BURY lass Gemma Atkinson is used to playing nice characters on some of television's most popular programmes.

But the 30-year-old is ready to ruffle some feathers in ITV soap Emmerdale as Bob Hope's estranged daughter Carly.

She will be seen arriving in the village with a bang on Wednesday, shocking Bob — played by Tony Audenshaw — by revealing she is getting married and wants him to give her away.

Gemma, who burst onto television screens while still a pupil at Castlebrook High School playing Lisa Hunter in Hollyoaks, admits she is both nervous and excited.

She said: "It's a bit of both.

"I'm a bit apprehensive.

"The characters in Hollyoaks and Casualty were very nice, friendly girls.

"This character is a lot more complex."

Gemma started filming at the end of January but fans are only just getting to know her character, who looks set to cause upset for Bob and wife Brenda, played by Lesley Dunlop.

Wondering how viewers will react to causing problems for the pair, Gemma said: "People genuinely do love them."

As well as spending four years in Hollyoaks, she also appeared as paramedic Tamzin in Casualty in 2011 before being asked to join Emmerdale.

She said: "I was really flattered.

"It wasn't like an audition process, they called my agent and offered me the part straight out.

"I didn't believe it at first. I said to my agent, 'are you sure?'

"At the minute, she is on screen until at least September — that's the minimum.

"It's a great place, it's a great show and everyone is really friendly."

Last May saw the former glamour and underwear model move home to Bury, after a stint living in Sheffield.

Gemma, whose boyfriend is from Carlisle, said: "I moved back to Bury last May, it's brilliant.

"I absolutely love it.

"My school friends are all around the corner. It's one of those places I know my way around and all the little short cuts.

"I lived in London for six months because I was doing a show down there.

"I'm definitely a Northern girl."

While Emmerdale is home to a host of glamorous characters, Gemma's character is more tomboyish and a dodgy wheeler-dealer type.

Gemma, who appeared in a Bollywood film, said: "I've been really lucky, most of my outfits are really casual — jeans, Converse, shirts which is great because I can come to work and don't have to breathe in all the time.

"How she dresses is how I dress."

Not that viewers could ever imagine Gemma having to breathe in, with her stunning figure thanks to regular work-outs — no doubt spurred on by her personal trainer boyfriend Olly Foster.

She regularly gets up at 5am and hits the gym to train from about 5.30am to 6.30am before heading to the Emmerdale studios.

Gemma, who toured with the play Calendar Girls, said: "The reason I do it so early is because I don't finish work until 7pm/ 8pm.

"I've scheduled that into my routine.

"When I was filming Casualty, it was easier for me to it in the evening.

"I don't think there's a right or wrong time, you just have to do it."

She also enjoys completing high intensity Insanity DVD workouts, as well as going kick boxing at Bolton Thai Boxing Club with Daz Morris.

Gemma encourages everyone to make time for exercise, even just 20 minute workouts throughout the week.

She added: "People who say I've no time, it's like the excuse of the dog ate my homework."

Emmerdale is on ITV1 at 7pm on weekdays.