After a "fantastic" 2013, Emmerdale producer Kate Oates has said that this year is "going to be big" for fans of the show - with some old faces returning to the village.

In a promo video for the year ahead, Oates said of the returning characters: "I don't want to tell you too much about that. I want you to watch it, I want you to enjoy it - I want you to enjoy the surprise."

Of the other 2014 plots, Oates said: "We are gonna kick off with some great stuff at Home Farm - Declan (Jason Merrells) and Charity (Emma Atkins) right at the centre of everything."

As to the return of Layla (Rokhsaneh Ghawam-Shahidi), Oates said: "She might not be completely honest about what she has been doing; she might have a couple of secrets up her sleeve."

Oates said a new story "really tests" the Dingles as a family.

"Belle (Eden Taylor-Draper), who has always been the bright spark and the big hope, and something really life-changing is going to happen to her quite early in the year. And she'll need the support of her family, but maybe they don't quite support her in the way that she needs," she said.

Oates also promised major developments for the Pollard family.

"What's great about this new direction for them is that it will give us a whole new slant on the Pollards. It challenges them in a way that we have never seen before and I think it will be a really exciting story for a soap like us to tell," she said.