I used relationship with my son during abuse storyline, says Emmerdale star

Emmerdale actress Emma Atkins has said she used her love as a mother to connect with the emotions of delving into her character’s troubled past.

Tuesday night’s episode saw Atkins’ character, Charity Dingle, discover a child she thought she had lost when she was 14 had actually survived.

The soap star found filming the storyline “harrowing” as she revealed her relationship with her own three-year-old son served as an inspiration.

Emmerdale star Emma Atkins (Matt Crossick/PA)

She said: “I only have to think about Albert when I’m doing a scene, and it immediately brings emotion.

“He’s my go-to actually in many ways. Even the thought… I can’t even bare to go there, the thought process of what if… I can’t even say it, but he’s an amazing inspiration.

“I think it’s weird to trick the body to be crying all day. Naturally, your body goes into ‘I’m having a nervous breakdown!’ but obviously, you’re not, you’re just acting.

“You make yourself ill. So you’ve got to go, ‘right, end of, I’m going home to see my little boy and getting back to real life.’ You have to separate the two.”

The flashback episode focused on the abuse Charity suffered when she was 14 years old at the hands of DI Bails.

The special followed episodes in April that saw Charity open up to her partner, Vanessa Woodfield (Michelle Hardwick) about her traumatic childhood.

Atkins began her second spell of playing Charity Dingle on the ITV soap in 2009, after first portraying the former prostitute between 2000 and 2005.

Atkins revealed Albert would ask her why she had been crying all day when she came home from filming scenes.

“He’s amazing, he’s ridiculous. He’s funny and lovely, and very caring. He says, ‘have you had a good day mummy?’ ‘I’ve been crying all day’ ‘why’ve you been crying?’ ‘it’s just my job’ ‘you have to cry on your job?’

“He’s just brilliant,” she added.

Asked if her estranged son should be concerned about the discovery in Tuesday’s episode, Atkins said: “Yes, I think so.

“I genuinely don’t know the future. I know that there will hopefully be some kind of culmination where there’s justice, but I do think that he needs to be worried.”

- Press Association

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