The single mum has felt the strain
Emmerdale actress Lucy Pargeter, better known as Chas Dingle, has opened up about the struggles she experienced as a single mum in lockdown.
The 43 year old star – who has a teenage daughter Lola and three old twin girls Missy and Betsy – says she felt a huge burden of responsibility as she looked after her family, which was made worse by the difficulty in getting hold of basic provisions.
“I went into it thinking ‘I’m going to be really creative and do something different every day,’” Pargeter reveals. “Then tiredness kicked in, and monotony kicked in, and missing my mates, and then the massive weight of responsibility kicked in.
“I’m on my own with my three kids. I’m used to being a single mum, but then you have to put into the mix that you’re actually trying to fight to keep your children alive, and there’s the fear of what would happen if I became sick. It’s all the implications. It’s a life and death situation for so many people, and that hit me massively.”
She adds: “Luckily, no one close to me has been affected, but anxiety has been massive. I got very sick of people posting all their achievements, rather than the reality. Plus, I have had a really stressful time with online shopping, as I couldn’t get a slot for six weeks.
“I was relying on my mates around me and my work mates to go shopping for me, which is a massive deal for me as I don’t like putting anyone out of their way. To say to my friends ‘I can’t go shopping and we have nothing in the house’ has been a massive learning curve.
“I have realised that I have so many people around me I can rely on, and we’re so close. Not being so close in proximity has proved that we’re willing to go above and beyond for each other; it’s really cemented my friendships. I feel very blessed to have them.”
Pargeter and co-star Dominic Brunt, who plays Chas’s fiance Paddy Kirk, will be on screen next Monday as Emmerdale continues its run of special lockdown episodes.
In the two-hander, landlady Chas will be seen struggling to adapt to the closure of The Woolpack, and the subsequent lack of interaction with the local community.
Says Pargeter: “Chas is very much part of the DNA of the village, and she’s floundering slightly without that connection to others.
“I think we get a lot of ourselves from other people, and all of a sudden, Chas is in the Woolpack without any interaction from the outside world, and I think she does feel somewhat futile and without purpose. She is looking after a baby, cooking and cleaning, but without her job, and that isn’t her, really.
Meanwhile, the final lockdown episode will air on Wednesday 24th June, and will be a three-hander featuring Marlon Dingle and father and son Al and Ellis Chapman.