Note: The following article contains discussion of topics that include suicidal thoughts.
Emmerdale spoilers to follow.
Emmerdale star Dominic Brunt takes center stage in emotional scenes this week as his character Paddy Dingle contemplates suicide.
Paddy has recently disappeared from the village as he struggles to see a way forward after the end of his marriage to Chas. He has since returned home, but continues to hide the extent of his inner turmoil.
Show heads consulted the Samaritans and suicide prevention charity Andy’s Man Club while working on the issue-driven story.
Dominic recently spoke with digital spy and other media to talk about the plot.
What was your reaction when this plot idea was first shared with you?
“It was in August and I appreciated the fact that it was brought in so early, which is unusual. Being a fan of the show, I usually like to get the scripts every other week and read them to find out what the different characters will be doing.
“In this case, knowing what the story was months in advance was very healthy. It helped me start to color and feed the beginning and core of the story.
“It transcends the normal stories that we’re given. The only time I’ve had something like this before is when Aaron came along and it mattered to people. I remember one uncle, with that generational bigotry that’s there, watched it and went, ‘ Yes, I understand that.
“I was hoping this story could do just that – that it could make a difference and normalize speech. No matter what you’re going through, the only thing that’s going to save you and help you is talking.”
How did things progress from there?
“Having access to Samaritans and Andy’s Man Club early on made me feel involved in the story.
“I don’t like to put any entries in scripts. I’m definitely the pawn, so I move where I’m moved and say what people wrote to me.
“But I really felt included and I felt a huge sense of responsibility to get it right, so I did my best. I felt really cared for and involved and they made me trust the whole process.”
Did you know anyone who was in Paddy’s shoes?
“Yes, I have – whether it’s through Andy’s Man Club or doing my own research, it’s been amazing. Not only has it been inspiring, it’s been pitch black and it’s made me appreciate what I have.
“Talking to people where life hit them so hard from left field, it was really shocking. But like I said before, everyone who’s been through the other side has said, ‘I’m glad I spoke to someone, I’m glad I spoke . Talking saved me’. It’s been amazing, really.”
After everything Paddy has been through over the last few years, was it easy for you to see why he got to this point?
“Yes, although it seems that men suffer in secret. I spoke to people who were left behind when someone killed themselves. Almost everyone I spoke to said, ‘We didn’t know. I wish they would have said something. We didn’t expect this. ‘.
“We tried to feed some of that – where it was a shock, but there were reasons as well.”
How did you feel after filming the scenes?
“I just tried my best. I couldn’t even open a small door for the black dogs these people experience. I was faking it.
“The scripts and dialogue were so good, the journey there and the turn was so clear. It was almost easy to do, but the excitement I got from visiting had to be shaken off almost immediately.
“I felt supported, but I have an hour’s drive home after work, so I would turn on the radio and make sure I get some sleep that night. So I’m not suffering like that – I’m a stupid actor with a script in my hands. hands.
“I was privileged and honored to serve that story. But it didn’t touch the sidelines for me, because I know what it’s like for someone to actually go through that. So it felt good.”
What will Paddy’s journey be like going forward?
“He’s opened the door to that now – he’s capable of having those thoughts. He is capable of trying to take his own life and will have to watch that now for the rest of his life.
“Fortunately, the story was not abandoned. There will be hints, hopefully forever, that he is capable of it.
“But there’s also a lot of light – it’s not a fest of misery. It’s not this dark story that’s awful to watch. It’s very well colored with the pacing. Even a few weeks later there are little hints of light where Paddy has found his humor again, but he needs to take care of himself.
“The story also normalizes speech. If Paddy has another crush, he’ll turn to someone and say, ‘Would it be okay to go have a cup of tea? I just want to talk about something that’s been bothering me.’ that.”
What kind of impact do you want the story to have?
“I hope as many people as possible watch it. We have the perfect soap opera medium to give this subject a platform and tell it in such a way that people show up to work the next morning and ask, ‘Did you see Emmerdale last night? What did you think of this? We cannot waste this opportunity.
“Hopefully, if it makes a difference to even one person, that would be awesome. That’s the most we can hope for, really.”
Emmerdale continues on Thursday 2 March and Friday 3 March with hour-long episodes from 7pm on ITV1 and broadcasts on ITVX.
See more information Emmerdale spoilers on our dedicated home page
We encourage anyone who identifies with the topics raised in this article to get in touch. Emmerdale has been working on Paddy’s story with the support of Samaritans It is Andy’s Man Club.
More information on how to access support is available at NHSand organizations that can offer help include Samaritans on 116 123 or Mind on 0300 123 3393.
Readers in the US are encouraged to visit mentalhealth.gov or the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.