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Emmerdale's Val Pollard actress Charlie Hardwick teases how she could return to soap after being killed off

Talented actress Charlie Hardwick is getting set to perform in live theatre show Clear White Light

Hanna Fillingham

Actress Charlie Hardwick has opened up about life after Emmerdale, and the possibility that she could return to the ITV soap, despite her much-loved character Val Pollard being killed off in 2015. Chatting to HELLO!, Charlie said that she would "love to" go back to the soap. Having starred in the Christmas special as a ghost version of Val last year, Charlie said: "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.'" So could Charlie go back as the long lost twin of Val? "If you pitch the story I would be there in a shot," she joked.

Emmerdale's Charlie Hardwick with her good friend and former co-star Chris Chittell

For now, Charlie is very much looking forward to immersing herself in live theatre, something she hasn’t done for 30 years. Charlie is playing Maddie in the production Clear White Light, at Live Theatre in Newcastle, the very theatre company she worked at 30 years ago when she landed her first job. "I am completely made up to be back," she said. The play, which is set in the mental hospital St Nicholas's Hospital, covers the all-important topic of mental health, and Charlie hopes that it will help contribute to breaking the stigma behind it. "It's a linking of hands and into the audience and into the community of the North East so that they will be more connected to mental health. It’s written by Paul Sirett - who is an awards nominated writer," Charlie explained.

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The play also features songs by Lindersfarne's late frontman Alan Hull, who worked as a mental health nurse. "What’s more, Alan used to work in St Nicholas Hospital as a mental health nurse, so we are bringing the circle full round. He wrote some of the songs when he was a nurse there, including Lady Eleanor - their biggest hit, and Clear White Light - which gives the title of the play," said Charlie.

Charlie is taking to the stage for live theatre production Clear White Light

Charlie will be looking forward to be reuniting with her former Emmerdale co-stars when she takes the stage, many of which, she said, have been texting her trying to arrange to come and watch her perform. "The problem with working on Emmerdale is that you don't know your working hours from fortnight to fortnight, so it's like hearding cats trying to get all my old mates up here! They might have to come to a Sunday show," she said. The actress is incredibly close to many of the Emmerdale actors, and recalled how they had made her tear up when she saw them in the audience last year.

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"When I was doing a play before this called The Last Ship which was a stage musical, it was the UK premiere of it and we came to Leeds, and it was extremely emotional as we could see the audience from the first song, and it made me cry seeing many of my old co-stars! I looked out and it absolutely took me away to see a dozen old friends all sitting together in the middle of the stalls. They are very, very fond friends."

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