Lockdown has led to some difficult conversations between Chas Dingle (Lucy Pargeter) and Paddy Kirk (Dominic Brunt), and despite trying to close up the cracks in their relationship the couple are at odds over whether to have another child.
The fifth of Emmerdale‘s special lockdown episodes focused on the Woolpack landlady and her vet partner navigating their way through the first month of isolation. There was already tension bubbling between the pair in the pub’s backroom as baby daughter Eve struggled with teething, and Chas fretted about finances and the future of the business, so when Paddy casually blurted out the idea of adding to their brood it didn’t go down well.
Clapping for carers brought back painful memories of when they lost baby Grace, who only lived a few hours, and Chas tentatively tried to tell a clearly deflated Paddy she didn’t think the timing was right to plan a brother or sister for Eve.
Pre-lockdown, Paddy had struggled with anxiety over having a newborn after losing Grace so tragically, and accidentally left Eve in the car while helping friend Marlon Dingle when he was rushed to hospital. Social services were called and the incident drove a wedge between the couple that’s clearly still there.
Attempting to put the fun back into their partnership and cheer up Chas, Paddy planned a romantic date night with cocktails and a pretend exotic holiday, with inflatable palm trees and a box of sand in the lounge replicating the beach, but by the end of the emotional episode – superbly written and performed, like all of the lockdown outings – it was clear the couple were papering over their problems.
Never mind Chas sinking her feet into that sand, her and Paddy’s heads were positively buried in it.
The baby issue feels unresolved, could it continue to fester and cause more problems if they’re not on the same page? Can their romance be repaired?
“There is an unspoken strain and Chas feels it more than Paddy,” says Brunt. “Chas has had the bulk of the childcare in lockdown and is, to some degree, more isolated than he is. She’s stuck in a closed pub while he’s still out on vet’s calls.
“He’s also not very aware of others’ feelings and is clumsy emotionally, he misses the subtleties. But he wants to make things better between them, and he definitely loves his family.
“Paddy, as usual, doesn’t see the signs that Chas is struggling straight away. He should’ve noticed months ago. I just hope he’s not too late…”
Emmerdale’s final lockdown edition airs on Wednesday 24th June, with Marlon Dingle, stepson Ellis Chapman and his estranged dad Al Chapman the final household viewers visit before a new normal service resumes on the show from next week, with episodes back up to Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Visit our dedicated Emmerdale page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers. If you’re looking for more to watch check out our TV guide.