Recently, I was lucky enough to chat with one of my favourite Emmerdale actresses of all time Emma Atkins, ahead of her return to the Dales as Charity Tate.
Back in March, series producer Gavin Blyth played the first ace of his term in office when he successfully managed to persuade Emma to return to the show. Since then, Charity's comeback has been earmarked as the Emmerdale's 'new beginning', the point from which it will climb back to its best.
Will it deliver?
Going on what I've seen and read, I certainly have high hopes that from October 1 and beyond, Emmerdale will return to form and deliver the top-notch drama we all know it can.
If you haven't managed to read the main portion of my interview with Emma, then click here. If you have and you're wanting extra helpings, then you're in the right place. Below are some bonus snippets from my chat.
Has the show changed much since you were there last?
"The show has changed, but shows like Emmerdale will always change. Scripts are always changing, storylines are always moving on and the producership changes, too. Emmerdale's always been good, but certainly now with Gavin on board it's going from strength to strength. To be part of it during this time is really exciting for the programme and myself. It was perfect timing for me.
"There are new people here too, so I'm working with new actors and actresses, which is brilliant. As well, obviously I'm working with the same people here who I absolutely adore. They're all so talented and it's such a luxury to be working alongside them again."
What have you been doing in the meantime?
"Loads of different things. I've done radio plays for Radio 4 - which I love - lots of lovely voiceovers to keep the wolf from the door. I did some lovely theatre - I did a war play down in Salisbury… When you're doing theatre, everyone knows that it's incredible to be able to stretch one's self with acting but financially, we all know it's not fantastic. So I was very lucky to have a support system of a great voiceover agent, which allowed me not to worry as much as I would have done otherwise. In the times when it was difficult, I just had to cut my cloth accordingly and I've always been quite good at that."
Are the writers still effectively writing for Charity?
"Oh yes! As soon as I picked up the scripts, I knew they'd not forgotten her at all. The same biting wit! She's not a softie and they've not turned her into something she isn't, either. She's who she always was. She starts off the same, but the audience will be pleasantly be surprised by the journey Charity goes on. She starts questioning what she wants in her life and whether money really makes her happy. Charity has responsibilities now and she has to face up to them. The events of her first few episodes are a rude awakening."
Apparently she's pregnant?
"Or is she?! It's certainly mentioned that she's pregnant, but whether or not she has it or loses it… It's all up in the air."
Where's Charity been all this time?
"Oh, where hasn't she been?! Do you know what? I don't actually know! The scripts are now starting to reveal where she's actually been, so I'm learning, too. I would say that she's been with Michael for the past two or three years, more or less realising that she has a great thing in Michael. He's young, has a lot going for him and has a lot of money. He could provide for her and Noah. Charity knows she has a fantastic setup with Michael and she's been working her way up to the wedding. Before Michael, in pretend soap history, I would imagine she's been trying to set herself up with anyone she thinks is right for her! Maybe she's had her sights on Michael for some time?"
It's quite surprising that Noah's still with her, isn't it?
"Yeah, she didn't dump him. He's one thing she didn't desert in her life. It's nice because there's a great relationship forming between mother and son. Working with little Jack [Downham] is brilliant. He's funny, he listens, he's cute, naughty and intelligent. Charity and Noah are like partners in crime, which obviously causes a lot of jealousy for Debbie because she never had that connection with her mum."
Does Charity know that she's a grandma?
"No, not at all! She can't believe it. It's mid-argument she finds out, so she hasn't even got time to react. Beyond the vestry, there are 40 people waiting to see Michael and Charity get married, so she's really not that interested in being a granny! She wants to get back into the swing of the wedding."
> First Look: Charity's return to 'Emmerdale'
> 'Emmerdale' releases first Charity teaser
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