Emmerdale star Samantha Giles has left fans heartbroken after her final scenes were aired on Tuesday after 25 years on the soap.
The star, 52, played Bernice Blackstock in the ITV show, who left the village following a heated confrontation with her half-sister Nicola King, played by Nicola Wheeler.
Nicola last week discovered that Bernice had taken out a £20k loan in her name – completely without her knowledge.
And yesterday Bernice admitted to Nicola, in front of their family, that she had actually been in debt ever since her 2021 return.
Bernice tried to tell Nicola that she would pay her back, but she was in no mood to listen as bailiffs cleared out her home and Bernice leaves, devastated.
Fans took to X, formerly known as Twitter, in their droves this week, lamenting the loss of their dear Bernice Blackstock.
‘Bernice no!!! Not again!’ Wrote one distraught fan, referencing the fact that Samantha has left the role once or twice before.
Another shared: ‘Always belly-aching laughter when Bernice was on screen love her. Shame she’s left. A Bernice-shaped hole in Emmerdale now.’
One sad viewer said: ‘Really disappointed to see @sammeegiles leave Emmerdale.
They added: ‘One of the most pure and joyful soap characters which is why she will always be one of my all-time favourites’.
Another fan said: ‘I’m gonna miss Bernice. She’s my favourite #emmerdale’.
Then, a hopeful fan said: ‘It’s a great loss indeed. I love Bernice and will really miss the character. Good luck to @sammeegiles Hope you come back someday’.
Bernice made her first appearance on Emmerdale in episode 2448 on 25 November 1998 as the new Woolpack barmaid.
Samantha took frequent breaks from Emmerdale during her 25-year tenure and was involved in some huge storylines.
In 1999, Bernice falls in love with a local vicar, Ashley Thomas, played by John Middleton and they marry.
Bernice unfortunately suffers a miscarriage and, in her grief, begins an affair with villager Carlos Diaz.
Things complicate further when sister Nicola arrives in the Dales and falls in love with Carlos and Bernice announces that she is pregnant.
Jealous, Nicola tells the whole village about Bernice and Nicola’s affair – Ashley dumps Bernice but they reconcile after it is revealed that the child is his.
Despite this, the couple break up when Bernice realises that she simply does not love him anymore.
This decision was also influenced by Bernice’s bout of postnatal depression.
She leaves Emmerdale in 2002, returns and leaves again in 2004, has a longer stretch from 2012 to 2019, then returns for the last time in 2021.
After her last scenes were aired, Samantha said: ‘Thank you so much for your love and support, for watching the show.
‘Thank you to Emmerdale. They’ve always made me feel very welcome here. I’m going to miss everybody.’
When asked what she would miss most about the role, Samantha said: ‘I think I will miss being made up and having my hair done!’
She finished by hinting that this was not the last viewers had seen of Bernice, saying: ‘And it’s not goodbye. It’s au revoir.’
Outside of acting, Samantha is a Wicca witch and shares spells on Instagram from doing well in your exams to getting your ex back.
She revealed in 2022 that she actually used a spell to get her husband, Sean Pritchard, to fall in love with her.
Samantha married Sean in 2010 and the couple has two children together: Eve and Olivia Pritchard.
The actress said that she draws the line at casting spells on her children.
During one of her breaks from Emmerdale, Samantha acted in a rival soap.
She made her first appearance as Valerie Holden in Hollyoaks in 2008 before leaving in 2010.
Samantha has also appeared in Coronation Street and Doctors, which was sadly cancelled this year but will air until December 2024.
The mother-of-two is also an actress, and a novel Rosemary and the Witches of Pendle Hill was released in 2020.