Still reeling from DI Bail’s court case, Emmerdale’s Charity Dingle still hasn’t found the justice she wants so goes in search of her father Obadiah to discover why he kicked her out in the first place. Actress Emma Atkins reveals more…
Charity Dingle has certainly been through the mill over the past year, admitting to being abused and finding out her baby, which she thought had died is alive and kicking. Having been brave enough to face her abuser DI Mark Bails (Rocky Marshall) in court and him being found guilty with a 30 year prison sentence, you’d think Charity would have put her demons to bed but instead they are consuming her.
“Charity is currently a loose cannon and everyone is quite concerned,” explains Emma Atkins, who plays Charity Dingle. “The outcome of the trial didn’t give her concrete answers and she’s not sure how she feels about Bails going to jail. Charity doesn’t feel happier or relieved, she just feels numb.”
To cure her numbness, Charity does what she is known for and reverts to her old drunken wild ways which she feels comfortable with, being insensitive to others and full of self pity. Angry for being put in that position as a teenager in the first place, she turns on the Dingle clan, as they did nothing when her dad threw her out as a teenager.
In search of more booze to block out her memories, Charity overhears Cain Dingle (Jeff Hordley) remark that she’s never going to change. Fearing he’s right, she steals Uncle Zak’s van keys but as she’s driving away, runs over Zak’s dog Monty’s paw with the van.
The next morning, Charity wakes up in a field with a vicious hangover and lashes out at a farmer who calls the police on her. She’s let off with a warning but when her family ask what she was thinking, Charity explains that she wanted to find her dad before she drunkenly passed out. What Charity doesn’t know is that Zak (Steve Halliwell) knows exactly where Charity’s dad Obadiah is…
Charity gets ready to visit her dad but will the meeting go well and what does she think she’s going to get from Obadiah?
“She’s sure that she’s going to be met with what she got years ago – a belligerent, cantankerous guy who has no patience with Charity,” answers Emma. “But she wants answers and she’s determined to get them. She’s nervous but Charity knows how to handle Obadiah. She is surprised though as when she gets there he’s actually not the same person essentially. He’s not drinking as much – but by the end of the episode, she sees the same old traits in her father.
“Charity needs to know why he didn’t support her when he threw her out, why he didn’t come and rescue her. She also learns a lot of shocking truths about her mum, gaining insight into the past that she never knew. It does kind of change everything and she stops being so self destructive. Charity starts to change her mind and realise perhaps there is a way out of this, it gives the clarity and the freedom that she needed to break away from the past. So in some ways its comforting…”
Having been reunited with her father and seeing he’s damaged goods as she is, Charity realises she’s from that kind of stock and there’s only one way out which is create her own destiny and break free from all that pain in order to rebuild her life and those bridges she burnt along the way with her family especially her children.
Emma adds: “Charity’s not been the greatest mother, she knows that. But that doesn’t mean she can’t change. She doesn’t want to have that broken relationship that she had with her father. Charity wants her kids to know that she’ll always be there and she’ll never let them down. She’s going to show a loyalty that perhaps she’s not shown until now.
“All the trauma, all the dysfunction around her relationship with Cain and her father have given Charity a heart of stone. But there is a heart in there – falling in love with Vanessa (Michelle Hardwick) is a huge part of this story. It’s brought a softer side to Charity which is refreshing to see amidst all this chaos and I think that’s very important in this.”
Charity Dingle has had more than her fair share of failed romances with men including Chris Tate (Noah’s father), Tom King, Jai Sharma, Declan Macey and of course Cain Dingle (Debbie’s father). So why does that new relationship with vet Vanessa Woodfield work so well? Its certainly got a lot of people shipping ‘Vanity’…
“I think she looked everywhere else and went for the wrong type,” confesses Emma. “Charity never went looking for love with Vanessa. If anything she thought it was going to be a flash in the pan. It’s quite interesting for the viewers to see that side where Charity finally does submit and give into love. She says it out loud and is the first to say it too, which bowls Vanessa over really. I think the audience will be in shock! Its something that’s working for both of them and showing different sides to their personalities.
“Vanessa has already shown that she’s more than capable of handling someone as ridiculous as Charity! It just works, but there’s always something in soaps that you have to prepare for. They can’t be happy forever, perhaps, but for the time being its a good representation of a same-sex relationship: women in their 40s with kids. I’m part of a storyline that has substance so I’m not just putting on wigs and stealing cars – which I do love, so I don’t want that mischief to end! If I can I’ll find a way to strike a perfect balance between the two.”