In the final week of special lockdown episodes showing life in Emmerdale for the village residents, vet Paddy Kirk is at the Woolpack with partner Chas Dingle. The ultimate ‘lock-in’ isn’t going quite to plan though. Actor Dominic Brunt explains…
Most men can only dream of being in lockdown in a pub but its a reality for vet Paddy Kirk as he and Chas Dingle are in the Woolpack. While Paddy wants to drink the cellar dry, Chas is struggling and feels cut off from her old life. Underneath his jovial banter, Paddy is acutely aware he wants to get things back on track between them and reveals his plans for them both – what does their future hold and with it be together. Actor Dominic Brunt explains…
How did you feel when you were asked to be part of these special Lockdown episodes?
Well there are only 13 of the cast involved so I was really flattered and honoured. I’m also intrigued as to what the other characters have been up to.
Was it hard to learn the script, given the amount of dialogue as there are only two of you in the episode?
The script is very well written and it’s very subtle and moves at a pace. As a two hander, I was worried that it might be a 20-odd minute monologue shared between Lucy and myself, but it’s quite episodic and cut into bite size chunks. Most scenes are about five pages long so we can film it in stages. I haven’t learnt a single line of dialogue in about three months though so I’m nervous. Lucy is a master at learning lines and hardly ever stumbles. No pressure!
Tell us about the rehearsal process.
We didn’t get to rehearse in the studio as child-care and short notice meant it was impossible. We’ll be Skyping and making sure all the lines are learned very well.
Did these episodes feel more collaborative i.e. did you work more closely with the writer or script editor for this episode?
I prefer to leave the writers alone. They are experts and professionals at what they do. I think it’s a slippery slope to let actors into that process. You wouldn’t let the editors start directing so why let the actors start writing. The lunatics would take over the asylum.
Tell us about the actual filming process and how it differed from normal?
The whole building and way of working is totally different and will be for the foreseeable future, until this danger passes. Smaller crew, smaller cast, we will be doing our own hair (I have none so I’m lucky this time) and make up. Social distancing will be paramount.
Are you interested in how this episode is received?
I hope the audience likes the episodes. It will be a concentrated look at people who have been in lockdown together and the little stresses and strains this causes.
Did it feel more exposed/intense than a normal episode?
Each episode is being shot in one day so there is certainly an element of intensity and I know I’m a little rusty and self aware.
What resource/crew member /staff did you miss most from the usual team but were not there for this?
There are loads of people missing from the process. Lots of departments will be preparing the work before we turn up, but won’t be present on the day. It’ll be uncomfortable and it’s not ideal but it is safe and it means we can make episodes and work again.
How is Paddy finding lockdown?
I think he’s been alright. He’s working with animals and on emergency call out. He’s been doing the farms and helping with lambing and calving. They also have the run of The Woolpack now it is empty.
There are strains in their relationship. Is Paddy wary of Chas at the moment?
There is an unspoken strain and Chas Dingle is feeling it more than Paddy. Chas has had the bulk of the childcare and is, to some degree, more isolated than he is. He’s also not very aware of others feelings and he’s clumsy emotionally. He’s still a bit of a puppy and not very worldly so he misses the subtleties of people’s emotions.
Is he desperate to try and make things better?
I think he wants people to be happy and he definitely loves his family. He tries his best.
What is it that you love about Paddy and Chas’ relationship?
I like the fact that they are chalk and cheese. He doesn’t take her for granted and Chas always gives Paddy a run for his money. I get the feeling that Chas has been around the world and Paddy has been around the Harrogate area.
How does he feel when he realises Chas doesn’t feel like she used to?
As usual he doesn’t read the signs straight away and should have seen Chas was unhappy months ago. I just hope he’s not too late.
Does he want to try and prove her wrong?
I think he’ll do everything in his power to save his relationship. He loves her and he loves Eve.
Have you largely loved or loathed lockdown?
It’s been a very mixed bag. I’ve relished spending time with my family, but homeschooling is not easy. I’ve always admired teachers, but I have a newfound respect. I’ve also missed the job I love soooo much. It’s all been a bit of a worry too with the dangers involved and the news has been so utterly tragic everyday. So much heartbreak for so many people. Incredibly sad.
I just hope everyone enjoys these episodes and stays as safe as they possibly can.
See Paddy Kirk and Chas Dingle in lockdown in Emmerdale on Monday 22 June