Emmerdale theory: Emily Kirk to return to village in aftermath of Nicola Kings attack

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Emily (played by Kate McGregor) was featured as a regular character in Emmerdale for eight years before leaving the village to train to become a vicar in 2006. During her years on the ITV soap, she developed a strong friendship with Nicola (Nicola Wheeler) as she was one of the only characters to get to know her when she first arrived in 2001. It seems the pair have lost contact in latter years due to Emily’s devotion to the church but she could be set to make a sensational return to the show under the most tragic of circumstances.

During next week’s episodes, it will appear the attack Nicola endured by a group of young girls is still playing on her mind.

Although her loved ones, including Jimmy King (Nick Miles) have tried to help her, she has been pushing them away one by one.

When Laurel Thomas (Charlotte Bellamy) and Bernice Blackstock (Samantha Giles) pop around to see her, they realise something is off.

It is clear the mother of three is really struggling with trying to get her head around what happened to her during this week’s episodes.

They tell her they are there for her no matter what time of the day it is but they might realise they are not enough support.

With one of them having a contact number for Emily, they could ring the vicar and ask her to come to the village to help them.

If it was anyone else, the beloved character might not behold such a request but because it’s Nicola, she could be there as soon as possible.

Coming face to face with her dear friend, Nicola could burst into tears as she hugs Emily and lets all her emotions out.

Now fully trained as a vicar, she could become a confidant for Nicola to speak about her thoughts and process what happened.

Emily always had a very nurturing tone and was always on hand to help her friends if they needed them so this could be the perfect time for her to return.

Really excited about what the future holds

Kate McGregor

She has once returned to the village in 2008 for the commitment ceremony of her friend and Nicola’s brother, Paul Lambert (Mathew Bose).

The vicar in training at this point watched on as the former villager and his partner, Jonny Foster (Richard Grieve) celebrated their love for one another.

At the time, Laurel thought she had lost her son when the baby she took home from the hospital, Daniel, died in his sleep.

Unfortunately, there was a mix-up and the parents of Daniel had taken home her son, Arthur Thomas (Alfie Clarke).

When Emily was last in the village, however, Laurel would have just lost Daniel who she thought was her son and she offered her condolences to the Thomas family.

So there would be a lot of ties in the village for Emily, meaning she could stick around in the village for quite some time.

The actress who played Emily, Kate, has never spoken out about a return to the show following a brief stint in 2008.

However, when she left the show, she spoke in a statement about her decision to leave the character behind after eight years.

Kate said at the time: “I’ve had an amazing eight years on the show but feel the time is right to try something new.

“I will miss everyone at Emmerdale desperately but I’m really excited about what the future holds,” she added.

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The actress appeared in a stage show after she left the programme but it seems she hasn’t done any mainstream acting since.

Kate added further explanation as to why she left when she was set to make her appearance in the stage production of The Flint Street Nativity.

It seems after taking maternity leave in 2005, she was ready to focus more on her family life than on acting.

She said: “Your perspective on life changes when a little one comes along. His dad had been looking after him full-time but now he is going back to work as a teacher.

“Plus, he’ll be at school soon and I wanted to be around for that and have the energy. I was coming home exhausted and then you don’t get the best of each other.”

The actress also spoke about the similarities she thinks she has with her character in her interview with The Liverpool Echo.

Kate said: “With any character, you diminish parts of yourself and you bring out others but I would like to think I wouldn’t have put up with what she did, especially with Viv and the way she treated her.

“She’s an old-fashioned girl with old-fashioned values; I’d like to think I’m modern.”

However, will she put her character’s persona on once more so Emily can be the one to help Nicola through this turbulent time?

Emmerdale airs weekdays at 7:30pm on ITV, with an hour-long episode airing on Thursdays.

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