Chas Dingle’s wedding to Paddy Kirk is thrown into chaos in Emmerdale next week when the mum-to-be calls off the nuptials at the last minute after clashing with her partner over their unborn baby girl’s future.
The prospective parents are dealing with the devastating news their child has bilateral renal genesis, meaning her kidneys and bladder have not developed properly and there is no chance the baby will survive to full term.
Despite this, the couple are continuing with the pregnancy to give the child every chance at life, however short that might be. But a conversation with the consultant on the eve of their wedding day next week reveals Paddy has secretly been discussing the possibility of donating their daughter’s organs after the inevitable happens – which is news to Chas.
“Because organ donation has never been brought up before Chas hasn’t even considered it,” reveals Lucy Pargeter, who plays distressed Dingle. “As far as she’s concerned her and Paddy were focusing on the baby living, not dying. When donation is suggested it’s like a kick in the teeth, as is the the fact Paddy went behind her back and spoke to the consultant about it without discussing it with her. It’s a massive betrayal.”
Breaking down to big brother Cain Dingle, Chas finally reveals to the family the heartbreaking truth about her baby and how much Paddy has hurt her. Cain tries to make Chas see things from Paddy’s point of view, but is left concerned his sister is still hoping for a miracle on the outcome of her pregnancy.
“Chas is hoping the prognosis is wrong or they might find a miracle cure, or she could go on dialysis,” explains Pargeter. “She’s holding out every bit of last hope something will change or there will be a way to help her baby survive. Although she is in a state of denial, Chas also has immense hope and positivity and is basically clinging on for dear life.”
With her and Paddy at odds over the sensitive situation, Chas decides she can’t go through with the big day. “She wants to walk down the aisle with someone on the same wavelength, but knowing he went behind her back and is secretly thinking about what to do when baby dies, it won’t be the same day for her and she doesn’t want their wedding to be tainted by that.”
Chas and Paddy’s struggle to process the baby bombshell has rightly generated praise for the sensitive writing and honest, truthful performances from Pargeter and co-star Dominic Brunt (Paddy), and the actress admits the storyline has been a challenge. “It’s daunting and you want to do it justice. Whenever you get a big story it’s scary, obviously having had twins myself recently (Pargeter has twin girls Missy and Betsy with partner Rudi Coleano 14 months ago) it’s quite sensitive.”
Having fought together this far, does the wedding potentially being called off mean her on-screen alter ego’s entire relationship is at stake? “I don’t think it will lead to a permanent split for Chas and Paddy,” says Pargeter. “It’s not like Chas doesn’t want to get married at all, she just doesn’t want to do it now while they’re not on the same page about something so important. So hopefully it will all be fine.”
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