Emmerdale confirms heartbreaking diagnosis for legendary character

 Emmerdale sign.
Emmerdale sign.

It was a heartbreaking Emmerdale episode tonight (Wednesday, November 1) as longest-serving character Eric Pollard (Chris Chittell) was diagnosed with Parkinson's, the fastest growing neurological condition in the world.

In tear-jerking scenes, Eric opened up to Mandy Dingle (Lisa Riley) about his struggles recently and how terrified he was feeling about his future. He swore Mandy to secrecy, determined to go it alone.

Emmerdale has worked closely with the charity Parkinson’s UK for this storyline, who will continue to support the production team to give Eric’s story a realistic and authentic depiction whilst creating awareness of the condition and how it affects those afflicted.

Emmerdale Producer Laura Shaw 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.”

Eric Pollard looking worried with Yorkshire scenery behind him.
Eric Pollard looking worried with Yorkshire scenery behind him.

Actor Chris Chittell said of the storyline: “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.”

Chief Executive of Parkinson’s UK, Caroline Rassell said: "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."

Emmerdale airs weeknights at 7.30 pm on ITV1, with a hour-long episode on Thursdays — see our TV Guide for full listings. You can also catch up on ITVX.