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Great start to soap career.

Byline: By Gordon Barr

Geordie actress Charlie Hardwick has landed her dream role - stirring it up in top soap Emmerdale.

Millions of viewers saw her make her entrance as hedonistic Val Lambert, sister of Woolpack landlady Diane Blackstock.

And she got off to a `lying' start, claiming her black eyes were the result of a domestic dispute, whereas they were really the results of cosmetic surgery.

"And there's a lot more of that to come from Val, I can assure you," laughed Charlie, who is relishing her new role.

"I've been a massive fan of Emmerdale since day one.

"In fact, I watch all the soaps so to now be in it truly is a dream come true.

"And what a character. Let's just say she has the potential to get more flamboyant.

"She's a good-time girl. She devours life and all it has to offer.

"I love her. There are some elements of me in her but she looks after herself a bit better than I do."

Charlie, who grew up in Wallsend and worked as a civil servant before becoming an actress, is now renting a flat in Leeds, close to the Emmerdale studios.

She also rents a pad in London and her parents, Bill and Eve, stay at her home in Wallsend.

"We work about 14 hours a day, six days a week so there is little time for other things but I'm certainly not complaining," she said.

"I had thought I would be able to see Newcastle United play more often, and thought about getting a season ticket as I was closer to home but I'm working most Saturdays."

Getting the Emmerdale job has meant working with one of her pals, John Middleton (Ashley), again.

Both have worked with the Newcastle-based Amber film collective. "We had cameo roles in Eden Valley and John did the voice over at the start of The Scar."

It was her performance in The Scar, about a Durham pit community in crisis, which brought Charlie the best actress award at the Monte Carlo International Television Festival in 1998.

"Although I don't think John and Val will cross swords too often," she said. "I don't think their paths will really meet. Or will they? Who knows?

"We don't know ourselves what is going to happen until we get our scripts every fortnight."

Charlie, 44, has signed a six-month contract with Emmerdale, and there is every chance it will be extended.

"I'm working with a great team of people.

I've always admired Elizabeth Estensen who plays my sister Diane.

"We just hit it off. My first day filming meant 12 hours with just Diane and the chemistry was there from the start. She's a great inspiration."

Charlie's parents are also watching the soap avidly.

"Mum was always a fan, but dad always went and did the dishes when Emmerdale was on," said Charlie.

"Now, though, even he's telling everyone to tune in."
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Entertainment
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Feb 10, 2004
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