Emma Atkins - 7 things you didn’t know about Emmerdale star

Emma Atkins with her award for Best Actress attending the Inside Soap Awards 2018 held at 100 Wardour Street, Soho, London. (Image credit: PA)

Emma Atkins has become something of an Emmerdale legend as Charity Dingle...

She’s been part of the Dingle dynasty for such a long time that it’s hard to remember Emmerdale without troublemaking Charity. Emma Atkins has been on our screens for 20 years, making her a household name as her Emmerdale alter ego takes centre stage in some of the soaps biggest storylines over the years.

Most recently Emmerdale fans have watched as Charity supports her partner Vanessa Woodfield, played by Michelle Hardwick, as she navigates her way through fighting bowel cancer.

But while we have watched Emma on screen for the last two decades there are still a few things we didn’t know about her…

Most fans of the actress will know that:

  • She took a small break from Emmerdale between 2005 and 2009
  • She's great friends with her Emmerdale co-stars
  • She's won countless awards for her role of Charity Dingle

But what else do we know about Emma? Here are several things you probably don't know...

Emma Atkins: little known facts about the Emmerdale actress...

1. Emmerdale was her first ever TV role

Emma Atkins 2004

Emma Atkins has been playing Emmerdale's Charity Dingle since 2000 (Picture: PA) (Image credit: PA)

Emma has been entertaining the nation as feisty Charity Dingle since 2000, and believe it or not the Emmerdale role was her first on British TV. During her time on the soap Emma has taken various breaks from filming, giving her the chance to try her hand at roles in Dalziel and Pascoe, Doctors, Heartbeat and Casualty to name but a few. She also took to the London stage to play Carry On legend Joan Sims in Stop Messing Around in 2009.

More: Things you didn't know about Emmerdale's Zoe Henry 

2. Emma Atkins kept her pregnancy secret for 8 months

Emma had to keep the fact she was having a baby under wraps thanks to an Emmerdale storyline. When Charity went to prison back in 2015 Emma was actually going on maternity leave, but she had to keep her pregnancy a secret to stop viewers working out that Charity would be found guilty at her court case!

3. Emma Atkins has a long-term partner and young son

A photo posted by on

Emma, who welcomed her son, Albert, with partner, Tom, to the world shortly after announcing her pregnancy, told The Sun in 2015: "We've had a lovely healthy baby boy. He arrived just before my 40th birthday, which was the best present. I’m so delighted."

4. She juggles motherhood and work - just like everyone else

Speaking about balancing being a mum and her return to Emmerdale following maternity leave, she once told OK! Magazine: "I was trying to learn my lines yesterday and Albert was really grabbing everything! It was so messy. But I have managed to balance it - I don't know how!"

More: Things you didn't know about Coronation Street actress Julia Goulding 

5. Emma Atkins is nothing like Charity Dingle - phew!

A photo posted by on

Actors always say they love playing their character because it’s nice to become someone else for a while, and that couldn't be more true for Emma. After coming back from maternity leave Emma told OK Magazine: "I did wonder if Charity might have changed after being in jail, but then in my first episode she was robbing a Ferrari - so there was no way! I love playing her because she's such a badass."

6. She’s a passionate photographer

A photo posted by on

When Emma isn’t busy filming at Emmerdale or being a mum, she likes to relax by taking amazing pictures of nature and sharing them on social media. You just have to take one look at her Instagram page to see she has a real eye for capturing something special.

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7. She’s great at helping others

Charity Dingle isn’t the only charity that Emma likes to get involved in. She can often be found doing her bit for others and took part in a 40 mile walk in aid of Lancashire Women’s Centres. She told Lancashire Telegraph: "I felt privileged when I was asked to lend my support, especially after the recent storyline I’ve been involved in. I was so excited to walk the walk and meet everyone who is part of such a wonderful community."

Emma Atkins' Fact File 

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about the actress....

How old is she?

Emma Atkins' age is 45. Her date of birth is 31 March 1975.

Is she in a relationship?

Emma Atkins in a relationship with boyfriend Tom.

Does she have kids?

Emma Atkins and her partner Tom have a son called Albert who was born in 2015.

Where was she born?

Emma Atkins was born in Morecambe, Lancashire.

How tall is she?

Emma Atkins' height is 5 foot 6 inches.

Instagram: @missemmaatkins

Emmerdale airs weeknights at 7pm on ITV, with an extra episode at 8pm on Thursdays.

We work hard to ensure that all information is correct. Facts that change over time, such as age, will be correct, to the best of our knowledge, at the time of the last article update.

Emma Atkins main picture: PA

Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and whattowatch.com writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.