Inside Emmerdale's Marlon Dingle actor's life off-screen – from heart-breaking bereavement to 'secret' family

EMMERDALE character Marlon Dingle has been a firm favourite among fans since he first appeared in the ITV soap in 1996.

The son of Albert and Delilah Dingle, viewers have watched him grow up – becoming a chef at the Woolpack and a father of two to April and Leo.

Marlon has been at the centre of a range of dramatic storylines over the years – from a stint in prison to the death fo his ex-wife Donna Windsor.

But while his life on-screen is often chaotic and dramatic, actor Mark Charnock has a much more peaceful time in his life away from the cameras.

From a close bond with many of his co-stars to keeping his private life under wraps, things are much more ordinary for Mark, 53.

The star enjoys a close bond with some of his fellow Emmerdale actors, and before the coronavirus pandemic was regularly pictured with them.

On social media, Mark often shared snaps from behind-the-scenes of the soap, including one picture with pal Gemma Atkinson.

Gemma, 37, who played Carly Hope until she left in 2017, was a good friend of Mark's – and the pair were often seen messing around on set.

Mark has been seen out for drinks with Michelle Hardwick, who played Vanessa Woodfield, Danny Miller, aka Aaron Dingle, and Amy Walsh, who plays Tracy Metcalfe.

While his friendships are shared on social media, Mark prefers to keep his personal life and his family away from Emmerdale.

It is believed the star is married and has one son – who he lives with in North Yorkshire alongside their pooch Freddie, a Golden Retriever.

Sharing snaps of his home life, Mark can often be seen cuddling up to his pup, while also spending plenty of time outside in his vegetable garden.

It hasn't always been easy for the star – who has also been through the loss of his on-screen son Leo Goskirk.

Child actor Harry Whittaker, who had Down's Syndrome, tragically passed away from a chronic lung disease in 2014.

Mark led the emotional tributes to the young star, writing: "Our superhero. We were lucky to know you and hear your laugh. You lit up our lives dearest Harry."

He also made a sweet tribute to the youngster, who was the nephew of Doctor Who actress Jodie Whittaker, on what would have been his 10th birthday.

"Thinking of the joy he brought to everyone he encountered and of his giddy laughter," he wrote. "Thinking of our Prince Harry with love and happy memories."

Acting isn't Mark's only passion in life – as it's clear to see from his Instagram grid that he is a huge fan of all things horror fiction.

Over the years, he has compiled a huge collection including Jac Jem's The Grip Of It and W. C. Ryan's A House of Ghosts among his spooky stories.

He is a self-confessed zombie lover and shares his passion with co-star and on-screen friend Dominic Brunt, who plays Paddy on the ITV soap.

Mark has helped to host a zombie film festival in Leeds, as well as got stuck in with the filming of Emmerdale's Halloween special.

Emmerdale airs weekdays on ITV at 7pm

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