Emmerdale‘s Charlie Hardwick tells Soaplife all about Val’s unexpected return to the village this week – and the reaction she has to Pollard’s new domestic arrangements!

So, Val’s back. Does she expect everyone to be happy about her return?
“She’s expecting to pick up where she left off. She’s thinking if she just breezes in, all excited to see everyone, they’ll be so pleased to see her that after a difficult night or two, it will all be back to normal.”

Isn’t she worried that Eric won’t want her back?
“I think she’s hoping he feels bad because as far as she’s concerned he did a terrible thing to her. Now she expects there’ll be a couple of difficult conversations with Eric, to which she’ll reply, ‘Oh shut up, man! I love you’. Kiss, kiss. And he’ll say, ‘I’m sorry I wasn’t a nice husband.'”

So she gets a shock when she discovers she’s been replaced by Brenda then?
“I don’t think it’s ever crossed her mind that Eric might have taken up with another woman. That’s not on the agenda at all. Val thinks that Eric has been moping around and missing her desperately, worrying about what a bad husband he was. The way Val sees it, she has had the grace to give him a second chance.”

Then she walks in on Eric, Brenda, Amy and Gennie and Nikhil having lunch together!
“I laughed out loud when I read the script. I had no difficulty finding Val again. She expects Eric to be sitting there in a dark corner, all sad and lonely. But instead there’s some kind of luncheon club going on. She doesn’t suspect anything about Brenda at that point. She thinks, ‘Oh look how terrible his life is! Look at the people he’s got round for lunch’! She doesn’t realise that none of them seem pleased to see her.”

How does she find out about Brenda?
“She goes upstairs for a lie down and notices a pile of women’s clothes on the floor, but still doesn’t twig. It’s Amy who puts her straight.”

And then what?
“Let’s just say it’s a bit like a Clint Eastwood western with Val gunning for Brenda.”

So Val is going to fight for Eric?
“She certainly won’t let anyone take her place. This has come as a massive shock to her. So different to the image she’d had of her falling into his arms once they’d kissed and made up. There’s some great stuff coming up with this love triangle.”