Emmerdale's Gemma Atkinson turned down return due to 'gruelling' schedule

Gemma Atkinson has revealed that she turned down the opportunity to reprise her role in Emmerdale due to the ITV soap’s tough filming schedule.

The actress, who portrayed Carly Hope, confirmed that there have been discussions about her returning to the serial drama, but she admitted that she would prefer to wait until daughter Mia is a bit older.

‘Emmerdale has mentioned me going back, but with soaps the thing that people don’t realise is that the cast and crew do quite gruelling hours,’ she said.

‘What I love now about my job with the radio is I know every single day when I’m going to get home.

‘I can plan my family life and fit being a mum around that job. Maybe when Mia is a bit older and in school I might consider it, but at the minute it’s not practical, especially with Gorka doing a lot of touring and stuff.’

Gemma played Carly for two years, between 2015 and 2017.

The 37-year-old first made a name for herself on Hollyoaks as Lisa Hunter, and fans will have an opportunity to see her as Lisa once more this week, as she makes a brief return to the Channel 4 serial drama.

Hollyoaks confirmed last year that Lisa found love with her activist boyfriend in Thailand, which is where she connected with old school friend Zara. 

The soap also hinted that there could be an ulterior motive behind the character’s surprise visit.

‘I started when I was 15 and I’m 37 now, so it’s been a long time,’ Gemma told OK! Magazine. ‘To be honest, it’s come around quite a few times, but I’ve always had lots of other commitments. I didn’t want to turn my back on Hollyoaks.

‘It’s because of it I’ve been so busy elsewhere. I didn’t want it to ever come across as though, “I’m far too busy for that now.” It was just a case of wherever I could squeeze it in, I would absolutely love to go back. It felt like I’d never been away.’

Gemma, 37, competed in Strictly Come Dancing back in 2017.

Partnered with Alijaz Škorjanec, she stunned audiences with her ballroom and latin routines, making it all the way to the final where she finished joint runner-up.

Gemma met fiancé Gorka Marquez while competing in the show, and the two welcomed daughter Mia in 2019.

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