Special, featuring Charity as a teenager, will air on 29th May

Emmerdale has announced a special flashback episode confronting “the painful and difficult subject of child abuse” which will feature a young Charity Dingle.

Charity, played by Emma Atkins, has recently opened up to her partner Vanessa Woodfield about the abuse she suffered as a teenager at the hands of rapist DI Bails.

In the one-hour special, which is billed by Emmerdale as a “landmark” episode, viewers will be taken back to the life of a young Charity, played by Mica Proctor, and witness “the pain, heartbreak and confusion” she felt as a girl.

Emmerdale Charity flashback

Emma said about the episode to appear on 29th May: “It’s such a brilliant opportunity for me to explore Charity’s past and a chance to discover why Charity behaves the way she does a lot of the time.

“It’s stuff that’s been locked away for years, very painful stuff, and she finally feels able to talk about it. The storyline is very serious in nature compared to the comedy I’ve done more recently so it is a wonderful challenge.

“The relationship between Charity and Vanessa is showing a different dimension to the usual gold digging Charity. It’s a love story and it’s breathing new life into my character, especially seeing her finally face up to her secret, dark past.

“It’s obviously the hardest storyline I’ve had due to the subject matter and I am duty bound to play it as truthfully as I can. If it in any way helps give anyone out there who’s suffered any kind of abuse the strength to open up, even just to talk about it, then that can only be the start of a good thing.”

Emmerdale said it has been supported throughout the research and preparation of Charity’s storyline by the team at North Yorkshire’s Rape Unit.

Explaining Charity’s storyline, Emmerdale Series Producer, Iain MacLeod, said: “Charity is a character with a complicated, fascinating and heartbreaking history – some of which has previously only been alluded to on screen. We wanted to do one of our signature, stylised episodes to fill in the blanks and explore the devastating, formative experiences she went through as a vulnerable teenager – adding in a massive surprise for viewers in the process.”

Emmerdale continues on ITV.