Emmerdale newcomer Flo Wilson reveals Claudette's true nature amid 'cruelty'
Charles Anderson (Kevin Mathurin) has faced many tests of his faith over the years as Emmerdale’s vicar, but he’s about to be tested to the extreme by the arrival of his mother Claudette – who comes to the village with very clear views about how her son should be behaving.
Flo Wilson, who plays Claudette, told us that her character has the best of intentions, even if that’s not how she might always come across.
‘I think if anything she maybe infantilises him a bit,’ she admitted. ‘But she’s doing it because she loves him and just wants to look after him, because that’s the only role she has with him. She’s always been looking after him, but he’s grown up and he’s left home. Since she’s come here it’s just like, I’ll go back to doing that, ironing his shirts or whatever. He’s a bit, “Mum, I’m a grown man so just let me be a grown man.” I don’t think she will let him, because he’s her baby.’
Claudette sees her role as extending to all areas of Charles’s life, Flo explained, including his work.
‘Claudette is thinking that he’ll be thinking it’s wonderful because she’ll be coming in to help him out so he can concentrate on his parish and parishioners while she concentrates on the cooking and making sure he’s getting his three square meals a day, and helping him with his sermons. She thinks she’s going to be helping him out.
‘I think as far as she’s concerned he’s a vicar because of her. She made him go to Sunday school. If she didn’t make him go to Sunday school he wouldn’t be religious. As far as she’s concerned she looks at the church, his dog collar, his position in the village and it’s all down to her. She’s extremely proud of him.’
Something she’s not so proud of is the fact that he’s ‘living in sin’ with Manpreet (Rebecca Sarker) as they aren’t married.
‘She’s old school, traditional, right and wrong,’ Flo explained. ‘The fact he’s living with Manpreet… She can’t get her head around it. He says he loves her so as far as she’s concerned, if you love her you get married.’
This all sounds like a nightmare for Charles, but Flo said that while her character can come across as cruel, her intentions are good.
‘The writing is absolutely brilliant. I just love the things she says and how she says it,’ she enthused. ‘A lot of the interpretation, it could be quite cruel. The thing is she’s not, she’s genuinely not. I think because she’s been on her own for a while she’s just forgotten how to talk to people.
‘I think being back in her son’s life and being around people I think she’s slowly learning to rein it in a bit and how to listen as well as talk. I think she’s just used to talking and not listening.
‘She speaks her mind but she feels like she’s speaking it as in the truth and it’s better to be clear, but I don’t think she’s sometimes aware that she may hurt feelings until after she’s done it. She doesn’t have a mean bone in her body but she does walk over people’s feelings and emotions.’
A huge redeeming feature for Claudette is her sense of humour and Flo told us this was something she hoped we would see more and more as the character settles into the village.
‘I think Claudette does have a sense of humour and I’m hoping you’ll get a chance to see that coming out a bit more. There are glimmers you see in her eyes that you know this woman does have a sense of humour, but at the moment she does seem a bit too stern!’
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