15:03 25 February 2010
Soap spoiler alert! A set of new characters are set to shake things up in Emmerdale in saucy storylines, it has been announced.
In a bid to contend with higher rating from rivals Coronation Street and EastEnders, the show will introduce four new characters to liven things up.
'Just Good Friends' star Jan Francis will join the Yorkshire residents as love interest to Rodney Blackstock.
Off screen wife to Jeff Hordley (Cain Dingle), Zoe Henry will make her return as vet Rhona Gos after nine years away from the soap.
'Cutting It' star Jason Merrells is another new recruit to the cast. He will play lover and business partner to murderess Natasha Wylde (Amanda Donohoe).
Newcomer businessman Declan (Merrells) will be the object of Natasha's affection, but it could be more than his love the murderess is after.
An soap insider told The Sun: "Natasha and Declan will get it together. But it's not just love Natasha needs - it's cash.
"She's going to be blackmailed by someone very close to her and things could get messy."
Suzanne Shaw also signed up to the Dales at the start of the year as the flirtatious granddaughter of village battleaxe Edna.
However, old characters who've reached the end of the welcome are set to leave the show as well.
Both Eli Dingle (Joseph Gilgun) and Jamie Hope (Alex Carter) will be leaving the Yorkshire town soon.
Old favourites Cain and Charity (Emma Atkins) made a high profile return in a big money deal at the end of 2009, and the shock proposal to her on-off boyfriend, and cousin, over Christmas held audience figures steady.
Over 20 years affair their affair began, which resulted in the birth of daughter Debbie, and several failed engagements, the pair are finally set to get married.
The insider said: "It is what everyone wants.
"Charity has attempted to get hitched four times before in the soap, but never to Cain, her soul mate.
"But as always in Soapland, nothing goes to plan."
In related news, ex Emmerdale star Sheree Murphy, who played ditzy Tricia Dingle, is set to make a comeback to TV screens.
She has signed up to Hollyoaks as Eva, the long lost mother of Anita Roy.
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