HIV positive Val is rushed to hospital 'and she might die!’ says Emmerdale’s Charlie Harwick

Emmerdale’s Charlie Hardwick tells Soaplife how Val ends up in intensive care, fighting for her life...

How has Val been managing her HIV?

“It’s being managed without medication and she thinks she’s invincible. She thinks, ‘I’m over that’ and can get on with being a safe sex ambassador.” 

But she develops a niggling cough. Isn’t she worried?

“No, because it sets in after there has been a fire at the B&B and Val thinks it’s caused by smoke inhalation. Then she gets a cold, but thinks that’s nothing to worry about, either. Besides, she has entered this B&B contest and is too busy concentrating on that. Finn [Joe Gill] is worried for her, but she’s in denial.”

Then she’s forced to face reality…

“Eventually, she just keels over. That was good - I did a stunt and usually I’m not very good at tumbling, but we had a great stunt director. Val falls onto a rug which had a mat underneath it and Emma [Gillian Kearney] and Finn find her unconscious on the floor.”

Is Val still out of it when she gets to the hospital?

“Yes, she’s unconscious and ends up in intensive care. When her son Paul [Matthew Bose] is called for it’s clear that she might peg it. It’s so bad, that they start talking to Eric about resuscitation but he won’t engage with them and screams, ‘You will get her better!’ There are some scenes of great tenderness with him - Chris [Chittell - Eric] plays them so well.”

Was it hard to lie there so still?

“It was my favourite spell on Emmerdale. I got into a clean crisp white bed and had a copy of Living Etc under the covers. What’s terrible is that as soon as you’re playing somebody in a coma; nobody talks to you!”

Are you pleased Val’s HIV is being revisited?

“Yes, because it was a bit like a happy ending, so it’s very important that we go back to how serious HIV is. It’s not something that can be forgotten.

Emmerdale, ITV. Click here for dates and times.