Soap Movers: Who's leaving, returning and joining in EastEnders, Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks?

With the soap world as busy as ever for comings and goings, here’s our Soap Movers page as we keep track of all the new arrivals, shock exits and returning characters that we can look forward to over the coming weeks and months.

Our table covers EastEnders, Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Hollyoaks, Neighbours and Home and Away – so bookmark us and keep checking back for the latest updates as they come in.

Latest update: July 19

Jump to your favourite soap…

  • EastEnders
  • Coronation Street
  • Emmerdale
  • Hollyoaks
  • Neighbours
  • Home and Away

EASTENDERS

Donna Yates (Lisa Hammond)

Status: Leaving

When: July 2018

More info: Lisa Hammond is another star who’s announced a shock departure from EastEnders, and fans have already seen the first hints of her exit storyline.

Show bosses have confirmed that it was Lisa’s own choice to leave the show after four years as Donna.

Alfie Moon (Shane Richie)

Status: Returning

When: 2018

More info: EastEnders fans recently saw Alfie return for a couple of episodes, when he was revealed as the father of Hayley Slater’s baby.

Speaking at the time, Shane Richie – who plays him – commented: “[This] actually raises more questions so this is certainly not the last you will see of Alfie but I can’t say any more than that!”

Carmel Kazemi (Bonnie Langford)

Status: Leaving

When: 2018

More info: Bonnie Langford has announced that she’ll be leaving EastEnders towards the end of the year, following her involvement in the show’s topical knife crime storyline.

Speaking about her departure, Bonnie said: “I’ve had a wonderful three and a half years at EastEnders and it’s been a privilege to be part of such an iconic show.

“My current storyline has been such an incredible experience and I’m honoured to be part of something so powerful and poignant.

“However as I’ve known since the beginning of this storyline, it would always lead to Carmel having to take a break from Walford. I’m not leaving just yet though and there is still plenty more to come from Carmel.”

Ruby Allen (Louisa Lytton)

Status: Returning

When: 2018

More info: In one of Soapland’s most surprising comebacks, it’s been announced that Louisa Lytton will be reprising her role as Ruby Allen after 12 years away from the Walford drama.

Louisa revealed: “EastEnders was my first acting job out of drama school and opened so many doors for me.

“It’s wonderful to be given the opportunity to come back and explore my character and I’m excited to see what’s in store for Ruby.

“We last saw her 12 years ago as a young girl and now she is returning as a woman with scope for major change and some brilliantly challenging storylines.”

Ray Kelly (Sean Mahon)

Status: Arriving

When: 2018

More info: Former Red Rock actor Sean Mahon has been cast in EastEnders as Mel Owen’s ex Ray Kelly. Described as a man who thrives on danger and isn’t to be trusted, Ray will be arriving later in the summer for an explosive storyline.

Sean explained: “I remember watching the very first episode of EastEnders back in 1985, little did I think I would be roaming the streets of Walford and hanging out at The Queen Vic all these years later.

“I’m so happy to join such an incredibly hard-working and talented team and I’m very much looking forward to playing out the drama that inevitably ensues on any given day in Albert Square.

“My character Ray Kelly is not one to tread lightly, and his arrival to the Square will cause shockwaves for many of the residents… it doesn’t get much better than that.”

CORONATION STREET

Eva Price (Catherine Tyldesley)

Status: Leaving

When: August 2018

More info: In a shock exit, Catherine Tyldesley has quit Corrie to pursue other roles and her final scenes will air in August.

A show spokesperson confirmed: “We can confirm that Cath Tyldesley will leave Coronation Street at the end of her current contract after seven years in the show.

“Cath’s portrayal of Eva Price has made her a firm favourite amongst fans and she will be missed. The producers and writers are currently working on her exit storyline which will be on screen in early summer.”

Claudia Colby (Rula Lenska)

Status: Returning

When: 2018

More info: Audrey Roberts’s frenemy Claudia will be heading back to Weatherfield for a new storyline with the Corrie favourite.

Claudia arrives back next week, infuriating Audrey with boasts about how well her salon is doing – and then trying to poach Maria.

Henry Newton (George Banks)

Status: Leaving

When: Summer 2018

More info: Gemma’s love interest Henry is currently back on screen for another stint, but it looks like it’ll all end in tears.

Corrie star Jane Danson (Leanne Battersby) recently confirmed that George Banks, who plays Henry, has already filmed his final scenes.

Paula Cunliffe (Stirling Gallacher)

Status: Joining

When: Summer 2018

More info: Former Doctors actress Stirling Gallacher has been cast as successful lawyer Paula, who’ll be a new love interest for Sophie Webster.

Paula meets Sophie while giving Sally some legal advice – and it’s fair to say that Sal won’t be the biggest supporter of her daughter’s new romance!

Jim McDonald (Charles Lawson)

Status: Returning

When: 2018

More info: It’s official! Corrie bosses are bringing back Steve’s dad Jim this year – and as always, he’s sure to bring trouble with him. Charles Lawson, who plays Jim, told The Mirror: “They wanted me back full time this year but I couldn’t do it as I am doing Rebus on stage, and a thriller. I’m going to film a bit but then will be back again next year.”

A Coronation Street spokesperson added: “Jim is such a hugely popular character. We’re delighted he is coming back for what will be a typically explosive Jim storyline.”

Katie McDonald (Hannah Ellis Ryan)

Status: Arriving

When: 2018

More info: Hannah Ellis Ryan has been cast as Jim and Liz McDonald’s long-lost daughter Katie.

Katie was born prematurely in 1992 and was thought to have passed away shortly after birth, but a shock new storyline will see the big revelation that she actually survived – turning Liz’s world upside-down.

Vicky Jefferies (Kerri Quinn)

Status: Arriving

When: September 2018

More info: Corrie bosses have cast Kerri Quinn as Vicky Jefferies, the mother of troublesome gang leader Tyler.

It’s thought that Vicky will feature in several episodes this autumn, when the show revisits Simon’s recent involvement with Tyler.

Fiz Stape (Jennie McAlpine)

Status: Leaving

When: 2018

More info: Jennie McAlpine recently announced the happy news that she’s pregnant with her second child. Jennie and her husband Chris Farr are already parents to 3-year-old Albert.

Jennie will be taking maternity leave later this year.

Nick Tilsley (Ben Price)

Status: Returning

When: Autumn 2018

More info: Ben Price will reprise his role as Nick Tilsley in a few months’ time – just one year after he left.

It’s thought that Corrie‘s team are still working on a comeback plot for Nick, but with so many dramas for the Platt family at the moment, there are plenty of reasons for him to return.

EMMERDALE

Ross Barton (Michael Parr)

Status: Leaving

When: 2018

More info: After playing bad boy Ross since 2013, Michael Parr has decided that it’s time to explore other opportunities and will bow out later this year.

Emmerdale producer Kate Brooks recently commented: “Michael Parr will leave Emmerdale later this year at the end of his current contract. His decision to pursue other acting opportunities has given the writing team the opportunity to create an intriguing storyline for his exit.

“Michael will leave the show on a high after brilliantly portraying Ross for five years.”

Leyla Harding (Roxy Shahidi)

Status: Returning

When: TBC

More info: Roxy Shahidi is currently on maternity leave and her temporary exit scenes aired last month.

We’ve since found out about David sleeping with Leyla before she left the village, so it seems like the writers are already sowing the seeds for a dramatic return plot.

HOLLYOAKS

Mercedes McQueen (Jennifer Metcalfe)

Status: Returning

When: August 2018

More info: Following her recent brief reappearance, Jennifer Metcalfe will be returning as Mercedes full-time this summer after taking a year’s maternity break.

It’s been confirmed that Mercedes’s return scenes have been shot on location in Majorca, focusing on her hen party now that she’s re-engaged to Russ Owen.

Holly Cunningham (Amanda Clapham)

Status: Leaving

When: September 2018

More info: Amanda Clapham has decided to leave Hollyoaks after five years playing the fifth incarnation of the character.

It’s thought that Holly will make her final appearance on screen in September.

Russ Owen (Stuart Manning)

Status: Returning

When: Summer 2018

More info: Last seen on screen in 2009, Mercedes’s ex-husband Russ is making a surprise return this summer.

Stuart Manning, who’s reprising the role, revealed: “After a decade away from Hollyoaks, it felt like the right time to come back and particularly when the show is on such a high.

“It will be really interesting for me to explore how the character of Russ has evolved and to return as a different actor to who I was back then.”

Asha Kaur (Rukku Nahar)

Status: Arriving

When: Summer 2018

More info: As seen in Hollyoaks‘ recent summer trailer, the show is introducing Neeta Kaur’s sister Asha.

Asha’s arrival has been tipped to have a huge impact on Hunter, who’s already struggling with an anxiety disorder after Neeta’s death. But why has Asha come to the village?

Sinead O’Connor (Stephanie Davis)

Status: Returning

When: Autumn 2018

More info: In Soapland’s most surprising return of the year, Hollyoaks bosses have invited Stephanie Davis back to play Sinead O’Connor – three years after sacking the actress for her off-screen behaviour.

Hollyoaks‘ executive producer Bryan Kirkwood commented: “I am delighted that Stephanie is returning, she’s a hugely talented actress who has worked hard to overcome some personal issues.

“We welcome her return to Hollyoaks to reprise her role as Sinead O’Connor, a brilliant and vibrant character who the audience love. Sinead will make a return to the Hutchinsons family in autumn, no doubt bringing drama in tow.”

NEIGHBOURS

Jemima Davies-Smythe (Magda Szubanski)

Status: Arriving

When: September 2018

More info: Australian actress and LGBTQ+ rights activist Magda Szubanski will make a cameo appearance in David and Aaron’s highly-anticipated wedding episode this September.

Madga will be playing marriage celebrant Jemima, who does the honours as the popular pair tie the knot.

TBC (Denise Drysdale)

Status: Arriving

When: October 2018

More info: Australian entertainment stalwart Denise Drysdale recently started filming on Neighbours for a top-secret guest role.

All we know for now is that Denise’s character will be heading to Ramsay Street on a mission to make life difficult for one resident in particular. Who should be feeling nervous?

HOME AND AWAY

Ash (George Mason)

Status: Leaving

When: July 20

More info: Home and Away will be waving goodbye to Ash on UK screens this week.

George Mason filmed his final scenes in the role a few months ago, and Channel 5 viewers will soon see Ash bow out as he leaves to visit VJ and Luc in Cyprus.

Chelsea (Ashleigh Brewer)

Status: Arriving

When: 2018

More info: Former Neighbours and The Bold and the Beautiful star Ashleigh Brewer has signed up for a six-month stint in Summer Bay as new cop Chelsea.

Ashleigh exclusively told us: “I’m not allowed to give too much away just yet, but we know that her name is Chelsea and she’s a police officer. She’s come to the Bay to give one of our favourites a real shock.

“I would say she is an extremely nice person with a strong head on her shoulders, but she’ll be causing a little bit of trouble through circumstances out of her control.”

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