Emmerdale’s Verity Rushworth tells Soaplife that dying Donna needs Marlon to care for April after she’s gone – and her death will come sooner than she thought…

So, is Donna’s plan to leave April with Marlon when she dies?
“Yes. Knowing that April will be with her dad and loved when she’s gone means the world to Donna. Plan B would have been for Bob to accept her.”

Does Donna realise Laurel is jealous of her being around?
“She has no clue, but she does pick up on some of Rhona’s comments. She puts it down to the fact that she’s making the relationship with April work well.”

What are the symptoms of Donna’s particular lung cancer, mesothelioma?
“They are very subtle. There’s a bit of breathlessness and coughing. She’s still working for the police where nobody knows she’s ill, but the disease has progressed and is doing so extremely quickly.”

Faster than Donna thought, too…
“Yes. It’s horrendous, everything’s falling into place in the village when the doctor tells Donna the worst thing she can hear: she only has between six months and a year left to live and it’s time to tell people about her illness. She’s shell-shocked. She knew she wouldn’t live forever, but she thought she had a few years. She feels OK, but her scans are telling a different story.”

Then Rhona sees her at the hospital. What does Donna tell her?
“Donna tries to say she’s just visiting, but she’s acting weird and Rhona pushes her. Donna blurts out to Rhona that she has cancer. There’s a bit of relief there, as Donna has finally told somebody. She’s also panic stricken, worrying that Rhona will tell Paddy or even Marlon.”

Who does Donna want to tell first?
“She needs to tell April first and then go from there. She knows her whole world will change once people know and she’s trying to keep hold of the nice bits that are left. Rhona threatens to tell Marlon and Donna begs her to keep quiet, leaving Rhona thinking she’s going to tell him herself.”

What’s it like for you being back as Donna?
“It has been interesting for me as I feel differently about Donna now she’s a mum. The stakes are higher. She’s dying, has a daughter to look after, and her priorities have changed.”