Emmerdale star Emma Atkins on Charity catching out Mack

·8-min read

Emmerdale spoilers follow.

Emmerdale's Charity Dingle has her world turned upside-down next week as she finally discovers Mackenzie Boyd's baby secret.

Mack is unable to stay away from his young son Reuben after learning that he's seriously ill in hospital.

When Charity pays a visit to the hospital and spots an emotional Mack secretly spending time with Reuben and Chloe Harris, it dawns on her that he's the newborn's father.

Emma Atkins, who plays Charity, recently caught up with us for a big chat about the drama in store.

chloe, charity dingle, mack boyd, emmerdale

Can you tell us about the scene where Charity finds Mack with Reuben?

"Charity's initial reaction is: 'Why is Mackenzie with Chloe and Reuben?' Then it's that moment where suddenly your life changes. The previous 72 hours have been extreme regarding Mackenzie's behaviour and then suddenly it starts to make sense.

"I think Charity immediately knows, but then it's the disbelief and shock. It's crazy that mathematically you can add all that up in the space of a few seconds, but I think as human beings we have that instinct in us to understand why someone's behaving a certain way: 'Okay, I get it now, I get it'. It's that moment.

"It was hard to play, I won't lie. The stage direction said: 'It's panic'. I even spoke to Nicola Wheeler [who plays Nicola King] actually, because she's a connoisseur of filming panic attacks for the show! I was like: 'How do you do this?'

"Who knows whether I did it right or not? I'm hoping I pitched it right."

How was it to film that big moment?

"I've never been in that situation, but I feel like I connected to it because there's so much history there. Charity has finally put all her eggs in one basket with Mackenzie. She's finally laid herself bare and she has told him about her traumatic past with Bails, so the stakes are high.

"I hope that reveal moment will be great to watch – I think it will be. I did put a bit of pressure on myself, because it's an iconic soap moment and you want to deliver. You want to do it right and you want to make sure the audience can connect in that way and go: 'Oh, did you see it when she found out?' The audience are all waiting for that moment."

How do you feel about Charity and Mack being torn apart like this?

"I have loved working with Lawrence [Robb, who plays Mackenzie] and Jessie [Elland, who plays Chloe] as well, but I don't think that's going to end any time soon. They're all so connected and there's still going to be moments that we share on screen together.

"Okay, so maybe Charity and Mackenzie's relationship is in tatters at the moment but that's the beauty of soap – you've always got to bump into those people because you live in the same village, unless somebody leaves or moves out or kills someone. Hopefully that's not going to happen with us guys!

"There's always the aftermath. I don't know where I've got couples counselling from in my head, but I think that would be an interesting avenue to explore – where they try and make it work as a strange, unconventional family."

chloe, mack, charity, emmerdale

Will there be a big row once Charity knows the truth?

"I can't give too much away, but there's a moment in the village where we bump into each other and Mackenzie doesn't know that Charity knows. That is magical – I loved filming that.

"There's a scene with Charity and Mackenzie afterwards, which is something we've never done before. It breaks a few of the boundaries of normal soap filming. It was pretty exhausting as well! A normal scene is usually three to four pages, but this was 17 or 18 pages. so it's a real continuation.

"It's the unravelling. It's me and Lawrence and a couple more characters involved – Noah and Sarah."

Would Charity have been able to cope with this bombshell better if Mack had come clean straight away?

"I think there's the grey area. It's the human aspect of it all and nobody's really to blame. Mackenzie isn't a rat bag – he's fully invested in Charity and then he's gone and made this terrible blunder. Obviously he wants to do right where Chloe's concerned and the baby, but then he's caught up in this situation. I kind of feel for him, I do.

"I think either way you look at this, Charity's never going to react well. But if Mack had come clean straight away, we'd never have had this exciting and intricate build-up. I feel really lucky that I've been part of such a great story, especially working with Lawrence and Jessie. They're amazing and I've loved it."

Will this change Charity moving forwards, in terms of how much she trusts people?

"Yeah, I think Charity has such issues with trust after what she's been through as a teenager. I think that's going to be exacerbated by the fact that she took Chloe under her wing.

"Charity can almost see a reflection of herself in this young teenage girl being pregnant. I think she's going to be asking: 'Why did nobody tell me?'

"I think it'll be a shock and Charity will probably close down. She'll build her wall up, like she does when she feels betrayed."

charity dingle, emmerdale

Could this break Charity?

"I think it's going to, for some time. But then there's resilience with human beings, isn't there? You have to get up in the morning. She's going to have to face Chloe at some point. She's going to have to deal with the fact that Mackenzie, someone she loves, has done this. She's also done some of the worst things herself, so 'pot, kettle'."

Are you pleased that Charity wasn't the guilty party in the story for once?

"Yes, and I'll tell you who was chuffed – my mum! She's like: 'Why are you the one who's always threatening or putting wigs on and stealing cars? Can you not do nice things?' No mum, sorry!"

Was Mack the love of Charity's life, or is that still Vanessa?

"That's a really good question. Vanessa was so morally upstanding. Charity met her match in Mackenzie, in the sense that they were both a bit rebellious. You could say that she needs both qualities in either character, which is why she fell in love with both.

"Vanessa's probably good for Charity in a lot of ways, but then there is that Charity/Cain dynamic where they're both a bit flawed. She's got that with Mackenzie – they've both got stuff going on. They've both got issues, and you often gravitate to someone who you recognise.

"I think there's equal amounts of love for both in very different ways. I think to try and compare would be pointless. I think Charity definitely fell in love with Vanessa because she felt a level of security that she'd never experienced before.

"But with Mackenzie there's fun there, there's mischief. Then of course, the more the relationship continued, the deeper the love got, which is why there's going to be fireworks."

charity dingle, emmerdale

How will Charity feel about the fact Sarah knew the truth for so long and didn't say anything?

"That actually comes up during the big scene that we filmed. It all comes out about the fact that Sarah covered for them. It's pretty devastating that her granddaughter covered in that way for so long. I think Charity understands why, but the reveal is just shocking."

Is Charity going to take revenge?

"There was a stage direction the other day where it said 'vengeance in her eyes'. I didn't know how to play it and I got told to play it differently after I'd done it. I was doing death stares out of the window!

"There's got to be some level of vengeance, but a lot of it comes in the form of humour with Charity. She's trying to mask the real hurt by throwing ridiculous insults all through the village so that everybody can hear – that's her way.

"There's a scene coming up that's a bit chaotic, messy and funny – and it's out in the village and the whole street gets to see. She likes the showdown, does Charity!"

Could we see the return of the old Charity as she unravels?

"Hopefully. I do like a bit of the old wild Charity because it's good to play. I'm waiting for the next bloody wig they stick me into, I'm like the wig woman!"

Do you think Charity and Mack should get back together?

"In some ways I feel sad because I love our chemistry together. I think it really works and the general feedback is that it's brilliant, but then I've seen Mack and Chloe on screen together and it's fantastic chemistry too.

"We've been told that towards the end of the year, there's something – we're not allowed to know what, but there's another triangle thing going on. Unfinished business perhaps, but the three of us aren't being told anything."

Emmerdale airs on weeknights at 7.30pm on ITV1, and streams on ITVX.

Read more Emmerdale spoilers on our dedicated homepage

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