Emmerdale Michelle Hardwick worried about Vanessas return after 19 months away

Emmerdale star Michelle Hardwick is preparing to make her grand return to the beloved ITV soap after 19 months off air to raise her son Teddy.

The 45-year-old first left our screens back in October 2020 while her character Vanessa Woodfield continued her gruelling battle with cancer.

It was later revealed that the blonde bombshell and her fiancée Charity had gone to stay in Scotland during the pandemic but things quickly went downhill for the couple while she was offscreen.

Despite her ongoing illness, Charity soon returned home to the Dales while Vanessa decided to stay with her mum but the cracks in their relationship soon started to show.

It didn’t take long before her betrothed soon found herself in the arms of someone new as she went on to cheat on Vanessa with newcomer Mackenzie.

Emmerdale fans were sent into a frenzy following their subsequent breakup as they feared they’d never see Vanessa return to the village again.

But viewers can be rest assured of her return to the soap, after the actress revealed she would be returning to Beckindale on Boxing Day and she is here to stay.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily Star and other publications, Michelle explained what it was like to step foot on the set of the soap after more than a year and a half away from the show.

She said: “Oh my goodness. After 19 months, it just feels like it’s been forever. Honestly, every time I see people, they’re like, ‘When are you back on Emmerdale?’.

“When I first walked on set it was literally like I'd had two weeks off apart from the Covid restrictions, that’s all very different.”

But one of the big things that the starlet feared was her ability to get back into the swing of things whilst juggling raising a toddler at home.

She confessed: “I was very nervous though I must admit. You think to yourself, ‘Oh, can I still do it? Can you still learn your lines when you’ve got a little one year old at home?’ but so far so good.”

After watching and supporting her colleagues on the show from her sofa, Michelle confessed how much she has missed her on-screen character and couldn’t wait to get back into the role once again.

When asked whether she missed Vanessa during her maternity leave, she gushed: “Yeah, because she’s been with me for such a long time now – like nine years.

“You do miss them [but] as soon as you get that yellow coat on and your hair in a pony, yeah it was quite easy to hear her voice again when you’re reading the scripts.

“It did surprise me that,” she joked. “I've not used my brain that much over the last year and a half, but I learned the lines – touch wood – quicker than I thought I was going to.”

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