In Emmerdale, harrowing scenes await as Marlon Dingle’s life is about to change forever when he suffers a major stroke in a long-running storyline that will put the entire family to the test.
To ensure authenticity, the hard-hitting storyline required extensive preparation and research with The Stroke Association as well as real-life survivors.
The program’s narrative will center on Marlon and tell the story from his character’s perspective in the hopes of raising awareness of the warning signs that precede a stroke.
The episodes were made possible by the Stroke Association, who collaborated closely with Emmerdale’s scriptwriters, story, research, and production teams from the beginning of the storyline to ensure a realistic portrayal of Marlon’s journey.
Scenes will be set in the coming months to show how Marlon and his family, friends, and loved ones will cope with the diagnosis and how it will affect their lives and the community as a whole.
‘Warm, witty, and kindhearted Marlon is undeniably one of Emmerdale’s most loved characters, and with Mark Charnock’s sheer skill, craft, and incredible range, it felt totally right to play such an incredibly important story as this, with Marlon highlighting that a stroke can happen at any time and showing the catastrophic consequences it can have on the person affected and their entire family,’ Emmerdale Producer Laura Shaw explained.
‘When we first started researching this storyline, the stark statistics that the UK alone has 1.3 million stroke survivors astounded me, so we knew we had to do those people and their families justice by portraying the raw reality of a stroke as truthfully and honestly as possible.’
‘For the actual stroke episode, we conducted extensive research so that we could depart from our usual storytelling style and show the stroke from Marlon’s point of view in a powerful way, because we wanted viewers to see what a stroke feels like in the moment.’
‘As the story progresses, we see how Marlon and his friends and family deal with the tragic and heartbreaking long-term consequences of their actions, and how their love for one another shines through as they all pull together during this trying time.’
‘Many viewers, including the 1.3 million stroke survivors in the UK, will be able to identify with Marlon’s storyline,’ said Juliet Bouverie OBE, Chief Executive of the Stroke Association. A stroke can leave people disabled for the rest of their lives, and the emotional toll that the condition takes on the stroke survivor and their family can be devastating.
‘We are ecstatic that Emmerdale and Mark Charnock have agreed to tackle this difficult story.’ As a charity, we are ecstatic to have been able to provide guidance and support right from the start. The Emmerdale production team was assisted by a number of stroke consultants, stroke survivors, and teams from across the charity to ensure a realistic depiction of a stroke on screen.
‘We hope that Marlon’s stroke will raise awareness among viewers because a quarter of all strokes occur in people under the age of 65, just like Marlon.’ Stroke alters people’s lives in an instant, but the brain adapts.
‘If you or someone you know is having a stroke, call 999 immediately because a stroke is a medical emergency.’ Anyone interested in learning more about stroke can go to http://www.stroke.org.uk.
‘Working on this storyline with Emmerdale’s research team and the Stroke Association has been a total eye-opener for me. We hear the word “stroke” thrown around a lot, but being confronted with the sheer weight of numbers in this country alone has been a shock,’ Mark Charnock added.
‘In the United Kingdom, a stroke occurs every 5 minutes.’ Every year, over 100,000 people are killed. More can and should be done to raise awareness, and this story may be able to assist in that effort. It’s a huge responsibility to try to make things right for the survivors and their families, as well as those who have lost loved ones in this tragic event.
‘No two strokes are alike, but the consequences are disastrous.’ I’m grateful to the show for telling the story and allowing me to be a part of it.’
Mark and Zoe Henry, who plays Rhona, spoke to Metro.co.uk, and you can find out more about them and the storyline as a whole on our site starting Tuesday March 15.