Emmerdale's new Charity storyline explained – who was Mark Bails?
Note: The following article contains discussion of topics including rape and sexual abuse.
Emmerdale spoilers follow from Thursday's episode (February 2).
Emmerdale's Charity Dingle has faced a reminder of her traumatic past this week, with the unexpected news that evil Mark Bails has died.
Wednesday's visit to the village ended with a mysterious cliffhanger as Charity received a shocking phone call, but everything became clear in the opening scenes of Thursday's hour-long edition.
As Charity reflected on the previous night's telephone conversation, she spotted Caleb Miligan unknowingly drop his car key on the ground.
Charity invited her cousin and ex-partner Cain to join her for a ride in the vehicle, leaving him confused over what she was up to.
When Charity arrived at her planned destination, Cain's mood changed from irritation to concern as he followed her into a cemetery, where she found the grave of Mark Bails.
The grave marker indicated that Bails had died on January 5 this year. He passed away from a heart attack in his prison cell.
Bails was introduced to Emmerdale in 2014 as a police detective inspector who ruthlessly pursued a personal vendetta against Charity.
The corrupt DI went all-out to ensure that Charity was sent to prison for her role in Declan Macey's insurance scam at Home Farm. Declan committed arson at the iconic estate at Christmas 2013.
Bails' scheming resulted in Charity receiving a two-year prison sentence. Before going to jail, Charity confided in her daughter Debbie about how Bails' grudge was personal, as he used to abuse her when she was younger.
In 2018, Emmerdale explored Charity's backstory in more detail after DI Bails returned to the show.
Bails initially reappeared as part of a storyline for Tracy Metcalfe – helping her when she reported a man called Phil Webb to the police for blackmailing and harassing her. Phil was a former client of Tracy's, who recognised her from her past as a sex worker.
Tracy agreed to team up with DI Bails for a police project which aimed to stamp out sexual exploitation. Charity became alarmed when she found out about Bails leading the project, aware of how unsuitable he was for the role.
In a heart-to-heart with her then-partner Vanessa Woodfield, Charity bravely shared that DI Bails groomed and raped her when she was 14 years old.
At the time, Bails preyed on Charity's vulnerability by offering her a flat to stay in. He then started sexually abusing her and profited by charging friends to do the same.
A few weeks after confiding in Vanessa, Charity publicly exposed Bails' evil abuse during a press conference for the police campaign that he'd been working on.
Charity called out Bails for his hypocrisy, which led to his suspension from work.
A further storyline development explored the fact that Charity was pregnant with Bails' child when she managed to make an escape from her abuser.
Charity had always thought that her baby son died shortly after his birth in 1990. However, baby Ryan was adopted and brought up by Irene Stocks, the midwife who'd delivered him.
Ryan, played by actor James Moore, is still a regular in Emmerdale after his on-screen arrival in 2018.
Ryan's introduction to Emmerdale helped Charity to seek justice against Bails. A sample of Ryan's DNA proved that Bails was his father and that the evil policeman had abused Charity.
In September 2018, Bails made his final appearance on Emmerdale as he was found guilty of rape and wrongful imprisonment. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Emmerdale airs on weeknights at 7.30pm on ITV1, and streams on ITVX.
Read more Emmerdale spoilers on our dedicated homepage
If you've been affected by the issues raised in this story, you can access more information from Rape Crisis England and Wales, who work towards the elimination of all forms of sexual violence and sexual misconduct, on their website or by calling the National Rape Crisis Helpline on 0808 802 9999. Rape Crisis Scotland’s helpline number is 08088 01 03 02.
Readers in the US are encouraged to contact RAINN, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline on 800-656-4673.
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