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Charlie Hardwick (Val Pollard, 'Emmerdale')

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Charlie Hardwick (Val Pollard, 'Emmerdale')
Emmerdale's Val Pollard - played by 48-year-old Charlie Hardwick - attempts to show her former flame Rodney Blackstock (Patrick Mower) who's boss next week when she tries to seduce him and show him up as the "dirty dog" of the village. As ever, though, Val's plot doesn't quite go to plan when Rodney threatens to expose her advances to her husband Eric (Chris Chittell). How will Val worm her way out of her latest predicament? We gave Charlie a call to find out more.

Why does Val start interfering when she sees Diane and Rodney getting on well with each other?
"Val's first thought is 'aye aye, he's trying to get into the back room'! [Laughs] You know what I mean! Then Val thinks that he's trying to get into Diane's heart, before thinking that Rodney wants Val out of the pub. That's the killer. She thinks he's a dirty dog. Then when she sees Diane give Rodney a kiss on the cheek, she immediately thinks that there's trouble afoot. Val knows Rodney - she's been there, done it, had the child and been the babysitter. And when Val originally turned up in Emmerdale, she went back to drink from the same pool, so she definitely knows what he's like."

Do you think Val's jealous?
"Whenever Val's getting attention and she isn't, there's some kind of jealousy! But on this occasion, though, Val just thinks, 'he's not getting my pub'. Consciously, she's worried about Diane but subconsciously, she's only ever totally concerned about herself. I've said this before, but I wrote a list of quintessential characteristics of Val on a post-it note when I first arrived at Emmerdale and I keep them in my script file. She's glamour and sex, she always tells the truth - even when she's lying - and everything she does, she does for Val."

What lengths does Val go to in order to stop Diane and Rodney being together?
"Well, she comes up with a plan. Val always comes up with plans - this is another characteristic that's emerging with her! What Val, of course, has to do to scupper their potential relationship is to prove to Diane that Rodney's a no-good dirty dog so she can kick him into touch."

How does she go about it?
"She can't do it verbally because Diane would think she's jealous. So Val sets about proving her point on a much grander scale. She sacrifices her virtue to show her sister how low Rodney will go…"

What was it like filming the scene when you were effectively mounting Patrick Mower?!
"I had him slammed up against the wall with Val saying: 'I remember the first time you took me in the pantry!' Honestly, when I first read the scripts, I laughed and laughed. The dialogue's fantastic. Patrick was absolutely game for the scene, it was just so funny. Val ends up chasing Rodney from kitchen to living room and back again. He's like a Greek pig! But then Val changes tactic and starts crying and he feels sorry for her. Before he knows it, he's kissing her."

What happens in the aftermath?
"Well, of course, to Val, she's got Rodney exactly where she wants him and she plans to tell Diane exactly what's happened. But, of course, he shouts at her something like: 'I bet Eric will like this when I tell him.' The consequences hadn't occurred to Val - she hadn't thought about how it could all be misconstrued. Val and Diane have a big row, too. Me and Liz [Estensen] really didn't want to do it! Work-wise, it was great - they were great scenes to do. But for us as [real] people, we like working together! We didn't want them to fall about again. We're hoping that their situation's going to rectify itself, but we don't know at the minute…"

Who finds out?
"Everyone finds out. Rodney and Val are staring each other out in the bar until Diane drags them into the back room to find out what's going on. And then loose-lipped Rodney spills the details and it all pours out. Pollard overhears, too. It's Val's worst nightmare. She goes to bed crying and playing the victim, but then the next morning she wakes up and comes up with a plan. She goes back to the pub and asserts that half the pub is hers. She's not going to let that one go."

Val does a My Name Is Earl the following week, too…
"Yeah, she must watch it when she's at the bed and breakfast one night. She makes a long list - and it gets a bit dog-eared because she doesn't take care of it - and on it, she writes down everyone who she's offended over the years. She has to go around the village asking people if she's ever offended them. The top of the list, of course, is Eric following by Diane. It's a sweet list and she thinks that if she can apologise for it all, everything will be okay."

Is there anything you've not seen Val involved in that you'd like to see her do?
"I have to say, when the funeral parlour storyline came out, I couldn't believe it when I read about it! What I did see very clearly [in my head] was Val putting makeup on the deceased. She would have done Michael Jackson. She'd have had a go anyway. I could also see her in a top hat walking in front of the hearse with a tight pencil skirt, black jacket and a Dickensian bow as the funeral director. I thought that there was great mileage in the funeral parlour, but then they said they weren't going to do it!"

Are you looking forward to Charity's return?
"She's fab, I can't wait. She's the bee's knees. I'm really looking forward to Emma coming back as well as the character."

What's the feeling on set about the revamp?
"That's a difficult one really because it's so subjective for us. My storylines remained consistent throughout. If it dipped, it was a gradual dip. The most noticeable thing for us is the new cast coming in, especially over the last few weeks. That's definitely had a positive effect on us all."

Do you miss your screen son Mathew Bose?
"Aww, I saw him a few weeks ago and had a curry with him and the lad who played Ivan the dustman, Daniel Brocklebank, he was in town! It was all left wide open with Paul - he's only in Australia."

Maybe you could do a DVD spinoff where Val and Diane go out to Australia to see him?
"Set it up! I've got my passport ready and my bag packed already! Would I?! That'd be great!"

What are your thoughts about Emmerdale's move to a double bill on a Thursdays?
"To be honest, I was really shocked! I originally thought, 'we go on at 7pm, what are you talking about?!' It's still light in the autumn when we're on - it can't be dark when we're on! We were all told together as a cast and afterwards, our first question was, 'oh my God, is it going to be late-night Sex and the City?!' I wondered whether I was going to have to go to the gym because I thought we'd be seeing a bit more of Val in the great seduction scenes. No, I joke… It just means that we'll be able to reach a wider audience, especially in the South. I've lived in London for many years and you don't get home from work until 7pm and you're sat watching the television by 8pm. We'll now have a chance to reach a lot of people who weren't there before. I think because of circumstance, there are a lot of people who can't watch at the moment but will now have an opportunity to. I don't think it'll ruin our loyal viewers, either." Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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