Emma Atkins aka Charity Dingle, Tate, Macey and Sharma is arguably one of Emmerdale’s best loved characters having played the role, albeit with some breaks, for over 20 years now.
The problem with long standing characters is finding stories for them that are not rinse and repeat of previous plots. Babies, weddings etc all done over and over. Thankfully for Charity she was given a great new boost to her characters longevity when the show decided to pair her with Michelle Hardwick’s character Vanessa Woodfield.
This proved instantly popular and the Vanity fandom was born. Anyone that knows me will probably know I was a Chain shipper (Cain and Charity), but of all the romantic partners Charity has had, it was great to see scenes where she wasn’t constantly shouting all the time or being shouted at. Vanessa is someone who has proved time and time again she isn’t afraid to tell Charity what she thinks and as female characters go we love that – nobody wants to see their most loved characters getting walked all over.
Charity was still Charity but we got a much calmer side to her, most of the time, when with Vanessa. We had plenty of pub scenes both bar and back room with Vanessa yet Charity still had that fun loving schemer side to her and we didn’t lose that – whereas fast forward a few years and Mackenzie is always right there and when you see Charity you can probably bet big he will be in the scene or turn up. Vanessa wasn’t shoehorned into every Charity scene unlike he is.
COVID restrictions and Michelle’s maternity leave meant our couple would have to part ways for a while but Emmerdale went about it so badly. We didn’t know who Mackenzie was when we first met him except he locked Cain in a boot. There are in my view many ways that they could have taken Charity when Michelle left from staying single to leaving to go and be with her. Staying single wouldn’t have been so bad when just 5 minutes earlier she was adopting Vanessa’s son Johnny and before that declaring her undying love and nearly marrying her.
It was clearly a case of lets break what is working perfectly when they, Emmerdale, in a very short time began to undo every bit of character building achieved over the past few years – and with someone who wasn’t getting any character development of their own.
To me having Charity paired with a man as soon as Vanessa left did nothing except play into the bisexual stereotype that Charity couldn’t make up her mind. Emmerdale went through this with Aaron and Robert with Aaron worrying that as soon as Robert found a woman he would cheat ‘I’m bisexual it doesn’t mean i am going to cheat.’
Sadly, for Mackenzie there is no redeeming qualities when it comes to being with Charity when it has been clear from the start her heart just isn’t in it. For Charity it comes across as a relationship of convenience while Vanessa was away – further proved by how quickly they were back in each others orbit after Michelle’s return from ML.
Why must it always be flirting with a man for Charity? the most passionate scene in a while was with Ethan and Marcus and that was quite something. I hope Vanessa’s new love interest Suzy helps inject a bit of the much needed fire that has been missing from Charity and Vanessa.
Of course these are just my thoughts. xx