Kate Ritchie says she was caught totally unawares when Home and Away producers asked her to return to the Channel 5 soap.

Kate played Sally Fletcher for 20 years from the very first episode of Home and Away.

Kate told whatsontv.co.uk: “I was completely surprised. I mean, I worked on Home and Away for 20 years, I’ve been gone for five years, the invitation hadn’t come in the last five years so I didn’t know if it ever would. So it did catch me unawares.

“I did worry whether I should go back, it took me so long to leave in the first place, then I realised that rather than worry about about why I shouldn’t do it, I’d just throw caution to the wind, go back and hang out with some people I’ve loved working with in the past.

Kate is returning soon for an eight-week stint, a storyline revovling around her daughter Pippa’s potentially fatal, mitochondrial disease.

Is the storyline a tear-jerker? “I hope it’s tear-jerker,” said Kate, “because if you’re not in tears you don’t have a heart!”

Watch the interview with Home and Away’s Kate Ritchie: