Emmerdale‘s Diane Sugden could finally be set for some happiness when she is swept off her feet by a charismatic businessman.

Actor George Costigan has been cast in the role of Charlie Haynes, an old chum of Rodney Blackstock (Patrick Mower), who will win the heart of the Woolpack landlady (Elizabeth Estensen).

George said he was “really looking forward to joining the show”, adding: “I’ve never played a long-running character before so I’m also excited about Charlie and hope both myself and the audience enjoy the ride!”

The actor has appeared in a number of TV, film and stage productions, including the movies Rita, Sue And Bob Too, Shirley Valentine and Calendar Girls, and television shows Doctor Who, A Touch Of Frost and Midsomer Murders.

Series producer Gavin Blyth said: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome George to Emmerdale. It’s great to have such a high calibre actor join our already strong cast and 2010 is shaping up to be more exciting than ever.

“Charlie will be at the heart of village life as Diane’s new love.”

George starts filming in January, and will be seen on screen in March.

Soap bosses said he has signed a contract “for the next few months”.

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