Warning: This article includes discussion of suicide, which some readers may find upsetting.
Gillian's final scenes as Emma Barton just aired on the ITV soap, showing the troubled character falling to her death from a viaduct after deciding to take her own life.
Emma has spent a whole year lying and deceiving everyone around her after causing the death of her husband James when she pushed him off a motorway bridge.
In a tragic storyline twist, Emma's guilt finally became too much to bear when she discovered that she'd also killed her son Finn by accidentally shooting him out in the woods.
Speaking about possible future roles, Gillian laughed: "I'll probably be playing killers now for the rest of my life! Although it's not the first time that I've played a killer – it must be something to do with my face!
"It'd be nice to play someone nicer. I'm looking forward to a character who's quite secure and not so fragile – maybe someone who's a bit more brave."
Recalling her fondest memories of playing Emma, Gillian continued: "She's been fabulous to play. I've thoroughly enjoyed playing her from day one. I feel very lucky that I've managed to bow out in such style. We had a brilliant time last year with the motorway crash storyline and we've had another Barton family fiasco this year!
"The crew have been amazing. Everyone works really hard at Emmerdale and it's been fantastic to be part of a team that creates such exciting drama.
"It was brilliant doing all the stunts. Last year we had the motorway bridge scenes with stuntmen falling and pretending to be James. For this week's episodes, I had to be lifted from the ground on a wire and I was 10 or 15 feet high. The crew were underneath me with a green screen and I felt so supported.
"Another thing I loved about playing Emma was that she was part of the Barton family and she was always trying to make up for lost time with them. I always felt quite sorry for her in that respect.
"I knew that she was a piece of work, but she loved her family and her husband. A character that has a big capacity for love is not all bad in my book.
"You do have to love your character, although one thing I loved less about her was that she couldn't let go of the past and she couldn't see what was in front of her own face sometimes! She was always her own worst enemy. She'd rush in and make things ten times worse for herself."
Gillian added that she's hoping to stay friends with many of her co-stars now that she's left the show.
She said: "I'll definitely stay in touch with the boys – Anthony Quinlan, Joe Gill and Mike Parr. I'll also stay in touch with Charley Webb, Natalie J Robb and Emma Atkins. They're all friends that I've made hopefully for life. We've had a blast together.
"I had a beautiful gift from the boys when I left. I got a bracelet which said 'the heart of Yorkshire'. There were four hearts for each member of the family, because they said that I was their heart.
"Emmerdale were also very generous with me. They said I could take what I wanted clothes-wise as a souvenir, so I took some of Emma's clothes. I also took her crucifix as a souvenir of Emma finding God!"
Emmerdale airs weeknights at 7pm on ITV, with an extra episode at 8pm on Thursdays.
Suicide is preventable. Readers who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org), or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255.
Digital Spy Soap Scoop video – hit play below for all the latest Emmerdale gossip, as Charity and Vanessa share a passionate kiss and Lydia is suspected of having an affair.
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