Doctors regular Al Haskey is currently involved in one of the show's most talked-about storylines as he remains the prime suspect for Jas Khella's harassment ordeal.
The ongoing plot intensifies this week as Al is questioned by the police over his obsession with Jas (Vineeta Rishi), but viewers are currently divided over whether he really is the main culprit behind all the trouble.
Digital Spy this week caught up with Ian Midlane, who plays Al, to hear his thoughts on the compelling story.
How did you feel about getting such a big storyline in the show?
"When I auditioned to play Al over a year ago, I knew that there was going to be a stalker storyline with Jas. I understand that since then, the end of the story has changed. I knew it was coming so it was a case of waiting for the scripts to arrive and trying to lay the seeds for it. So when Al walked into the Mill Quiz very early on, he clocked all the hotness that is Dr Khella. Things like that."
What was the storyline like to film, in particular exploring such a wide range of emotions for Al?
"It's really satisfying to play something out over a long period and rewarding to take Al to the brink. Hard work but fun."
Stalking and harassment are obviously real-life issues, so did you do any research for the story or leave that to the writers?
"The term stalking gets used so much and in a general way that I wasn't sure exactly what it meant. Harassment is a better word for it I think. I didn't do any particular research because I was trying to concentrate on Al's perspective. But lots was done by other people to ensure we handled it with sensitivity."
What kind of a reaction have you seen from the fans over the storyline?
"It's great that people seem to have been excited by it. My nan has been so upset by the treatment of Al that she has stopped watching. So we are at least one viewer down! I've had a few tweets supporting Al and a few calling him a perv. I try not to look at the forums or 'Facebag' page but when I do, I generally leave with hurt feelings!"
Why has Al been so drawn to Jas?
"I think Al felt good about himself when he spent time with Jas. Several things happened over a short space of time - the incident with his old uni pal who was suffering from anorexia, the failure of the patent with Howard and the death of his aunt.
"These things broke him a bit and with no-one to really lean on, he started this peculiar behaviour. Suddenly he finds Jackie is being talked about and things diminished from there. Jas became a comfort to him, a hope of better things. In looking after her, he could heal himself. Then circumstance made things really, really bad."
We don't know for sure whether Al has done all of the stalking, but he's definitely been behind some of it. How do you feel about the way he's behaved?
"It's not my job to judge Al. He does what he does and I have to commit to what he does with full conviction. He definitely says that he hasn't been stalking anyone. So I have to work out what he is doing outside Jas's house."
How does Al feel about having so much gossip about him spreading around the workplace?
"Al doesn't feel loved at work, so if he feels humiliated and disappointed by the way they react to him, he isn't surprised by it. I think it's interesting over the next few weeks to keep an eye out for who sticks up for Al and who stays on his side. The answer says a lot about how he is with his workmates."
The story has got a little while left to run, so can you give us any insight on what we can expect over the next few episodes?
"I'd love to be able to say that it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better, but I can't promise it's going to get better! Al's belief that he is right will often take things right up to the edge. This time things go so far over the edge that no-one will come out unaltered."
Whatever happens, do you think Al will find it difficult to move on from this storyline and rebuild the trust of everyone around him?
"Bridges have been definitely burnt. We have seen Kevin and Zara attacking Al and we will see other people turn their backs on him. If Al were to survive this alive or out of prison, he might have some scores to settle. But I think the hardest challenge he would have would be to forgive himself."
If Al was innocent of the more serious stalking, do you think there's any chance he and Jas could become friends again?
"They always got on very well. There was a scene cut from the recent episode 'Parallel Universe' which showed how under different circumstances they would have been and they were best friends, they looked after each other.
"But we don't live in an alternate universe. Something happens in the conclusion of this story which makes things much clearer for them and I think it unites them forever. For better or worse."
It's been nearly a year since you first appeared on Doctors, so how are you finding your time there in general?
"The guerrilla film makers who make Doctors are very fine folk and spending a year working with them has been a wonderful experience. Not an episode goes by where I don't have at least one sackable corpsing fit!"
Would you like to stick with the show for a while longer, and do you think there's a lot more you can explore with Al?
"I think there is lots more of Al to explore. We haven't met his parents or explored exactly why he dropped out of his doctorate. There are battles to be fought over science and religion and his brain and passion can tackle even the most complex mysteries. And there is the greatest mystery of all for Al - love.
"It's a shame. Al is an interesting character to play but I'm not sure he can survive this current situation…"
Finally, the Inside Soap Awards are coming up, so is there anything you'd say for why Doctors should be voted 'Best Daytime Soap'?
"Neighbours and Home and Away are fine shows. Maybe after the Ashes and the Lions Tour, Oz needs a pick me up. Letherbridge doesn't need shiny prizes to keep doing what it's doing - rule Britannia!"
> Read more 'Doctors' spoilers and news
Doctors airs weekdays at 1.45pm on BBC One.
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