Natalie Anderson burst into tears when she read how her 'Emmerdale' character returns to the soap.

The 31-year-old actress plays Alicia Metcalfe, who comes back to the village after being released from prison following a one-year sentence for assault, and the brunette beauty got emotional when she learned her onscreen son Jacob Gallagher (Joe Warren-Plant) would be the first to see her back in the Yorkshire Dales.

She said: "I cried when I read how Alicia comes back. There's nativity play for charity in the Woolpack and, unbeknown to anyone, Alicia turns up during it.

"Jacob's the first person to spot her - so the first time we see Alicia, it's through her eyes. It's really sweet."

Alicia married her friend David Metcalfe (Matthew Wolfenden) in a sham wedding before going into prison so he would be Jacob's legal guardian, but he has now started dating Priya Sharma (Fiona Wade) unbeknown to Alicia, whose feelings for the businessman have grown stronger.

She added to Inside Soap magazine: "I think Alicia's feelings for David have only grown in prison! That's what's really awful - being away from him has made her miss him even more.

"She's trying to fight those feelings, so she's very awkward with him. She has no inkling about David's new romance. Priya's being really nice to Alicia, and she thinks, 'What a lovely girl! She could be my friend!' "