Emmerdale‘s Eric Pollard is about to get a rude awakening when flirty newcomer Leyla Harding starts work at the interiors factory.

Actress Rokhsaneh Ghawam-Shahidi joins the cast as savvy and streetwise Leyla, who quickly wraps factory boss Pollard round her little finger.

Leyla becomes an instant hit with her factory co-workers Pearl, Lisa, Doug, Lily and Gennie – but she’s very cagey about her background, which will make viewers wonder how she came to work in the sleepy village of Emmerdale.

Of her new role, Rokhsaneh said: “I’m so excited. This is a brilliant opportunity for me as I’ve done lots of theatre but not much TV.

“Everyone at Emmerdale has been so warm and welcoming. It’s such a well-established show and I can’t wait to see what Leyla gets up to.”

Anita Turner, Emmerdale’s series producer, said: “Rokhsaneh is a terrific actress and an exciting new addition to the cast. Leyla’s going to have some fun stirring up the factory.”

Emmerdale is Rokhsaneh’s first major TV role. She has appeared in many theatre productions including the UK tour of East is East, and played Vina in Rafta Rafta at the Royal National Theatre.