Emmerdale fans are willing Vanessa Woodfield to beat bowel cancer as she undergoes chemotherapy, as is Michelle Hardwick who plays the brave vet, and the actress has revealed the goals she’d like her character to reach when – or if – she makes it through her draining treatment.
“Firstly I’d love her to go on that family holiday that was meant to be her and Charity Dingle’s honeymoon a few months ago,” she tells RadioTimes.com. “Charity thought Vanessa took her son Johnny when she was actually being held hostage by Pierce Harris!
“We don’t know much about her mum so if she had a ‘bucket list’ of sorts I think it would be nice for Vanessa to reach out and reconnect with her after going through this. They are in each other’s lives, she visits her sometimes, but I don’t feel like that have the best mother/daughter relationship.”
Asked who could play her estranged parent, Hardwick is careful not to offend any potential casting choices… “In real life my mum is in early 60s so it would have to be an actress somewhere around that age. I’ll have to do a little online research, I daren’t say any names in case they’re not old enough! Someone suggested Sarah Lancashire which would be great, but I’d say she’s too young.”
RadioTimes.com helpfully suggests Vera star and Oscar nominee Brenda Blethyn, which gets an enthusiastic reaction. “I’ve heard she might be a fan of the show, actually… It’s just a shame Michael Praed isn’t in the cast any more as my dad to be partnered with them!”
Vanessa’s chemo struggle causes the usually sensible soul to go off the rails on Wednesday 22ndApril, when she drags reluctant best mate Rhona Goskirk to their old student bar to celebrate her BFF’s birthday.
What starts out as a trip down memory lane to make ‘Ness feel normal again spirals into a booze-fuelled disaster as Ms Woodfield clashes with a cocky punter and drinks to forget her worries, leading to a fight with Charity about why she went out in the first place.
“Vanessa just wanted to get out of the house and have a bit of normality,” sighs Hardwick. “This young lad starts taking the mickey out of her bum bag which contains her medication, and the reality of what she’s going through hits her.
“She gets more drunk and throws a drink over this lad. It’s filmed and is posted online, and by the time Vanessa gets home Charity has seen it – she had no idea she’d even gone out!
“Vanessa feels guilty and is a bit sheepish as she sobers up. I don’t think she’s going off the rails though, it’s a one-off blowout. You can’t blame her for wanting to escape everything.”
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