|Portrayed by||Emma Atkins|
|First appearance||30 March 2000|
|Introduced by||Kieran Roberts (2000)
Gavin Blyth (2009)
|Emmerdale: The Dingles,
For Richer for Poorer (2010)
Secretary (2000–01, 2004)
Businesswoman (2001–03, 2012–)
Haulage Driver (2001–03, 2010)
Estate Manager (2014)
Charity Dingle (previously Tate, Sharma, and Macey) is a fictional character from the British soap opera Emmerdale, played by Emma Atkins. Suranne Jones originally auditioned for the role of Charity, before Atkins was cast. The actress began filming her first scenes in February 2000 and she made her first screen appearance as Charity during the episode broadcast on 30 March 2000.
The character has been involved in numerous high-profile storylines during her time on the show, such as her marriage to Chris Tate (Peter Amory), an affair with Chris's sister, Zoe Tate (Leah Bracknell), the arrival of her long-lost daughter Debbie (Charley Webb), her affair with Cain Dingle (Jeff Hordley), being framed by Chris for his death, giving birth to Noah (Jack Downham) and her uncaring relationship and subsequent break up with Tom King (Ken Farrington), which led to her exit in 2005.
Atkins returned to the role in 2009. During her second stint in Emmerdale, Charity's storylines have focused mainly on her relationship with Cain, from their almost-marriage to their get-rich-quick schemes, to her job working with Jai Sharma (Chris Bisson) and Cain's mistaken belief that they were having an affair. After Charity and Cain's relationship broke down, she went on to marry Jai. They later divorced when Charity discovered he had fathered a child with Rachel Breckle (Gemma Oaten). Charity then married Declan Macey (Jason Merrells) and became pregnant. However, not wanting another child, Charity had a secret abortion. Atkins took maternity leave in February 2015, as Charity was sentenced to prison, returning briefly from June to July, before making a full time return in December 2015.
Actress Suranne Jones auditioned for the role of Charity, however it was Atkins who was eventually cast. The actress received the part while she was in her final year of a performing arts degree at Salford University. Her agent asked her if she wanted to audition for a role as a Dingle in Emmerdale and Atkins wondered whether she would be able to portray a member of that family, as she is so removed from those types of characters. The actress told Merle Brown of the Daily Record that the more her agent told her about the role, the more she thought she would enjoy playing it. Atkins attended the audition and was later recalled to do a screen test alongside Mark Charnock (who plays Marlon Dingle). Two weeks later, Atkins was told she had won the role of Charity. She began filming her scenes in February 2000 and made her first appearance in March.
On 26 July 2004, Kris Green of Digital Spy reported Atkins had quit Emmerdale, claiming that it was time to move on. Of her decision to leave, Atkins said "I will be desperately sad to say goodbye to everyone but there are so many other roles that I would like to try and it's important to me that Charity leaves on a high." Atkins made her on screen departure in March 2005.
On 18 March 2009, it was announced Atkins would be returning to Emmerdale as part of the ongoing overhaul of the show by series producer, Gavin Blyth. Of her decision to reprise her role, Atkins said: "Charity is a wonderfully complex character and an absolute joy to play. I couldn't resist the opportunity to explore a new era of Charity, Cain and Debbie and will relish seeing what she's been up to since we saw her last." Charity and her five-year-old son returned on 1 October 2009. Two months later, Digital Spy's Kris Green reported Atkins had signed a six-month extension to her contract, keeping her with the show well into 2010.
On 20 January 2015, Atkins confirmed that she would be taking temporary maternity leave from the show. Charity was written out of Emmerdale after receiving a prison sentence for perverting the course of justice.
"Charity is a blunt, and nonsense woman and knows how to get what she wants - mostly by flirting. She's self-sufficient, self-serving and will happily step over people, including her daughter Debbie, to reach her goal. However, she is trying to be a better mother. She’s also determined to better herself but it's money that drives her."—itv.com on Charity
During a 2001 interview with the Daily Mirror's Nina Myskow, Atkins said she loved playing Charity as she is a ballsy wild child who is not scared of anything. Atkins commented that her character is everything she is not. Myskow agreed with Atkins and said the actress is nothing like Charity, who she called a "loud-mouthed bad girl." Writing for the Daily Record, Merle Brown deemed Charity a "brassy tart with a heart." Atkins told him Charity is very argumentative, flirty and a bitch, which makes her "a brilliant character to play." Atkins said there are many different sides to Charity that she hoped viewers would get to see as she developed. Tessa Cunningham of the Daily Mirror branded Charity a "manipulative gold-digger." Of Charity's style, Atkins said "She's a lady of the night - looks like a slapper, a complete slapper. I wouldn't have it any other way. I get to wear short mini-skirts and things I'd never dream of wearing. Going shopping with the costume people is brilliant fun, because it's like: "Oh God, that's so bad. Yeah, we'll have it." Atkins added Charity does not have to open her mouth as her outfits say everything for her.
Three years after her introduction, Atkins revealed Charity had developed into a "bigger, fiestier and more business-oriented" woman. The actress said she had grown into the character and hoped she would remain cheeky, mischievous and a tart with a heart. Atkins added Charity is playful, but not evil or corrupt. A writer for the Western Mail called Charity "mad, bad and dangerous to know." In February 2011, Atkins said Charity cannot resist an element of risk to anything because it is exciting to her and it makes village life more exciting too. Atkins explained that Charity is the sort of person who does not know why she is in a village like Emmerdale, as she has "much bigger fish to fry" elsewhere.
Relationship with Chris Tate and affair with Zoe Tate
Charity begins an "unlikely relationship" with wheelchair-bound, local millionaire, Chris Tate (Peter Amory). Charity realises she likes Chris when she becomes involved with his businesses. Charity thinks he is sweet and they get on well. When Chris suspects Charity is cheating on him, her flirtatious habits do little to reassure him. Charity denies Chris's accusations that she is seeing somebody else. Atkins told Claire Brand of Inside Soap "Charity has been trying to convince Chris that nothing is going on. She's been having blazing rows with him and saying 'How could you possibly accuse me?' She's making him feel really guilty about suspecting her and he ends up wallowing in self pity, thinking he's blown it with her." Atkins went on to say Charity is very clever and makes Chris do what she says, as opposed to the other way round, which Chris is used to. Charity flirts with many of the men in the village to make Chris jealous. Chris decides to trap Charity and invites all the major suspects – Marlon Dingle, Scott Windsor (Ben Freeman) and Rodney Blackstock (Patrick Mower) – to an important party Charity is helping to organise. Atkins said viewers would be surprised to find out who Charity is seeing behind Chris's back.
Charity's secret lover was revealed to be Chris's sister, Zoe (Leah Bracknell), during a special hour-long episode. Atkins explained the storyline was a shock to her as she had always thought Charity was "a man's woman." However, the more she thought about it, the more she realised the story made sense. Atkins explained "Charity lives on the edge. She's certainly not gay, but she loves sex and it doesn't matter whether it's with a man or a woman." Atkins said Charity likes to play games and she finds the idea of an affair with Chris's sister exciting. The actress did not think the storyline was "sensationalist" and reckoned Charity is probably bisexual and was only just realising that through her relationship with Zoe. Charity eventually ends the relationship with Zoe and goes on to marry Chris, despite admitting she does not love him and his money is the big attraction. Atkins said Charity is honest, but she does have feelings for Chris, which would grow. She added the lesbian affair had run its course, but she thought there might be repercussions from it in the future.
Charity comes to Emmerdale for her cousin, Butch's (Paul Loughran) funeral. It emerges that she has been working as a prostitute and there is a warrant out for her arrest. Charity stays with Zak Dingle (Steve Halliwell) and his wife Lisa (Jane Cox).
Charity begins dating Chris Tate, which his sister, Zoe, is unhappy about and offers her money to end it but Charity refuses. Zoe then persuades Charity to have an affair with her but Charity ends it when Zoe gets too possessive. Chris proposes marriage and Charity accepts so Zoe records Charity taking about their affair and blackmails her to sign a prenuptial agreement. However, Charity tells Chris about her affair and Chris forgives her, tearing up the pre-nup, and Zoe moves out. Chris and Charity marry and Charity helps Chris run his business empire.
Chris and Charity eventually realise that Zoe is ill and she has to be sectioned. While in hospital, she is diagnosed with schizophrenia. Charity supports Zoe when she realises she is pregnant and considers giving the baby up for adoption, revealing she had a baby girl when she was a teenager that she put up for adoption. Charity is shocked when Paddy (Dominic Brunt) and Emily Kirk's (Kate McGregor) foster child, Debbie Jones (Charley Webb), reveals that she is her daughter. Charity initially refuses contact with Debbie but comforts her when her adoptive mother dies. Despite her reserve, she and Debbie bond so Charity files for custody and wins, much to Paddy and Emily's dismay. Charity is delighted when Chris and Debbie bond and he suggests adopting her. Cain later realizes that he is Debbie's father and bonds with his daughter, leading him and Charity to begin an affair. Chris discovers this and throws her out. A month later, Charity goes to Home Farm to discuss her marriage, hoping for a reconciliation. However, Chris now knows that he has an inoperable brain tumour and frames Charity for his murder in revenge, before committing suicide. The police arrest Charity after finding her fingerprints on Chris's glass and her signature on an order for poison. She tries to blame Cain but he does the same so Charity is released on bail when she learns that she is pregnant and moves in with Marlon. After getting drunk, they sleep together. Charity realises Zoe knows that Chris killed himself and kisses her but Zoe testifies that Charity killed Chris so Charity is found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. While in prison, she gives birth to a son, who she names Noah (Alfie Mortimer). Unsure of baby Noah's paternity, she arranges for Zoe, Cain and Marlon to do a DNA test and the results show that Chris is Noah's father. Charity strikes a deal with Zoe - she will give her custody of Noah for £20,000 and evidence that Chris committed suicide. Zoe agrees and Charity is released. Zoe refuses to let Charity have any contact with Noah, who she calls Christopher, and plans to adopt him but this is refused, due to already having 2 children to raise (Chris's eldest son, Joseph (Oliver Young), and her daughter, Jean (Megan Pearson), running Home Farm and her illness. Social Services ask Charity to decide if she wants to raise him herself or put him up for adoption elsewhere. She chooses to raise him herself and Zoe returns him to Charity.
Charity set her sights on Tom King (Ken Farrington) and gets a job as his secretary. Tom's daughter-in-law, Sadie (Patsy Kensit), takes an instant dislike to Charity and tries to sabotage the plan. Unfortunately this doesn't work and Sadie is forced to accept that Charity is Tom's new partner. Eventually Tom proposes accepts but Sadie refuses to accept this and hires Cain to kiss Charity in front of a photographer and shows the pictures to Tom. He then calls the wedding off, leaving Charity furious at losing her home and her job. Knowing that Sadie is responsible, they fight before she returns to the Dingles. In revenge, Charity begins sleeping with Jimmy (Nick Miles), Sadie's husband, looking for anything she can use against Sadie. She is thrilled when Jimmy tells her that although they are supposedly trying for a baby, Sadie is still having contraceptive injections. Charity records Jimmy talking about this and her plan to set Charity up. Initially, she simply blackmails Jimmy but then also plays the video at a party and Tom throws Jimmy and Sadie out before begging her to give him another chance but she refuses and leaves with Noah.
Charity is shocked to see Cain and Debbie at her wedding to Michael Conway (Jamie Belman). Debbie tells Charity that she and Michael were having an affair, although she did not know he was engaged to her. Cain tells Michael that Charity used to be a prostitute and the wedding is cancelled. Charity reveals that she knew Michael was having doubts and told him that she was pregnant to stop him leaving. Michael is told, very clearly, to choose whether he wants to be with Charity or Debbie. He later chooses Debbie but she doesn't take his calls, choosing to spend her time with Charity and Noah.
Debbie invites Charity and Noah to move in with her, which they do. From family gossip, Charity learns that Cain stole some money from the Kings and teams up with Carl King (Tom Lister) to get it back. She reunites with Cain and learns that the money is kept in a storage unit. She takes the money but changes her mind and tries to put it back but Cain and Debbie catch her. Cain gives Charity the money and briefly leaves the village. Charity moves in with Marlon and tries to give it to Debbie but she refuses so Charity donates it to the church but Debbie retrieves it. Cain returns and he and Charity agree to be civil for Debbie and Sarah's sake. During an argument, Debbie sets fire to the money and realizing they have nothing left to argue about, Charity proposes to Cain, who accepts. Cain organizes a surprise wedding and his half-sister, Chas (Lucy Pargeter), brings Charity to the registry office. Charity is surprised but can't marry Cain, telling him that she loves him but is not ready to settle down yet.
Charity and Cain start stealing cars to make money, after Charity steals a businessman's keys after flirting with him at a local hotel. However, the second time they try this, they learn that their target, Declan Macey (Jason Merrells), knows people in the village and spots Charity. Declan tells her that he will not go to the police if she returns the car and has a drink with him.
Charity helps Chas get revenge on Carl for cheating on her and begins working for Jai Sharma (Chris Bisson). Charity advises Jai on the restoration of the barn next to the Dingle farm. Jai pays Charity to persuade Lisa to sell the farm and move to Hotten, but Lisa refuses. Cain becomes jealous of Charity and Jai's working relationship and warns Jai to stay away. Jai buys Charity a new car and takes her to a hotel but she makes it clear that she will not sleep with him so they have separate rooms. Charity ends things with Cain after learning that he bedded Faye Lamb (Kim Thomson), believing that she had slept with Jai. Charity and Noah move in with Jai and his brother, Nikhil (Rik Makarem), at Holdgate Farm. Charity and Jai begin dating and Cain tries to win Charity back but Charity tells him that she has chosen Jai. Charity tries to make Nikhil look incompetent at the factory, wanting his job, so Jai throws her out. Charity apologizes and proposes to Jai. He initially refuses but later accepts. Charity, Cain and Cameron Murray (Dominic Power) steal the Kings' haulage trucks and sell them. Unable to accept that Charity is with Jai, Cain starts attacking the Sharmas, forcing Charity and Jai to end the relationship when the threats become more severe. Cain is attacked and Charity is questioned by the police but she insists she did not do it. Charity and Jai reconcile and she supports him when he is charged with assaulting Cain. Charity reveals she found Cain on the night of the attack and walked away. Cain changes his statement and the charges against Jai are dropped. Charity is late for her wedding as she goes to visit Debbie. She eventually makes it to the registry office and marries Jai. Charity tells Jai that she does not want any more children, leaving him disappointed but he suggests that he adopt Noah. Charity disapproves, worried the affect it will have on Noah if the marriage failed, so they compromise and change his surname to Sharma. Later, Jai has a drunken one-night stand with Rachel Breckle (Gemma Oaten) after arguing with Charity about having children. Charity has a one-night stand with Declan and admits it immediately. Jai forgives her as he feels guilty about his own indiscretion, knowing that Rachel is pregnant and later gives birth to his son, Archie. Charity becomes suspicious so Jai's father, Rishi, claims that he is Archie's father so Charity won't leave Jai, while ensuring that Jai can spend time with Archie. Charity eventually guesses the truth when she notices Jai's overreaction to an injury Archie sustains in an accident with a sparkler and ends the marriage, moving in with Debbie and her children.
Charity sees Declan attempting to commit suicide by burning down Home Farm, unaware that his sister Megan (Gaynor Faye) is inside. Charity persuades Declan to frame her cousin, Sam, so that they can split the insurance pay-out. She thinks that Sam, Rachel and their children would go on the run and Charity would get revenge on Jai by sending his son away but Rachel refused, insisting that they stay and clear their names. Before Sam's court date, Charity tells Rachel that she and Declan framed Sam and she will clear his name on one condition, that Rachel goes to the police and makes a statement admitting that she started the fire or Sam faces going to prison. Unwilling to see Sam go down, Rachel does as Charity and Declan ask and tells the police that she was the arsonist. When she gets bail, Charity and Declan give her a wad of cash and all the contacts she will need to start a new life with Archie, thus depriving Jai of his son. Only Rachel's sister, Ali, knows that Rachel is innocent but keeps quiet after Charity and Declan threaten her daughter.
Charity and Declan then start dating but no one in the village thinks it will last. Charity realises she is pregnant in April and plans to have a termination, feeling that she and Declan couldn't cope with a child. However, Declan finds out when Megan finds the positive test in the bin at Debbie's house. He is happy and proposes to her, making her walk out. Later, Charity accepts Declan's proposal and Declan announces their engagement in the Woolpack and Jai walks in, announcing her pregnancy too, much to Charity and Declan's anger. Charity later decides once again that she wants an abortion and goes to the clinic. She offloads to her consultant, bursting into tears and telling her how she gave Debbie up for adoption when she was a teenager. However, after booking an abortion, she finds that Declan has told Noah about the baby. Charity marries Declan with only Noah, Megan and Declan's nephew, Robbie Lawson (Jamie Shelton), present. Megan tries sabotaging the wedding by hiding the rings - which left Charity to borrow one of Megan's - and setting off the fire alarm. Charity realises what Megan was up to and a catfight broke out. She panics when Declan reveals he has booked a month's holiday to Barbados for them and Noah as she worries over how to have her abortion. However, a confrontation with Megan a few days later gives Charity an opportunity to feign miscarriage when she is accidentally knocked to the floor, making Megan feel guilty about causing the "miscarriage". A scan at the hospital confirms she has lost the baby, leaving Declan devastated. Wracked with guilt, Megan tells Declan that she is resigning and won't move into Home Farm but boyfriend Jai advises her to test Charity's true intentions. Charity is shaken when Megan says she may stay after all and is later horrified when she finds Megan telling Declan that she caused the miscarriage. Enraged, Declan throws Megan out. Charity, relieved, agrees to rearrange a late honeymoon for them and Noah, but insists she is not ready for another baby, much to Declan's chagrin. A vengeful Megan then decides to spy on Charity with Nicola at Home Farm. After returning from their honeymoon to Barbados, Charity agrees to try for another baby.
When Declan finds out about Charity's abortion, he keeps it secret and takes her to a cottage for a romantic break but attempts to kill her, hitting her over the head with a mallet and trying to shoot her with a flare gun. However, Declan accidentally shoots Robbie, when he steps in to save Charity. Robbie subsequently dies from the blast. Declan tries to drown Charity by pulling her into the lake but she hits him over the head with an anchor and he sinks into the water. Charity then passes out onto the boat, stating "You were never a match for me", while Megan watches on in horror. Charity is extremely paranoid when she returns to the village, and manages to patch things up with Megan before Robbie's funeral. Declan later returns and drugs Charity, while holding Megan, Jai, Cain, Debbie, Sam, Zak, Chas and Ashley hostage at the Sharma household. He reveals to them how Charity framed Rachel for the fire at Home Farm, before leaving the village. The Dingle's (and later Jai) then confront a bitter Charity, who eventually confesses. When they turn on her, Charity retaliates that they are all hypocrites and that she no longer wishes to be a part of the family. Zak promptly accepts her wishes by disowning her from the Dingle family before leaving with Chas and Sam, who expresses his hatred towards Charity. Jai then leaves also, but not before vowing to make Charity suffer for what she did against him. Debbie and Cain soon reveal their disgust towards Charity and, despite Charity's pleas, leave her behind. When trying to flee the village, Charity is hit over the head with a wooden log and kidnapped by an unknown culprit and held in an abandoned shipping container in the woods. It was later revealed that the kidnapper is Jai. Jai tells Charity that unless she reveals the location of Rachel and Archie, she will be left to die. While arguing with Sam about Rachel's whereabouts, Jai falls down the stairs and falls into a coma, but revealing where Charity is beforehand. Sam goes to the shipping container where Charity is and overhears her explaining that she only cares about herself and that she should care more about Debbie and Noah. Sam therefore leaves Charity in the shipping container for another night. He eventually tells Cain where Charity is, and he and Sam save her. She later explains that she wants Jai to pay for what he has done, although if she does Sam will be arrested too. To redeem herself and look like a hero to her family, Charity drives off with Maxine, a woman who is blackmailing Cain's wife, Moira. She drives extremely fast down narrow country lanes and pulls Maxine's hair, and threatens to kill her if she causes Moira any more grief. Moira worries that Charity has made things worse, while Cain is proud of Charity's actions.
Charity, meanwhile, is found guilty for perverting the course of justice and is sentenced to two years in prison. When Cain takes Noah to visit Charity in prison, she tells him that she has a plan in the works that might help her get early release. Charity goes into labour while Debbie is visiting her, with nobody but Charity having been aware that she was pregnant. She gives birth to a baby boy and hands him to a social worker, telling them Debbie is the legal guardian until she is released from prison. Knowing that Charity confessed her love for Cain after her imprisonment, Debbie and Chas suspect that Cain is the father, which he denies. He visits Charity in prison and demands to know who the father is, otherwise he will sever all contact; when Charity refuses to divulge the father's identity, Cain promptly walks out. The Dingles name the baby Moses. Charity rings up the father Ross Barton (Michael Parr), unknown that he's having an affair with Debbie. Soon after, Debbie finds out the paternity and breaks up with Ross.
For her portrayal of Charity, Atkins was nominated in the categories of Best Actress, Best Exit and Best Single Episode (for her wedding with Tom) at the 2005 British Soap Awards. In 2010, Atkins was nominated for the Best Actress award. The following year she and Hordley received a nomination for Best On-Screen Partnership. The character was selected as one of the "top 100 British soap characters" by industry experts for a poll to be run by What's on TV, with readers able to vote for their favourite character to discover "Who is Soap's greatest Legend?" Kris Green of Digital Spy called Charity "one of the soap's most controversial characters." Steve Hendry of the Sunday Mail branded the Charity, Chris and Zoe storyline as "one of soapland's more bizarre love triangles." A writer for Virgin Media named Cain and Charity one of "Soaps' sexiest couples." Laura Morgan of All About Soap said that viewers should not count on Charity settling into married life with Jai, especially with Cain hanging around "like a bad smell".
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