Emotional scenes in Emmerdale saw Charity Dingle (Emma Atkins) reeling from the devastating bombshell fiancée Vanessa Woodfield (Michelle Hardwick) has bowel cancer, but there is more trauma in store for the landlady that threatens to drive a wedge between the couple just when they need each other the most.
Reunited after being held hostage by crazed killer Pierce Harris, Charity's joy was cut short when the vexed vet finally bit the bullet and revealed her shock medical diagnosis on Thursday 27th February. Rallying her partner and insisting they'd get through it together, Charity later broke down when alone as Vanessa realised her other half was putting on a brave face…
"Charity starts to keep her distance from Vanessa, which only makes her feel more alone," Hardwick told Inside Soap magazine. "Vanessa just wants Charity to tell her they can get through this, but she panics. It's everything Vanessa fears."
Elsewhere in the village, Marlon Dingle was finally released from prison having been cleared of murdering Graham Foster now the real killer, Pierce Harris, is behind bars.
But the Emmerdale One is set to turn on stressed Charity next week when he learns his selfish cousin stole Graham's money the night he died but refused to tell the police, effectively hiding evidence that may have got Marlon released sooner.
Moral Vanessa urged her girlfriend at the time to tell the authorities the truth as it proved Marlon's innocence, but Charity didn't want to end up in trouble with the law herself and stayed quiet. The Dingles are disgusted and shun Charity, who joins Mandy Dingle on Marlon's naughty list after she tried to sell a story to the local paper about his ordeal. The betrayed chef also learns Kim Tate hired someone to bump off Graham while he rotted in prison…
Extra Dingle drama is the last thing Charity needs as she struggles to support Vanessa who soon embarks on treatment for her condition. The bowel cancer plot is set to run over the next few months and the soap has worked with charity Bowel Cancer UK as part of their research.
"This is such a challenging storyline," continues Hardwick. "Bowel Cancer UK have been enormously helpful to me in researching Vanessa’s symptoms and treatment.
"I was shocked to learn that bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK and the second biggest cancer killer, but diagnosed early is treatable.”
Visit our dedicated Emmerdale page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.