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Nasty Richard needs a kidney transplant - and both his sons are willing to donate one!
Most people would have to think long and hard about giving a kidney to a loved one, let along somebody they hate. But this week, two Ramsay Street residents raise their hand to help saves dastardly Richard Aaronow's life - his sons, Oliver Barnes and Declan Napier! "It's a pretty amazing thing to do. I don't know if I could be as generous in real life," admits David Hoflin, who plays Oliver. "It's not like donating blood, is it? When you consider that Richard's a horrible man who's done terrible things in his lfe, I think Oliver's a saint for even considering it."
In true soap style, Oliver's motivation for saving his dad is as complicated as it is surprising. As David explains, Oliver's primary concern is helping his mother, Rebecca, bring Richard to justice for the abuse she suffered at his hands. "Rebecca's lived her whole adult life in fear of Richard, and his condition only comes to light after she hits out at him in self-defence," sighs the 29-year-old actor.
"When he's admitted to hospital, some test results reveal that his kidneys are very week, and if he doesn't undergo a transplant, he's sure to die." With Rebecca determined to proceed with her quest for retribution against Richard, the question remains: Will he live long enough to be punished for his crimes?
"The legal side of things is ready to go - Toadie and Rosie even have a witness, Karen, who's prepared to back up Rebecca's claims about what Richard is like," says David. "Oliver and Declan can see their mum is very distressed, because if Richard dies before a court hearing, she'll never get closure on the trauma. Declan's actually the one to offer his kidney first - which is all the more unexpected considering that he came close to killing Richard a couple of weeks ago!"
When Rebecca learns of Declan's offer, however, she forbids him from going ahead, arguing that Richard may perish anyway. That's when Oliver steps into the breach... "It turns out that he's a positive match as well, so he decides to go for it, regardless of what Rebecca says," David reveals. "Oliver's doing it for her, not for Richard. It's all about making sure this guy pays by staying alive and going to jail."
David admits that he found it hard to get his head around Oliver's decision to place his life on the line for a man he loathes. "Any time you go under anaesthetic, you're putting yourself at risk - it's a big gamble to take for someone you don't like," he notes. "The more I think about it, the more I'm certain I couldn't do it. I don't think that makes me a bad person, though!"
The actor tells us that viewers can expect his alter ego to come through the operation unscathed - thanks to the use of some apparently cutting-edge technology! "Somewhere in the script, it reveals that the transplant is being done via keyhole surgery," chuckles David. "I'd say that would have to be a world first!"
This article originally appeared in Inside Soap magazine dated 30th November 2007