Gemma Merna has announced her exit from Hollyoaks which will see Carmel leaving the Channel 4 soap this year.
But the actress, who has been a part of the show for eight years revealed she would be leaving to focus on a new business adventure, whilst having some time out for herself.
Speaking to Digital Spy, Gemma explained how she came the decision to leave the show. She said: “Obviously it was a difficult choice to make because I’ve been there for so long, but what I felt was that I’d explored everything possible storyline-wise with Carmel over my eight years of being there. I felt that it was time to put the character to bed and move onto a brand new start for myself. I’d like to get my teeth into more characters and create something that’s different from Carmel.”
Gemma is also that the business venture is “something very close to my heart and it’s something that nobody will expect because no other soap star has done anything like this. It’s something that could take me all around the world really, so it’s very, very exciting.”
There’s also a possibility that her business project could temporarily take her out of acting as Gemma explains: “I’d like to focus a bit of time on my business venture and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to move on from Hollyoaks, as well as wanting to focus a little bit of time on myself.
She added: “Then hopefully next year I’ll get back into acting and if the right role came up, I’d like to tackle it and create something half as good as Carmel!”
But the 29-year-old is talented in more ways than one and revealed that she can also sing. Gemma said: “I can sing as well and I come from a musical theatre background, so I wouldn’t mind doing a musical or a play, but I do really love TV. I’d love to venture into a northern-based drama – something like Happy Valley, something gripping that’s so true to life.
She added: “That’d be a big challenge for me because in soaps everything’s so big and so dramatic, so it’d be lovely to do something where the general public can watch it and think, ‘Yes that could happen to me and my family’. It’d be great to play more of a normal character and not just a comedy character – I think that’d be a real challenge for me to do.”
The comedy actress vowed to keep in touch with co-stars Jorgie Porter, Jennifer Metcalfe and Nicole Barber-Lane who are part of her on-screen family, she said: “I’m very, very close to them. They’re probably the girls that I’ll stay in touch with, but obviously the crew as well.”
And will she have a huge leaving party to mark the end of her time with Hollyoaks?
“No, I think I just want to bow out gracefully and just disappear! I think I’ll be far too upset to have anything!”