Long-term issue led storylines are something which soaps tackle well and, in the last year, Emmerdale has won critical acclaim for its portrayal of Marlon Dingle’s (Mark Charnock) stroke and Paddy Kirk’s (Dominic Brunt) mental health crisis.
Now, the soap’s boss, Laura Shaw, has confirmed a major new story which will see a leading character given very serious health news.
In a long-running and well-researched issue based story, loved ones will embark on a journey with the character as they adjust to a heartbreaking diagnosis and a difficult future.
Emmerdale is not yet confirming the character at the centre of the plotline, nor the condition that is being explored, but Laura told Metro.co.uk that the nature of the storyline can most be compared to another of the show’s biggest ever arcs.
‘We’ve got a big health storyline coming up that involves one of our most loved, well-known characters,’ she revealed to us.
‘I can’t say at this stage who it is, but it’s definitely going to have a huge impact on their lives and all the people around them, and we’re working closely with an amazing charity who have been guiding us every step of the way.
‘It’s going to be quite a long storyline. It’s going to run over a period of months, years. Think along the lines of Ashley’s dementia storyline, it’s going to be like that.’
Ashley’s story, portrayed by award-winning John Middleton, is one of Emmerdale’s most powerful of recent years, and offered realistic and careful treatment of the condition.
It is hoped that the upcoming story will be as effective and bring drama and emotion, as well as the raising of awareness around the illness.
It’s not the only dramatic story coming over the next months either.
Following a colossal car crash impacting Charity Dingle (Emma Atkins), Chloe Harris (Jessie Elland) and Mack Boyd (Lawrence Robb), a harrowing aftermath will play out for everyone involved.
Meanwhile, Laura confirmed a passionate affair that will shake a marriage to the core, and an unwanted pregnancy that will push a couple to their limit.
She also announced a big character return, and a whole host of new characters on the way.