Emmerdale’s Mark Charnock reveals to Soaplife how Marlon’s devastated to learn Donna’s only got weeks to live – and how it leads to a surprise kiss.

Marlon has been an emotional wreck since he found out Donna’s dying. Unfortunately, things are about to get even worse as Donna finds out her cancer has spread, collapses and ends up being rushed to hospital.

“Marlon’s overwhelmed by grief,” Mark tells Soaplife. “He’s really concerned about how they’re going to tell their daughter, April. It’s eating him up.”

And then he hears the cancer has spread… “Marlon had planned on Donna living for months, so to find out she’s only got weeks is the worst kind of hammer blow. Time is running out quickly.”

So does he kiss Donna (Verity Rushworth) out of sympathy?

“They’ve just had the news about the cancer spreading and they go back to Marlon’s to talk about it. They’re both crying and really upset. He’s hugging her and they kiss. It’s organic, a kiss of pure emotion. There’s nothing sexual about it. It’s driven by grief.”

Why on earth does Marlon want to tell Laurel (Charlotte Bellamy) about the kiss?

“Because he’s lived through a lot of secrets and lies and he knows the damage they can do. He’s going to marry her so he thinks he should. Donna doesn’t think he should and she’s probably right.”

And Paddy (Dominic Brunt) has a paddy about it, doesn’t he?

“He hears the word ‘kiss’ and misunderstands. He thinks Marlon might still be in love with Donna. But he isn’t.”

What happens when Donna collapses in the park?

“Marlon and Paddy have fallen out. Marlon’s with Donna in the park when Paddy turns up. Marlon is like, ‘Have you come to nanny us?’ They manage to make up, then Donna collapses. Paddy’s brilliant; he takes over and is a great friend at that moment.”

And Marlon wants to be a great friend to Donna…

“He wants to be her emotional rock and to reassure her he’ll be a good dad to April. He wants to ease the relentless tragedy of it for her, but he knows he can’t. It’s going to be like a spiralling nightmare as the disease drags Donna to the worst emotional place she can be.”

Emmerdale, ITV. Click here for screen dates.