EMMERDALE star Samantha Giles shares similarities with character Bernice Blackstock and her menopause storyline.
Samantha has played the iconic character Bernice on the hit ITV soap for more than two decades.
Her latest storyline sees her grappling with the effects of menopause.
The 51-year-old actress has opened up about her own experience of the hormones and how they are playing havoc with her mind and body.
Samantha told the Mirror: “At one point, Bernice walks into a shop and actually screams. She goes into rages that completely take over but, like many women will know, she then feels terrible.
“After screaming, she says – very deadpan – ‘Thank you, I am done now’. She has many of the common symptoms, like hot flushes, but I really want to show the serious side of what going through the menopause is like.
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“Because Bernice is famous for being a comedy character, I want to bring the funny side to even the darkest aspects of life.
"Hopefully, people will see elements of themselves in what is going on. I know I do."
Samantha revealed she has also started to find herself becoming bad-tempered on occasion even in shops.
“I get furious and anxious about things, which is obviously very common, and I had a brief rage in a chemist’s a couple of weeks ago.
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"I didn’t go as far as Bernice but sometimes, you do get into situations where you would like to scream.
“It’s a tough one for women as you can lose your confidence or worry about your self-worth but, hopefully, a lot of the things Bernice says and does will resonate with women.”
She has praised her husband Sean Pritchard for being “hugely supportive” as she navigates the peri-menopause.
The mum-of-two said her daughters Eve and Olivia have also been helpful.
Samantha expressed how important it is to have a supportive network of people around you.
She said: “Women do talk about things together – especially health. For women going through the menopause, it can be absolutely horrific.
"It can make you feel less feminine and you can fear your sexy days are over but, thankfully, there is a lot of help out there now.”
As well as drama, Samantha likes to add humour to her scenes.
She added: “I always try to stay truthful to the subject, like her menopause, but it is good to have some lighter moments too.
"On occasion, I find myself asking, ‘OMG, do I really have to say this on screen?!’ but it’s good to bring humour to Emmerdale.
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“I really enjoy playing Bernice so much. I always remain truthful to every subject, but I hope people see elements of themselves in her in the lighter moments too.”
Emmerdale airs weekdays on ITV.
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