As if Emmerdale’s Chas Dingle hasn’t had enough to deal with already this Christmas, now she is in for even more drama when she is targeted by a mystery stalker in the next few days.
Fans of the hit ITV show will know how Chas (Lucy Pargeter) has just been released from prison after a jury found her not guilty of murdering her ex-partner, Carl King. Carl was actually murdered by Chas’ boyfriend, Cameron (Dominic Power), when he finished him off after Chas had hit him in once in self-defence, and let Chas, totally unaware of this fact, take the blame.
Now that she is out, she has rekindled her romance with Cameron, who she had been having an affair with behind his girlfriend, Chas’ niece Debbie (Charley Webb), despite her whole family turning against her.
However, as fans will know, Cameron lost his cool during the trial and admitted to farmhand, Alex, his part in the killing, when he had decided to finally hand himself in to save Chas. When Chas got off anyway, Alex became a huge obstacle for Cameron, who ended up killing him and burying him in the woods to keep him quiet.
Now seemingly playing happy families with Cameron, Chas is left terrified when she begins receiving silent phone calls, which soon turn to much more sinister harassment!
Lucy Pargeter has discussed the upcoming storyline with Digital Spy, and says that at the start of it her character finally seems happy.
“It’s mixed emotions, really. Chas is ecstatic to be in the clear, but she still thinks that she was responsible, so the guilt and the hurt haven’t gone away. She’s also scared to be back in the village because of the repercussions of everything that’s happened.
“As she works in The Woolpack, she’s at the focal point of the village and of course she’s going to have to face everybody and go through all kinds of different emotions. She’s got a lot of catching up to do!”
However, Chas soon finds herself alone again when Cameron heads off to Jersey leaving her in the village:
“Chas wants to go with him, but she doesn’t because of Bernice. There’s an onslaught from Bernice and she says that Chas really ought to leave, as nobody wants her around. So Chas decides to stay around to protect and hold onto her territory!”
“Chas can see that Cameron is a bit upset, but he tells her that it’s because his son is ill and he needs to get to Jersey. Having been through everything with Aaron, Chas encourages him to go. She can see that he’s a bit uptight about something, but she has no idea what he’s actually done!”
Without Cameron to stand by her, Chas is left feeling even more isolated, especially when Bernice tells her she is the reason that people are avoiding the pub:
“Bernice does have a point, but it’s after Christmas and I think most places go through a lull at that time anyway. But Chas does start to think that it’s got something to do with her. Chas and Bernice are at each other’s throats, and it’s also likely to kick off whenever the Dingles are at the pub, so people are avoiding those situations.”
Bernice suggests to Chas that she sells her share of the business to her, which Lucy says Chas is tempted to do:
“She is tempted because things get so bad, and she starts getting these prank calls too. Chas has no idea where they’re from and she starts to feel uneasy. She feels that if she did sell up and go, it’d be a lot easier for her family and she wouldn’t have to deal with everybody. But then she thinks otherwise because the pub is one of the only things she has left.”
However, the prank calls soon turn into a much more frightening situation:
“It begins with the first prank call in The Woolpack. Chas is working and somebody calls, but there’s nobody there. Then it happens again and Jimmy is there, and he suggests that she should try 1471, but it’s a withheld number.
“Then Chas gets even more calls, and she also senses that people might be watching her, especially when she goes to Carl’s grave with Jimmy. There are also stones thrown at her window, and at one point she goes outside and there’s a photograph of her and Carl which has been left for her…”
“She’s not paranoid! There is genuinely someone watching her.”
“She starts to think that it could be Bernice, because she wants the pub. Then she thinks its Cain or Debbie. After that, she gets another photograph delivered at The Woolpack with her eyes scratched out. She also gets a call from someone playing Carl’s answering machine message, which is very creepy.
“Chas is already on edge because of everything that’s happened, and the thought that someone is targeting her makes it even worse. It’s the not knowing which is the worst thing. It could be the Dingles, it could be someone else, it could be anybody and that’s what’s the most unnerving thing.”
Chas decides the person most likely to be behind it all is her brother, Cain (Jeff Hordley) and confronts him over it:
“He denies it point blank, but he says, ‘I’d like to know who it is, so I could congratulate them!’ So it’s not nice that he’s supporting what’s happening. Chas suggests to him that maybe it’s Debbie, but he tells her it’s not as she’s too busy with Sarah.”
Chas soon finds herself in real danger:
“I think she’s most frightened when there’s a bottle thrown at her and it cuts her face. If they’re willing to throw something at her, it’s a bit more than just threatening behaviour!”
However, Chas does manage to catch out her stalker, but Lucy says when their identity is revealed it leaves her character feeling even more torn:
“It is a shock, but there is a reason behind it and she fully understands why they did it. When she finds out who it is, it’s yet another thing for her to deal with…”
Watch an interview with Lucy, pre-40th anniversary, in the clip below: