Emmerdale cast: New, leaving and returning characters

WITH a cast as large as Emmerdale it can be hard to keep track of who’s leaving, returning and joining the Dales.

Here’s your guide to all the coming and goings of the ITV soap's cast members in 2021…

Actress Michelle is currently on maternity leave from the ITV soap after welcoming a baby boy into the world with her wife Kate Brooks.

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 fiancee Charity had cheated on her with newcomer Mackenzie.

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. 

It is believed Laura will return to the soap one day, but Emmerdale are yet to confirm an official date.

Samantha Giles is returning to Emmerdale next week (May 2021) as Bernice Blackstock, after almost two years away from the soap.

Bernice’s arrival will unsettle her ex Liam, who’s got engaged with Leyla Harding since Bernice called off their engagement and moved to Australia to look after her ex Charlie.

Speaking about how Bernice will arrive “back with a bang”, 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.

“I’m delighted to return to play out Bernice’s future storylines.

“She certainly arrives back with a bang – that’s all I’m allowed to say!”

Paul Ashdale met a gruesome end back in April 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 told ITV: "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!"

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