Emmerdale star Mark Charnock tells TV Times about a Bonfire Night to remember – or possibly forget ! – for Marlon Dingle and daughter April…

How is Marlon doing in his role as April’s father?
“That’s a tricky one. He is throwing everything at making her not miss her mum Donna, but that is a virtually impossible task. He has become obsessed with making things OK for April and as a result, he’s lost sight of all the other parts of his life. He is failing in every aspect really and it all sort of comes to a head on bonfire night.”

What happens on Bonfire Night?
“They’ve had a disastrous Halloween party where April had a meltdown – she used to love wearing fancy dress, but stopped when Donna died, so Halloween, being all about the costumes, was difficult for her. Bonfire night is a chance to make up for it and it starts well enough, but everyone starts to squabble and there’s a really bad atmosphere. Arthur is disappointed by everything, so he goes outside and tries to have a party of his own with a box of fireworks….”

That sounds dangerous…
“A very dangerous situation develops and it really shocks them all. It makes Marlon stand back and reflect.”

Did you ever do anything dangerous with fireworks as a kid?
“Never! I am terrified of getting injured by stuff like that and I was always cautious as a kid. There were other kids who would do all sorts of stuff with bangers, but not me. Even when we used to go out carol singing at Christmas I was so nervous about blowing it for everyone, so I used to mime. I remember this guy in a chippy who said ‘Why’s that one not singing?’ and he made me sing on my own. The swine!”

Do you like Bonfire Night?
“I haven’t been for a couple of years, but as a kid, I used to look forward to it for weeks and weeks. My nan and gramp lived in a old mining town in Lancashire and there was a disused railway yard at the bottom of their street. Everyone would go down, somebody would bring the treacle toffee, another person would bring the parkin cake or the hot black peas with loads of vinegar and it would be shared. Kids would have gone round the neighbourhood beforehand doing ‘Penny for the guy.’ It was something really special and I have vivid memories of the taste and smells of the night.”

What is in store for Marlon, Laurel, April and the kids?
“To be honest, in the short-term, it is going to be a rocky road. Marlon and Laurel need to find a way to make their new domestic arrangement work. It is so sad because they really love each other, but they just can’t make it work. It is not helped by the fact that Marlon has not dealt with this own grief. Donna’s death hit him like a thunderbolt and there are reminders of her everywhere.”

April is impossibly cute, isn’t she?
“I know. What a fantastic bit of casting that was. With her little bob, she is a mini Verity Lambert. We all love Amelia here. She is very funny and makes me laugh a lot. She’s my little mate.”

And she looks to be natural in front of the camera…
“It is amazing that she comes in here and can understand the difference between what is real and what is happening on set. She is only six years’ old which just goes to show that some people are born actors. She has a natural ability to melt people’s hearts when she is on screen.”

Are you looking forward to more heart wrenching scenes with Amelia?
“I am. All the kids we work with are gifted and well behaved, so it is a nice atmosphere when they all come on set and we do family scenes. It really works. Amelia has a natural energy about her and everyone loves having her around. Watch this space, because she is going to get better and better.”