No one does a wedding quite like the Dingles in Emmerdale, and the nuptials of Sam Dingle (James Hooton) and Lydia Hart (Karen Black) uphold the tradition of fun, frolics, a few hiccups, and a huge dollop of heart on their big day, which airs on Wednesday 15th April.
“It goes reasonably smoothly, for a Dingle ceremony,” laughs Blick. “There’s a little bit of calamity that resolve itself on the morning as a result of Lydia’s hen do. She wanted a classy affair but Mandy Dingle is in charge, it doesn’t go to plan as Lydia gets drunk and goes awol!”
Ironically, the bride-to-be warns her prospective groom to play it safe on his stag, only for her to end up paralytic on whiskey and Sam and the boys to enjoy a sedate pampering session due to a mix-up of stag and hen activities…
Eventually the couple make it to the church for their big day to begin, which is more glamorous than you might expect from the humble couple. But as Hooton reminds viewers, there’s a good reason for that:
“In the storyline Sam and Lydia came first in a competition to win a big wedding, so we were allowed to have some nice clothes. We scrubbed up quite well, didn’t we?
“Sam’s speech is quite something,” laughs the actor, who recently notched up 25 years in the role. “There’s an analogy of his love for Lydia involving rabbits going down warrens, and having a wee behind a tree…
“Until Lydia came along, Sam thought he would never find love again. He thought he’d got too lucky first time round with his first wife Alice, who died tragically (she had terminal cancer and asked Sam to help end her life).”
The simple souls have found each other and deserve a bit of happiness after a tentative courtship, that hasn’t been without it’s traumas. Lydia has faced a cancer scare and confronted the painful death of a baby she gave birth to in her teens, and after tracking down her long-lost family was told she may carry the gene for degenerative illness Huntington’s disease.
“As a couple they’ve had a lot of issues,” says Hooton. “Hopefully they will get a bit of respite and time to enjoy their matrimonial status before the next dramatic storyline kicks in!”
There’s certainly plenty for fans to enjoy in the wedding episode which is packed with classic quirky Dingle touches. “There’s a gravy fountain in the reception at the Woolpack!” grins Blick. “And it malfunctions,” chips in Hooton. “It was quite an impressive piece of architecture. We used real gravy, we’ve got an impressive budget on this show!”
Lydia also drinks from a wellington boot in an age-old ritual that officially welcomes her into the chaotic clan. “Oh yes the beer in the welly is real too,” confirms Hooton. “They use real lager and bitter in the Woolpack scenes. It’s only the spirits and the wine that are actually flavoured water.”
It’s a welcome dose of light to soap’s usual focus on shade, which the cast welcome. “Sam has tried to be supportive to Lydia through everything and the wedding is a payoff for that. There’s a sense of reward for these characters and their journey, with a happy day at the end of it.”
“The audience likes their relationship and can relate to the hardships they’ve experienced,” reflects Blick. “We have the opportunity as actors to have some fun with it as there’s a lot of daftness, but also the heart of the truth of who they are. If they end up having that same longevity as Zak and Lisa that would be lovely.”