Another popular Shortland Street character is returning to the local soap.

Angela Bloomfield played Rachel McKenna on the soap for seven of its eight years.

She quit a year ago to pursue directing and take time off from a screen character which at times engulfed her personally.


She joins Michael Galvin, who has come home from London to resurrect Dr Chris Warner, as a new "old face" on the show.

Bloomfield has directed episodes of Shortland Street and sister production Jacksons Wharf since February, but has missed the acting.

"A couple of times [executive producer] Tony [Holden] said 'If you want to come back, you know ... ' so that kind of sat there and I really missed it."

Bloomfield said that during her last two years on the show she felt weighed down wondering how and when to leave.

Now, a year on, she is looking forward to bringing back a more grown-up Rachel McKenna, although she promises the character will be no less dry-witted and quick-tongued.

"I don't think that will change. Her expectations of the world ... will still be there."