TV Quickfire: Emmerdale actor Mark Charnock on Marlon's Christmas wedding bash
Emmerdale is serving up a drama-filled Christmas for the Dingles this year – starting with a 'surprise' marriage for Marlon. But will it be fourth time lucky? We quiz veteran soap star Mark Charnock
ARE YOU EXCITED FOR THE CHRISTMAS STORYLINE?
Yes, it came out of the blue, but we had a conversation and we jumped on it. The storyline is great. It is a really well written script and genuinely laugh-out-loud funny, sweet and romantic. And I got to work with someone who funnily enough I don't get to work with that often in James Hooton [who plays Sam Dingle]. We don't really do that much together, so it was a real bonus.
TELL US MORE ABOUT THE WEDDING. IT'S QUITE SOON FOR MARLON AND JESSIE TO BE GETTING HITCHED.
It was a shock! The [writers] have been really clever in how they've structured it because yes, they have not been together that long, but I think it has got to the point where Marlon feels that Jessie will be the one to close the circle for him. It's on quite an equal footing: she's a vulnerable person, she's lost people, so they have got that in common. And he completes her circle too.
YOUR CHARACTER IS NO STRANGER TO MARRIAGE. WILL IT BE FOURTH TIME LUCKY?
I've been in the soap 22 years, so a marriage every five years feels about right. Marlon's romantic CV is terrible in terms of disaster and catastrophe and breakdown. And you can never say anything in a soap, but this [relationship] feels like it's got legs. I'm generally looking forward to seeing what happens with it next. I almost don't want to know until I get the scripts. It feels genuinely exciting.
HOW DOES THIS WEDDING SCENE DIFFER TO HIS PREVIOUS NUPTIALS?
The previous several. Obviously it's very different because it has an Afro-Caribbean theme to it, which was fantastic. There's a great dance sequence in the middle of it – I learnt it all on YouTube – and it was the most fun, I think, of all his weddings.
IS IT TRUE MARLON FAINTS ON THE BIG DAY?
Falling out of shot is funnier. The director said, "You don't need a crash pad, you are just going to fall back into Sam's arms." And when we did it, it really was funny. He's just overwhelmed by everything and he's also very lightheaded because he got so hammered the day before.
WHAT IS IT LIKE HAVING LISA RILEY BACK IN THE MIX?
We all used to share digs together – me, her and Dominic [Brunt] years ago. It's just like having your giddy sister back. She's a force of nature. I am trying to underplay it but it was air-punchingly exciting. She is our mate and we love her so much. It's a real treat and she's already got me laughing to the point of hysteria. I can't cope!
WILL YOU BE WATCHING ON CHRISTMAS DAY WITH YOUR FAMILY?
It depends what time it's screened. I might watch it when it goes out, but I still, after all this time, get nervous about those big episodes. But it's good to still worry about it... I always want to have that nervousness about it. It keeps it fresh.
DO YOU CHECK SOCIAL MEDIA FOR REACTIONS?
Sometimes. I used to be obsessed with Twitter, [but] I'm sort of less so now. I don't Google myself or seek out what people have said. There's millions of people watching so you can't worry about a person not liking something you've done as it's unmanageable. Equally anyone who was complimentary, you'd have to go, 'Oh God, this is so great'. So I think it's a healthy place to be, to be removed from all that.
:: Emmerdale, Christmas Day, ITV.