Paddy's Story Takes A Heartbreaking Turn
After a build up of isolation, grief and confusion Paddy Kirk has been visibly struggling. Next month viewers will see Paddy consider taking his own life.
Feeling alone and struggling to find his place in people’s lives, Paddy, played by Dominic Brunt, will begin having suicidal thoughts and as he contends with these, the audience will see the true extent of Paddy’s deep depression.
This beloved character has really been suffering since the breakdown of his marriage when he discovered his wife Chas had been cheating with Al Chapman. With Paddy and Chas both trying to parent their young daughter Eve, Paddy has been unhappily cohabiting with Chas above the busy Woolpack pub. Yet with the constant reminders of her infidelity, their shared grief over the loss of their daughter Grace, and daily bickering between this irreconcilable couple, it has all taken its toll on Paddy’s mental health.
As well as his problems at home, his work as a vet has suffered and he has made some uncharacteristically careless mistakes. Feeling isolated and alone, Paddy has felt unable to reach out for support from anyone, in spite of a close network of friends including his lifelong best friends Marlon Dingle, played by Mark Charnock and Rhona Goskirk, played by Zoe Henry.
Consequently, during the episode which airs on ITV1 on Thursday 9th February viewers will see Paddy suddenly leave the village without telling his friends or family. Although Paddy will soon be found staying locally in a guest house, it will be clear he is struggling with his mental health and not planning on reconnecting with his loved ones for some time. In March Paddy will return to his village, when completely unbeknownst to his close friends he will say some veiled goodbyes before leaving again with the aim of ending his own life.
To bring this story to the screen, Emmerdale programme researchers and writers have taken advice and worked closely with both Samaritans and Andy’s Man Club in order to tell Paddy’s story as authentically as possible.
Emmerdale producer Laura Shaw explains:
“As soon as we started discussing this story we knew that it was vital for us to get it right and that we needed to open up the conversation about male depression and suicide. Paddy is usually very happy-go-lucky in life, always joking and having a laugh, but what we see is that recent events have really taken their toll. Despite him being popular and having lots of friends and family around him, Paddy starts to feel increasingly lonely, isolated and overwhelmed by his feelings and this leads to him having some very dark thoughts. We've worked really closely with Samaritans and Andy's Man Club every step of the way through this story and their incredible support and insight has helped us to shape Paddy's journey into a true reflection of what thousands of men sadly go through every year.”
Lorna Fraser, the Executive Lead for Samaritans’ Media Advisory Service commented: “Paddy’s story creates an opportunity to show others, particularly middle-aged men, however difficult times can become, it's always possible to get help and get through, and ultimately recover. Depression and suicide are extremely serious topics, so we’re pleased to have seen the producers work so hard to ensure they got this story right in its telling.
We encourage anyone touched by this story to reach out to Samaritans, our amazing volunteers are always here to listen, day and night.”
Neil Waine from Andy’s Man Club commented: “ANDYSMANCLUB are a men’s suicide prevention charity, offering free-to-attend peer-to-peer support groups across well over 100 venues in the United Kingdom and online. We want to end the stigma surrounding men’s mental health and help men through the power of conversation and we are absolutely delighted that ITV and Emmerdale are tackling this vitally important subject and helping raise awareness that #ITSOKAYTOTALK.
Actor Dominic Brunt commented:
”It’s a huge honour and a great responsibility to be portraying this storyline. It’s an inherent problem in today’s society that most men don’t talk enough about their problems. We bottle them up, we don’t want to bother anyone, we become embarrassed, we feel we should be strong and not show weakness. If this story can shine a light on the issue or make even a small change to someone’s outlook or viewpoint, then it will have been worth it.
It’s also a privilege to be working alongside The Samaritans and Andy’s Man Club in highlighting this issue.”
Please visit itv.com/advice for charities and organisations who can offer support during difficult times.