Emmerdale‘s Marlon Dingle (Mark Charnock) has a big surprise in store on Christmas Day as he learns girlfriend Jessie Grant (Sandra Marvin) has arranged a spontaneous festive wedding – only the pub chef thinks his relative Sam Dingle is the one tying the knot…
Jessie has secretly organised a ceremony for her and Marlon with the help of Lydia Hart, but the cover story that it’s Lydia wanting to surprise her man Sam to put the oblivious groom off the scent leads to all sorts of confusion.
“Lydia has planned it all for Jessie,” reveals Marvin, “but as Marlon starts asking awkward questions she pretends she’s organising her and Sam’s wedding. Then Marlon lets slip to Sam and it all gets very confusing!” After a boozy Christmas Eve, the hapless Dingle duo wake up on Christmas Day in the back of a delivery van they fell asleep in the night before in the middle of nowhere. It’s at this point Marlon reveals to Sam he’s meant to be getting hitched and they have to get back to the village – meanwhile, Jessie frets when he groom is a no-show…
“Jessie doesn’t realise the boys got carried away and have to hitchhike home. Prior this she’s had a lovely moment with Marlon’s daughter April who has given her blessing to their wedding, saying getting a new stepmum is the best Christmas present she could ask for. April’s approval is important to Jessie, obviously.”
When Marlon does arrive back, the news it’s actually him and Jessie who are set to say their vows is met with shock and he promptly faints! “He is overwhelmed by everything, and also lightheaded as he is so hungover!” laughs Charnock. “But I wouldn’t take it as a bad omen for the wedding itself, which turns out to be very romantic.
“It’s very colourful and Lydia’s interpretation of an Afro-Caribbean theme. It’s going to be fantastic, the script is really well written and genuinely laugh out loud funny, very sweet and romantic and a bit farcical! James Hooten (Sam) and I don’t get to work together much so that part of it was good fun and a real bonus.”
Could Jessie be killed off if she marries Marlon?
Emmerdale fans will have to tune in on Christmas Day to find out if Jessie does become the fourth Mrs Marlon Dingle, but both stars are well aware of the ‘curse’ that being married to the character entails, as the brides often meet a tragic fate… “I’m on the lookout in scripts for any mention of roofs, chimneys, car parks… I hope she makes it and doesn’t got the same way as Tricia or Donna!
“It would be lovely for Marlon to have some happiness and a family unit for him and April. I’m just thrilled to be at the centre of the Christmas episode and have a big Dingle wedding!”
“I’ve been here 22 years so a wedding every five years feels about right!” jokes Charnock. “This time I think it could make for a genuinely interesting pairing as a blended family, and with April, Leo and even Paddy in the mix I’m excited about the way it’s shaping up. Marlon and Jessie have both lost people, they are vulnerable but complete each other’s circle. Marlon’s romantic CV is terrible in terms of disaster and catastrophe, but I feel him and Jessie have got legs as a couple. And wait until you see the dance sequence in the wedding episode!”
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