WITH a new year ahead, life in the Dales is set to be filled with explosive twists and turns and plenty of drama.
But ITV viewers will see some iconic faces come and go from Emmerdale. Get the lowdown on what’s ahead.
ITV What’s ahead for Emmerdale residents?[/caption]
ITV Dales wedding planner Priya Sharma will no longer be a part of life in Emmerdale[/caption]
ITV She’s set to take on a new job opportunity[/caption]
Priya Sharma (Fiona Wade) – leaving
More than a decade has passed since Fiona Wade first stepped into Emmerdale and the soap star has decided it’s time for her to move on.
After less than twelve years in the show, the actress is due to leave the role of Priya Sharma behind.
For the past year, the wedding planner was focusing on her long-term recovery from burns sustained in the maze fire in October, 2021.
It will become clear she still has lingering trauma from the horrific ordeal.
Priya Sharma’s exit storyline will air next week as teased by spoilers.
The beloved character is set to move to London for a new job opportunity.
But matters become harrowing when a spiralling David Metcalfe refuses to lose his daughter Amba and resorts to kidnapping her when he spirals out of control.
Leyla Cavanagh will also be involved in Priya’s exit scenes when she tries to talk some sense into David.
Will it work?
Could viewers see Fiona Wade in yet another soap role?
Home Farm welcomed a new employee
Nicky (Lewis Cope)
Vera star Lewis Cope was first introduced to Emmerdale fans in December, 2022.
His character, Nicky, was hired as the new Home Farm nanny and has been employed to take care of Dawn Fletcher and Gabby Thomas’ children.
He was instant hit with Lucas and Clemmie and has taken his job seriously ever since.
But the hunk also caught Gabby’s eye and she recently made her attraction for him clear.
Off-screen, however, soap fans believe they can see right through Nicky and are convinced he’s too good to be true.
According to a handful of them, he could even be trying to help Jamie Tate get custody of his son Thomas.
Jamie himself faked his death in September, 2021, and has been lurking in the shadows of the eponymous village ever since.
Are viewers right to suspect a sinister twist involving Nicky?
ITV Former Waterloo Road star Will Ash joined the line-up[/caption]
Caleb Milligan (Will Ash) – joined
The Emmerdale line-up welcomed a new face as former Waterloo Road star Will Ash took on the role of Caleb Milligan, Cain and Chas’ secret brother.
A successful businessman, Caleb rocked up the village in search for answers about his blood relatives and even paid Cain a visit in prison on Christmas Day.
While Cain knew of his existence, it became clear that Chas had no clue she had another sibling.
Caleb is in stark contrast with his quick-tempered brother Cain as he’s seemingly “calm and in control” but also “rich and successful”, as teased by soap boss Laura Shaw.
In recent episodes, Caleb became determined to help his brother get his freedom back once Kyle Winchester confessed his involvement in Al Chapman’s murder.
However, Cain isn’t ready to trust him, much like viewers who suspect he has an ulterior motive.
Both brothers have shown very little to no mercy to one another.
Could Cain be involved in yet ANOTHER feud?
ITV Laura Norton welcomed her second child[/caption]
Kerry Wyatt (Laura Norton) – left
Laura Norton is on maternity leave after she announced her pregnancy.
Her and her partner (former co-star Mark Jordon) welcomed a daughter named Ronnie in October.
On-screen, however, Kerry was met with major heartbreak when she found out her late boyfriend Al Chapman had been unfaithful to her.
Her long-lost daughter Chloe Harris made the discovery but had no clue who could be the businessman’s mystery lover.
As viewers know, Al was planning to leave Emmerdale with Chas Dingle and her daughter Eve.
In the aftermath of Al’s secrets being revealed, Kerry found herself demoralised and, unable to cope, she decided to leave the Dales.
She took a job on a cruise ship, leaving Chloe and her eldest daughter Amy behind.
Can soap fans expect to see more of her?
ITV Michelle Hardwick is on maternity leave[/caption]
Vanessa Woodfield (Michelle Hardwick) – left
Much like Laura Norton, actress Michelle Hardwick left the ITV village to go on maternity leave at the end of November.
The soap star gave birth to her second child with Emmerdale producer Kate Brooks at the same time her final scenes were aired.
The village vet left the village for a year-long job in Canada after falling out with her pal Rhona Goskirk.
Her relationship with Suzy Merton was also impacted due to a lack of trust as she feared the newcomer would become addicted to drugs again.
But Vanessa eventually made up with Rhona and even shared a final kiss with Suzy before departing with her son Johnny.
Will she return?
ITV Tracy came back ahead of Emmerdale’s 50th anniversary[/caption]
Tracy Metcalfe (Amy Walsh) – returned
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 after a “tough” birth 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!”
In recent weeks, Nate found out through Tracy that she has a new fella in her life – while Toby-Alexander Smith has been rumoured to join the Emmerdale cast as his other half’s on-screen boyfriend.
Tracy made an explosive return ahead of Emmerdale’s anniversary, shocking viewers and former fiancé Nate Robinson when she announced she was engaged to another man – but this didn’t stop her from shacking up with Nate.
Ready to rekindle their relationship, she was shocked to see Nate alongside his new girlfriend Naomi Anderson.
Hurt, Tracy made the decision to pack up and return to Nottingham.
Could she return?
ITV PC Harriet Finch’s exit was aired amid a dramatic week[/caption]
Harriet Finch (Katherine Dow Blyton) – left
Nine years were enough for actress Katherine Dow Blyton to move on from Emmerdale.
In tear-jerking scenes aired in October, 2021, just in time for the show’s fiftieth anniversary, her character Harriet Finch made her last ever appearance.
The former vicar and policewoman was the first death of the soap’s storm week after being involved in a dramatic quad bike accident alongside love rival Kim Tate.
At the time, Harriet had set off to find a heavily pregnant Amelia Spencer while Kim rode on horseback to help find the teen mother.
This was despite the women’s feud over Will Taylor, who Kim tied the knot with.
But what will Katherine be up to next?
“I think I need time to decompress and to re-evaluate what I want the next part of my life to be”, she told Leeds Live.
“I have so many big decisions but I’m going to feel my way for the rest of this year and reconnect with my friends in London. Just live my life for a bit and not set my alarm for 5.30am.”
ITV Naomi is Charles Anderson’s long-lost daughter[/caption]
Naomi Walters (Karene Peter) – joined
Speaking of Naomi, actress Karene Peter made her Emmerdale debut in July, 2022, a year after she was first mentioned to her on-screen long-lost father Charles.
The village vicar went on a mission to try and find her when he was told she could be in trouble.
He eventually found her working at a bar but their first encounter led to her losing her job.
A penniless Naomi ventured into Emmerdale to get money from Charles while Manpreet Sharma was convinced she was on the same path as her murderous sister Meena Jutla.
Naomi was accused of attacking Charles, which was later found to be untrue.
Unfortunately for her, Naomi was caught up with the past when Nicola King recognised her as one of the girls who assaulted and mugged her earlier in the year.
Naomi stood trial alongside her former friends but was found not guilty.
As mentioned above, she’s been involved romantically with Nate Robinson and is finding her mark in the village.
How will she get on in upcoming weeks?
ITV Faith has decided to depart on her own terms[/caption]
Faith Dingle (Sally Dexter) – left
The village veteran revealed she had been diagnosed with cancer over the summer, with Moira Barton (portrayed by Natalie J. Robb) being the only one she trusted with her secret.
Faith came clean about her condition to the rest of her family during a birthday party at The Woolpack, leaving her children, Cain and Chas, devastated.
To make matters worse, Faith later decided to give up on chemotherapy as she was told she was terminally ill, thus confirming that actress Sally Dexter will be leaving the show.
Since then, she has been trying to make memories with her loved ones, sometimes wreaking havoc along the way.
But in recent scenes of the Yorkshire-based drama, the character made the harrowing decision to die on her own terms by committing suicide.
Sally Dexter bowed out of the soap in heart-breaking scenes aired in October, ahead of the show’s 50th anniversary.
She was later given a joint funeral with Liv Flaherty.
The 62-year-old actress made her debut in February, 2017, before leaving the show a first time two years later.
She reprised her role in 2021.
More on Emmerdale
ITV Isobel Steele was one of the latest soap stars to leave the eponymous village[/caption]
Liv Flaherty (Isobel Steele) – left
Reports claimed Isobel Steele, who has been playing Liv Flaherty since the character’s first appearance in February, 2016, was ready to start afresh away from the village.
Fans were shocked to learn from a source speaking to The Sun that the Hide Bistro barista could even be killed off during Emmerdale’s anniversary week.
“It’s been a big decision for Isobel but she’s ready to try new things”, the source claimed, before adding: “She feels like she’s done all she can at Emmerdale and wants to focus on her music career and make a real go of it.”
“Bosses have pulled out all the stops for the 50th anniversary month and Isobel’s exit will be no different.”
Liv was indeed killed off during an explosive storm week in October, 2022.
The beloved character succumbed to her injuries from being crushed by a caravan, thrown at her and her husband Vinny during the storm.
Aaron left the Dales in December, 2021, after his sister Liv was blamed for Ben Tucker’s death
Aaron Dingle (Danny Miller) – returned
Before her death, Liv was finally reunited with her brother, Aaron, a year after they had parted ways.
Actor Danny Miller left the program in December, 2021, just as his on-screen sister was accused of murdering his boyfriend Ben Tucker.
Liv was left alone, abandoned by her own behind bars with the exception of Vinny, to deal with the weight of a false accusation and her drinking problem resurfaced as she failed to cope.
At the time of his exit, the soap star’s return seemed unlikely to fans as he took part in the newest series of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!
The 31-year-old then explained he was looking for new work opportunities and wanted to spend more time with his now-wife Steph Jones, as well as their son Albert.
The pair welcomed the little boy in October, 2021.
But in a surprising turn of events, it was confirmed Danny Miller would be reprising his role as Aaron Dingle ahead of Emmerdale’s anniversary.
The actor had also teased a new romance for his on-screen alter ego and he could be coming back on a permanent basis.
Aaron returned to the village as Liv was being attacked by Sandra’s accomplice Terry.
Unlike his sister, he managed to survive storm week – but his relationship with his mother Chas Dingle was damaged, seemingly beyond repair.
During his stay in the Dales, Aaron found out Chas had been cheating on her husband Paddy with Al Chapman.
While she assured him they had called off the affair, Aaron found out Chas was lying.
The situation escalated and Chas stooped to all kinds of lows to stop Aaron from telling Paddy the truth.
He eventually left Emmerdale again, disowning his own mother as he admitted to being disgusted by her behaviour.
Will this really be his last stint in the village?
ITV Elizabeth Estensen portrayed the former landlady for 22 years[/caption]
Diane Sugden (Elizabeth Estensen) – returned
The former Woolpack landlady will be coming back to the village after it was confirmed by bosses that Elizabeth Estensen will reprise her role ahead of Emmerdale’s big anniversary celebrations.
Diane left the Dales in October, 2021, after selling her shares in The Grange.
Elizabeth had played the character for more than two decades and, at the time of her exit, no mention of a return had yet been made.
Diane made a quick comeback ahead of her friend Faith Dingle’s death to celebrate the show’s semi-centennial.
Her return seemed short-lived and temporary as viewers spotted her packing her suitcase in later scenes.
But have we really seen the last of Diane Sugden?
Al Chapman has been wreaking havoc in the village for three years
Al Chapman (Michael Wildman) – left
After battling with Chas Dingle and her family over the Woolpack, which he wanted to convert into luxury apartments, Al Chapman has taken a liking to the pub manager.
The pair have been having a secret love affair which began shortly after Chas found out her mother Faith had cancer.
Since then, the illicit lovers have been caught by Belle Dingle and made out that they would stop seeing each other.
However, Chas and Al have been struggling to step away from one another and carried on their romance behind closed doors and their respective partners’ backs.
But in August, 2022, it was hinted that Harry Potter actor Michael Wildman would leave his role as the scheming businessman behind.
The soap star reportedly signed up for Panto, three years after wreaking havoc in Emmerdale.
Michael will appear in Sunderland Empire’s production of Aladdin, ready to play the part of another villain, Abanazar, starting from December 9, 2022.
Fans speculated his on-screen alter ego would be one of the many victims of storm week – but he survived the catastrophic weather.
Al was eventually killed off during a jaw-dropping showdown with Chas’ brother Cain who found out about their affair.
The pair had been feuding for three long years before taking their row to a deadly level.
But not everything was as it seemed as Al was actually shot dead by Cain’s young son Kyle.
Or could his young daughter take care of that without him?
Emmerdale airs weeknights on ITV.