Emmerdale‘s Samantha Giles talks to Soaplife about her return to the village as Bernice – Ashley’s ex, Gabby’s mum, Nicola’s sister, and Diane and Rodney’s daughter. Do they all give her a warm welcome? Well, Gabby does…

What brings Bernice back?

“She’s having problems with her marriage and wants to give herself some breathing space and get her head together, so she decides to come back to the village to spend some time with Diane and Rodney, and also see Gabby.”

Has she changed at all?

“Not at all. She’s got a bit more money, so she can buy more expensive clothes and get her nails and hair done. But she’s very much the same person and hasn’t learnt any lessons.”

Should Ashley be worried to see her?

“Well, Bernice has stayed in touch with Ashley over the years because of their daughter, Gabby, but I think Bernice still finds him to be a bit pious. She’s mildly amused by him and tends to treat him as a bit of a joke, which irritates him.”

How does Bernice think her return will affect Gabby?

“I don’t think she’s properly thought it through. Bernice thinks they’ll enjoy spending time together. She hasn’t really thought about the hard time that Gabby’s had recently with the breakdown of Ashley and Laurel’s marriage.”

And what about Laurel?

“Bernice isn’t being intentionally horrible, but it just hasn’t occurred to her that Laurel might be worried about how Bernice’s reappearance will affect Laurel’s relationship with Gabby. Bernice has always been rather patronising and dismissive towards Laurel because she sees her as a cleaner, which is what Laurel was when Bernice first met her.”

And how are things between Bernice and Nicola?

“They’re kind of OK on the surface with each other, but there’s always this rivalry between them for Rodney’s attention. And then there’s their history – Bernice had an affair with Nicola’s almost-husband, Carlos, remember. And of course Nicola is now best friends with Laurel.”

So what’s wrong with Bernice’s marriage?

“Well, she’s been having an affair with an older man called Steve and she’s not being honest about that at all. She just tells Diane she and husband Charlie are having problems. When Diane finds out the truth she’s furious. It doesn’t help that Bernice has left her other daughter, Dee Dee, with Charlie. It’s like history repeating itself because she left Gabby with Ashley.”

Will viewers see Charlie and Dee Dee?

“They’ll soon see her lover, Steve, but I have no idea what else will happen.”