Abuse storyline hardest thing I've ever done, says Emmerdale star

Emmerdale actress Emma Atkins has said filming a storyline that delves into her character's troubled past is the hardest thing she has done on the soap.

Matt Crossick/PA Wire
Matt Crossick/PA Wire

READ: This is why 7,500 music fans are heading to LeedsA flashback episode will be screened on Tuesday, May 29, which will focus on the abuse Charity suffered when she was 14 years old.

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

Sign up to our daily newsletter

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.

Ahead of scenes that will air next week, Atkins discussed her experience of working on them.

She said: "It was incredibly challenging and the hardest thing I've ever done on the show, but I've loved every second of it.

"I know that sounds weird, but I think, as an actor, it's great to be given something where there's a whole host of things going on, with her past, the sadness that's attached.

"It was extremely difficult, but it was great teamwork.

"Michelle made it so easy as well, and we bounce off one another really well. You have to go to difficult places when it comes to the moment you're filming such dramatic scenes, you have to pull on personal emotions that you've experienced in the past.

"That isn't particularly pleasant, but it's part of the journey when you're an actor and you need something to give you that impetus.

"It's there in the story anyway; the writing was stunning, it's a brilliant piece of writing."

Emmerdale has been supported by the team at North Yorkshire's Rape Unit throughout the research and preparation of the storyline.

A double episode of the show earlier in May attracted more than 70 complaints to broadcasting watchdog Ofcom.

Viewers were left shocked when Gerry Roberts (Shaun Thomas) was killed by Lachlan White (Thomas Atkinson).

Lachlan dropped a large stone on Gerry while he was trapped under debris after the roof of the B&B collapsed on him.

Atkins revealed that fans of the programme can expect more upsetting scenes in her character's flashback episode.

Atkins said: "There's only so much you can show when it's going out to that amount of people at that time of day.

"There are moments when you think 'Oh God, is that going to go out?', but I guess that's down to compliance.

"It's tough watching. A lot of it's implied as well, which makes it more powerful.

"Like with Lochlan holding that rock - you don't see it, but it's there, it made me feel sick!"

Emmerdale continues on ITV.