Emmerdale fans were delighted on Tuesday night when actress Charlie Hardwick, who played much-loved character Val Pollard, returned to television for the first time since she left the ITV soap. Charlie plays one of the new members of staff in Channel 4's Ackley Bridge. The actress has taken on the role of director of pupil behaviour, Sup Cap, and stars alongside Downton Abbey and former Coronation Street star Rob James-Collier, who plays new deputy head Martin Evershed. Charlie and Rob are the latest two soap stars to join the show, with headteacher Mandy Carter being played by former EastEnders actress Jo Joyner.
Emmerdale's Charlie Hardwick is now in Ackley Bridge
During the programme, fans were quick to have their say on Charlie's first appearance in the show. One wrote: "It's Val Pollard from Emmerdale omg Ackley Bridge," while another added: "Tanya from EastEnders, Liam from Corrie and Val from Emmerdale all in one room, who'd have thought it. Ackley Bridge." Ahead of her debut on the Channel 4 drama, Charlie opened up about her excitement for joining the show. "I'm absolutely over the moon to be joining Ackley Bridge, I was already a fan. It has fantastic characters and brilliantly sharp story-telling which tackles the desires and concerns of a diverse school of young people and their community head on, in full-beam," she said.
Charlie with her Emmerdale co-star
Of her character, the actress added: "She is belligerent and unwilling, and instead of dedicating her time to the well-being and development of her teenage students, she appears to be solely concerned with counting down the next ten years to her retirement. She is unwittingly witty though, and somewhat unintentionally anarchic, which gets the school into deep doodoo and herself into dangerously sackable situations. I can't wait to play her!"
Since leaving Emmerdale in 2015 after her character was killed off, Charlie has been keeping busy with roles in the theatre. In October, she starred in Clear White Light at Live Theatre in Newcastle, where she played Maddie. During an interview with HELLO!, Charlie admitted that she would still very much like to return to Emmerdale if there was a way. Having starred in the 2017 Christmas special as a ghost version of Val. "I would love to go back. I kind of thought at the end of Emmerdale that my dance was done, but no that little bit came back when I was on Emmerdale last Christmas and I thought 'you know what I like this.' If you pitch the story I would be there in a shot," she joked.
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