Emmerdale's Heath, Ella and Zak, the Emmerdale background

Who’s leaving Emmerdale in 2024? Complete list of cast exits, arrivals and returns

Heath died during the New Year's Day episode

| Updated:

Who’s leaving Emmerdale in 2024? We know there will be on sad exit ahead after actor Steve Halliwell died last month.

And following some other huge departures last year, there’s some new faces arriving this year. Here’s our round-up of who’s coming and going in 2023.

Who’s leaving Emmerdale in 2024?

Emmerdale's Heath is smiling
Heath has already left the soap (Credit: ITV)

Heath Hope

Bob Hope’s son, Heath, was confirmed dead just minutes into the New Year’s Day episode of the soap as his twin sister Cathy crashed Wendy’s car.

Heath, Cathy and Angelica has stolen the car to go joyriding, hoping to attend a party in Hotten. However, Bob and Wendy soon caught up with them to find their worst fears come true.

Despite all attempts to save an injured Heath from the wreckage, it was clear that he had died on impact and couldn’t be brought back to life.

These tragic scenes marked the departure of Sebastian Dowling from the soap, after having played the role of Heath for 17 years alongside his real-life twin sister and Cathy Hope actress, Gabrielle Dowling.

Heath’s death is bound to turn his family’s world upside down. But, can they all support each other through their unimaginable grief?

No formal storyline has been announced (Credit: ITV)

Zak Dingle

Although a departure hasn’t formally been announced, after the death of actor Steve Halliwell in December 2023, it seems likely Zak Dingle will be leaving the soap in 2024.

He’s currently in Scotland on-screen living with granddaughter Debbie Dingle. Zak was referenced last week when his daughter Belle proposed to her boyfriend Tom King. She revealed she had been on the phone to him and Zak had given his blessing for the marriage proposal.

Emmerdale has not revealed how or when Zak will go on-screen, although they did pay tribute to him earlier this month as the credits rolled. The soap may leave it another year or two before Zak will bow out, out of respect. But it stands to reason a character as long-standing and much-loved as Zak will get the send-off he deserves. And we’ll need all the tissues to watch it.

It was goodbye Chloe this Christmas (Credit: ITV)

Who else is leaving Emmerdale in 2024?

Emmerdale has not announced any other cast departures currently. Other than Heath, the last people to leave were gangster Harry Harris and his daughter Chloe, plus her son Reuben.

Harry was killed by Charity Dingle on Christmas Day after he kidnapped and held her husband Mackenzie Boyd hostage. Chloe witnessed the whole thing and although it was in self-defence, Chloe agreed not to go to the police if she and her son could leave the village quietly. Mack and Charity agreed as he bid an emotional goodbye to his boy.

Who’s returning to Emmerdale in 2024?

Emmerdale Vanessa looks distressed
Will Vanessa reunite with Suzy? (Credit: ITV)

Vanessa Woodfield

Actress Michelle Hardwick announced she was expecting her second baby in 2022. 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 some point in 2024, which means things Vanessa could already be booking her tickets for a flight home!

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, last 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. But with Chloe now departed, is there anything for Kerry to come back for?

Who’s arriving in Emmerdale in 2024?

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 Emmerdale (Credit: ITV)

Ella Forster

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…

Paula is of course best-known to soap fans as tragic Kylie Platt in Coronation Street.

Beth Cordingly has joined the cast of Emmerdale playing Caleb’s wife, Ruby Fox-Milligan
Beth Cordingly will be playing Caleb’s ex-wife Ruby (Credit: ITV)

Ruby Fox-Milligan

Emmerdale has announced that former star of The Bill and Family Affairs Beth Cordingly is joining the show as Caleb Milligan‘s wife, Ruby.

Nicky’s mum and Caleb’s ex, Ruby will appear from January. She’s described a being “fiery, confident, unpredictable and a fiercely devoted mum”.

Emmerdale insiders say that Ruby is a “ticking time bomb” who’d destroy Caleb and his new-found family rather than see him happy.

Producer Kate Brooks added: “Ruby is an absolute force of nature who sweeps through the village with scores to settle. Fiercely loyal to her family, Ruby will do anything and everything to protect her loved ones. Her relationship with Caleb is infused with intense passion that manifests itself as the ultimate volatile relationship.

“Ruby is a character who pulls no punches and always makes an impression.We’re delighted to welcome Beth to the show and we’re sure she’ll make a wonderful addition to the village.”

Read more: Complete Emmerdale cast list – meet them all here!

YouTube video player

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

Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and let us know what you think!

For all the latest soap spoilers, news and chat come and join us at Soap Daily now!

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

Carena Crawford
Associate Editor (Soaps)