Chas Dingle is to split up with James Barton after he spends the night with estranged wife Emma. Scenes to be shown next week see James (Bill Ward) getting the wrong idea about Chas’s growing closeness to Paddy (Dominic Brunt) and ending up back in the arms of Emma as a result. But little does James realise that Chas is merely confiding in Paddy over her concerns for son Aaron.
“Chas is being quite secretive with the whole Aaron thing and only she and Paddy really know about what’s been going on with Robert,” says actress Lucy Pargeter. “Chas and Paddy’s conversations do get quite close, but she doesn’t expect James to start thinking she’s having an affair with him. He’s getting very paranoid. And Emma is, of course, stirring it all up.”
Emma is certainly delighted by the news that James is suspicious of Chas and wastes no time in meddling further, inviting her ex back for a drink. And pretty soon, James is falling for her manipulative ways!
But in a change from soap opera conventions where infidelity storylines are usually spun out for months on end, Chas is quick to discover that James has cheated and shows him the door. Not that Pargeter thinks her character will end up heartbroken as a result.
“Chas doesn’t need a man. She’s got a pub and she’s got plenty of clients there. I think she and James are fine apart. For a long time, she just needed someone in her life and that was more apparent when Aaron wasn’t around. But now that he’s back, Aaron has become all consuming. She could do with just focusing on him for a while.”
But does the break-up with James allow for a catfight with the other woman in James’s life? After all, Emma has schemed to split them up and now those machinations have paid off.
“No! She does kind of push Emma out of the pub and say, ‘stay away from me or I will batter you’. But Chas has mellowed. She only throws drinks nowadays, not punches. All I keep reading in the scripts is, ‘Chas throws a drink’. What happened to the punching Chas? At least it’s turned me into a brilliant aim. With both water and beer!”
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