Hollyoaks fans react to Gemma Atkinson’s return to Channel 4 soap after 16 years

Actress and radio presenter Gemma Atkinson has made a return to Channel 4’s Hollyoaks this week after 16 years off the soap. The 37-year-old made her comeback to the Chester suburb on Tuesday, March 15 as she reprised her role as Lisa Hunter.

It was announced in November 2021, that Gemma would be making a return to the fictional village. She first joined the soap aged 15 and played Lisa until she left the soap in 2006 aged 22.

Since the news broke, Gemma has been teasing her returning to Hollyoaks with her social media followers, posting behind the scenes pictures of her filming in January 2022 with co-star Kelly Condron who plays Zara Morgan. Gemma said on her Instagram post that her return was “a trip down memory lane”.

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But her time on the soap will be short, as the actress confirmed in the Instagram post that she has only returned for a “short but sweet visit back” this Spring.

Speaking on Channel 4’s Steph’s Packed Lunch in November 2021, Gemma explained: “It’s very very short. I’m kind of in and out, so it’s absolutely fab that I am, but it’s not like a big thing. I don’t want people to think they’re going to be in with a long, long ride with Lisa Hunter. It’s kind of in and out.”

Hollyoaks fans were delighted to see Gemma back on their TV screens on Tuesday, March 15 as she reappeared as Lisa Hunter in scenes with Zara Morgan. Viewers tweeted how it was a “blast from the past” and how “amazing” the 37-year-old looked.

“Lisa Hunter (Gemma Atkinson) hasn’t aged a single day. She looks amazing. #Hollyoaks” Eileen M Cumiskey posted.

Gemma Atkinson as Lisa Hunter
(Image: Lime Pictures)

“Great to see @MissGAtkinson back on #Hollyoaks even if it is only for a short stint” Matt Johnson added.

“Lisa! #Hollyoaks I suddenly feel very old” Josie Moss tweeted.

“@MissGAtkinson back on #Hollyoaks is everything!!!!” Mark added.

“Lisa! Long time no see! #hollyoaks” Carla Godfrey posted, meanwhile Chrissssy J said: “What a major blast from the past! Lisa Hunter! Hunter family was the first family I remember on #Hollyoaks from waaaaaay back in the day”

As well as being a contestant on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing in 2017 – where she met her fiance Gorka Marquez who she shares two-year-old daughter Mia with – Gemma has also starred in BBC’s Casualty and appeared on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! but many may best know her from a two-year stint on ITV soap Emmerdale – she joined in 2015 as Carly Hope, Bob Hope’s daughter.

She left Emmerdale in 2017 after starting as a breakfast presenter on Key 103 but in an interview with OK! Magazine in March 2022 she didn’t rule out a future return to the Dales.

“Emmerdale has mentioned me going back,” Gemma explained: “but with soaps the thing that people don’t realise is that the cast and crew do quite gruelling hours. What I love now about my job with the radio is I know every single day when I’m going to get home. I can plan my family life and fit being a mum around that job.

“Maybe when Mia is a bit older and in school I might consider it, but at the minute it’s not practical, especially with Gorka doing a lot of touring and stuff.”

Hollyoaks continues on weeknights from 6:30pm on Channel 4 and 7pm on E4. You can catch up on all episodes on All 4.

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