It’s hard not to notice that there are a lot of changes over at Emmerdale – several characters have left of late, including two suddenly dropping dead in the shape of Rishi Sharma and Victor Anderson.
Cast changes are normal in the soap, but they’re coming thick and fast in the Dales, with even producer Jane Hudson hanging up her story conjuring pen after five award-winning years.
However, let’s not forget that there are also familiar faces coming back to the village; and both are bound to play a part in a huge storyline that will come to its crescendo in the so-called ITV Super Soap Week.
Actress Emma Atkins recently confirmed that Charity Dingle would be involved in the undoubtedly spectacular episodes, as her clash with love rival Chloe Harris (Jessie Elland) reaches fever pitch.
The overriding message was basically, don’t mess with Charity – like we didn’t know!
Of course, Chloe has her own reasons to be aggrieved. She is building a life with baby Reuben’s dad Mack Boyd (Lawrence Robb).
However, despite cheating on her not long ago, Mr Toxic himself has then cheated on the fellow cheater with his ex he cheated on.
Yep, Mack and Charity have slept together, this time behind the back of Chloe – which will destroy the family life that she is hoping for.
Recent filming has taken place at a potentially very deadly quarry, with a car flying over the edge and Chloe inside.
It seems like yet another exit will unfold in brutal circumstances.
So, about the returnees.
Laura Norton and Michelle Hardwick, better known as Kerry Wyatt and Vanessa Woodfield, have both been on maternity leave but are confirmed to be reprising their roles.
Both are heavily connected to this Charity/Chloe/Mack palaver. Before she went, Kerry dropped the bombshell that she is Chloe’s mum.
Given the direction of the story since, it feels like a somewhat strange decision as it hasn’t been revisited since.
But, if Chloe dies, it would give Kerry some meaty drama to get her teeth into. If she survives, it would give them a relationship to explore – and Kerry might have to both pick up the pieces, and make Mack and/or Charity pay in a very Kerry way.
And, no matter how much Emmerdale has tried to make us forget it, Vanessa and Charity will always be linked together.
If Mack and Charity can get through this and come out as love’s dream, we will both be amazed and feeling a bit hard done by.
Either way, Vanessa being back in the village will at least stir some feelings and add some complexity.
What will she make of all that has been happening in her absence? A lot to digest, anyway.
Whatever happens, it’s positive for Emmerdale to welcome back faces from the past, especially with significant characters still to go, adding to recent departures including Dan, Marshall and Naomi as recent casualties.
Matthew Wolfenden is also due to say goodbye after almost two decades in the show as David Metcalfe, while the iconic Bernice Blackstock is making another departure as Bernice Blackstock.
The changes keep coming and, as we wait for the new show boss to be confirmed, there’s every chance that there will be more to come as they make their mark.
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