Chloe at the Dingle’s Bar

Village People

by Karen Shaw


It’s been three years since we bid Chloe McClaughlin a fond farewell at Craven&ValleyLife HQ, and since then, she’s been on quite the career journey, conquering the world of soaps one storyline at a time. We certainly miss having her around the office. Still, we were delighted when she nipped in for a chat on Karen’s Couch to share with us some of Emmerdale’s most memorable episodes, including the unforgettably tense and wonderfully dramatic 50th Anniversary ‘Storm Week’ special back in October…

Chloe started on Emmerdale back in late 2019. Her work in prop stores concerned all those little details we viewers never really think about – from keeping track of where actors place down their props for continuity between takes to adding fake Emmerdale- brands onto cans, bottles, cereal boxes and even magazines – it sadly looks like we won’t be seeing any Craven and Valley Lifes gracing David’s Shop shelves any time soon!

“At Emmerdale, everyone has their own little jobs,” Chloe explains, “and by early 2020, I was put on the crew – weirdly enough, I preferred standing outside in the rain for 12 hours; it was much more fun! Of course, after six weeks of training, the pandemic hit, and we all got stood down.”

The lockdown was an especially weird time for us all – I’m sure you don’t need reminding – but even weirder for Chloe and the Emmerdale crew. In order to cover the transmission gap, Emmerdale ran six lockdown specials, the production of which Chloe was involved in. “There were only 18 of us in the building while we filmed the lockdown episodes,” she recounts, “and it was strange! Once restrictions eased a bit later on, we were placed in cohorts of a few people – essentially a ‘bubble’ of all different people in all different departments forced together for 18 months.

“It’s a bit of a cliché, but it is like a family. There’s so much history with people being there for 20+ years that it might seem quite hard to join that environment, but, from my experience, everyone is so welcoming, approachable, and lovely!”

“It’s a bit of a cliché to say, but it is like a family”

During that strangely nostalgic early- COVID era, Chloe began to express her interest in wanting a job in editorial. A natural-born writer, Chloe was almost destined for storylining – and this destiny manifested itself in an incredibly admirable, palpable determination. Three official knockbacks, a virtual secondment, and an interview at Coronation Street eventually led to a job on the rather exclusive storyliner team, where she now works outlining the events and character developments of future Emmerdale episodes.

Oh, the glamour! On set in the rain.

“I was of course, happy with props, I loved working directly with everyone, but all the cast and crew knew that storylining was what I really wanted to do. It was just so sweet when everyone found out I got the job; I must have been congratulated about 20 times walking from prop stores (where I’d found out I’d got it) to the canteen, which speaks to how fast news travels on set!”

The storylining process is as complex as it is interesting. It’s a four-week cycle, beginning with a huge conference of writers, producers, and pitchers. It’s then the job of storyliners like Chloe to bring the ‘winning’ ideas to life, plotting out key moments, locations and characters. A series of drafts and revisions follow before the storyline can be compiled into an overarching story for the writers to piece together. “It’s a really fast process,” Chloe explains, “and so luckily, we don’t write the actual scripts as well! That’s one of the common misconceptions, I think, as we are basically giving the writers a summary: it’s their job to write the actual dialogue that will make it into the script of the episode, not ours.”

Chloe with cast members

Chloe’s first storyline was certainly memorable; it involved Nichola, a victim of a brutal car park assault a few episodes prior, discovering Naomi, daughter of Vicar Charles Anderson, was one of her attackers. While the episode aired in September 2022, it was written months prior. As Chloe recounts, “we storyline the episodes quite a few months in advance. The issue with that is that all my stories blur into one after a while! It’s hard to pull yourself back to the present sometimes, I can never remember what plot threads people will or won’t know yet!

“But pretty much straight after the Nichola/ Naomi story, I went to working on the 50th Anniversary episodes.” Emmerdale’s unforgettable ‘Storm Week’ was a dramatic series of twists and turns (quite literally, due to the titular storm that ravaged the village). Chloe was the mastermind behind the gut-wrenching Amelia/Noah plotline that week – any grievances about tears shed can be directed towards her!

Can you spot Chloe?

“This job is so good because you can get powerful moments on your screen. Emmerdale, in my opinion, is best when tackling an issue-based story that’s tugging on your heartstrings; it adds the right balance of dark to the light.”

Of course, we had to ask Sophie’s Choice questions – ‘Who’s your favourite character?’

“That’s a tough one!” she laughs, “I do have a soft spot for Mary, Rhona’s mum. I think she’s hilarious, just so much fun to write! I like writing stories for the kids like Arthur and April, too. Now that they’re coming of age, we can get into their personalities a bit which makes for many interesting plot points. People like Charity are great too, mainly because you can do anything with them!”

Chloe was the mastermind behind the gut-wrenching Amelia/Noah plotline that week – any grievances about tears shed can be directed towards her!

Chloe’s biggest advice to people is not to give up. “You just have to keep at it. If you want something, you must fight; you must keep going. There weren’t many jobs available, so I was never going to get it the first time. Working in TV is not meant to be easy; it’s almost out of your control. You have control of putting yourself out there, being productive, and not holding yourself back – that’s all you can do!”

With editor Karen

From humble beginnings working at Craven and Valley Life’s HQ, Chloe is a testament to the fact that perseverance will always have its rewards. Her ability to bounce back and be resilient, even after repeated setbacks out of her control, has landed her one of TV’s most important – and exciting – roles. Now that our Chloe is storylining, the future of Emmerdale is looking brighter than ever!

Craven&ValleyLife Winter 2022