Emmerdale cast: New, leaving and returning characters

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WITH tensions simmering and fresh drama ahead for 2022, characters are bound to leave or even return to the Dales.

Here’s your guide to all of Emmerdale‘s comings and goings for the rest of the year.

Meena is making her return to the Dales, hellbent on revenge

Meena Jutla (Paige Sandhu) – returning

Serial killer Meena was last seen climbing into a lorry after she hitched a lift from a driver after her narrow escape from justice. 

Prior to her escape, she had been holding her sister Manpreet Sharma and Vinny Dingle hostage and was planning to gas them alive.

The evil nurse is imminently returning to Emmerdale, hellbent on murderous revenge.

And she could be targeting her former fling Billy Fletcher along with his fiancée, Dawn Taylor.

But her comeuppance could be around the corner as authorities are desperately trying to get their hands on her.

Emmerdale fans will get to know Marcus, Pierce Harris’ son

Marcus Dean (Darcy Grey) – joining

Actor Darcy Grey has been cast as the son of evil Pierce Harris, Rhona’s rapist and killer husband.

Marcus’ arrival in the Dales has been teased by spoilers and he is due in the village in February, 2022, thus opening a new storyline for Rhona.

Pierce pleads with Rhona through prison via letter and confesses that he’s dying, subsequently admitting that one of his last wishes is to find his son Marcus.

He asks for Rhona’s help and, despite being encouraged by Vanessa to drop it, she accepts.

But how will the newcomer be welcomed by fellow residents?

Will the shadow of his father’s actions weigh heavily on him?

Tracy left for a fresh start

Tracy Metcalfe (Amy Walsh) – left

After finding out that her fiancé Nate had been unfaithful to her, Tracy struggles to forgive his lies and kicks him out of their home.

But when she is offered a new job in Nottingham, Tracy weighs out the pros and the cons before deciding to leave the Dales. 

Tracy’s exit storyline aired on screens in January, 2022, as both Nate and her sister Vanessa tried to convinced her to stay.

The former then had a change of heart and encouraged Tracy to shoot her shot and go pursue her dream job.

Tracy left the village with her daughter Frankie.

Off-screen, however, actress Amy Walsh left on maternity leave.

She welcomed her first child with partner and EastEnders star Toby-Alexander Smith in January, 2022.

During her Emmerdale exit chat, Amy teased a potential return for her character.

“If she fails, then she can always come back, which she will probably do in about a year’s time!”

Could Vanessa eventually reunite with Tracy in a few months?

Speaking of which…

Vanessa made a thunderous comeback to the village in December, 2021

Vanessa Woodfield (Michelle Hardwick) – returned

Actress Michelle left Emmerdale while on maternity leave after welcoming a baby boy into the world with her wife Kate Brooks in October, 2020.

Her character Vanessa left the village to stay with her mum after being diagnosed with bowel cancer. 

Vanessa was given the all clear at the end of 2020, but decided not to return home after discovering her fiancée Charity had cheated on her with newcomer Mackenzie Boyd. 

Vanessa came back to the village ahead of New Year’s Eve, in December, 2021, causing tension within Charity’s relationship with Mackenzie.

While she appeared alongside new girlfriend Fiona – who soon set off after it was revealed Nate Robinson cheated on Tracy Metcalfe with the latter – Emmerdale fans speculate that Vanessa could rekindle her relationship with Charity.

Laura Norton reprised her role on Emmerdale in 2021<span style="font-size: 16px"> </span>

Kerry Wyatt (Laura Norton) – returned

Laura Norton departed from Emmerdale last year after announcing that she and partner Mark Jordon were expecting a child together.

The couple welcomed baby boy Jess in January 2021. 

Laura reprised the role of Kerry in November, 2021, as Chloe Harris’ maid.

Charity bumped into Kerry, much to her surprise, upon finding out how wealthy Chloe’s family is. 

But Kerry soon came to the rescue as Charity and Mackenzie were trying to steal from the Harris clan and made troubling revelations about Chloe’s background.

It is thought that the young girl’s father has a dark criminal past.

Charity has since been adamant on protecting her son Noah as he is involved with Chloe and, with the help of Kerry, is trying to keep the youngsters away from each other.

Bernice has caused a lot of drama since returning to the eponymous village

Bernice Blackstock (Samantha Giles) – returned

Samantha Giles returned to Emmerdale as Bernice Blackstock in May, 2021, after almost two years away from the soap.

Bernice’s arrival unsettled her ex Liam, who was then engaged with Leyla Harding since Bernice called off their own engagement and moved to Australia to look after her ex Charlie.

Speaking about her fourth stint, actress Samantha said: “As an actress, leaving a role that you love is always a hard decision.

“I’d been lucky to work so consistently for so long which is rare in our business.

“I’m a big believer in fate so when Emmerdale offered me a chance to return I took it as a sign that it was meant to be.

Bernice came back with a bang and told Liam that his chances with her were over as the latter tied the knot with Leyla.

She was later shaken to find Leanna’s lifeless body in July, 2021.

Bernice has since caused drama within Kim Tate’s relationship with Will Taylor, after mistaking the latter’s kidness for flirtatious behaviour, and was even temporarily thrown out of Home Farm by her daughter Gabbi.

Leanna Cavanagh was killed off in July, 2021

Leanna Cavanagh (Mimi Slinger) – left

Actress Mimi announced her decision to leave Emmerdale in 2020 to pursue new acting and modelling ventures.

Production decided her character was going to be killed off.

The troublesome Leanna Cavanagh was pushed off a bridge by serial killer and nurse Meena Jutla on her 18th birthday in July, 2021.

Her death is now part of a murder investigation on Emmerdale.

Andrea Tate was murdered

Andrea Tate (Anna Nightingale) – left

Anna left on maternity leave as she was expecting her second child with her fiancé Daren Dixon.

Her character Andrea will however not be returning to the Dales.

Andrea was another one of Meena’s victims during the terrible events of Super Soap Week.

She had previously seen the murderer try to drown Victoria Sugden and ultimately became her next target.

Andrea suffered a fatal blow to the head and was left in the maze fire, caused by the shooting of a flare gun during her struggle with Meena.

Off-screen, Anna gave birth to a second baby girl on December 1, 2021, and shared the happy news on social media.

Ben Tucker was another of Meena Jutla’s victims

Ben Tucker (Simon Lennon) – left

Simon Lennon made his last appearance in Emmerdale through video footage of his character Ben in December, 2021.

Much like Leanna and Andrea before him, Ben was one of Meena’s victims and was hit over the head with a wooden oar by the evil nurse in November, 2021.

Liv Flaherty (Isobel Steele) has since been blamed for his death although she could well be released from prison.

Aaron Dingle left the village in December, 2021

Aaron Dingle (Danny Miller) – left

Liv’s brother Aaron was left inconsolable following the death of his boyfriend Ben.

But in heart-breaking scenes aired in December, 2021, Aaron decided to leave the village altogether, unable to cope with the knowledge that his half-sister could be responsible for Ben’s murder.

He has been on the fence about her involvement, not fully convinced she’s innocent unlike Vinny Dingle.

Off-screen, actor Danny Miller took part in (and won) the latest season of I’m A Celebrity.

But as he hasn’t been killed off by Emmerdale bosses, a potential return could be in the works for the character, especially as Liv could be released from prison after being cleared of all charges linked to Ben’s death.

Luke left shortly after his involvement in his brother Lee’s death was revealed

Luke Posner (Max Parker) – left

Luke headed out of the village after two years in the Dales in June, 2021.

His exit came after his involvement in his brother Lee’s death was revealed to Victoria Barton.

This meant that Robert Sugden (who hit the latter over the head with a shovel) was not solely responsible for the incident.

Max made the decision to leave the ITV show himself with a source telling HOAR that he “was never going to stay on the soap for years.”

“He’s ambitious and a talented guy”, the informant added, “he’s already auditioning for new roles and excited for the future.”

Does this really mean that Luke won’t ever return to Emmerdale?

Back in September, mere months after leaving the programme, Max was said to have landed a huge Hollywood role in the upcoming show Vampire Academy.

He has since announced his engagement to his former Emmerdale co-star Kris Mochrie.

Emmerdale fans will know this: Kris took on the role of Victoria’s rapist and Luke’s brother, Lee Posner.

Jamie left with his daughter Millie after being presumed dead

Jamie Tate (Alexander Lincoln) – left

Alexander Lincoln’s character made a shocking and quick return to Emmerdale in November, 2021, following the death of his ex-wife Andrea.

Jamie’s fate had been left uncertain after he drove his car into a lake.

Presumed dead by his family, Jamie returned to the village to reunite with his daughter Millie (Willow Bell).

The young girl came to her grandmother Hazel’s house to find her father, who then swept her away from the Dales and his scheming mother Kim.

The latter is still convinced that her son is dead but Emmerdale boss Laura Shaw suggested that she could find out the truth in 2022.

Could this imply an imminent return for Jamie?

Debbie hasn’t been seen in the Dales since February, 2021

Debbie Dingle (Charley Webb) – left

After 19 years on Emmerdale, actress Charley Webb announced that she had quit her role on the show.

Her character Debbie Dingle moved to Scotland in 2019 alongside her seven-year-old son Jack.

She made a brief return to the village just in time for Chas and Paddy’s wedding in December, 2020.

Debbie was then revealed to be Al Chapman’s mystery woman, as the business had been two-timing Priya Sharma with her.

Charley was last seen in the ITV programme in February, 2021, but only broke silence about her departure in January, 2022, during a Q&A on Instagram.

There had been rumours about her “closing the door” on the soap for good after her husband Matthew Wolfenden was allegedly embroiled in a racism row.

Diane Sugden left for a new life in Portugal

Diane Sugden (Elizabeth Estensen) – left

Appearing in Emmerdale since 1999, soap legend Diane left the eponymous village in October, 2021.

On-screen, the character decided to move away to Portugal.

Emmerdale fans were left in tears as the former Woolpack landlady was last seen getting in a black cab to leave the Dales for good.

Actress Elizabeth Estensen announced her decision to leave Emmerdale in September, 2021, after spending two decades taking on the role of matriarch.

“For the past 22 years I have loved playing Diane Sugden”, she said on her decision to throw in the towel.

“She’s kind, reliable and fiercely loyal.”

“However, I now feel the time has come to say goodbye.”

Elizabeth has seemingly retired from her acting career as she hasn’t taken a new role since her Emmerdale exit.

Paul Ashdale was killed in an explosion ahead of his wedding to Mandy Dingle

Paul Ashdale (Reece Dinsdale) – left

Paul Ashdale met a gruesome end back in March, 2021, ahead of his marriage to Mandy Dingle, marking the end of the road for actor Reece Dinsdale.

Paul was left fighting for his life after Jimmy King crashed into the wedding barn and caused an explosion, before later passing away in hospital.

The actor revealed at the time that he would be going back to directing now that his character had been killed off. 

He said: “I was actually directing on Emmerdale when I was asked, right out of the blue, if I would like to play Paul.

“I’m delighted to announce, therefore, that I shall begin directing once again on the show in a couple of weeks time. I’m the cat that got the cream!”