Marlon Dingle is to seek urgent medical help next week when an attack by alcoholic wife Laurel gives him a severe eye injury.
Laurel is to lash out in the wake of a drinking session that will see her almost lose her life. After being tended to by paramedics while supposedly caring for little April and Arthur, Laurel is told that social services will investigate. It’s a turn of events that stretches Marlon’s patience to breaking point.
“He’s at the end of his tether,” says Mark Charnock, who plays the beleaguered Marlon. “It’s just one thing after another. He just rants at her and gets increasingly wound up. Eventually, he says, ‘You’re needy, you’re an alcoholic and look what’s become of you’. She just whacks him.”
Up until this point, Marlon has felt like he could handle his wife increasing dependency on drink. But this attack – coupled with advice from Cain that he should show Laurel the door – will make him wonder whether his marriage can actually be saved.
“I guess he’s felt that if you have enough love for somebody, you can take charge of the situation and almost shake them out of it. You can be their protector. But he now realises that it’s not in his control at all,” Charnock adds.
And later in the week, Marlon will be left terrified when he stumbles and realises that he cannot see out of his injured eye. Cain offers to take him to hospital, where Marlon is told that he needs surgery for a detached retina as soon as possible.
But more drama is to come when Laurel again takes to the bottle, the repercussions of her actions leading to a horrifying event that will be enough for Marlon to order Laurel out of his life once and for all.
Says Charnock cryptically: “Let’s just say there’s an event that happens that really heightens the stakes of their marriage, so much because of what happens but because of her reaction to it.
“Marlon has always been very nervous about relationships, which goes back to him losing his first wife Tricia. The loss of Donna was also a big deal for him because he was channelling what he’d been through before.
“So, in a way, I think Marlon would rather that Laurel not be with him. To lose another wife would be beyond comprehension after all he’s been through.”
You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of Emmerdale below.
And visit our dedicated Emmerdale page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.