Charity Dingle’s troubled past will be unmasked in Emmerdale flashback special

Emmerdale bosses have announces they will be showing a special flashback episode to focus on the troubled past of one of the soaps most beloved characters – Charity Dingle.

Recently Charity opened up to her girlfriend, Vanessa Woodfield, about her traumatic childhood where she was groomed and raped by DI Bails at the age of 14, and implied she bore a baby boy as a result.

Charity told the distressing tale of being a young prostitute and being thrown out by her parents – so bosses have hired young actor Mica Proctor to take over the role of young Charity in special scenes to be airs on May 29.

Emma Atkins, who plays Charity, said: "It’s such a brilliant opportunity for me to explore Charity’s past and a chance to discover why Charity behaves the way she does a lot of the time.

"It’s stuff that’s been locked away for years, very painful stuff, and she finally feels able to talk about it.

"The storyline is very serious in nature compared to the comedy I’ve done more recently, so it is a wonderful challenge. The relationship between Charity and Vanessa is showing a different dimension to the usual gold digging Charity."

She added that their relationship, which fans lovingly have branded "Vanity" is breathing life into her character and forcing her to face up to her dark past.

She continued: "It’s obviously the hardest storyline I’ve had due to the subject matter and I am duty bound to play it as truthfully as I can.

"If it in any way helps give anyone out there who’s suffered any kind of abuse the strength to open up, even just to talk about it, then that can only be the start of a good thing."

The ITV soap consulted with North Yorkshire’s Rape Unit while working on the storyline ahead of what producer Iain MacLeod called one of their "signature, stylised episodes."

Iain also teased of a "massive surprise" which will be in store for viewers during the episode.

He said: "Charity is a character with a complicated, fascinating and heartbreaking history – some of which has previously only been alluded to on screen.

"We wanted to do one of our signature, stylised episodes to fill in the blanks and explore the devastating, formative experiences she went through as a vulnerable teenager – adding in a massive surprise for viewers in the process."

Iain has recently been announced as the new producer of rival soap Coronation Street, and will take over from controversial showrunner Kate Oates from June.

Emmerdale airs weekdays at 7pm with an extra episode at 8pm on Thursdays on ITV.

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