Ex-Emmerdale star Natalie Anderson lands new role in Hollyoaks

Soap fans loved Natalie Anderson when she played Alicia Gallagher in Emmerdale. And it's fair to say the sparky barmaid had some cracking storylines that put her at the centre of drama in the village.

Now, having left Emmerdale in 2015, to spend more time with her young son Freddie, Natalie is heading back to Soapland, but the village we'll see her in this time is Hollyoaks – across the Pennines, and channels!

Natalie will make her first appearance in Hollyoaks on Thursday 28 October in E4's first look episode.

But the mystery surrounding her character Lexi begins next week on Monday 25 October when Grace overhears her new lover, Nate, talking to Lexi on the phone. When he acts secretive about their conversation, Grace suspects he might be seeing her, but the truth is soon revealed…

There will be many twists and turns in this storyline in the coming months, as the focus turns on the Deveraux family, and the secrets they have buried begin to resurface.

Talking about joining the Channel 4 soap, Natalie said: “I’m so thrilled to be playing Lexi. She’s such a strong and intriguing character with lots of layers, that I’m thoroughly enjoying playing with.

“I’ve loved working with Chris Charles and exploring the dynamic between Lexi and Nate’s relationship as the storyline unfolds…. I’m having so much fun, and everyone at Hollyoaks have been so lovely and welcoming.”

We'll have to wait and see how Lexi's story compares with that of Alicia, who packed a lot of action into her five years on the Dales.

She arrived in 2010, as the older sister of Leyla Harding (Roxy Shahidi), along with husband Justin and son Jacob.

However in time viewers learned that Jacob's biological mum was actually Alicia's sister Leyla, who didn't feel able to bring up the child, so handed him over to her big sister and assumed the role of aunt instead.

But the shock blow for Alicia was when she learned that Jacob's birth dad was actually Justin after all, thanks to a one night stand with her sister!

During Alicia's five years in Emmerdale she found love with David Metcalfe, and wound up in prison when Natalie needed maternity leave to have her son.

Then when Natalie decided it was time to leave, Alicia, David and Jacob moved to Portugal, where the couple would run a bar with Val Pollard's son Paul.

They returned when Eric had a heart attack, and after Val died, David felt he had to stay in the village to support his dad, while Alicia headed back to Portugal, allowing Natalie her exit from the show.

While it was Emmerdale that made Natalie – now 39 – famous, she'd actually appeared on Pop Idol in 2001 – the year that Will Young triumphed over Gareth Gates.

She then enjoyed success in Heartbeat spin-off The Royal, playing Nurse Stella Davenport, alongside future Emmerdale co-star Michelle Hardwick.

Now it's time to see what Hollyoaks writers have lined up for Lexi, as Natalie returns to Soapland…

Hollyoaks airs every weeknight at 7pm on E4, and 6.30pm on Channel 4. or more soap gossip, sign up to OK! newsletters here.

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