Emmerdale star Emma Atkins has hinted at an explosive autumn ahead for her character Charity Dingle as Mark Bails, the corrupt policeman who raped her when she was a teenage prostitute, goes to trial for historic sexual abuse.
Revelations earlier this year that Charity and been forced into underage sex work almost 30 years ago and was groomed and abused by Bails stunned viewers, and earned Atkins praise for her performance as we learnt she had also conceived a child who she believed had died at birth – only to learn he had survived.
After opening up to partner Vanessa Woodfield about DI Bails’s true colours, the first time she had ever spoken about her ordeal, Charity reported him and was recently told a date had been set in September for a trial.
“Charity is scared to seek justice because she doesn’t know if she can go up against someone in a position of power such as Bails,” says Atkins. “It’s Charity V the police force, and he was a cop for so long so there is an element where she wonders if she’ll be believed. Can she go through a massive court case?
“Her son Ryan, who she’s now reunited with, will have to be dragged through the mire – is that something that will be on her conscience if it goes horribly wrong? I think from a moral aspect she should follow it through because finally she’s spoken about something that is so wrong.
“It’s highlighting how prevalent this is in society – people abusing their power in any form, not just through sexual abuse. It’s an exciting storyline to be part of.”
As to how Bails is feeling at the prospect of going against his former victim, Atkins gives nothing away but teases Charity’s strength will shine through. “Bails is naturally going to be wondering what’s in store. He never thought it would come to this so I guess he’ll be terrified.
“This plot has been a renaissance for Charity in a way, she’s showing other sides to her character – and I can finally defend her behaviour, now we know what’s behind it. People have been moved by what is a very disturbing story.”
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