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Emma Rigby talks Hollyoaks return

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Emma Rigby talks Hollyoaks return

In a brand-new interview, Emma Rigby speaks for the first time following her return to Hollyoaks. The E4 soap, produced in Liverpool by Lime Pictures, confirms that her character of Hannah Ashworth will be returning as a series regular this spring.

Hannah first appeared on-screen at the end of September back in 2005. The character was in a controversial storyline in which she developed anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. The plot attracted press coverage and garnered plenty of critical acclaim for the writing and Rigby’s performance. It also featured Hannah’s best friend, Melissa Hurst, dying as a result of an eating disorder, which was a first for UK soap opera. Rigby won many different awards for her portrayal of the character, including Best Actress at the 2008 British Soap Awards.

Hannah was last seen as a regular in Hollyoaks back in February 2010. However, after 13 years away Hannah briefly returned for a short stint this month before her permanent return later in the year.

What is it like to be back at Hollyoaks?

I’m absolutely thrilled to be back. Nothing has changed at all. It feels like I’ve been in a time vortex like it was yesterday that I was here in a school uniform. I kind of miss the school uniform, we might have to reinstate that. It’s lovely to see all the cast and crew, a lot of the same people and then of course a lot of new people who are also lovely. It’s also funny for me to be the adult!

There was a lovely reunion onscreen between John Paul and Hannah in, how was that to film?

It was actually quite touching. I remember when we did the scene, between the two of us it was genuine emotion. We both have a real fondness, me and James, we have such a love and a nice easy rapport together. There were great memories with us both and of course Guy Burnett, so yes it was great to be back working with James.

You have also come back with your on-screen mother, Suzanne, how did it feel to reunite and return together?

Suzanne is the most incredible woman. She is such as lovely human being. I was really close to all of my Ashworth family, we were really like a real family, so we always kept in touch. I’m really glad that I’ve come back with Suzanne, and I know she’s super excited to be back. We also have the new addition of the twins and that was even a shock for me that there were twins, I was like, do I have a brother and sister? Because that was when I left, so it was exciting.

You also have a lot of scenes with Ashley Taylor Dawson and Jessica Fox, what’s it like working with them again?

Ashley and Jess are just amazing and I love their commitment to the show. It’s not changed since we were all on it together. They’re still so behind the characters, they love what they do and they love the show so I think it’s really wonderful to see that. It was so fun to reunite, Ash and I were just laughing all the time and I’ve got him to thank for my return.

How has your character evolved over the years?

I loved the twist in recent episodes, it was something that you would never normally think Hannah would do, take the money and leave. That’s exciting for me because I like the progression and the idea that there’s so many facets of people’s character and people can be anything. You don’t know what you would do being put in that situation and you can be pushed to do anything. It’s that nice exploration. I love acting, so it’s nice to be back on set and be working every day which is a great thing. Acting back in the show it’s kind of like coming home, it’s that great nostalgia.

Hannah returns this Spring on screen, what can viewers expect?

I would just say it’s very unexpected which I absolutely love and I think it’s incredibly relatable and will really resonate with a lot of the audience so watch this space…

What are your thoughts on Hollyoaks moving to streaming first?

I think it’s a fantastic opportunity for everybody and a real way for fans to actually engage with the series and to come back to something that’s been modernized. It’s also the first of the soaps to do that, it’s kind of leading the way of how people are going to be watching things in the future.

Also for me personally, it’s making me get into the 21st century which was quite funny because I live as if I’m in the 1950s. So I’m quite excited for that it’s encouraging me to step into the present and to actually connect with the world. Even I’m back on Instagram and Twitter and I’m going to be getting TikTok so everything’s perfectly aligned.

How does it feel to move back to Liverpool?

I’ve literally never been happier to be in the North. I love the Northwest I’ve always loved it, it’s my home it’s where my roots are. Everybody is just so lovely here and has so much personality and are really great hard-working people, it’s brilliant to be back amongst it.

I love a line that was in the Red Riding trilogy where it says, ‘the North, where we do what we want.’

Hollyoaks streams first online and then airs on E4.

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