Paddy Kirk (Dominic Brunt) is going through a very difficult time in Emmerdale, and will soon be seen to contemplate suicide as he hits rock bottom.

It is a sensitive topic for the ITV soap to tackle, and one that has caused actor Dominic Brunt to really separate work from home, due to the difficult emotions that are being portrayed.

‘I’m pretending, so fortunately I don’t have to take myself into that deep… and neither do I want to, because it sounds horrific and desperate and I don’t want to go anywhere near that. I am pretending and trying to portray it as best I possibly can’, he told us recently.

While filming this story, Emmerdale was supported by two charities: the Samaritans and Andy’s Man Club. Both charities aim to support people who are struggling in opening up and talking to someone.

Dominic explained that, before becoming an actor, he worked as a welder, where many of the men wouldn’t talk to each other about how they were feeling.

‘I suppose I understood, being a man, and I know men like that and there’s an element of my background of not speaking [about feelings] but I have to reiterate [while playing this story] I was pretending and performing and trying to hit the notes that were on the page.

‘Because I think if you let yourself go anywhere near there, I don’t want to. It’s repellent to me and would be to anybody, really. It’s too dark and too upsetting. So I hope I’ve portrayed what was there.

‘I mean you’re genuinely upset when you’re doing the lines’, Dominic explained.

‘You have to go towards the lines and the emotions that hit you as you’re saying them so each line takes you to the next level of darkness and the realisation of where you are and what this means to people.

‘It hits you personally but fortunately it’s not real for me. I would feel like a fraud to sit here and say it was terrible to go through, because it was not. It’s once removed, thank God, for me.’

In preparation for the story, Dominic was able to speak to volunteers from the charities, as well as people who had been through things similar to what Paddy is experiencing now, which he claimed was a ‘complete eye-opener’.

‘It’s been incredible. It’s been a complete eye-opener. It’s also been fascinating and utterly upsetting. It’s been an honour and also the fact that you can see, practically, how these people are saving lives for free, as a charity with volunteers. It’s astounding, really. Their work is impossibly important.

‘[Speaking to people who had been through similar things to Paddy] felt extremely personal. You could see people living it through again for the umpteenth time and they must have told their stories many times but you could see it still affecting them. Mostly it’s the emotion of “thank God I’m still here, thank God I sought help”. It’s been very moving speaking to people.

‘And also speaking to people who were partners of people who went through with the suicide and their guilt and their confusion and their regrets. It’s been mind-blowing really. The top of my head’s come off a couple of times just listening to people and you’re getting up every day and you’re moving forward and you realise how important life is. It’s been incredible for people to tell me these ridiculously personal stories.’

As Paddy’s story progresses, he will be supported by friends and family through his recovery, as he slowly starts to put his life back together.

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