Things weren’t so picture-perfect behind the scenes, however, for Alicya Eyo, who plays waitress Ruby, and co-star Kelli Hollis, who plays her factory-worker fiancee.
“On the takes, we obviously put our heels on, but between takes you look down and we’ve both got these crazy big boots on to keep our feet warm — boots that they probably wear in the Antarctic,” Eyo says, hooting with laughter.
And while the actress loved Ruby’s dress, she confesses: “I couldn’t breathe for the whole day, but that was fine. It took a lot of hoicking up, let’s put it that way!”
It’s been a tough few weeks for Ruby and Ali, following the recent revelation that Ali had a one-night-stand with ex-husband Dom (and briefly thought she might be pregnant).
In the aftermath of the bombshell, Ruby left the village to stay with friends, before returning to reconcile.
Giggles aside, former Bad Girls actress Eyo, and Shameless star Hollis, welled up while filming the couple’s big day, for which Ali’s son, Sean (played by Luke Roskell) returns from the army to give his mum away.
“From the moment we got dressed until we wrapped, it was really emotional,” says Eyo, 38. “We really missed Luke and now he’s all grown up. So it was emotional for the characters and for us, all at the same time. I had tissues and eyeliner constantly on hand.”
In true soap wedding fashion, things don’t go to plan. The registrar dies, so vicar Harriet suggests the pair marry in the church. Fellow vicar Ashley, is concerned, however, that they don’t have the bishop’s permission. And just when it seems things couldn’t get any worse, the police arrive.
“It’s a right old palaver, I tell you!” says Eyo.
Eyo and Hollis have grown very fond of their characters, so they were upset when the couple’s relationship went on the rocks recently.
“We were, like, ’Oh no, don’t break them up!’ But it’s like real life, and no matter how strong a relationship is, there are going to be ups and downs.
“Obviously, Ruby had a lot of thinking to do, but the family and Ali mean more to her than anything,”
The Liverpool-born actress adds: “Everyone makes mistakes and I think she does actually believe that she and Ali are for real and for life.”
Eyo, who was recently named ‘Entertainer of the Year’ at the gay rights charity, Stonewall Awards, says she wasn’t sure what some fans of the soap would make of a lesbian couple in the Dales.
“The most amazing comments come from 80-year-old ladies in Asda who stop me and go, ‘Oh, I hope you have that baby’, and, ‘When are you going to get married?’ They’re so supportive of the relationship and they like the characters. It’s been overwhelming.
“Soaps are a representation of life and they keep up with the times,” she says. “It’s a natural, organic process for all soaps to have gay characters in them. We’re all on board with normalising gay relationships.”
- The episode featuring Ali and Ruby’s wedding is on TV3 and UTV on Friday, at 7pm