After quite a year for Charity Dingle, Emmerdale actress Emma Atkins is hoping Charity and girlfriend Vanessa Woodfield (Vanity) end up living happily ever after…
It’s been a hell of a year for Charity Dingle and actress Emma Atkins who plays the Emmerdale landlady. Charity’s revelation of her abuse as a teenager, finding the son she thought had died and confronting both her attacker and her father – its no wonder Emma’s won some silverware for the ITV trophy cabinet.
“It’s working really well, so let’s not spoil it for a while!” Emma Atkins tells Inside Soap’s Yearbook 2019. “Often they go, ‘Right! Someone’s having an affair now!’ – but it’s good to show a representation of people when they are happy. Will there be a wedding? That would be lovely! I’m sure the writers would come up with something brilliant and fun!”
After playing Charity since 2000, Emma got to show a different side to the man-eating, scheming chancer we all know and love over the past year, which has given us as well as Emma the chance to find out new things about her character.
“It’s forever changing,” adds Emma. “I think if you played a character the same way the whole way through, that would be really boring for the viewers to watch. It’s always evolving, and I think that’s really important. To keep being on your toes and expecting new stuff is what keeps the characters interesting – I’m glad Charity has had all these different areas of her personality come to light.”
One area that has proved very popular and has won Emma, Charity and Emmerdale a whole new legion fans is Charity’s relationship with Vanessa Woodfield (Michelle Hardwick). #Vanity as they have been named has fast become one of the soap’s ‘power couples’. Probably Charity’s healthiest relationship to date, the chemistry between the two actresses is part of why they are so successful.
Emma explains: “I loved my working relationship with Michelle – we have such a laugh. I’ve been working with her for a year now, but we’d not really worked together much before that – it’s always very exciting when they give you a real change with your character. And I love working with Sally Dexter (Faith Dingle), she’s so much fun – so damn good and charismatic.”
“I was in awe of Paul Copley, who played him,” Emma enthuses. “He’s done some incredible stuff. I remember him from The Lakes years ago – I even auditioned for a role in that show, but I didn’t get the part. I watched it go out and I saw him in it and thought, “Oh, to be in something with him!” So, many moons later when they said he would be playing my dad, I was just star-struck. I needn’t have been nervous, though, as he was brilliant. He was a true pro, and we had a giggle.”
As part of the episode, Obediah revealed that Charity’s mum Kathleen hadn’t died of cancer as she had always believed. She had left him, leaving behind a note and he said she had committed suicide. However, fans were quick to dismiss this given that the son that Charity thought had died recently popped up as a 27 year old man in Ryan Stocks, played by James Moore. Ryan’s arrival has given Charity a whole new dimension as she forges a relationship with her lost child.
“He’s made her really think about how she behaves as a mother, and he’s given her more of a moral compass,” Emma adds. “She can now accept that while she’s flawed, she can make positive changes in her life to put that right. I’m filming episodes now where she’s still a selfish mother – I don’t think you’ll ever truly change Charity. But she tries, and Ryan is that reminder. And he’s brilliant – I love working with James Moore (who plays him).”
As part of the iconic Dingles, its been another strong year for the clan with no signs of slowing down as we head towards Christmas 2018 and into 2019. And the fact the Dingles are at the forefront on storylines is not wasted on Emma.
“I feel dead proud to be part of the Dingles. I still remember my first audition, and being told this character is going to be part of the Dingles – when you hear that word, everyone knows what it means. It’s a huge honour to be a member of that family.”
So what will Emma Atkins take away as her highlight of 2018 – with awards for Best Actress already secured and nominated for more that will be announced at the beginning of 2019?
“The highlight of 2018 really was my friends and family, and the feedback I got from them and my peers,” Emma reflects. “The hard work paid off for me, because you can’t get a bigger accolade than your peers telling you you’ve done a great job. And then recently winning the award for Best Actress was incredible.
“I think the most prevalent thing has been the letters from people who have gone through similar stuff to Charity, which is quite shocking to read. I’m just an actress playing a part, it’s not real. So when you get these very thoughtfully written letters from people, saying it’s been a huge amount of comfort watching it play out on a soap, and that they’re not alone and they can speak out – that’s been the most overwhelming thing.”