Caleb, Kerry, Bernice and David in Emmerdale

Emmerdale 2023: Long-serving actor exits, hints at future returns

Who is next to follow Rishi out of the Dales? When will Vanessa return?

After a huge 50th anniversary year in 2022, which saw plenty of deaths and exits, who’s leaving Emmerdale in 2023?

An exit has just been revealed as one of Emmerdale’s longest-serving cast members has announced he’s moving on. And a huge former Corrie star is making her way to the Dale in the new year!

And is anyone returning to Emmerdale? Here’s our round-up of who’s coming and going in 2023.

Who’s leaving Emmerdale in 2023?

Matthew will be appearing in Elf this Christmas (Credit: ITV)

David Metcalfe

David has been part of life in Emmerdale for almost two decades. But now, after 17 years with the show, actor Matthew Wolfenden has announced he’s moving on.

Matthew visited This Morning recently to talk about leaving the show and he admitted he was “so nervous” about his decision. But he added it was the right time to go.

He told viewers that David isn’t being killed off so the door will be left open for the stressed-out shopkeeper to return in the future.

“Who knows?” he teased. “I might be back.”

And he gave a few hints about how David might exit the show, mentioning that Victoria Sugden will be central to Mr Metcalfe’s departure.

Victoria and David fell for one another while he was still mixed up with serial killer Meena Jutla. They risked death (well, Victoria did!) and the disapproval of their friends to be together

But their romance fell apart when David lied to the police and told them Victoria had been driving his speeding van – when really it was him!

Now David’s feelings for Vic have resurfaced and it seems this could be what leads to him leaving the village.

He said there would be a “resolution of sorts” but added: “Victoria is the reason he leaves the village, put it that way.”

Matthew is taking to the stage when he waves goodbye to the Dale. He’ll be playing Buddy the elf in the West End production of Elf this Christmas, alongside Strictly star Tom Chambers.

Is Bernice saying goodbye to the village – again? (Credit: ITV)

Bernice Blackstock

In the summer, rumours were rife that Samantha Giles, who plays Bernice, had quit the show for the fourth time.

The Sun reported that Samantha had decided it was time to call it quits – again – and had told the show’s bosses she wanted to move on.

Like her co-star Matthew Wolfenden, Samantha will be treading the boards this Christmas – she’s appearing in Cinderella at the Alhambra theatre in Bradford this festive season.

But does that mean she’ll be saying goodbye to Emmerdale?

Who’s returning to Emmerdale in 2023?

Vanessa’s absence will only be temporary (Credit: ITV)

Vanessa Woodfield

Actress Michelle Hardwick announced she was expecting her second baby last year. Michelle and wife Kate Brooks already have son, Teddy, who is two. Michelle gave birth to baby Betty  in November 2022.

Her maternity leave has meant Vanessa has been off screens again this year. Viewers watched as Vanessa decided to take a job in Canada.

She was meant to be going with love interest Suzy, but the pair split up over the lack of trust in their relationship. At the last minute, Vanessa left alone.

It’s not known how long Michelle is expected to take for maternity leave, but it’s thought she’ll be back at the end of 2023, which means things Vanessa could already be booking her tickets for a flight home!

But what will be waiting for her in Emmerdale? A rekindled romance with Suzy? Or newly single Charity?! And what will Ness’s return mean for new vet, Tom King?

Kerry looking uneasy
Laura Norton has left as Kerry (Credit: ITV)

Kerry Wyatt

It was a busy few months for Kerry Wyatt in the build-up to her exit.

She confessed Chloe was in fact her real daughter, who she’d given up at birth. Then she discovered the truth about cheating fiancé Al Chapman. With life in the village all too much, Kerry decided to leave the village to take a job on cruise ships.

Kerry actress Laura Norton gave birth to her second child, with fiancé Mark Jordon, earlier this year, so the exit was to cover her maternity leave.

Although nothing has been confirmed, she expected to take roughly a year away from the Dales, as she did with her first child. And she has already appeared on a video call with Chloe after the young mum gave birth.

Kerry is expected to return to the village in November 2023 – but what dramas will she return with this time?

Who’s arriving in Emmerdale in 2023?

Emmerdale's Paula Lane is standing outside of the Emmerdale village
Actress Paula Lane, who played Kylie Platt in Coronation Street, has joined the cast of ITV’s Emmerdale and is due to make her debut on screen in January.

Ella Forster, played by former Coronation Street star Paula Lane

It’s been announced that former Corrie star Paula Lane – who played tragic Kylie Platt – is joining Emmerdale in the new year.

Paula will be playing compassionate and caring Ella Forster, who soon finds herself out of a job when she sticks up for Mandy Dingle at a Veterinary Ball where Mandy is with her partner Paddy. But despite that initial misfortune, luck is soon to come Ella’s way when a chance encounter with Manpreet Sharma opens up an opportunity. And it’s not long before Ella is turning heads in the village…

Sounds intriguing! We can’t wait to meet her!

Caleb smiling as he talks on Emmerdale
Caleb Miligan is Emmerdale’s newest arrival (Credit: ITV)

Caleb Miligan’s wife?

Emmerdale dropped a huge bombshell just before Easter when they revealed Caleb Milligan is the long-lost son of Faith Dingle and Frank Tate.

Caleb’s plan to steal Home Farm and ruin Kim Tate went very, very wrong when she caught him out – and kicked him out. Brother Cain also turned his back on Caleb when he discovered how Caleb had ruined Moira and her business as part of his plot.

Caleb ended up at the bottom of a cliff and it was revealed his son, Nicky, who had been working with his dad, had pushed him. Nicky and Caleb made up and are making a go of things in the village.

But what about Nicky’s mum – where is she? Do we know Caleb’s estranged wife? Is she already in town? Or have we met her before? She’s the last missing piece of the puzzle, so surely it’s only a matter of time before we get to meet her too?

Emmerdale usually airs weeknights at 7.30pm on ITV, with an hour-long episode on Thursdays.

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**This article is regularly updated to reflect ongoing cast changes in Emmerdale.

Carena Crawford
Associate Editor (Soaps)