Emmerdale star Emma Atkins has surprised fans with the news that she is taking a break from the soap - because she's heavily pregnant.
The actress plays Charity Tate, who was imprisoned for two years in last night's episode for perverting the course of justice, and Emma revealed in a video on the ITV show's website that the reason for her break was that she is pregnant.
It is thought that her baby is due in the spring.
Emma said: "So you've all just witnessed the big finale of Charity finally being brought to justice. I have a mixture of emotions going round because obviously I'm leaving for a while, so I need to tell you all about that really."
She added: "I hope some of you will be pleased with the outcome. I know I certainly am, it's only right that Charity is brought to justice and goes to prison for two years. But don't worry, I'm sure she'll be out on good behaviour if she plays her cards right."
Then Emma revealed the real reason for her exit, saying: "But I am leaving, probably for about a year because I'm leaving to have a baby which is really exciting.
"I will miss Emmerdale so much, but it's a new journey in my own life which I'm taking on now. I'll miss everyone and I can't wait to come back, hopefully within a year. So don't worry, she's still going to be around. Take care."
Co-star Charley Webb, who plays Charity's daughter Debbie, tweeted: "Finally-everyone knows Emma is leaving to have a baby. Can't wait to be an 'Aunty' again. Emmerdale will miss 'Charity' but she'll be back!"
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Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix.
An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.