Actress Returning

This one has been rumored and speculated on for a while, but it was confirmed today. Head behind the cut to find out…


Martha Madison, who played Belle Black from 2004-2008, confirmed on her Internet radio show about soaps (yes, you read that correctly) that she’s back on contract with DaysGiven the news that Jason Cook will be back as Shawn for this fall’s 50th anniversary — though seemingly not on contract — and the fact that Madison has remained close with the cast and crew (Dena Higley even recently followed Madison on Twitter), it isn’t a huge surprise, though it threw me that she’ll be on contract and not just popping in for a visit. She first airs on November 25, which means she’s probably already been filming and they actually kept this under wraps for a while.

I don’t know how I feel about this. Given the casting call that seems to be for a teenaged Claire, it makes sense for at least one of her parents to be around. And Madison always struct me as a perfectly capable actress who was somewhat miscast in a not-very-well-written role. I was so relieved when Belle and Shawn were written out in 2008, because for years, they dominated the show for no discernible reason. Rather than being two fleshed-out individuals who came together in a coupling that drew out their characters, they were just two halves of “Shelle.” Belle spent years limply waffling between Shawn and Philip because… she couldn’t handle being alone?

If they’re going to get them both onscreen to explain their breakup and then build Belle as a character in her own right, I’m open to it. If we’re just going to fall back into an endless spiral of Shelle, then no thanks. But Madison seems like a lovely person, so I’m glad that she’ll have work, and Belle is long overdue for a visit to Salem. I’m trying to figure out what they’d do with a single Belle. She can’t be paired with Brady or Eric on account of genetics. Chad is too young. Rafe? Daniel?! (God help us all.) Last we saw Belle, she had become a nurse, so playing her at the hospital and not rushing her into a pairing seems like a good idea, especially since she’ll have the Claire stuff to deal with.

Fingers crossed.

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10 Comments on “Actress Returning”

  1. fluffysmom Says:

    This could be interesting. Belle has plenty of family in Salem to get reacquainted with including her new brother Paul.

    • mykleraus Says:

      Agreed. Lots of angles to play. I’m definitely glad we’re getting Shawn and Belle in Salem at long last. I just really don’t want “Shelle” to eat the show again. Although after years of Daniel…

  2. rustyspigot Says:

    I forgot Belle and Paul are half siblings. Belle kind of got interesting with Phillip for awhile, but she will always be Sami’s “Black Market Baby For Sale” to me.

    • mykleraus Says:

      Belle and Philip were interesting during their affair just before Shelle left, but in retrospect, I think I was more excited about the actors sparking together and Madison seeming relieved that she finally got to play something fun rather than just be a constant helpless victim. I don’t think that story did anyone any favors.

  3. Jamie Says:

    This pleases me. Martha Madison was always my favorite Belle. Yeah, there’s something to be said about the original, but Kirsten Storms’ Belle was an annoying, spoiled brat…and even as she aged, she never quite got over that, IMO. Madison lent some maturity to the role, which was needed as Belle aged.

    • mykleraus Says:

      I think Madison did a good job with what she was given. I just wish what she was given wasn’t so often a joyless drone who was both judgmental and completely unaccountable for her own dumb actions.

  4. marypickford Says:

    My feelings are mixed. I like Madison but never really liked Belle.But if they give her her own personality and get her away from Shawn … maybe.

    • mykleraus Says:

      That’s how I feel. If they were just visiting, I’m fine with Shawn & Belle being together and happy mostly offscreen. But if either or both are on contract, they NEED to use this opportunity for a reboot and fresh start.

  5. Dan Says:

    I don’t know what to think of the massive overload of new characters to this show.

    I’m thinking Shawn and Belle will be around for six months before deciding to head off on another trip around the world leaving Claire, now the show’s younger ingenue, to stay in Salem to fight her spoiled aunt Ciara for the love and affection of some boy, probably Chase. I cannot imagine this show commiting to Shawn and Belle again in the long term. What would the point be? They burned through two decades of plotting in five years.

    IMO, Madison was highly overrated, better than her predecessors, but I felt she phoned it in more often than not. To be fair, I wasn’t watching regularly when she was on, but she rarely wowed me.

    The only story I would be willing to sit through in the long run with Belle and Shawn would be one where it was revealed that during Sami’s baby switch in the 1990s she was given back the wrong baby and Martha Madison’s Belle wasn’t John and Marlena’s child.

    • mykleraus Says:

      I always thought that would make a good story for Belle, since it was built into actual history anyway. At this point, I’m not sure I would care (or what it would really mean, unless the ‘real’ Belle tried to Single White Female her or something).

      I never really minded Madison, but she rarely had any strong material. I’d like to give her the benefit of the doubt and think that if she had something solid to play, she could do it, but Belle was such a wet blanket during her entire run.

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