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Emma Samms On Her Return To GH

Emma Samms returned to GH as Holly on April 14 for a short-term arc that picks up the narrative thread of Holly’s quest to safeguard her son, Ethan, and bring her former captor, Victor Cassadine, to justice. The actress, who is based in the Cotswolds region of England, describes the pace of her comeback as “pretty frantic! It’s been full-on and intense, but it’s been a joy.”

Samms most recently appeared as Holly in late 2022, “so it’s been less than six months since I was last there,” she notes. “But we had sort of touched on the subject [of another return]; Frank [Valentini, executive producer] and I had spoken about the practicalities of it.” For Samms, that includes not only the logistics of traveling and working abroad, but of balancing the show’s frenetic production schedule with her own continuing battle with Long Covid. “I’m very lucky that my husband, Simon [McCoy], is able to come back with me and do some work from here, that he has that flexible schedule,” she says. “That has made all the difference, really. We were thinking, ‘Oh, it would be nice to get a bit of sunshine,’ but we got here and there was a tornado and more rain than L.A. has seen for 100 years or something! So we felt right at home [laughs]. It’s been very interesting weather, but of course, most of the time, I’ve been inside the studio with no windows, anyway! So it doesn’t make any difference.”

The actress’s positive experience with last year’s return helped her manage her nerves this time around. “That definitely helped in a couple of ways,” she asserts. “One is that you do wonder if, both for health reasons and for age-related reasons, are you going to be able to cope with that amount of memorization, and that fast-paced schedule? Even though it did take me quite some time to recover from my last stint, I did keep up the pace. I hadn’t let them down. And that’s what it’s [about] — it’s not so much [a fear of] letting yourself down, it’s letting them down! But I haven’t slowed down production and that’s sort of the bar for me, just to make sure that I was a useful employee and not somebody who was causing trouble! So, with that under my belt from the last time, that made a huge difference to my confidence this time around. And also, working on the show is a matter of getting used to it. There are so many quirks to the schedule and if you’re a newcomer, or even if you haven’t been there for a while, you have to slot right in. Nobody’s got time to explain all of the minutia to you, although I said to Steve [Rosenberg], Frank’s lovely assistant, ‘Thank you for never making me feel like I’m asking a stupid question!’ They’ve been very patient and explained things if I’m not up to speed. I know that I need to ask questions if there’s a problem, but [when I came back last time] I didn’t even know how to ask! I didn’t have the phone number, I didn’t have the names. Now, I’ve got all that.”

Samms’s only hesitation in agreeing to come back was living up to the success of her last stint. “I think that it was almost too good last time,” she muses. “It was so great and so well-received in as much as it was so perfect and so well-received that maybe I should have even just stepped away then, permanently, and left on such a high.” This time around, she explains, “it is not so much about my character, it’s about the story and actually, that’s a bit of a relief, in a way. Even though my character is important to the story, it’s not my character’s story.”

Behind the scenes, Samms was delighted to reunite with her Port Charles cohorts once again. “It has been and continues to be a joy for me to work on this show,” she declares. “I feel so comfortable there. Everyone’s so welcoming to me. I love working with Charlie [Shaughnessy, Victor], obviously; Tristan [Rogers, Robert] has been in good form; Kristina [Wagner, Felicia] is just a delight to work with and it just feels very easy. And I’ve gotten to work this time around with some different cast members, some other characters, and that’s been really lovely.”

Holly’s return kicks off in Venezuela, where she has gone to rescue son Ethan from a sticky situation and gets much-needed assistance from Felicia. “As it turns out, they’re a very good team,” Samms smiles. “You’ll see that the scenes are both funny and very dramatic and I think that’s one thing that GENERAL HOSPITAL strives for, which is to have both humor and high-stakes drama. It’s a great, great story and again, very fast-paced.”

Samms hopes that her fans embrace the next chapter in Holly’s saga. “I’m really relieved that they enjoyed what I did before; it meant the world to me,” she says. “That’s who we’re doing this for; everything we do is for them, and their enthusiasm and support is what motivates me. I feel I have to get it right, to entertain them; that’s what absolutely motivates me. There’s absolutely no other reason to do it! They have consistently been kind to me, consistently enthusiastic and encouraging and very vocal, and I’m very grateful.”