Nicola Stephenson is joining the cast of Emmerdale, to play a teaching assistant named Tess.

The former Brookside, Waterloo Road and Clocking Off star said: “I’m thrilled to be joining the cast of Emmerdale. It’s a British institution and I’m very excited about the storylines that they have planned for my character.”

According to Emmerdale, Tess is a warm, assured person with great heart, who is dedicated to her role as a teaching assistant, but her life will take an unexpected turn when she meets long-serving vet Paddy Kirk (Dominic Brunt).

Kate Oates, Emmerdale series producer, said: “I am delighted to welcome an actress of Nicola’s calibre to the show. We are keeping the exact details of Tess’s storyline under wraps, but it is safe to say she will mix things up in the village.”

Nicola will start filming on Emmerdale later this month with her debut to screen int he autumn.