Faith is on borrowed time in an emotional Emmerdale story (Picture: ITV)

It’s a secret that Faith Dingle is keeping close to herself in Emmerdale – diagnosed with breast cancer, her prognosis is good.

And this means that it’s likely that actress Sally Dexter may eventually have to film devastating death scenes for her character.

It’s a prospect which is unpalatable to viewers, who have taken the mischievous matriarch to their hearts.

But Sally has an idea on how she could reverse the sorrow of leaving the village behind.

Asked how she feels at the thought of Faith departing the village, Sally laughed: ‘That’s terrible. I keep trying to invent new stories whereby she’s got an evil twin sister who lives in Australia who comes back.’

We’d happily buy into that.

But rewinding back to the present, Sally has been pondering Faith’s isolation as she keeps Cain (Jeff Hordley) and Chas (Lucy Pargeter) out of the picture.

‘I think she wants to have their love and understanding on her terms.

‘She doesn’t want them to have a pityship, she wants them to have a proper family feeling and love between them and she fears that if she tells them what the situation is they will pity her rather than love her.

‘At the moment I think she’s very relieved that other people don’t know because she feels it’s going to change everything, it will change how people are towards her and she wants to live her life for as long as she can as vibrantly as she can, so she doesn’t want other people to know.

‘But it’s lonely. There’s a comfort in keeping yourself to yourself but there’s a huge loneliness to it as well.’

So what stage is Faith at psychologically? Is she coming to terms with her diagnosis.

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Sally mused: ‘She’s very practical about it, it’s a strange thing. I would imagine most people wouldn’t think she would react in the way that she does.

‘She doesn’t burst into tears, she’s not one for a big “woe is me,” which would be a totally understandable reaction but it’s not Faith’s reaction. She’s very practical and just wants to take it a step at a time.

‘She’s had chemo before so she knows what the score is and how it’s going to be. She’s not looking forward to it but she knows it works.

‘It does work for many, many people and it’s worked for her before so of course she should give it a go.’

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