Despite being cleared of murdering Graham Foster and escaping a prison sentence for a crime he didn't commit, life is far from frivolous for Emmerdale's Marlon Dingle (Mark Charnock) as he faces a barrage of family drama.
The enjoyment of his freedom, in the wake of the real killer Pierce Harris finally getting apprehended, is short-lived this week as he learns daughter April Windsor-Dingle is being targeted by bullies over his arrest, and some of his relatives have been hiding evidence that could've exonerated him earlier.
On Tuesday 3rd March, Marlon is heartbroken at April's admission she has become the victim of cruel texts branding her dad a murderer and feels guilty at the impact of his ordeal on the little girl.
Worse is it come later in the week when it emerges Marlon's cousin Charity Dingle, along with son Ryan Stocks, stole Graham's money the night he was killed but kept quiet to protect themselves - effectively enduring Marlon's spell prison by deliberately hiding evidence that could've helped clear his name earlier.
"What Charity and Ryan have done is pretty bad, but Marlon over-reacts massively," shares Charnock. "If they had just come forward and been straight with the police it would have proved there are other people who could have murdered Graham and he would have got out."
Charity bears the brunt of her relative's rage, but that's just the start of a series of showdowns with loved ones who let him down.
Rhona Goskirk reveals to Marlon that Kim Tate hired a hitman to bump off her hubby and her sidekick Al Chapman was implicated. The stressed chef feels even more betrayed when Al's son, and Marlon's stepson, Ellis sides with his father… "Ellis chickens out of reporting Al to the police," continues Charnock. "Marlon treats Ellis like a proper stepson, they are close, but after this he kicks him out.
"And when Billy tries to defend his half-brother, Marlon kicks him out too! Marlon is basically getting rid of anybody in his circle apart from his children, as they are who he wants to focus on."
Viewers have already seen Marlon fall out with Mandy Dingle for selling her story about him to the press, and by Thursday 5th March he has it out with the whole chaotic clan in the Woolie and tells them he's done with the family…
"The Dingle ethos is that you have each other's backs," sighs Charnock, "and in this case they didn't. Marlon believes they've broken the code, but I don't think he realises how much he needs his family.
"The rug has been pulled from under Marlon's life, and he is creating a distance between himself and others wherever he goes. On the plus side I love doing these dramatic scenes - especially all the shouting! There are going to be really interesting consequences later in the spring, I'm really excited…"
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