Ahead of Emmerdale’s hour-long Christmas Day Special bride- and groom-to-be, Lucy Pargeter (Chas Dingle) and Tom Lister (Carl King) spoke to RTÉ TEN about the drama ahead.
First up, Lucy spoke about how Chas feels on the morning of the wedding?
She’s nervous and unsure. Not knowing which way she’s going to go and what would be the right thing for her to do. Whether to get married and forgive Carl or whether to go through with the revenge plan that Charity has put in place.
In spite of everything, does she still love him?
Yes, she’s in love with him. He’s done it so many times to her that she really didn’t think it was going to happen again. But she does love him and she genuinely thinks that he loves her and that he’s so into the idea of getting married and having the baby. Chas has pushed it a little bit far I think with the baby lie, but she just wishes it was all true and wishes that she was going to be happy and that this was happening for real.
What has been her motivation for the long-haul revenge?
I don’t know if she’s totally sure what’s keeping it going. It’s like a snowball going down a hill, it starts off and then Charity just fuels it and it gets more and more out of control. Chas just feels like it has to be seen through to the end now. Not necessarily because it’s what she wants though. She does want to humiliate him but she doesn’t really want to have to go through with this. It’s out of her control and Charity is so adamant that she does it, she’s kind of being controlled by Charity too.
Is she having second thoughts about going through with it?
Yes really serious doubts. She knows he’s finished with Eve. She’s seen how he’s reacting. They do sleep together the night before the wedding and she kind of succumbs to him and wants to be back in that happy situation. So she’s seriously thinking about going through with it and then trying to explain to him afterwards why there is no baby, no cars, no honeymoon and so on. She says to Charity and Cain ‘well I’ll just tell him, he’ll be fine - he loves me’ but they give her a reality check that he’ll hit the roof.
What do you think is going through her mind when she walks down the aisle?
A mixture of nerves and also dreaming that she wants it to be for real. She’s lapping up how she should be feeling as a bride but she’s nervous knowing what she’s supposed to do next. The whole time that this has been going on and she’s been pretending that she’s pregnant, it’s how she imagined it would actually be and part of her desperately wants it to be real.
How does she feel about Eve at this point?
Well, Carl is Carl and it could have been anybody really but Eve offered it to him on a plate. I don’t think the day is so much about Eve for Chas, it’s about Carl. She hates Eve and wants to humiliate her and whack her one, but it’s more about what happens between her and Carl and Eve is just there to back up the story or to look humiliated in the corner.
Could she ever forgive Carl?
She’s done it before, she’s forgiven him before. Carl’s very persuasive and they are meant to be together so she could quite possibly forgive him again, yes.
Have you enjoyed filming the wedding?
It’s been quite difficult because we filmed some of it out of story order which can be hard with the emotional stuff. For instance, the first scene we did was the last scene of the episode. It’s been fantastic. After the first day of filming the actual wedding scenes, I went home and I was so full of adrenaline. I’d enjoyed it because it was a real challenge. It’s the first time I’ve been blessed with a Christmas day storyline and I’ve been trusted with a massive episode so nerves are rattling around and I’m just hoping I can do a good job and do the show proud. Jane Pearson who’s written the script has done an amazing job. It’s been exactly how I imagined it and really easy to learn because it’s so well-written.
Tell us about the dresses.
I had real input with the dress, from the beginning of the design period to the end. It was great because I wanted the wedding to be completely un-Chas. The make-up is almost as if she’s stripped herself back and made herself into something that Carl’s hopefully going to look at and think ‘wow’. Chas has stepped up her game really. The dress is amazing. Anita Massarella the designer just totally got the idea. We sketched it out and it’s kind of how I would like my own wedding dress to be. I love the style and it fits like a glove. You just can’t eat anything! The bridesmaids’ dresses are the opposite. Nasty, cheap, tacky, 80s style peach blancmange dresses, something you’d use as a knitted toilet roll cover. Gennie’s got no fashion sense anyway and probably likes it. Charity says ‘I’ll do anything to help you out’ and so the dress is purely to make Eve look as disgusting and vile as possible and humiliate her. That’s how Chas gets back at Eve really, by making her wear this peach creation!
Tom Lister Interview
Now it’s Tom’s turn to talk about love-rat, Carl. Is he in love with Chas or is he going along with the wedding to make her happy?
I think he is genuinely in love with her. He’s been playing away but then realised that she is the one he wants and the one he has always wanted. Now that she’s pregnant and everything, he is just absolutely over the moon. He never thought that he was going to want to have kids with anyone again or go down that road but then the chance of having it with Chas and re-starting his life over again - he wants to do all that. The whole thing with Eve was just a bit of fun at first and he’s kind of put that to bed and wants to start afresh now and wipe the slate clean and move on.
How does he feel about having a baby with Chas?
Surprisingly he’s really, really up for it and thrilled about the thought of having a child and a family. Also the business is back on track now and they’ve got the house to themselves pretty much so he’s just really looking forward to starting his life over again. He sees this as his chance to redeem himself from all of the rubbish that he’s done in the past, to start afresh and really try and do right. This child will almost be the ultimate chance to reinvent himself as a good dad, good husband and a good family man.
Does he care about Eve or was their relationship just a bit of fun?
I think he cares about her a lot. He does really like her. I don’t think he was actually in love with her but he cared about her loads, loved spending time with her and loved the fun of it. Obviously the passion side of it was a given. He doesn’t particularly want to hurt her but at the end of the day she isn’t Chas. She doesn’t quite cut it in comparison. Eve will always be the other woman so he just needs to kill it but having tried to stop it so many times that in the end he has to be cruel to end it for good.
How guilty does he feel about the affair?
I don’t think he feels that bad about it at the moment because he’s pretty much got away with it. Chas hasn’t found out. So he feels bad that he’s hurt Eve and can see how upset she is, but because he’s got away with it with the most important person - Chas, he doesn’t feel that bad. He’s thinking ‘I did quite well there, I got away with it’.
Is he concerned that Chas could still find out and he could lose her?
Yes, I think as time goes on and he’s starting to realise just how much he loves her and how lucky he is to have her, he realises that he has completely jeopardised it. That’s when the guilt starts to come in because he’s thinking how could I have done that to you when I love you so much. He didn’t set out to have an affair but in his mind Chas hadn’t shown him much attention and it was there for him on a plate so he just went for it. He obviously doesn’t want her to find out and he’s panicking a bit. He’s just convincing himself that he’s covered all bases and got away with it.
Is he nervous that Eve could ruin the wedding day?
Yes, she’s very capable, and so are Jimmy and Edna but he thinks he’s played his hand so cleverly with those guys that he’s shut them up. So the potential’s there and a bit of him is panicking but he doesn’t actually think anyone will say anything. Eve would lose so much face and basically become the village pariah. She’s made friendships in the village so she wants to keep quiet about it. Also she’s stood there in a bridesmaid’s dress so if she was really going to blow the whistle on the whole thing would she really have let it go that far?
What can viewers expect from the episode?
It’s a fantastic episode, it’s been so much fun. The wedding is a really long scene, about ten pages long and the drama is totally encapsulating. There are some great lines and it was so much fun to film. And then in the end, without giving too much away, it’s really quite touching and heartbreaking. Because ultimately you just see a load of people who are caught up by this complete screw-up of the affair. It shows that if you decide to go down that road and succumb to temptation, it can literally just incinerate everything.
What has been the highlight of this storyline for you?
I’ve loved the fact that it’s been slow and real. The affair has taken it’s time to get hold so that you care about what’s happening. Chas has taken her time to find out and then her time to plot her revenge. It’s all just really gradually moved to this big crescendo and that’s what I’ve loved. The feedback has been great. I think the story has had real peaks and troughs and ultimately the way it ends, I was thrilled by it. I think everyone wants Carl to get his comeuppance but then secretly people want Carl and Chas to be together.
The hour-long special of ‘Emmerdale’ is on Christmas Day at 6pm on UTV and 7pm on TV3.