Former Brookside star Nicola Stephenson joins Emmerdale

"It is safe to say she will mix things up in the village," says series producer Kate Oates

Nicola Stephenson is joining Emmerdale to play a teaching assistant by the name of Tess. The “warm, assured” character will debut this autumn when she crosses paths with village vet Paddy Kirk.

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“I’m thrilled to be joining the cast of Emmerdale. It’s a British institution and I’m very excited about the storylines that they have planned for my character,” Stephenson said today.

Series producer Kate Oates added: “I am delighted to welcome an actress of Nicola’s calibre to the show. We are keeping the exact details of Tess’s storyline under wraps, but it is safe to say she will mix things up in the village.”

Stephenson – whose previous screen credits include Safe House and Waterloo Road – is best known to soap fans as Brookside’s Margaret Clemence, who shared UK TV’s first pre-watershed lesbian kiss with Anna Friel’s Beth Jordache in 1994.

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

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And visit our dedicated Emmerdale page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.