Hard news is being delivered in EastEnders next week, as emotional episodes see Zack Hudson (James Farrar) and Lola Pearce (Danielle Harold) make difficult announcements.

In the wake of dodging the boxing match over his fears around blood test results, Zack finds himself the target of criticism.

After a remark from Ben Mitchell (Max Bowden), Zack bravely sets the record straight and explains to the Queen Vic locals that he has been diagnosed with HIV.

Zack soon finds himself supported by most of his friends and neighbours, while ignorant attitudes of others come to the fore.

Meanwhile, Billy (Perry Fenwick) arrives home and is left crushed when he is told Lola’s condition has deteriorated dramatically.

As he struggles to digest the news, Lola tries to remain strong herself, with the fractured family doing all they can to support one another.

Forced to look ahead to a future without her in it, Lola makes a request of Jay (Jamie Borthwick) regarding Lexi.

In other Walford events, Amy (Ellie Dadd) goes missing, while Keanu Taylor (Danny Walters) turns to crime.

Here’s what to expect next week.

Monday April 24

Martin and Ben are getting ready for their boxing match as Phil’s bragging to everyone that his son is going to win.

Callum tries to talk Ben out of fighting, but Ben won’t listen and is later approached by a plain-clothed police officer. He’s shaken to his core when the police officer tells him Lewis has been arrested for rape again.

At the gym, Callum arrives to find Ben limbering up and reveals he knows about Lewis and begs Ben to reconsider fighting. But Ben ignores him and heads into the ring to face down Martin, full of pent-up rage.

Zack is feeling more positive now Sharon and Martin know about his diagnosis. He gets excited about the idea of getting a flat with Whitney and trying for another baby when his viral load comes down.

Later, he approaches Ravi for a loan for a deposit, but when he shares his exciting news with Whit, she’s blindsided.

Later, Zack is in The Vic with Martin and Whitney when he clashes with Ben. When Ben accuses him of being a coward by refusing to fight, Zack tells the entire pub that he dropped out because he’s HIV positive.

Amy is determined to fix things and secretly invites Denise to her school counselling session with Jack.

Keanu tells Sharon he wants to get Albie christened and pay for the whole event. But there’s serious tension between Sharon and Karen, who strongly disapproves of their relationship.

Billy arrives home from Portugal, and Lola worries about breaking the tragic news about her prognosis.

Tuesday April 25

The Vic punters are reeling after Zack’s announcement.

Back at home, Martin comforts Zack and implores him to look to his future with Whitney and not rush into anything.

At Walford East, Nugget makes Ravi feel small when he reads him the riot act about being so ignorant about HIV. Zack apologises to Whitney for rushing her and promises to go slow.

Back at Patrick’s, Denise advises Kim to fight for Howie and do whatever it takes to make things up to him.

When Howie comes downstairs, Kim launches into a genuine, heartfelt apology before suggesting that maybe Howie should leave her if he can’t forgive her.

When Billy excitedly talks about taking the family for a summer holiday in Portugal, Lola is forced to tell him the truth.

He’s utterly devastated and consumed by anger as she explains she’s only got months to live.

Lola is distraught and later tells Jay that with time running out, she needs to get some essential things in order. Most importantly, she wants him to adopt Lexi.

Wednesday April 26

After overhearing Amy, Nugget and Denzel talking about the mess their parents have made, Chelsea steps in to support the Brannings.

Chelsea’s concern touches Denise, but she makes it clear she hasn’t forgiven her mum. Later, Chelsea has a go at Jack for refusing family therapy.

Keanu is down about not being able to afford Albie’s christening, so Mitch suggests he needs to get a few more jobs.

After getting turned down by Alfie and Phil, Keanu talks to Zack about Ravi’s dodgy dealings.

Zack warns him that he shouldn’t get involved in the underworld that Ravi operates in, but cash-strapped Keanu lets the prospect of big money sway him. Ravi agrees to give him a trial run by taking in a dodgy delivery the next day.

Thursday April 27

Amy goes AWOL just before counselling, leaving Jack and Denise worried. Chelsea finds her having a panic attack after taking her ‘Mum’ necklace to be fixed and getting held up.

They rush to join the rest of the Brannings at the therapist’s office, and a full and frank conversation begins. Denise feels under attack, but the big shock comes courtesy of Ricky, who says what he thinks.

Keanu feels under financial pressure when Sharon tells him they need to pay Linda and heads off to do the delivery job for Ravi. As he picks up the boxes, suspicious DS Giles turns up and quizzes him on what’s inside.

Callum worries about Ben as he bottles his feelings. Kathy catches up with Ben and begs him to lean on Callum and get the support he needs.

Bernie is thrilled when Sharon and Keanu ask her to be Albie’s godmother. But when Sharon asks Zack to be godfather, he rushes off upset.

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