Emmerdale star Paula Tilbrook to retire after 21 years as Betty Eagleton

The actress's final scenes are to be shown next month

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Long-serving Emmerdale star Paula Tilbrook is to bow out as gossipy Betty Eagleton after more than two decades on the ITV soap.

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I have been at Emmerdale for 21 years and I’ve loved every moment. Today is both the saddest and the happiest day of my life. Happy because I’ve got everyone here with me, but the sad part is I’m leaving. But there is a great atmosphere and it is nice to go out on a high,” said the 85-year-old after she recently filmed her final scenes in the village.

Kate Oates series producer, added“It’s impossible to overstate how much everyone at Emmerdale will miss Paula. In Betty, she’s created a British television icon: someone who has lit up our screens and touched our hearts.

“Off screen, she is an integral part of the Emmerdale family: an inspiration to those she works with, as well as a fabulous raconteur and hilarious storyteller.

“We are sad to lose her from the programme, but wish her the happy retirement she so deserves.”

Tilbrook made her first appearance in April 1994, with Betty now being the longest-running current female character on the show and the sixth longest in the whole history of Emmerdale.

But Betty’s days of supping sweet sherry while gossiping about everyone’s business are now coming to an end, with her final scenes set to air in mid-May.

You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of Emmerdale below.

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