Hollyoaks character Newt is set to be diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Fans have been gripped by a storyline involving the troubled teenager, played by Nico Mirallegro, and his friend Eli (Marc Silcock).
It has recently become apparent that Eli is not actually real – and in upcoming episodes Newt thinks his foster father Jack has died, prompting fears for Newt’s mental health.
In fact, Jack is alive and well – the pub landlord is in a mountain of debt and fakes his own death so that son Darren can claim his life insurance.
But Newt believes he’s responsible for the Jack’s death, and as his mental state unravels, he ends up in hospital, where he is diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Actor Nico said: “Newt is distraught when he hears Jack’s voice on the phone. He convinces himself he must have killed his foster dad in some way and is now hearing voices from the grave!
“When Newt is then told that Eli is a figment of his imagination he gets really confused as to what is real and what’s not, the irony being Eli isn’t real but Jack is.”
He continues: “It’s been amazing to have been involved in such a great storyline and I’ve enjoyed the challenge of playing a character with schizophrenia. I hope the viewers enjoy it too.”
Paul Corry, director of public affairs at mental health charity Rethink, applauded the soap, saying: “It’s great that Hollyoaks is addressing the experience of schizophrenia.
“One in 100 young people will go through the frightening experience of psychosis just like Newt.”
The episode in which Newt is diagnosed it due to air on August 7.