Beleaguered Emmerdale couple Vanessa Woodfield (Michelle Hardwick) and Charity Dingle (Emma Atkins) face mounting pressure on their relationship as they cope with Vanessa’s bowel cancer diagnosis, and Tracy Metcalfe (Amy Walsh) discovering her sister’s condition drives the pair even further apart.
Ignoring Vanessa’s plea for privacy, Charity felt compelled to share the heartbreaking health news with her fiancée’s sibling on Monday 9th March as Tracy enthusiastically planned a surprise birthday party for the vexed vet.
While Vanessa eventually admitted at being grateful for her sister’s support in an emotional scene, protective Tracy turned on Charity accusing her of not looking after her properly.
Later this week, battle lines are drawn between the two women in Ms Woodfield’s life as they try to prove who’s got her best interests at heart – putting Charity and Vanessa’s struggling romance on even shakier ground.
“Tracy is frustrated with Charity because she doesn’t feel she’s done enough for Vanessa,” shares Walsh. “So there’s a bit of, ‘You’ve not been there, I’m family, you stay out of now as you’ll only make things worse’.”
Charity’s tough facade has crumbled in the face of her girlfriend’s life-changing diagnosis and Vanessa has keenly felt the distance grow between them. Having her lover and sister at odds will hardly help the situation, but Walsh reckons the friction masks frustration at wanting the same thing.
“They both just want what’s best for Vanessa. Tracy is really panicked about what’s going to happen to her sister, there’s a moment coming up when they’re in the hospital and she loses it. They’ve both been through a lot and are the only family they have left. It’s quite powerful.”
It’s not the first time Tracy has been at a loved one’s side during a health crisis, as she previously supported ex-husband David Metcalfe through testicular cancer.
“I hope that will give her strength in the long run, but initially it feels like a kick in the teeth. I’d be nice for Tracy and David to reunite, and viewers feel the same. But they needed to have some time and space apart. They’re a bit like Ken and Deirdre in Corrie, I’d love for them to find each other again.
“She’s focused on Vanessa for now,” continues Walsh. “Hopefully this storyline will show how important family is in this kind of health battle, but also the symptoms to look out for. I feel proud every day that hearing what alerted Vanesa to her cancer could save someone’s life.”
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