Emmerdale At 40: Lucy Pargeter and Liam Fox talk Chas and Dan’s wedding and live episode!

by Lynn Connolly

As fans of Emmerdale may know, when the show airs its live episode in October, we’re to see the double wedding of Katie Sugden and Declan Macey as well as Chas Dingle and Dan Spencer’s nuptials…

But of course, for Chas Dingle, there’s the spectre of Carl King’s (Tom Lister) threat to expose her affair with Cameron Murray (Dominic Power) hanging over her veil, so for her, the day may not have the fairytale quality it’ll have for fellow bride-to-be, Katie!

And as we’ve been reporting this week, the cast of the show have been talking to ITV about their roles in the live hour-long broadcast, and the latest of those is Lucy Pargeter and Liam Fox, who of course play Chas and Dan.

Beginning with Lucy, here’s what she had to say…

Tell us about Chas’ state of mind in the lead up to the 40th birthday week?

Chas is in a state of total confusion and fear. She’s not in a great place at all but she’s completely determined to marry Dan…

Do you think she’s over Cameron?

I don’t think she is completely over Cameron and I think the decision to get over him was made when he went back to Debbie. Although she has accepted he’s back with her she’s not particularly happy about it and she just has to get on with her life.

Everyone is quite cynical about her relationship with Dan. Is she genuinely in love
with him?

I think she sees everything in Dan that she had hoped for in Carl and Cameron. He completely adores her and would do anything for her. With Dan she sees security and she loves him for the person he is. I think Chas just wants to know which direction her life is going in and to be settled and happy and she wants to be there as quickly as possible.

Do you think if Cameron left Debbie Chas would go back to him?

I think she might go back to Cameron because she does still have feelings for him. He would have to completely convince her that he wasn’t going to change his mind though. Jeepers! Can you imagine trying to live in the village as a couple around Debbie and the family?

Carl has been threatening to ruin everything for Chas. What’s going through her

She is desperate to keep him quiet. Letting this secret come out to Debbie is not an option. She’s terrified about what could happen and worried as Carl is getting very intense and scarily involved with her life. He seems to be getting quite obsessed with her again and loving the fact he can control her like a puppet. He’s admitted he loves her and he’s adamant all this worry can go away because he’s in control. He just wants to be back with her.

How does she feel about the wedding?

Chas just wants to get the wedding over and done with as quickly as possible. She wants to marry Dan and get back to normality. It’s not about the wedding for her. It’s about being married.

What is Chas’ wedding dress like?

It’s probably the chavviest dress! She’s gone second hand this time, think ‘Little Mermaid’ slash ‘Big Fat Gypsy wedding’.

What would you tell viewers to expect from the 40th episodes?

Drama in buckets full. Tears, fear, surprises and a few giggles. Absolutely everything you would expect from this show all thrown into one episode.

Lips are sealed about the content of the live episode but can you give any hints?

There are a couple of really big shocks in store. It’s not going to end the way everybody thinks it is going to end and fans of the show are going to be very very surprised with the outcome of the live episode. We certainly were!

Are you nervous about the live episode?

This is an experience that I am going into with the best people possible and I’m doing the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. I’m not looking forward to it though. Hopefully the two weeks rehearsal beforehand will settle our minds. It’s the first time anything like this has been done purely on location, so logistically and technically it’s not just a matter of us
remembering our lines. I’m trying not to think about it because at the moment we are doing all the scenes for the episodes before and after the live so it’s really heightening what we are going to have to put ourselves through during that hour.

Have you done any live TV before?

No and I’ve never really done any theatre. I’m slightly worried about my burping problem! I burp when I’m under pressure. I think everyone feels the same though. A lot of the cast have done theatre before but nobody has done a live. Many of the crew and our Director have done it before so they all know what it involves.

How would you describe your time on Emmerdale over the years?

I have loved every second of it, every storyline, each day filming. We are so professional when it comes down to doing the job but in between takes we have such a laugh, you couldn’t ask for better people to work with. It’s brilliant and I hope they keep challenging me for many years to come!

How does it feel to be playing such a big part in the 40th celebrations?

It’s a massive honour, but also a massive responsibility. I just hope I don’t disappoint anyone.

On now to Liam Fox, and what he revealed about the live episode, and what preparations he’s been making ahead of it…

You joined Emmerdale earlier this year. Have you found fans have taken to Dan?

I think at first people thought Dan was a scruff bag loser, but now they’re warming to him. That’s the feedback I get from fans in the street anyhow.

What do you like or dislike most about the character?

I kind of like everything about him. He’s every man really. We all know someone like Dan. I based him on a mate I went to school with. He wasn’t up to much, but he was happy. He’s got a good heart, he means well and he probably needs to care about himself a bit more really.

Dan and Chas have had a whirlwind romance and are now about to get married. Can he believe his luck?

No not really! Dan never thought he stood a chance with Chas, as she was just the fit woman behind the bar he was having a bit of banter with. He never thought anything would come of it. I think it’s all a bit of a haze at the minute and he’ll be pinching himself for a long time.

Does Dan believe the relationship will last?

On the surface yes he does think it will last. Although deep down he probably senses it might not and just wants it to last as long as possible.

Does he suspect Chas is hiding something from him?

Chas has been a bit vague and distant and Dan’s getting an idea that something’s not quite right but he’s just ploughing on. He’s quite confused by her sudden rush to get married and possibly go away together after the wedding. She also decided she wanted a small wedding, whereas Dan would have liked something a bit more special but he just wants to marry her at the end of the day.

Dan has his stag do at the Home Farm music festival. Are you a festival “goer”

No I don’t like mud. I like to go to a proper venue. That’s really boring isn’t it? I grew up going to the Hacienda and places like that. While everyone else was going to raves, I was probably at home watching telly or with my mates in the pub. I don’t wear wellies unless I’m walking the dogs.

Your wife is also an actress do you talk shop when you get home or compare jobs?

Yes we do. I like to learn scripts on my own but my wife, Nicole, prefers me to read through scripts with her. Then we’ll talk about work and my son will say “I’m sick of soaps!”

Emmerdale is 40 this year and is going from strength to strength what do you think makes it so successful?

Emmerdale has strong characters and brilliant writing. It manages to keep the balance between humour and drama. I think that’s why people are switching on to it more.

How do you feel playing such an important part in the live episode?

It’s a bit scary, but exciting. I’m dead chuffed and very grateful I’ve been given the chance to do it. I’m over the moon.

With the live episode approaching, what is the atmosphere like on set at the moment?

Everyone is really looking forward to it. There are a few nervous people but overall everyone is pretty excited. The thought of actually doing a live episode on location and pulling it off is amazing.

Have you ever done any live television before?

No never! I really enjoy the buzz of theatre so while we’re doing the live I’m just going to equate it to theatre. There could be ten people watching or ten million. Forget who’s watching and just do it!”

Can you sum up what is so challenging about live drama on TV?

There are no retakes. I think it’s probably more difficult for the people behind the scenes as it’s all about hitting marks and making sure that’s all spot on.

Have you been given any words of advice from anyone?

No I haven’t actually. I just think back to watching the Corrie live episode and I remembe thinking it was brilliant how they managed to pull that off and how great it’d be to be involved with something like that.

You can type ‘Emmerdale At 40’ into the search box above to find more cast interviews and news about the special week of shows on ITV1 and ITV2.

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.