Emmerdale legend Eric Pollard has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, the fastest growing neurological condition in the world, in some heartbreaking scenes.
Eric is played by the soap’s longest-serving star, Chris Chittell, and has been in the village for 37 years.
However, in a shocking turn of events on Wednesday, 1 November, Eric confided in Mandy Dingle, played by Lisa Riley, about what he has been going through in recent times.
He also admitted that he is terrified when looking into his future, but he swore Mandy to secrecy as he is determined to do this alone.
Speaking about the devastating plot twist, Chris, 75, said: “I feel really privileged to be given this storyline.
“Parkinson’s is indiscriminate, deceptive and wickedly unkind targeting so many. I want to do this storyline justice for the most courageous of people who are having to bear the brunt of this condition.”
When devising and researching the storyline, the ITV soap has worked closely with the charity Parkinson’s UK.
The charity will continue to work with them as the storyline continues to give it a realistic and authentic look while raising awareness for the condition.
Emmerdale Producer Laura Shaw, has said: “When Eric Pollard is diagnosed with Parkinson’s he’s naturally very scared and unsure of what the condition means for his future. “The unique position of a show like Emmerdale means we can tell this story really authentically over a long period of time, and we can really shine a light on what a diagnosis like this means and follow Pollard on his journey of learning to live with it.
“Working closely with Parkinson’s UK, who have been guiding us through every step of the way, we hope seeing Pollard’s story helps to raise awareness of Parkinson’s and show the day to day reality of those living with it, as well as the impact it can have on friends, family and the local community.”
Chief Executive of Parkinson’s UK, Caroline Rassell, added: “Parkinson’s is the fastest growing neurological condition in the world, but is still misunderstood by many.
“A diagnosis can be a blow, forcing people to confront a future different from the one they had imagined.
“We hope that Eric’s storyline will increase awareness and understanding of a condition that around 153,000 people in the UK live with, and encourage discussions about the impact it has on those living with Parkinson’s and their loved ones.
“It’s a privilege to be assisting the Emmerdale team in portraying Eric’s journey, and Parkinson’s UK is here to support anyone affected by the condition through our helpline, local groups and website.”
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