Emmerdale's Eric Pollard has to decide whether to support his wife Val next week after doctors confirm that she is HIV positive.
Val (Charlie Hardwick) receives the news after confiding in Eric and finally agreeing to get tested. However, the diagnosis isn't the only bombshell that Val faces as she also learns that Eric has recently had a one-night stand with her sister Diane…
Here, Chris Chittell - who plays Eric - previews the big fortnight ahead for the Pollards.
What are the circumstances of Pollard and Diane's one-night stand?
"It's one of those situations you wish you never ever dreamt of, never mind taking part in. It just goes from bad to worse and it really is continuing to do so. I don't know if you've heard of a series called Breaking Bad, but it's very, very much like that. Just every turn that Pollard takes, it just gets worse and worse.
"I would empathise with Pollard. I hate to admit, but it's part of life and you do need silly things and then you think, 'Dear God, why did I do that?' Diane is also in the same scenario and in the same situation. She's equally saying, 'I've done this to my sister'. Although her sister has done it to her on a few occasions."
Does Pollard feel guilty?
"Yes, because he really does love Val. There is a huge problem here, but he is devoted to her."
Pollard has been pushed away by Val, hasn't he?
"Yes, hugely - with great ramifications as to where he actually belongs in life and where he belongs in Valerie's life. Do they now have a life now together with HIV?"
What is Pollard's initial reaction to the news about Val?
"He is just very glad that he's not HIV to start off with. As soon as Valerie knows, because they use the same appointment to be verified, it's a case of what will happen now? HIV can be managed, but it will have a great strain on their love life, which is also a very important issue because that's why Pollard and she got together again. They got together in the first place because Valerie can press his buttons and she knows which buttons to push. Maybe that is now threatened."
What happens when Val finds out the truth about Pollard and Diane?
"It's another nail going into the very lively coffin. Val is utterly distraught and she's pacing around in that big barn all on her own. Well, there's Cheryl the dog to keep her company, but I think even the dog is being pushed to one side at the moment."
How does Val deal with the HIV positive diagnosis?
"Rather badly, because she thinks, 'What have I got left? My love life has gone up the spout, so I might as well smoke myself to death, drink myself to death'. That is rather strange really, because that's normally the scenario for a fella. Val is also lashing out at anything and everything."
Can Eric help her at this point, even though she's so angry over the Diane issue?
"It will find a way round. It's got to find a way around, because at the end of the day, Pollard has just got David and Valerie just has Diane, nobody else. Well, she's got her son, who lives in Spain. That's it. Having said that, she's got a dodgy daughter in the north east, doesn't she? But she doesn't see her, they don't talk."
What do you think about the HIV storyline in general?
"I'm a 65-year-old ancient. As much as I have had my eyes and ears opened to the world, when it comes to something like this, you never ever envisage this happening to you or your nearest and dearest.
"The great thing is that this story is emulated with great knowledge, great inside insight and great inside knowledge - from the horse's mouth as it were. We're not leading anyone up the garden path and we don't intend to do so. The story is informed and even though the faux pas will ensue, it will be addressed and people will be more informed than they have been.
"The fact that it can be addressed now, it's a godsend. It's terrible that we didn't have the wherewithal to save so many lives prior to this. You know, you can take an overnight pill if you've been exposed, but you have to take it quickly."
Additional reporting by David Hutchison.
Emmerdale's Elizabeth Estensen talks Diane, Eric one-night stand
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Emmerdale airs weeknights at 7pm on ITV, with an extra episode at 8pm on Thursdays.
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