What did you think when you heard that Laurel and Marlon were going to fall for one another?
Charlotte: “It didn’t surprise me really because a soap has to keep evolving. I think her falling in love with somebody else was inevitable, but what’s really interesting is that it’s somebody she’s known for a decade. It’s an adventure for Laurel and I’m really enjoying it. It’s not about a sordid affair, it’s more about the dilemma – what do you do if you fall in love with somebody else?”
Mark: “I was thrilled because despite the fact that Charlotte and I are good friends and we have worked together all these years, we’ve never had a story together and rarely spend screen time with one another. It’s a really great opportunity and I’m chuffed because Charlotte is an amazing actress.”
Why now? Why didn’t they fall in love years ago?
Charlotte: “She hasn’t had the time. She fell for Ashley, became a mum, there was the cot-death story and then Psycho Sally. But you know, she has two children and lives a comfortable life. I think she wants to feel attractive again and Marlon makes her laugh and makes her feel beautiful again.”
Mark: “I guess it happens all the time in life. People can know each other for a long time and then they fall in love. Some circumstance sparks it. They were running the kids’ club and just saw something in each other they hadn’t seen before.”
How did you react to the idea that you might have to kiss a colleague you have known for so long?
Charlotte: “It’s kind of strange because Mark comes over to my house, he knows my children. He’s a really good friend of mine, but at the same time, that makes it kind of comfortable. You just have to get on with it.”
Mark: “I am not one of those handsome hunks who has loads of kissing scenes, but I don’t mind them. I am pretty relaxed about that kind of thing. It’s my job to do stuff like that.”
Do you think Marlon and Laurel make a good couple?
Charlotte: “I do, but why do I feel really guilty about saying that? I almost feel I wouldn’t want John Middleton who plays Ashley to hear me. Isn’t that terrible? When you are in a soap couple, you feel quite loyal. Marlon and Laurel have been through a lot of tragedy. They are both a bit quirky and daft and could make each other very happy.”
Mark: “I really do. Poor Marlon, he had no idea that all along there was this woman in the village who completely gets him. He’s just met her at the wrong stage in her life.”
Are they going to have a full-blown affair?
Charlotte: “As far as I know, they are not going to sleep together – yet. But Laurel has fallen in love and she would have trusted herself once, but she feels totally out of control.”
Mark: “It doesn’t feel sleazy. There is an innocence about it, which is a ridiculous thing to say seeing as Marlon has fallen in love with a married woman. Who knows where it will go eventually.”
Should they be together?
Charlotte: “My mum thinks so. She said ‘They should have put you two together years ago.’ She’s always right! I think it’s what the viewers want too, but it will be a bumpy road if it happens.”
Mark: “I think my mum would be fully supportive of Marlon’s attempts to lure the vicar’s wife away from him! Actually, as I am an only child, she takes it all very personally and is really defensive if anyone is nasty to Marlon. From the reaction I’ve had on Twitter, I think three quarters of viewers want to see them together whilst the remaining quarter think it’s wrong. I hoped there would be a mixed reaction like that.”
Are fans stopping you to talk about the romance?
Charlotte: “Yes, a lot. I was with my kids in the bank the other day and this woman asked ‘When are you and Marlon going to get together?’ My seven-year-old son thinks I have got lots of friends. He knows I am married to somebody called John on the telly and it’s really going to mess with his head when Mark gets involved too!”
Mark: “I’ve had lots of laddish comments like ‘Ooooh, the vicar’s wife!’ And women says things like ‘You naughty boy.’ People always come up to me to talk about Emmerdale and I really like that aspect of the job.”