Samantha Giles is reprising her role as Emmerdale's Bernice Blackstock, with fans promised that her surprise return "will certainly turn lives upside down".

Bernice was last seen the night before her planned wedding to Liam Cavanagh (Jonny McPherson), dumping him and leaving for Australia to look after her ex-husband, who had been involved in an accident.

Trouble ahead for Liam...

Liam is now in a relationship with Leyla Harding (Roxy Shahidi) - and their wedding plans will be thrown into chaos by Bernice's return. Bernice's pregnant daughter Gabby Thomas (Rosie Bentham) will also have a lot more on her plate.

"Samantha is such a fabulous actress and her portrayal of Bernice is a wonderfully warm, complex mix of tragedy and comedy that always brings a whirlwind of fun and drama," said Emmerdale producer Laura Shaw.

"Constantly misunderstood, often getting things terribly wrong, Bernice promises to cause quite a stir from the moment she lands back in the village and will certainly turn lives upside down as she tries to navigate through the changes since she left."

Giles, who left the soap in 2019 to publish her first book, added: "As an actress, leaving a role that you love is always a hard decision and I'd been lucky to work so consistently for so long, which is rare in our business. So, I knew the time had come to be brave and take the leap back in 2019 to pursue my other passion of writing and focus on getting my first book published.

Scenes ahead with Leyla...

"I've now had such a lovely response with Rosemary and the Witches of Pendle Hill and the downtime of the pandemic meant I was able to complete my next two books.

"I'm a big believer in fate so when Emmerdale offered me the chance to return as Bernice I took it as a sign that it was meant to be.

"I'm delighted to be returning to play out Bernice's future storylines, which I'm sure are going to keep the audience entertained.

"She certainly arrives back with a bang, that's all I'm allowed to say right now, and I'm looking forward to releasing my next two books whilst juggling her hectic onscreen life!"

Emmerdale airs weeknights on Virgin Media One and ITV1.

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