Emmerdale‘s Mark Charnock talks to Soaplife about Marlon’s love for a married woman – Laurel!

How strong are Marlon’s feelings for Laurel?
“It’s one of the great shocks in his life that he’s fallen for her completely. I don’t think he’s felt this since Tricia. But Laurel’s married, she’s taken, she’s not his and he doesn’t know what to do. He’s in love – it’s that deep, emotional connection he’s made with somebody, which he’s not had since Tricia died.”

And he tells Rachel of all people!
“Yes, and Laurel is fuming. For the first time all his frustration about the situation comes out – not knowing how Laurel feels, not being able to talk about it – and he really has a go at her. And then it’s this electric moment between them and he grabs her and kisses her. She pulls her head away and he thinks he’s done the wrong thing, but then she comes back and they kiss passionately. And that’s it then – they’ve completely crossed the line and it’s a life-changing moment.”

And Sandy becomes suspicious, doesn’t he?
“Sandy knows Laurel and Ashley haven’t been settled at home. Then he starts to see lingering looks and whispered conversations between Marlon and Laurel. He lets Marlon know he knows something is going on and warns Marlon off.”

Then Marlon and Laurel meet in secret and discuss what’s happened with Sandy…
“It’s a really lovely scene. They’re quite excited about seeing each other – it’s the first time they’ve met up since they kissed. It’s quite romantic and beautiful. Marlon tells her Sandy has been asking questions and says – not wanting her to agree – that they should just be friends. And she says yes, that’s what they have to be. But we know they both want so much more than that and that’s the tragedy of the situation.”

So is it really all over?
“Laurel ends it without really wanting to end it. And Marlon has to accept the situation. The worse thing is, neither of them can move away. They’re both locked into this village and he’s got to look at this woman that he really profoundly loves each day and he can’t be with her. As the story goes on he’s going to become increasingly unable to deal with seeing her on a day-to-day basis.”

Are you enjoying this storyline?
“I’ve always had good stories. But in terms of trying to make this work in such a way that the characters don’t come out of it as unlikeable, it’s one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever had.”