Charlie Hardwick has announced she’s leaving Emmerdale after an 11-year stint playing Val Pollard.

The comic character has in recent times had more than her fair share of drama, after she became HIV-positive following a holiday romance.

Charlie told ITV.com: “I have loved forging and playing such a funny, unpredictable and indefatigable character in the company of such a great cast. I have relished being the difficult sister wrangling with Diane, and outrageously attempting to mentor/suppress the B&B serfs Amy, Victoria, Finn and Tracy.”

Charlie continued: “Above all, I have endured, sorry, enjoyed the match made in heaven with that little so and so, Eric. When Chris and I were written together 10 years ago, I had no idea how much I would come to adore working with and being in the company of such a terrific fellow.

“I’d like to thank him and all of the friends I have made in front of and behind the camera for their wit, warmth, support and dogged devotion to creativity. I will miss them terribly, but when it’s time to go… Adieu dear colleagues. It has been a blast.”

Exactly how Val will leave Emmerdale is a secret, but Charlie made it clear on Loose Women she’d be unhappy to leave because of the HIV storyline.

She said: “I’d be very very angry if it was HIV-related… Because I think the whole point of having Val as HIV-positive is to show that you can live a healthy and happy life.”

Charlie added: “I’m not at liberty to say [how I leave], and luckily I haven’t read the scripts because I thought if I started then I knew I’d start talking about it.”

Charlie added that she was leaving while she still had a spring in her step and a chance at a new chapter in life.