Marlon Dingle’s (Mark Charnock) life is to be blown apart when he learns that Donna (Verity Rushworth) is terminally ill with cancer.
A suspicious Marlon is to be seen next week coming across Donna’s memory box for their daughter April and a box of medication. Having been previously blinded by Donna’s association with Ross Barton, it’s this discovery that leads to the truth finally dawning about his ex-wife’s health.
In the end, Donna is left with no option but to tell Marlon about her condition. But will he able to cope with the news?
“The jigsaw of Marlon’s life had finally come together, but now the pieces have been ripped away,” says Mark Charnock. “There’s obviously the grief of losing Donna. But his overriding concern, after absorbing this cataclysmic shock, is April. How will she ever love him the way she loves her mother? Marlon is gong to be left behind with a child who he’s only known for a few weeks. It’s massive.”
The impact will hit not only Marlon, but his fiancée Laurel (Charlotte Bellamy) too. When she’s told about what’s going on, there’s a further shock when Donna asks her to be April’s mum. Charnock is in no doubt that Donna’s diagnosis will impact greatly on Laurel’s relationship with Marlon:
“Marlon’s grieving process is going to affect Laurel and make her wonder what feelings he has for Donna,” the actor continues. “Marlon’s relationship with April could also affect the good relationship he has with Laurel’s kids. It’ll be a big concern for Laurel because Marlon is going to be in bits emotionally.”
As for the plotline itself, Charnock has nothing but praise for both the scriptwriters and recent returnee Verity Rushworth.
“The storyline takes a different turn because, when Marlon finds out, he’s not allowed to tell anyone. He’s got to keep it a secret. Donna’s life also takes an incredible turn when she decides what she wants to do for April’s future.
“And Verity Rushworth’s performance has been astounding. The audience who’ve come to the show since she left still find themselves engulfed by what she’s doing on screen.”
See Marlon discover Donna’s secret when Emmerdale airs these scenes on Thursday 10 July