Emmerdale: “Charity’s abuse secret is ugly and upsetting” – Emma Atkins and Michelle Hardwick interview

A dark chapter of Charity's past is explored next week with a huge bombshell

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Emmerdale’s Charity Dingle confesses a devastating secret to girlfriend Vanessa Woodfield next week. When Tracy Metcalfe is the victim of abuse over her past and awaits sentencing of tormentor Phil, Charity is surprisingly sympathetic.

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But the unpredictable Dingle then toughens up leading Vanessa to question her erratic behaviour. It’s then that the pub landlady opens up about her past, revealing something truly shocking she has never spoken about before.

What has Charity been hiding? How will Vanessa react? And will Charity push her lover away now she knows about the darkest chapter of her life? Emma Atkins and Michelle Hardwick tease the epic episodes ahead that change everything for Charity…

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What can you reveal about Charity’s confession to Vanessa?
Michelle: For the first time ever we are going to see why Charity is as she is. The one person who can tap into her at this point in her life is Vanessa. We’re going to find out some things…
Emma: Her past literally comes back to haunt her through Tracy’s storyline. It involves the character of DC Bails, a policeman who was in the show a few years ago. An ominous history between them was hinted at which is being tapped into again. Charity’s past is complicated and he was involved.
E: It may also explain why Charity has decided that being in love with a woman is a much less complicated situation for her at the moment. It’s a more gentler and safer side that she is showing. There was serious abuse of some kind that she went through when she was 14.

How does Vanessa react?
M: She is shocked and in absolute awe of how Charity has become who she is today and that she isn’t a broken woman. She is proud of her and just wants to be there for her. Vanessa falls for her even deeper.

Is she glad she is the person Charity has confided in after all this time?
M: Yes. Vanessa asks who else knows and Charity explains Debbie knows a little bit but she hasn’t told anyone the extent of what she is telling Vanessa. With all that on her shoulders, what does Vanessa do? That’s the next step and her burden is how can she help Charity. Will Vanessa then do something that could jeopardise the relationship?

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Are you pleased to see Charity’s past explored?
E: Yes, it’s an amazing opportunity to be given something so brilliantly written. Maxine Alderton, one of our most incredible writers, has done the episode and it’s a dream. It’s so delicately written and beautiful. It’s nerve-wracking as it’s delving really deeply into someone’s history. It’ll be quite exposing, ugly and upsetting.

What will it mean for Charity’s future?
E: I think the past will keep coming back to haunt her. Just as she is coming to terms with one thing, it won’t stop there – this will run for some time. More keeps emerging and it’s an ongoing trauma for Charity.

Were there things you discovered about Charity you didn’t know before?
E: I knew she had an ugly past but not the extent of what she had endured. Reading the scripts, it does all make sense. You play a character for so long and it’s even more amazing now that I have all of this history to delve into. It explains why she behaves the way she does, why she pushes people away or does catastrophic things because she is out of control mentally.

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