Marlon is frightened in Emmerdale as he takes life-changing step

When Marlon Dingle (Mark Charnock) had a stroke in early 2022 in Emmerdale, his life changed in massive ways. As he began his recovery in hospital he didn’t know how much of his old life he would ever get back.

Would he be able to walk again, or even speak? And if he did, could he ever return to being a chef, a job he loved? Could he be the husband to Rhona (Zoe Henry) and the dad to his kids that he wanted to be?

With the support of his loving family and friends and with huge amounts of courage and determination, Marlon has overcome all of these obstacles. He managed to surprise Rhona by walking down the aisle at their wedding, despite a last minute health scare.

And he’s back in the Woolpack, where a sympathetic Ryan (James Moore) knew that with a few modifications and some assistance Marlon would be able to do his old job again.

From the outset Emmerdale’s bosses insisted that this storyline was going to play out in a realistic time frame. The effects of Marlon’s stroke would be long lasting and would play out over many months.

‘He’s not going to get where he wants to be for a long time,’ Mark Charnock explained when the storyline was first announced. ‘We’re just at the beginning of his journey. He can’t work anymore, he feels, wrongly, that he can’t be the dad he wants to be anymore, which is everything to him, because of his incapacitation.’

People with disabilities applauded the depiction of Marlon’s story, with journalist Melissa Parker, who has cerebral palsy, writing for ‘That’s what a disabled audience wants to see – their experiences mirrored. If you cut the recovery, frustration, and sometimes-strained relationships with physiotherapists, you’re removing the nuance – an essential piece of Marlon’s new identity.’

Mark Charnock has been praised for his realistic and committed performance, winning an Outstanding Achievement award at the British Soap Awards this year.

For Marlon, there are still some hurdles to be overcome and one of them is that he hasn’t been able to drive since the stroke. In upcoming episodes he gets a specially adapted car which will allow him to get behind the wheel again.

Having been away from driving for so long, and knowing that so much has changed for him, Marlon is naturally nervous about going out for his first drive. In fact he tries to put it off, but with Rhona and Mary (Louise Jameson) urging him on, he gets in the driver’s seat and prepares to take to the road once again.

It’s a huge moment for him. How will he get on?

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