Emmerdale says goodbye to a handful of cast members each year, as character stories come to a natural end and popular stars choose to move on.
2023 has been no exception, with five departures so far and at least two more rumored for the coming months.
Here, we take a look back at the releases and how each one happened.
1.Fiona Wade (Priya Kotecha)
Fiona Wade’s decision to leave her role as Priya Kotecha in Emmerdale was first revealed in news articles in October 2022, but her final scenes were only released in January this year.
Priya’s final scenes saw her leaving the village after landing a new job in London, taking her young daughter Amba with her.
Fiona said at the time: “It was one of the hardest decisions I had to make. Leaving my Emmerdale the family is important and it was not easy to shoot my last scenes.
“When you’ve been somewhere for so long and it’s your daily life, it’s difficult and sad. But as all actors know, you have to challenge yourself and that’s very important too.”
2. Darcy Gray (Marcus Dean)
In February 2023, it was revealed that Darcy Gray would be the second outgoing actor of the year. Tabloid reports confirmed that Darcy opted out of his role as Marcus Dean after just one year, as he wanted to pursue other acting opportunities.
Marcus made a low-key departure from the village after his relationship with Ethan Anderson broke down.
Darcy did not give an interview about her departure, but thanked fans on Twitter for their support and expressed excitement for future roles.
3. Karene Peter (Naomi Walters)
In April 2023, it emerged that Karene Peter would also be leaving Emmerdale after only a year on the show. Tabloid reports suggest that Karene left the soap opera of her own accord, preferring to play a variety of characters rather than sticking to just one role.
Karene’s character, Naomi Walters, left the village to go on a trip after being sacked from her job at the Woolpack and falling out with her father Charles.
4. Max Fletcher (Marshall Hamston)
One of the most surprising departures of the year came in July when the latest set of weekly spoilers revealed that Marshall Hamston would be leaving the village.
Marshall lived with the Sharma-Thomas family after escaping a traumatic home life with his homophobic father Colin. However, after tense times with her boyfriend Arthur, Marshall decided to end their relationship and moved in with her Aunt Jean.
No official reason was given for Marshall’s departure and, as a young cast member, Max Fletcher gave no interviews. However, its exit had been flagged in advance by executive producer Jane Hudson, who had always hinted that Arthur’s first romance would not have a fairy tale ending.
Jane once told ITV loose women“It’s been such a great story and I’m so proud of Alfie [Clarke], who plays Arthur. He did it so brilliantly.
“It’s not just a story of coming out as gay. It’s a story of teenage love and angst. I think we all remember the first time we broke up and we we said, ‘Oh, I’ll never find love again!’ “
5. Bhasker Patel (Rishi Sharma)
Emmerdale pulled off a rare soap surprise in July when Rishi Sharma was unexpectedly killed on Jai and Laurel’s wedding day. There had been no prior announcement that Bhasker Patel, who played Rishi, had left the series, and his character’s tragic fate had been deliberately kept out of any spoiler releases.
When Bhasker appeared on ITV Lorraine The morning after his final scenes aired, he confirmed that it was not his choice for Rishi to leave the show.
Bhasker explained, “The producer called me and said, ‘Now we have to talk to you and we’re killing it because we want a big story and it’s going to be a big surprise.’
“Because my 12 years at ITV they let me do a lot of other work, so I also felt part of ITV, part of Rishi, but at the same time I also worked a lot in London .
“So when the producer said, ‘We’re going to kill you,’ I was like, ‘Okay, this part of my life with this guy is over and I’m going to move on.'”
6. Samantha Giles (Bernice Blackstock)
Samantha Giles is currently still on air as Bernice Blackstock in Emmerdalebut rumors are rife that his days on the show could be numbered.
In July, it was revealed that Samantha had decided to quit her role as Bernice again – although show bosses declined to confirm or deny the reports as they don’t usually comment on distribution deals.
Appearing on ITV loose women this year, Samantha said: “I never lost that urge to go and do other things. You know, like the stage, I really miss the theater, because that’s how it is. You have your audience there, you’re having a relationship with your audience.”
7. Liam Fox (Dan Spencer)
Liam Fox is another Emmerdale cast member who is rumored to be leaving the soap this year.
Although no official announcement has been made, Liam’s character, Dan Spencer, currently faces an uncertain future after his one-punch attack on Lloyd resulted in the stalker losing his life.
Liam was confirmed for a Christmas panto role later this year – fueling rumors, since Emmerdale And coronation street stars are generally not allowed to do party shows while under contract to ITV.
Discover more of our Emmerdale blanket:
– EmmerdaleLaurel Thomas and Jai Sharma to face off after Rishi’s death
– Emmerdale star Tony Audenshaw responds to Bob and Wendy’s commotion
– Emmerdale old molds Hollyoaks actor in the story of Nate and Caleb
– Emmerdale star Rosie Bentham warns of ‘really difficult’ journey for Gabby Thomas
– Emmerdale Star Emma Atkins breaks silence on Charity Dingle’s huge October storyline
– EmmerdaleLaurel Thomas will be held captive in Marshall’s story
– EmmerdaleCaleb Miligan investigates a secret in 29 new spoiler images
– 12 huge Emmerdale spoilers for next week
Emmerdale airs weeknights at 7.30pm on ITV1 and airs on ITVX.
Learn more Emmerdale spoilers on our dedicated homepage
Daniel has been writing about soap operas on Digital Spy since 2004 and took over as soap editor in 2010.
He’s interviewed hundreds of soap opera stars over the years, from Bill Roache to Lacey Turner, and regularly visits the sets of Coronation Street, EastEnders, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks for behind-the-scenes trips and press events.
He has been an awards judge on numerous occasions for the BAFTA TV Awards, the RTS Program Awards and the British Soap Awards. In 2020, he was highly commended for Best Section Editor at the BSME Awards.