Since his first appearance, fans have been waiting for Charity Dingle’s long-lost son Ryan Stocks to arrive in Emmerdale and arrive he did. From bonding with Charity to his newfound friendship with Ross Barton, actor James Moore tells all…
Charity Dingle is over the moon when Irene Stocks allows her to meet her son, Ryan Stocks and as they bond, given they are so alike, and sparks fly. Disappointed that Charity hasn’t told the rest of her family about him, Ryan strikes up a conversation with Ross Barton which lead to the best double act we never knew we needed.
But what of Ryan’s biological mother Irene? “He has a real feeling of being caught in the middle of Irene and Charity,” actor James Moore says. “He wanted a relationship with Charity from the beginning.”
Were you an Emmerdale viewer beforehand?
“Actually, I wasn’t. I got the audition and I was like, ‘Right, I’d better start watching Emmerdale’. To be honest, I was instantly blown away. I had a stereotypical view of soaps and I was amazed at how good it was. The acting is amazing and the storylines are incredibly well-written. I still watch it now and think, ‘I don’t know this storyline or what is going on.’
“People asked if I was nervous coming into Emmerdale, and in a sense I was because it’s a big TV role, but I was less nervous as I recognised Emma Atkins (aka Charity) in the audition, and that helped me bring out more of myself. She’s fantastic to work with, and every time we’re on set together, there’s a real chemistry. We’re not that different off screen to how we are on – there’s plenty of laughs.”
Tell us more about Ryan?
“He’s 27 and although I haven’t been given an extensive back story yet. I’m kind of developing one in my mind. I don’t speak with a Northern accent because I’m from Cheltenham, so I had this idea that my character would be Bristol-based and he’s coming from this City into a small village. The look he has is very different from anyone else you’d see in the village.”
Did you have any input into the character?
“They were open to learning more about me, which I liked. They asked me lots of questions about my disability and my early life – they really did a deep dive. It’s so cool because I’d never really gone back that far and thought about it.”
How does Ryan feel about Charity?
“Ryan has wanted a relationship from the beginning – that’s why he comes back. There’s a ‘will-they-won’t-they’ aspect to the story, but they do really want to get to know each other and have this family. There are so many obstacles, such as Charity’s past and Ryan’s mum Irene – all these conflicting issues are getting in the way.
“Irene has bought him up for 27 years and then, all of a sudden, Charity’s in the mix, so there’s conflict there. Irene’s quite jealous, but Ryan and Charity have a connection, even though she abandoned him. He has to make a decision, and at the end of the day, he tries not to upset anyone.”
When did you decide to become an actor?
“I wanted to be one since I was 13. But, as I have cerebral palsy, I needed disabled roles, so I kind of went off it. I did a degree in photography, then I joined the National Youth Theatre. Earlier this year, I got an agent and, two weeks later, they called me in and said Emmerdale want to see you.”
Tell us about the friendship that Ryan strikes up with Ross Barton…
“They click immediately because they have a really similar sense of humour. When Ryan first meets Ross, he explains Charity was a ‘prostitute’ and the reason he knows her is that she’s ‘literally the mother of my child.’ I think Ryan has a bad-boy element about him that is just waiting to come to the forefront. Charity, on the other hand, has her own thoughts about Ryan and Ross becoming friends…”
What do you think about the current representation of disability on TV?
“Obviously, I’d love to see more disabled people on TV. We’ve progressed so quickly in everything – race, sexuality, gender, etc. It’s fantastic Emmerdale have hired a transgender actor to play Matty Barton and they’ve picked me to play Ryan Stocks. We can give the roles a truth because we have the experience that enables us to connect with the characters.”
How has this plot been for you?
“I was full of excitement when I read the scripts, because it’s nice to do something different. You can go through phases where you’re just being a gobby cow, but this has so much more substance. It’s been exquisitely written and brilliantly dealt with.”
What did you think when you first met James?
“I was blown away! We had instant chemistry in the audition. He nailed it in one. I knew it was going to be something really special.”
What does Charity think of Ryan’s friendship with Ross?
“She’s beyond worried, as she has this child with Ross (Michael Parr) that she’s not even explained to Ryan yet! It’s quite funny in the pub – she’s trying to listen to what Ross is telling him. She’s walking past, thinking, ‘What is he saying?’
Do you think Charity will lead Ryan astray?
“I think her mischievous nature will come through! They do egg each other on, and Ryan gives as good as he gets. But it’d be great to see them get completely drunk and put the world to rights.”
What’s it been like to explore Charity’s past?
“It’s hugely flattering for me as an actress – it’s just gold. It’s a wonderful chance to show what I can do.”