisie and Will are leaving, Belle rushes up to the taxi, shouting that she loves him - and Will shouts that he loves her too. Belle is happy that with the way things ended between them and decides to let him leave.In 2011, Belle overhears Amy Wyatt and Victoria Sugden talking about holding a party and sees them stashing alcohol in the barn. She hides the drinks and blackmails them to let her come along, but she ends up drinking too much cider, and throws up all over the floor, causing an angry Lisa to have to come and collect her. Belle forms a friendship with Amy, and when she collapses, Belle rushes to get help, but Amy stops her, and tells her that she is pregnant, but doesn't want anyone else to know. She goes to the hospital with Amy, pretending to be her sister when the nurses are around, and skips classes to go and see her. However, the school call Lisa to tell her that Belle never turned up at school, and when confronted, Belle tells Zak and Lisa she was with Amy, but doesn't say anything about being at the hospital. Later, Belle goes to see Amy, who has been discharged, but Amy grabs Belle and threatens her to stay away from her. When Amy has the baby, she calls him Kyle Wyatt and Belle's excited to be an "aunt" and buys a scrapbook with pictures of him in it.
2011-2014: Relationships with Sean, Luke and Thomas
Belle later befriends Sean Spencer, a teenage troublemaker who arrives in the village. On her 13th birthday, in December 2011, Belle and Sean kiss. The following day she gives him a Christmas present of a silver car keyring and says it reminds her of when he took her to the hospital to see baby Kyle. She pretends to need the toilet in the Woolpack but actually goes outside to see Sean. When Zak comes to find her he sees Sean and Belle leaning in about to kiss and threatens him not to go near his daughter again. Angry, Belle refuses to speak to Zak, but he warns her that it isn't safe for her to be having a boyfriend at her age. Belle verbally lashes out at Zak and goes to her room. Soon after, Sean and Belle meet at the barn and go to the lake, but they are later found by Debbie, leaving Belle embarrassed. Their relationship ends when he confesses he had kissed Ruby Haswell.
At a New Year's Eve party, Belle meets Luke Salter, an older boy. After discovering Luke had previously dated Gemma Andrews she leaves the party. A few days later, Luke goes to Belle's house to meet her. He tells her he lied about being eighteen and is really fifteen, which makes Belle feel better about him. They share their first kiss, and decide to keep their relationship quiet. The pair continue to meet up behind Gemma's back until she sees them at the bus stop together, where Gemma warns Belle that Luke is trouble. However, they still don't reveal their relationship, so Zak and Lisa don't find out, as they would disapprove. Whilst Belle and Lisa are home alone, Luke turns up out of the blue, forcing Lisa into inviting him round for tea. When Luke comes, he insists him and Belle go upstairs to work so they can be alone, but Zak sees through his lies and forces them both to do the washing up to keep them downstairs. As the pair leave for the bus stop, Luke accuses Belle of being a tease. He explains he just wants time alone, but Belle tells him that she will have a free house tomorrow if they skip school. The next day they are at her house, and Belle admits she hasn't had sex before. When she sees the disappointment on his face, she explains she does want to though - with him. They begin to kiss again, before Lisa runs into the house and drags Luke out, telling him to get out. Belle argues with Lisa over Luke and tries to go after him, but she is soon stopped from leaving. The next day Sam takes Belle to school via Lisa's orders so she doesn't see Luke. When Belle gets to school she tells Gemma what's happened, but afterwards, she receives a text from Luke, which ends her relationship with him as she realizes he was only after sex from her.
She later falls for Sean's best friend, Thomas King, making Sean jealous. Sean sent her a Valentine's Day card and although she originally thought it was from Thomas, she finds out it was from Sean. However, he lies and tells her it wasn't, insulting her. Gemma gives Belle a makeover to impress Thomas after Sean laughed at her. Thomas seems to develop feelings for her, but after Belle lies to her parents, they begin to punish her, especially after finding inappropriate pictures of her on her phone and evidence that Thomas took them. Belle then begins to change her behaviour so that she will get her phone and trust back. Zak decides to trust her again, angering Lisa. However, Lisa soon begins to relent. The flirting between her and Thomas grows, as Sean becomes determined to gain Belle's affections again. Sean later steals a bottle of alcohol in an attempt to impress her, but after witnessing a kiss between her and Thomas, he is so angry he smashes the bottle and ignores Gemma. Thomas expresses his fear of her father to Belle, saying he's worried what his reaction to him will be. Marlon asks Thomas and Belle if they're together, but they reply defensively, which gets a bad reaction, as Marlon says Thomas is just like his father. Thomas then runs home and Belle shouts at Marlon, later showing up on Thomas' door and making him feel better about his father. When they later come across Marlon, Thomas apologizes for overreacting, and also says that he and Belle are together. After he asks Belle if it was okay for him to say that, she accepts his offer and they kiss. Thomas is thus seen constantly with his arm around her but she's shocked when he acts dismissive in front of her father. Belle is later happy when Sam announces he's moving in with Rachel Breckle.
However, Belle's new relationship with Thomas causes her to neglect Gemma, meanwhile, Sean's jealousy over Belle and Thomas' relationship leaves him heartbroken, as Thomas begins to ignore him and Belle makes up excuses to avoid him. After a fight with Belle, Gemma sends Sean a suggestive photo of Belle which she had taken earlier in an attempt to get Thomas to notice her. Sean defends Belle and asks her if Thomas is making her do stuff, leading to her to angrily announce she never fancied him. Furious, he puts the picture online. When Thomas sees the photo, he angrily attacks Sean in defence of Belle, causing her to find out. An upset Belle cries to Zak before announcing she doesn't care what her parents do to her as her life is over, and she begins to ignore Thomas' calls. Sean later shows up to apologise to Belle and she forgives him, announcing she is only mad at Gemma and not him. He tells her that Thomas is running away as Jimmy and Nicola King are planning to send him away first. Belle finds Thomas, about to escape in Dan Spencer's van, and begs him to take her with him. When Paddy Kirk sees them, Thomas takes her and they drive off. Paddy announces that he saw Thomas "kidnap" Belle. When a worried Belle calls her mother the next day, Lisa tells her that Dan's van is where Thomas's father tried to rape Chas Dingle. Horrified, Belle tells Thomas who tells her to go to sleep, but he returns her to the village. Belle defends him from Zak and Lisa and when he leaves, Lisa declares she has abandoned Belle, upsetting Zak who still loves her. Eventually, Lisa begins talking to Belle again.
In April 2013, Belle once again grows closer to Sean as they comfort each other over Thomas's departure. After Sean's accident, Belle's constantly asking how he is. Sean later awkwardly asks Belle out, and she agrees. They make plans to sleep together, but Dom Andrews interrupts them, claiming that Sean got Gemma pregnant. Sean's devastated when Belle abandons him. In June, A heartbroken Belle seeks advice from Debbie who tells her she needs to get revenge, so Belle then tells everyone at school that Gemma had an abortion, leading to Gemma attacking Belle and the two of them fighting. Belle is then suspended, however, Dom tells Zak and Lisa that he will stop at nothing to see Belle expelled. Belle continues to seek advice from Debbie, at one point mildly threatening to harm Gemma, which Dom hears. In a meeting with her headmaster, Belle refuses to apologise to Gemma and, when told to think about it outside, she runs away.
On 25th June 2013, After hearing Zak threatening to give her a beating, she finds some of Debbie's leftover alcohol and tries to drink her troubles away. She comes across Sean who confronts her about hurting Gemma and calls her pathetic. She then runs into Debbie, drunk, who tells her to go home and sober up. However, when Debbie and her daughter Sarah Sugden arrive home, they find Belle unconscious. Sarah fetches Cameron Murray to help and Debbie and Cameron take Belle to hospital. Debbie phones Zak and Lisa and they arrive with Sam and Marlon. They discover that Belle is in critical condition because the alcohol she drank was contaminated. Debbie confesses it may have been hers, leading to the others isolating her from the family. After hearing about Belle, Sean rushes to see her but Zak and Lisa push him out. As this is happening, Belle wakes up. Despite warnings that she may suffer long-term effects, the doctors say she's going to be alright and was very lucky. Belle apologizes to her mother, but Lisa says she let Belle down and apologizes, too.
Lisa and Charity Sharma take Belle home eventually where Zak and her half-brother Cain were waiting for her. Debbie then showed up with a present for Belle and even though Belle was glad to see her, Lisa sent Belle upstairs whilst the others told Debbie to stay away from her. Later, after a talk with Charity, Belle hugged Lisa and apologized again. Belle and Lisa then left on a short camping trip as Sean kept sending flowers to Belle and Zak thought she deserved some time away. When Lisa and Belle returned, Belle meets with the headteacher to talk about her future at school. She runs into Sean soon after and flirts with him. Belle later confesses to Lisa and Zak that she wants to be a doctor and they arrange for her to get work experience at the veterinary clinic. Belle is distraught when Gennie Walker dies, and stays at home with Samson. Gemma tries to apologise to Belle with festival tickets, admitting her jealousy, but she refuses her. However, Belle later finds Gemma and apologizes. They resume their friendship. After discovering that Amy was in contact with Kyle, Belle encourages her to take a picture of him to "hold onto," insisting that she wouldn't be able to say no. Zak and Lisa told Belle that Amy hadn't revealed her real identity to Kyle's adoptive grandmother, Joanie Wright, putting her chances of seeing Kyle in danger. Belle was furious and angrily confronted Amy. Gemma stays with Belle when her father takes some time away.
2014: Gemma's death and imprisonment
In early 2014, Belle and Sean grew close together, much to Gemma's displeasure. Gemma storms out and Belle follows her, saying that she didn't know Gemma liked Sean. Gemma calls her a selfish cow and Belle replies back that Sean wouldn't be interested in her anyway. Gemma slaps Belle, who retaliated by pushing her to the ground. Gemma hits her head on a rock and it started bleeding, rejecting Belle's offer to help. They both storm off home, but, whilst walking, Gemma collapses and falls to the floor, rolling out of view into the foliage. Dom is upset that Gemma hasn't returned home and, in the morning, he arrives at the Dingles' house, expecting her to be there, as she said she may stay there overnight. The Dingles' haven't seen her and so Dom begins asking people to help him look. Harriet Finch finds Gemma's body by a hedge and an ambulance is called.
In March 2014, Gemma later dies from her injuries in hospital, leaving Belle distraught. Belle then tells Lisa that she killed Gemma, but Lisa forbids her from going to the police and tries to persuade Belle to pass her guilt onto her. Lisa tells Chas and Cain and they all agree that Zak cannot find out that Belle believes she killed Gemma, as he has had a nervous breakdown and this revelation could trigger another. Belle later leaves Gemma's funeral early and runs to the police station, but is stopped by Cain. Later, Belle and Zak are alone in the house and she tells him that she believes she murdered Gemma. Zak and Lisa continuously attempt to tell Belle that it was an accident, but she disagrees, believing she killed her. She pleads that he accompanies her to the police station so she can confess to her crime. Zak agrees as he believes it would be better to let it out, as she is wracked with guilt. Belle is given bail and Lisa is distraught that Zak agreed to take her to the police, telling him that she would never forgive him if she was charged.
The following day, Belle is charged with the murder of Gemma. Zak later goes round to Dom's house and informs him that Belle has been charged with the murder of his daughter. A devastated Dom punches Zak in anger and falls to the floor, crying. Days later, Cain arrives at Dom's house and tries to ask Dom to convince Belle not to plead guilty to his daughter's murder, but he reacts very badly and refuses. Belle remains staunch, believing she deserves to be jailed, but it becomes apparent that Lisa and Zak will do whatever it takes to change her mind and get her to change her statement. Zak locks Belle in a barn to give her a taste of what prison would be like, and refuses to give Lisa the key to let her out. Eventually, she changes her mind and she later discusses with Sean the possibility of them having a baby together to avoid a prison sentence. After several failed attempts to have sex Belle and Sean drop the idea. Belle's brother, Sam, later tries to run away with her to escape a prison sentence. But after Dom tips off the police, they are caught and Belle is kept in prison until her trial. On 10th June, at her trial, she is sentenced to three years in prison, but she was forgiven by Dom who made a statement to the court telling them that he had forgiven her. After her trial, she appeals against her sentence. In August 2014, while Zak and Lisa were visiting her in prison, she told them her appeal was successful and that her sentence had been reduced to one year. Belle admits to Sean that she no longer has feelings for him and he then decides to join the army, leaving the village.
2014-2015: Release and mental illness
In November 2014, when Belle is released from prison, she finds it hard to adjust to normal life again. She confronts Gabby Thomas by threatening to kill her after being teased by her and some other kids from school at the bus stop. Belle's behaviour turns erratic around her family, causing her parents to be more concerned about her well being. Belle dyes her hair dark for a new look and image. She meets Lachlan White, who recently discovered about Belle's accidental murder of Gemma. Lachlan informs Belle that someone wrote "MURDERER" on the front of her house, which Belle confronts Zak Dingle and Lisa Dingle about. It is soon revealed that the culprit was Noah Dingle. In late November 2014, Belle is discovered by Ashley Thomas and Harriet Finch in the church, crying and covered in blood. It is apparent that Belle has been attacked, but she refuses to tell Zak and Lisa who the attacker was, leading to them assuming that she could have been sexually assaulted. As she struggles to cope, Belle considers trying to kill herself with painkillers, but she fails and breaks down in tears in the back of her family barn. Belle soon begins to behave erratically and after ringing up school, demanding that she will not be turning up anymore and in December she trashing David Metcalfe's shop, Belle is seen talking to an imaginary version of Gemma, as she admits to herself in the mind that she caused the graffiti on her house, also harming herself, destroying her own portrait for a competition and putting cans of spray paint in Lachlan's bag as "Gemma" demanded her to do these things in her mind.
Belle smashes and trashes Edna Birch's house, taking her pension money. Lachlan takes photos of Belle leaving Edna's house as evidence, prior to him planning on grassing Belle up. Belle tells Lachlan in exchange for deleting the photo that she will have sex with him, but Lachlan instead deletes the photo and becomes friends with Belle. Belle finds herself in luck with a job at Paddy Kirk's surgery. Belle becomes paranoid, as she believes that everyone hates her and she quits her job at the surgery. In January 2015, Lachlan offers Belle a legal high pill, which she takes and is relieved to discover that the voices in her head have stopped. Belle soon begins to hear voices again and asks Lachlan for more of the legal high pills, which he gives to her. Belle is later offered a job by Katie Sugden on her new farm and Belle proudly accepts, determined not to let herself or her family down. Belle believes that "Gemma" caused Cain to become ill with his brain aneurysm. Belle's erratic behaviour worsens and when Katie witnesses Belle talking to an imaginary Gemma, Belle fights Katie and bites her arm in order to escape the farm to run away. Belle locks herself in Katie's car and when Zak and Lisa try to stop her from driving away, Gemma's voice is heard on an overvoice in Belle's mind, as she is instructed by "Gemma" to run down Zak in the car. Realizing that she could never hurt her father, nor her mother or the rest of her family, Belle gives in and unlocks the door of the car and she returns home with her family. Belle reveals to Zak and Lisa that she has been hearing Gemma's voice since leaving the young offender's institute and her parents decide to contact a psychiatrist for Belle to see. It's possible that Belle could be developing the mental illness, Schizophrenia.
In February 2015, Belle later discovers that Katie has died and she believes that she was responsible for her death. Belle tries to kill herself in the collapsed floor of the barn at Wylie's Farm and whilst distracted by Harriet Finch, Belle's brother Cain goes up to the top floor to rescue Belle. She almost falls to her death in the process but Cain saves her, as Belle breaks down in tears. She is sectioned into a psychiatric unit and she receives a visit from her second cousin, Aaron Livesy, who convinces Belle that Katie's death had nothing to do with her and she shouldn't fight battles by herself. Belle decides to stay in the psychiatric unit until she properly recovers. Belle later decides to return home to her family, but is unhappy to discover that she has been given the chance to be out of school for six months so that she can recover and get help and support from her parents. Rachel tries to set up Belle by blaming her for leaving her medication around, leading to Rachel's son, Archie "swallowing" a pill. Belle and her family are convinced that Rachel tried to set Belle up.
2015-2016: Fling with Kirin Kotecha and Zak's affair
In July 2015, Belle is upset when she learns that her pony, Hamish has fallen ill, due to old age and has no choice but to be put to sleep. Belle agrees, but on the condition that she can be with Hamish as he is given an injection. Zak agrees and Paddy Kirk puts Hamish to sleep. Belle grieves slowly but has the support of her family. Kirin Kotecha encounters some cordial drink. Belle explains that her Granny Clegg makes her own cordial drinks from scratch. Kirin tastes the drink and he is amazed by the flavours. Together they create a cordial business and work together to try and get the cordial into fame, by selling it in pubs and shops to other residents. Belle overhears a conversation between Kirin and his father, who approves that his son should start a relationship with someone like Belle, but Kirin makes it clear that he does not like Belle in the way she thinks and would rather just be friends. Belle is upset by this but does not let it affect her friendship with Kirin. The two try to persuade Rishi Sharma to sell the cordial drink at the sweet factory. Rishi looks into some marketing research to make the drink popular for other people.
In September 2015, Belle gives her family and Joanie Wright the impression that she and Kirin are an item, as she begins to develop feelings for him. When Joanie gives Belle advice on relationships, Belle is humiliated after Kirin rejects her when she kisses him. Eventually, Belle and Kirin grow closer and begin a low-key relationship. As Belle wants to impress Kirin, she gets some advice from her relative Chas who says she needs to dress to look attractable. Belle and Kirin have a first date, which later leads to the next level when they have sex in Belle's family barn, which leaves Belle's mother, Lisa stunned. However, realizing that Kirin does not love her, Belle calls off her short-term relationship with him.
In December 2015, Belle witnesses her father kissing Joanie Wright, leaving her devastated. In revenge, she destroys Joanie's bedsit by flooding the place. On Christmas Day, Belle throws insults at her father and Joanie, finally revealing to the whole family that Zak and Joanie are having an affair. Zak and Lisa's marriage breaks down when he lets slip he has fallen in love with Joanie. Belle confronts Joanie on New Year's Eve by spitting in her face and a second time by slapping her across the face when Joanie insults Lisa, calling her a drunk. Belle lies to Zak, saying that she is hearing voices to get her parents together to help her. Her plan fails.
Belle wants to learn to drive, so Lisa takes her out for lessons but refuses to pay for a proper driving instructor, declaring it's just too expensive. Zak offers to teach her, but Belle has no intention of restoring civil relations with her father. The family later calls a Dingle court, and the decision is made to excommunicate Zak from the household, effectively making Cain its new head. Belle continues to support her mother as she adjusts to being a second-time divorcee.
In February 2016, Belle, along with the vast majority of the Dingles, are informed by Cain that Aaron was sexually abused by his dad Gordon when he was younger. Belle is told not to tell her dad about this, especially after he returns to the village from a holiday with Joanie, but while she is shopping in the village store with Sam and is pestered by their father, she angrily retorts the disgusting secret to a numb Zak.
As her mother's self-esteem continues to decline, Belle advises her to make a fresh start, a new life for herself with the family by her side. Lisa takes Belle's words to heart; she buys a new dress and has a makeover, and flaunts her new fabulous look at her 60th birthday party in the Woolpack, only to shock Belle by inviting Zak and Joanie along. However, Lisa declares she has seen a solicitor and is divorcing Zak. The news comes as a half-expected shock to both Belle and the rest of the family.
2016-2017: Affair with Jermaine Bailey and schizophrenia
In March 2016, Belle went to Gordon's plea hearing to support Aaron with Lisa, Chas and Robert on his side. Gordon pretends to be ill and then collapse with Aaron, Belle, Lisa, Chas and Robert watching in horror. 2 weeks later, Belle cuts her hand on some glass, so she encounters Jermaine Bailey who treats her hand. Belle is attracted to him and when Jermaine asks her out on a date, she agrees. A few days later, Belle suffers an allergic reaction to some perfume, so she goes to see her doctor, but is shocked when she overhears that Jermaine is married. After passionately kissing him in April, Belle makes it clear to Jermaine that she does not want to be like her father, who had an affair with Joanie. Belle struggles to resist temptation, as her crush on Jermaine develops. A few days she came around.
Belle and Jermaine continued their affair in seceret, and he arranged for them to go to a pharmaceutical conference as they would be able to spend the weekend in the hotel together. Later that day, Dr Bailey made a house call to Wishing Well Cottage as Lisa had suffered an angina attack. Dr Bailey was shocked to see pictures of Lisa's daughter Belle, including some of her in a school uniform as he had no idea she was only seventeen. That week, Jermaine and wife Angie Bailey attended Megan Macey's fundraiser for charity 'Cerbal Palsy Yorkshire', which Angie is a trustee. Dr Bailey was anxious when Belle and Angie started talking, and Angie complimented Belle on the necklace, that Jermaine had given her a few days previously. Belle confided in her older cousin Charity Dingle, who advised her to get her own back on Jermaine by planting a lipstick in Jermaine's car. Angie found the lipstick, but Jermaine lied that he had given a colleague a lift, which Angie believed. Jermaine confronted Belle about leaving the lipstick in his car, but she ended their relationship insisting she deserved a boyfriend she didn't need to sneak around with. Jermaine went to Belle's house and kissed Belle, insisting he was crazy about her, and they continued their affair.
In May 2016, Belle's family learned she was seeing an older married man. Her older brother Cain warned Belle to end it, so Belle visited Jermaine at the surgery and ended it, unaware Emma Barton had heard everything on the intercom. Emma used the information to blackmail Jermaine into telling her sons she was undergoing tests for Motor Neuron Disease to buy her more time to make them stay close by but he refused. When Emma continued to press him to lie for her, and mocked his relationship with Belle, he "accidentally" left her records out for James to see, leading James to realise Emma had been lying about having tests done.
In early June, Belle cancelled her plans with friend Lachlan White to instead spend time with Jermaine whilst Angie was away. Jermaine took Belle to his house and lead her upstairs. Before they left Jermaine's residence, Jermaine ensured Belle had taken all her possessions so Angie wouldn't twig what was going on, and suggested that they delete any texts between each other. Later that day, Lachlan took pictures of Belle and Jermaine getting close in his car and he showed Cain the evidence. Cain went to Abbott Lane Surgery to confront Jermaine, but he wasn't there, so he waited in Jermaine's office until he arrived. When Jermaine and Angie arrived, Cain asked Jermaine why he was sleeping with his seventeen-year-old sister, but Jermaine lied that Belle was his stalker. Angie believed her husband but Cain was sceptical. Belle eventually went along with Jermaine's lies.
Jermaine continued to string Belle along, which annoyed Lachlan, who was in love with Belle himself. On 17th June, Lachlan broke into Jermaine's house and trashed the place. Belle realised what Lachlan was up to and raced to Jermaine's house to stop him. Lachlan encouraged Belle to smash Jermaine and Angie's wedding photo, but she refused. The pair ran out the back door when they heard Jermaine and Angie arriving back. Belle ran back inside to retrieve her bag, and she was caught by Jermaine and Angie. Jermaine tried to persuade Angie not to call the police, but she did, and Belle was arrested. Angie began to suspect Jermaine wasn't telling her the truth after seeing his reaction to her calling to police. Her suspicions were heightened when she witnessed Jermaine and Lachlan talking. Angie decided to go to Wishing Well Cottage to get Belle's side of the story and she realised Belle really was her husband's teenage lover and threw him out. Cain used Belle's phone and text Jermaine, who revealed his location and went to beat him up. Belle visited Jermaine at Hotten General Hospital and assured him that he still had her. After being discharged, Jermaine returned to work where he was informed that he had lost his job and was being reported to the GMC. Belle suggested she and Jermaine go somewhere where nobody knew them, but after seeing how much he lost due to he and Belle's relationship he pushed her away.
In early July 2016 the news of Jermaine's affair and sacking made the front page of the Hotten Courier. The following day Jermaine returned to Emmerdale to collect the last of his belongings that Emma had picked up from the surgery. Charity saw Jermaine and confronted him, warning that if she ever saw him again, he wouldn't be breathing. Belle managed to track Jermaine down to the B&B and caught him just as he was putting his bags in the back of a taxi to start a new life in Romania. In a bid to keep Jermaine, Belle blurted out he was going to be a father. Jermaine struggled to take in the news, but assured Belle he would support her. Belle suggested she should accompany him to Romania and be a family. Belle tells her family the pregnancy news and her plans to move to Romania. Lisa suggested Belle and Jermaine move into the flat at Wishing Well, which they accepted despite objections from the rest of the Dingles.
On 12th July 2016, Charity found out Belle had faked her pregnancy and urged her to tell the truth. When she refused Charity agreed to help her fake a miscarriage. Charity whisked Belle away to a spa as a cover. However, Lisa turned up at the spa after encouragement from Jermaine, which scuppered their plan. Whilst away Belle's mental health continues to deteriorate as she had stopped taking her medication and she starts to hallucinate again seeing her imaginary friend Ellie who convinces her she can go through with the faked pregnancy as she is pregnant as well and will give Belle her baby. The following day Belle was knocked over by a trolley, which presented the perfect opportunity to fake the miscarriage. Charity took Belle to hospital, but Zak insisted on tagging along. Belle realized she couldn't go through with faking a miscarriage when she bumped into Angie and learned she had suffered at least one miscarriage during her and Jermaine's marriage. After a 'scan' Jermaine was delighted to hear that Belle and his baby were okay. Charity wondered why she didn't take the opportunity but Belle lied, saying she had gotten pregnant for real.
The following month, Belle's now soon-to-be step-mother Joanie overheard Belle talking to Ellie, but Belle lied that she was talking to her bump. Later that day, Ellie encouraged Belle to pour wine down Joanie's wedding dress. Two weeks later, Belle talked to Ellie in The Woolpack toilet about her fake pregnancy but was overheard by Angie who revealed the truth to the Dingles and Jermaine. Belle did a runner after being told to by Ellie, and she ended up in Café Main Street, where she had a mental breakdown. Belle was comforted by Brenda Walker, Vanessa Woodfield and Megan Macey until Lisa arrived. Once Lisa got Belle back home, she fell asleep and Zak took her up to bed. When Belle woke up, Ellie encouraged Belle to run away, which she did. The Dingles start frantically searching for Belle but she is nowhere to be found.
In September 2016, Belle who has been living in the streets finds one of the missing posters with her face on it as she sits in a shop doorway. Ellie taunts Belle, telling her she's dead to her family and orders her to bin the poster. The following day, Belle is found by a policeman and taken to hospital where she is reunited with her family. Lisa goes to kiss Belle's check, but distressed Belle thought her mum was evil, and was trying to kill her. The following day, as Belle explains to doctors that she's hearing voices she gets sectioned. Lisa questions if they'll ever get the old Belle back, and asks Jermaine what he thinks is wrong with Belle. Zak insists all they want is a cure, but Jermaine explains he believes Belle has schizophrenia, which doesn't have a cure. Zak and Lisa are shocked as Jermaine reveals there are medications to help manage the symptoms, but Belle might be dealing with it for the rest of her life. On 15th September Belle is taken to a clinic in Surrey which was the best in the country.
On 1st November 2016, Belle returns home from her treatment. Lisa asks Belle when she thinks she'll be home for good, insisting her daughter seems so much better already. She inquires about the voices and is glad to hear Belle hasn't heard any for weeks. Belle goes back to the clinic later that day but she returns for good about a week later. When she comes home she learns that Lisa and Zak kissed even though Zak was now married to Joanie. She is upset about his infidelity but keeps it from Joanie. Zak and Lisa eventually went on to patch up their relationship much to Belle's joy.
In December 2016, Jermaine gets offered a job in Boston but says he doesn't want to move there without her. Belle asks Jermaine if he would really give up the job for her, and when he confirms he would, Belle tells him they should go to America with him. However, a few days later she changes her mind, wanting to stay with her family and asks him to go without her.
2017-2019: Relationship with Lachlan White
In April 2017, Belle starts spending more time with Lachlan but Zak disapproves. Belle questions why Zak won't give Lachlan a chance but he's adamant that he should stay away from her. On 18th May 2017, Belle and Lachlan share a kiss but Zak walks in and is furious. However, Zak is forced to agree to let Belle and Lachlan be friends when Lachlan explains that a mistake Zak made will have cost Home Farm thousands of pounds but he could smooth things over with his mother Chrissie who owed Home Farm. However, Chrissie tells Lachlan to stay away from Belle, upsetting her when she believes Lachlan doesn't want to hang out with her. Chrissie and Lachlan take their clients to the pub where Chrissie takes a picture of Lachlan and Sookie in front of Belle to make her jealous. Belle walks in on Chrissie and Sookie talking about Lachlan. Chrissie makes digs about Belle being beneath Lachlan and later warns Belle to stay away. The following day, Lachlan apologises on Chrissie behalf and Belle agrees to meet up later. However, she is disappointed when Lachlan asks her which shirt he should wear for his date with Sookie. Belle is upset when she receives a text from Lachlan saying things with Sookie are going well, unaware he is actually just home playing video games.
Lachlan continues to use Sookie to make Belle jealous but on 8th June 2017 Belle realises he only pretended to go out with her. Lachlan tells Belle that she's the only one he cares about but Belle walks out. The next day, Lachlan smooths things over with Belle. He tells Belle she's brilliant and they kiss. Despite both the Dingles and Chrissie's disapproval, Belle and Lachlan's relationship develops. Belle kisses Lachlan but he pulls away questions why she would want to be with him after what happened with Alicia Metcalfe who he sexually assaulted in 2015. Belle assures him he's nothing like Pierce or Derek and she feels safe with him. In late September 2017, Lachlan stuns Belle by telling her he loves her. Belle later admits she loves him too and they kiss.
On 20th November 2017, Belle's cousin Aaron learns what awful things Lachlan has been up to including throwing a remote at his baby cousin Seb, wishing his sleeping grandfather Lawrence White dead and when confronted by Robert Sugden, Lachlan threatened him and nearly crashed his car just to freak him out. Aaron also finds out Lachlan hired a prostitute behind Belle's back so Aaron decides to warn Belle off. Aaron informs Belle that Lachlan is only giving him half a story about his falling out with Chrissie and reveals Lachlan hired a prostitute. When Belle confronts him, Lachlan truthfully explains to Belle how his friend Gerry Roberts set up the prostitute and that nothing happened but Belle orders Lachlan to get out. At Wishing Well Cottage, Aaron tries to assure Belle that Lachlan isn't worth getting worked up over. Lachlan leaves Belle a voicemail to say goodbye, claiming his life means nothing without her. The next day, a concerned Belle reveals to Chrissie and Lawrence that Lachlan left her a suicidal sounding voicemail last night.
Belle worries as Lachlan continues to be missing and fears he has taken his own life. He turns up a few days later and Belle is annoyed Lachlan didn't inform her he was okay but Lachlan reminds her she dumped him. The next day, Belle is given food for thought when Gerry makes her aware Lachlan didn't sleep with the prostitute and goes to talk to Lachlan. She tells him she's spoken to Gerry and as he promises things will be different from now on, she agrees to give him another shot.
In December 2017, Lachlan suggests to Belle that they get their own place and they start looking for properties online. Lachlan informs excited Belle that Chrissie has decided to buy them a posh flat. However, a few days later, Chrissie calls round at Wishing Well Cottage to speak to Belle, telling her that Lachlan has serious mental health problems and when he ran away, he was really hiding out in the attic and spying on his family. Belle can't believe it. Chrissie hopes Belle could persuade Lachlan to join his family for a fresh start in Australia. Instead, Belle tearfully decides to break it off with him. When Lachlan questions why Belle ended their relationship and begs her to tell him the truth, Belle lies that she doesn't love him and never did. However, when Lachlan offends Belle by questioning if her illness has anything to do with breaking things off Belle admits Chrissie played a role in things, making him furious with his mother. That day, his family crashes whilst on their way to Australia resulting in Chrissie and Lawrence dying and Lachlan's aunt Rebecca White left with severe head trauma.
Belle supports Lachlan but is stunned when he admits that the accident was his fault. Lachlan states he was angry and felt liked he'd been tricked into leaving so he lost it with Chrissie and in that moment, he hated his mother. He tells them Chrissie must've taken her eye off the road whilst they were arguing. Belle assures Lachlan no one is to blame - it was a freak accident. Little did she know, Lachlan actually played a bigger part than he said, having grabbed the wheel, steering the car into the path of the oncoming lorry. He tells Belle she's all he has left now and gives her a peck. Feeling sorry for him, Belle invites Lachlan to stay at Wishing Well Cottage as he has nowhere else to go. Belle and Lachlan start growing closer again.
In February 2018, Belle and Lachlan get the idea to set up their own brewery business. They asks Chas and Charity at the Woolpack to use the pub kitchen but Chas refuses as they've not yet registered as a brewer. However, Charity later gives them the go-ahead in exchange for them looking after the bar for a bit. In March, Belle explains to Chas and Charity that she and Lachlan want to launch their first batch of ale to the pub regulars for the feedback. Chas agrees to think about it as long as they get all the paperwork in order. The launch party for Whingles Ale gets underway and is a huge success. However, things take a bad turn when Lisa suddenly collapses and has to be taken to hospital where she goes into cardiac arrest. The Dingles first worry Belle and Lachlan's ale was behind it but it soon emerges teenagers Liv and Gabby were behind it as they had accidentally spiked her glass with stolen Ketamine. She luckily recovers and Belle focuses her energy back on Whingles Ale.
In April 2018, Belle gets home to find Lisa slumped on the couch gasping for breath. She calls an ambulance. Lisa recovers but the incident prompts her to decide to leave the village, feeling like her family doesn't care about her anymore. Belle struggles with her mother's disappearance as her brother Sam blames her for it. Belle starts hearing voices telling her that Sam and his fiancee Lydia hate her and she should've stopped Lisa from leaving. At the same time, Sam demands Belle tells them where Lisa has gone, suggesting the situation may cause Zak to become ill again. Belle keeps her promise to Lisa and refuses to divulge her mother's whereabouts. Lachlan finds Belle sitting outside Wishing Well with her headphones in. He knows something is wrong so sits down next to her and assures her he's there and everything will be okay. Lachlan confronts Sam, saying he was too hard on Belle. When Belle comes downstairs, Sam apologises for taking things out on her. Belle believes she deserves it but Sam assures his little sister none of this is her fault and they hug.
In May 2018, the voices in Belle's head are getting worse. The voices encourage Belle to destroy the brewing equipment so no one gets hurt. Belle doesn't want to do it but does in an attempt to make the voices go away. Moments later. Priya Kotecha, who Belle hired to help with the company, walks into the barn and questions what's happened. A distressed Belle runs out. Belle checks herself into a mental health unit and starts getting better. After her brief stay in the mental health unit, Belle returns home with Lisa. However, Lisa decides that she needs to go away again and stays in Scotland, this time on better terms with her family.
2019 to present: Lisa's death and working at the vet's
In May 2019, Belle is devastated when Zak and Lisa return from Scotland only for Lisa to reveal that she is terminally ill. On 23rd May, Zak and Lisa get married again but the day takes a darker turn when Lisa dies after returning home to change. Belle struggles to handle her mother's death but tried to hold the family together. On 6th June, Lisa's funeral takes place and Belle reads a reads an emotional poem for her mother.
Later in the year, Belle starts dating Ellis Chapman but they drift apart when he spends a few months in Dubai. Ellis, returns in December 2019 but Belle is annoyed when he doesn't even tell her but she has to find out from somebody else. Despite this, she forgives him and they decide to give their relationship another go. meanwhile, Belle is getting close to her colleague Jamie Tate and supports him when he finds out his wife cheated on him many years ago and lied to him for years. In January 2020, It is revealed that Belle and Jamie spelt together, leaving them both with guilt and regret. They decide to try to forget about it, despite both having feelings for each other. They get close again in February but after Jamie's mother Kim Tate whiteness a kiss between them she warns Belle to stay away from her son, not believing she's good enough for him, and threatens to tell Ellis what they've been up to if she doesn't stay away from Jamie. Belle, however, doesn't let Kim get to her and says she has no power over her. Despite this, she decides to keep her distance as Jamie should focus on his divorce to Andrea Tate and not losing his daughter Millie.
In March 2019, Belle was annoyed when she realised Jamie and Andrea had gotten back together. On a call-out together they ended up sleeping together but Belle was disgusted when she realised Jamie had gone home and spent the night with Andrea later that day. They decided to call off their relationship and Belle instead focused on Ellis who she had been distant from and told him she loved him which he happily returned. In April, Jamie uses the vet's financial issues to convince Paddy that they need to fire Belle but she sees through it right away and confronts Jamie over trying to get rid of her. He admits that it's to sharing seeing her every day knowing her can't have her and the pair share a passionate kiss. Belle breaks up with Ellis not wanting to put him through her lies anymore but was convinced Jamie would never leave Andrea. However, Jamie later admits that he loves her and that he'll leave Andrea.
"You know the difference between you and me is? Family. Mine might be all I got, but we love each other and we stick together. And what have you got? Apart from a lifetime stuck in here. This is it. This is goodbye. And I can't say that it's been nice to know you. But I hope you have a great life Lachlan, I know I will." - to Lachlan White, in a prison visit.
- Twins Emily and James Mather were cast as Belle after their mother, Joanne, was told that the soap's producers were looking for babies to play a role in the show as they realised that the role would be too demanding for one child to play. Emily and James made their first appearance when they were only 10 days old and took turns to play Belle. Their mother was on-set all the time and chose which twin appeared on-screen.
- In 2000 James quit his role as Belle, making Emily the sole portrayer.
- As Belle grew older and her storylines increased, it was decided that a new actress would be playing the part. After a series of auditions, Eden Taylor-Draper was cast as Belle and replaced Emily Mather on-screen in 2005.