Emmerdale actress Emma Atkins has admitted to having had concerns about her current plotline that sees her character Charity go to desperate lengths to keep an abortion a secret from husband Declan.
"I was quite worried about the abortion storyline," she tells RadioTimes.com. "When our producer Kate Oates first told me about it, I was wondering how awful my character could become before I'd have to leave the show."
It's the conniving behaviour rather than the medical ethics to which Atkins refers. After all, since Christmas, viewers have seen Charity act in an increasingly unscrupulous fashion as she first implicated the innocent Sam Dingle in an arson at Home Farm before faking a miscarriage during a row with sister-in-law Megan in order to account for the abortion.
"There are only so many things that a character can do before she's brought before a trial and told that she can't behave like that anymore," Atkins continues. "It's the lie upon lie that's difficult. I'm passionate about my character, but I never condone what she does. I think she's a shameless woman."
Over the next week, Charity's rivalry with Megan becomes ever-more bitter as the truth about the abortion cover-up threatens to come out. In a last-ditch attempt to stop Declan from finding out about what she's done, Charity will be seen asking daughter Debbie to lie and pretend that it was she who had the termination.
"Charity is flawed through and through," says the actress. "She's an atrocious mother. But she understands the gravity of the mess she's in, in terms of what would happen if Declan found out. That's why she's willing to go to extreme lengths to make sure he never does. The stakes are really high this time."