As Emmerdale viewers will know, Zak Dingle has been told that he suffered a panic attack after a recent health scare, but, unwilling to accept he could have any kind of mental health disorder, Zak hasn’t told anybody the truth…
Instead, and because his introvert behaviour and inability to live his life normally has of course been noticed by his family and friends, in a bid to keep them from quizzing him about what’s wrong with him, Zak’s been keen to divert their attention into suspecting his cancer has returned.
It wasn’t a deliberate act of malicious lying; he just didn’t object when his wife Lisa (Jane Cox) suggested that maybe his cancer had returned, or that he was at least worried that it had…
But when he sees his oncologist, who gives him the all clear, he once again can’t bring himself to tell his family that his issues aren’t physical ones, so he declares that his cancer has returned, and worse yet, that it’s untreatable.
Steve Halliwell has been telling Soaplife why it is that his character Zak finds himself at the centre of such a terrible web of lies.
He explained first that Zak’s refusal to accept any diagnosis other than a physiological one makes him angry.
He said, “He’s half aware of what he’s doing, but reality and fantasy have become very blurred…
“He’s feeling so unwell he’s convinced they’ve missed something. He gets very angry when the doctor refuses to do more tests and security has to be called.”
And of why Zak lies about the diagnosis to Lisa, Steve said, “Because she questions him over and over and he has no answer.
“He’s mentally unbalanced and digging himself in deeper. He says the cancer’s gone too far for any treatment.
“It’s just to shut everyone up, but once he’s said it he can’t retract it.
“He’s just saying anything that comes into his head. And he’s heaping more stress on himself with all the lies.”
After the drama of effectively telling his family that he’s dying, Zak has a near total breakdown, and begins to slide into a desperate mental state.
Steve said, “Viewers see him cowering in a ditch alone on the moors after causing a scene at Belle’s school.
“He has no idea where he is. He starts fantasising and talking to people who have died.
“He’s frightened of everything. He gets progressively worse and is convinced that Cain is on the moors looking for him because he wants to kill him.”
We’ll see this drama play out this week and next.