Hollyoaks

Harvey Virdi reveals why Hollyoaks didn’t give Misbah justice in court after rape ordeal

Misbah’s rapist was acquitted in court (Picture: Lime Pictures)

Hollyoaks went ‘to and fro’ when deciding the outcome of Misbah Maalik’s historic rape storyline, actress Harvey Virdi has revealed.

‘You have to be very brave to go to court and even then you’re not going to get justice necessarily. We really went to and fro with that because that’s the reality,’ she explained in a new interview with Insertions.us.

Misbah was left devastated when Ali (Raji James) was acquitted in court after being charged with her rape.

It was an important storyline for Hollyoaks to take on, as Harvey explained.

‘Once they’d told me about [the storyline], I went away and started doing my own research all about historical rape.

‘You find out all the statistics, that it’s never going to go to court, you’re never going to get legal justice and all this stuff, but at the same time there were all these people’s stories and I just felt I wanted to make their stories as truthful as I could by amalgamating everyone’s experiences into one – to try to understand why this woman could have locked away this big trauma.’

Misbah found the courage to reveal her ordeal in November 2021, 30 years after the rape took place. While the courts failed to punish Ali for his crime, Harvey told us that Misbah has been able to find her own closure from this trauma.

‘I would say for her the closure is the fact that she’s admitted it and processing it and coming through the pain. That is her healing.

‘Because she’s started healing, because she’s accepted and it’s not some big secret in her head any more, now she’s healing herself she can actually start her life again in terms of love and allowing people into her life.’

The storyline had a positive reaction from fans, with many approaching Harvey to discuss it.

‘I had so many people want to come up to me and talk about the storyline. It’s lovely, but it’s also sad that they said, ‘I know this experience’ or someone in their family had been through this.

‘I’ve had people come up to me and say, “I’ve been through this.” That made it clear how important it was to talk about something like that.

‘Also, I think it’s a woman in her 50s, she seems with-it and together. She’s a great doctor, she’s got family, she’s got her children. It shows that what you see and what people are, are two different things.

‘You don’t know what people have been through. To talk about something that people have felt guilt and shame about is a really good thing to explore.’

In terms of Misbah’s future on the show, Harvey is open to whatever may come next.

‘Who knows what happens? Maybe a little bit of romance.

‘I think she’ll always carry the guilt of giving her child away. That is always going to impact on the kids, I think, and she will have to deal with the aftermath of that.

‘At the moment I think she’s just in a place of, you know when you’ve just let go of something huge in your life and you’re recalibrating yourself? I’m hoping she actually finds someone she can be with and not push a man away from her life.’

We hope that whatever is next for Misbah keeps her at the centre of our screens. And who knows, maybe that romance she alludes to will be on the cards?