If you were to put a list together of all the people in Emmerdale unlikely to face drink-driving charges, it wouldn’t be long, but it would include Laurel Dingle.
As Laurel discovers, though, all it takes to fall foul of the law is one glass of wine, a call from the school and Pc Swirling being a bit of a jobsworth. “Laurel’s mortified,” says Charlotte. “She’s only had one glass of wine when she’s stopped by the police, but she hasn’t eaten and she’s quite small, so she’s over the limit.” And she’s got Marlon’s precious April in the car…
How are things between Laurel and Marlon (Mark Charnock)?
“Their marriage is troubled and under strain. Things like April being a priority for Marlon and the general day-to-day living with children and getting on with life is producing stresses. Laurel’s sympathetic to April, of course she is. Laurel’s a good mother and she loves April like one of her own, but she thinks they need professional help and Marlon is denying that and putting April over and above everything else.”
So how does Laurel find herself in trouble?
“Laurel meets Nicola [Nicola Wheeler] at lunchtime and has a glass of wine. Then she gets a call from the school to say that April has fallen asleep in lessons again, as she’s not sleeping properly at night because she’s having nightmares. Laurel has to go and pick her up.”
And she’s stopped on the way home?
“Yes, the police pull her over; she’s breathalysed and is actually over the limit, which you can be with one glass of wine if you haven’t eaten. It’s quite shocking.”
Does she tell Marlon?
“Yes – and his only concern is the fact that she has April in the car and was therefore putting her in danger.”
But they get a wake-up call, don’t they?
“Yes. It’s bonfire night and Marlon and Laurel are arguing the whole time. They take their eye off the ball and Arthur gets hold of a box of fireworks and almost lights one. That’s a real wake-up call for the couple.”
But they can’t escape Laurel’s driving ban…
“Marlon just swallows it really, but then there’s an added pressure on them because Laurel can’t drive, so the ferrying of the kids is all on him and Doug [Duncan Preston].”
What should Laurel do?
“I worry for her. These are the pressures of living with stepchildren. It is a very modern family in that respect. It’s all getting on top of them both.”
Can they get back on track?
“I hope they can, but I worry for Laurel. These are the pressures of living with stepchildren. I have a feeling there might be some more hiccups along the way…”