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Gillian Kearney has joined the cast of Emmerdale.

The former Brookside and Casualty actress has signed up to play Emma Barton, the runaway mum of Pete (Anthony Quinlan), Ross (Michael Parr) and Finn (Joe Gill).

“As an avid fan of Emmerdale, I’m delighted to be playing Emma Barton. She’s a fascinating and complex character and I’m excited to find out what lies ahead for her. The team at Emmerdale have all made me feel really welcome and I’m loving being part of such a brilliant show.” – Kearney

Billed as having ‘a secretive past’ the character has been absent from the lives of her three sons for the past 22 years. She will make her first appearance after being tracked down by Finn.

Earlier this year, Finn’s discovery of a home movie from his childhood led to his father’s historical one night stand with sister-in-law Moira (Natalie J. Robb) being exposed to the entire family. In the background of the tape, Emma could be heard at loggerheads with James over the encounter.

With James (Bill Ward) and Moira’s fling now out in the open, viewers will be left wondering how the complex Emma will react when she finds out James also fathered a son, Adam (Adam Thomas) with her sister-in-law.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Gillian to the show. The arrival of Emma Barton has been long awaited, so her arrival is sure to cause fireworks in the volatile Barton family!” – Emmerdale Series Producer, Kate Oates

Emma will make her first appearance in the soap in January.

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