Samantha Giles has announced she is departing Emmerdale after seven years of playing Bernice Blackstock.

The 48-year-old actress is set to close the door on her on-screen role as a beautician "to pursue other creative projects".

Taking to social media, Giles said: "After 7 fabulous years I am shortly to be hanging up Bernice's aprons and leaving the dales to pursue other creative projects.

"I will miss all the friends I’ve made on the show, but I’m very excited to be moving on to pastures new."

Producers are yet to comment on how her character will exit the soap but Giles previously revealed she would like to have some more "serious storylines" alongside her usual comedic role.

"I think it could work really well doing some serious storylines, with the 'comedy characters' having something difficult to deal with because it proves that things could happen to anybody.

"But it is nice with us - the show wouldn't work with absolutely everybody in it having a hard time or being miserable. They have to share it out - which is great for us."

Giles left the show in 2002, making a brief appearance again in 2004, before returning permanently in 2012.

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