Imran Maalik shocked everyone – including his mum Misbah – when he came forward as another survivor of Buster Smiths evil ways in Hollyoaks.
Its a secret Imran has kept close to his chest, even from his best friend Ollie Morgan, whos been going through hell facing up to the trial and his abuser.
But theres been a good reason that the bombshell was dropped during trial week, which shocked fans with the truth, and simultaneously gave an insight into the 15-year-olds torment – could his struggle to deal with the abuse have led to his anger issues? Him coming forward may have a significant impact on the case. Will it be enough to get Buster sent down after Damon nearly ruined everything?
Actor Ijaz Rana, who plays Imran, was also kept in the dark, and here he explains why.
I didnt find out at the beginning, actor Ijaz told Metro.co.uk. It meant I was playing it off my knowledge in real life, my actual storyline. We didnt want it to detract from my storyline with Misbah as we wanted the audience would focus on the domestic abuse angle. We wanted it as a big shock for trial week too so the audience didnt know.
Although it may give a hint as to what Imran has been going through, Ijaz said that Imran doesnt want the abuse to become an excuse for his behaviour.
Imran doesnt want that to be the reason, he said. He doesnt want that to be an excuse with how he behaves with Misbah, but you can imagine for a 15-year-old, something like that happening to you, you might behave in a raging manner. Its maybe one of the reasons he said he was an angry child. But he doesnt want that to be an excuse.
The Maaliks rally together to support him, although Misbah must now face the fact she had no idea.
Misbah is a mother and shes going through her own stress about why she didnt know about it, Ijaz said. Yazz is really shocked.
The Buster abuse storyline has played out over months and has culminated in the huge trial week, which has seen Buster facing what hes done. Ijaz confessed its been a difficult role to play, but an important one.
I was so excited when I found out Id be part of the storyline too, he said. Its very difficult in the scenes to put yourself in that dark place. As a teenager you have to think what theyd be thinking. Its difficult but the outcome is amazing.
The show has already garnered positive feedback for the storyline, with several survivors having contacted actor Aedan Duckworth and praising his portrayal of Ollie.
I was speaking to Aeden and it was amazing to hear people had come forward from that episode, he said. Its had a massive reaction.
While we await the outcome of the trial, itll hopefully be onwards and upwards with Imran as he deals with his demons.
Ollie and Imran are best mates, Imran is a completely changed person, theyre very close, he said. Its a positive future. Him going to the centre [for anger issues] was his decision, he said he wanted to change. So him coming back was a fresh start. After hes finished in court he puts it behind him.
You can find information, advice and support if you have been affected by the issues in this storyline by visiting the websites of Survivors UK and Rape Crisis. Survivors UK can be contacted on 02035983898 and also offer online chat, text and WhatsApp services for confidential support via their website. Safeline offers a helpline for support to males affected by rape and sexual abuse and can be reached on 0808 800 5005. They also offer services through SMS, email and more via their website.