Charity Dingle confronts another chapter of her painful past in Emmerdale next week when she meets up with estranged father Obadiah for the first time in years. With her childhood abuser DI Bails behind bars, the discovery of long-lost son Ryan Stocks and a deepening romance with Vanessa Woodfield making the last few months eventful to say the least, how will Charity react to reuniting with the dad who rejected her?
“The outcome of the trial has not taken away the pain of what Bails did to Charity,” reveals Emma Atkins, who plays the troubled landlady. “She’s not happy or relieved, she just feels numb and angry. She reverts back to the old Charity – drinking too much, full of self-pity, she’s a loose canon and everyone’s quite concerned.”
Laying the blame at the door of the other Dingles for not supporting her when Obadiah chucked her out as a teenager, which forced her into prostitution and led to the rape ordeal with Bails that resulted in falling pregnant with Ryan, Charity is off the rails and the chaotic clan hold a family meeting to discuss her spiralling bad behaviour.
“The family tell her she needs to pull herself together, but she overhears Cain saying she’s never going to change – she’s damaged goods. Charity initially blames Zak and the rest for not rescuing her from the streets. She eventually goes in search of her dad on a drunken mission, which she doesn’t intend to do at first…”
After stealing Zak’s van while under the influence, hungover Charity wakes up in a field the next morning and is apprehended by the police after lashing out at a farmer who tries to help her. She’s let off with a warning and informs the Dingles she tried to find her father but passed out plastered. Then Zak reveals he knows where Obadiah is, and apprehensive Charity prepares to meet up with him…
“Charity wants answers about her past, and is nervous but determined to get them. She thinks she knows what she’s going to get by visiting her dad.” Atkins won’t reveal the outcome of their meeting, but it’s confirmed Obadiah Dingle will appear in the form of veteran actor Paul Copley, whose many credits include Downton Abbey, Last Tango in Halifax, Call the Midwife and Hornblower among others.
Elsewhere next week, Charity’s relationship with vet Vanessa Woodfield – which has become wildly popular with fans – reaches a milestone as the pair seal their commitment by using the ‘L’ word for the first time – and it’s Charity who says it first! “That bowls Vanessa over,” grins Atkins. “Charity wasn’t looking for true love with Vanessa but she has found it, no doubt. It will be interesting for viewers to see her finally submit to her feelings and say it out loud.
“It’s nice they haven’t put them together only to split them up six weeks later, and to see a functional relationship for a change. They can still have disagreements but essentially for them to stay as a couple for the foreseeable future feels like the right thing. Whatever Charity does, Vanessa has shown she’s more than capable of dealing with someone as dramatic and ridiculous as her!
“Charity and Vanessa are in a same-sex relationship in their 40s, they both have kids – it’s great for representation and feels good to be part of a storyline with substance, and not just putting on wigs and robbing cars. Don’t get me wrong, I do love that,” insists the star, before fans fear Charity’s losing her edge. “I never want that mischievous side to end, but if I can find a balance in the character then that’s really good.”
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