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Emmerdale’s Hannah Barton to return… as a man called Matty

Matty - aka Hannah Barton - with Moira in Emmerdale

Moira will be stunned to discover that her youngest girl is now a boy

Emmerdale’s Moira will have the mother of all shocks later this month when her youngest daughter Hannah Barton returns to the village as a man called Matty.

Hannah, who was played by Grace Cassidy, was part of the original Barton family line-up, and arrived in Emmerdale in 2009 with Moira, dad John, brother Adam and now late sister, Holly. The character left the village in 2012, shortly before her eighteenth birthday, to start a new life in London.

Hannah Barton

Hannah Barton was originally played by Grace Cassidy

When Matty tips up at the Barton family home, Cain mistakes him for an intruder and knocks him unconscious, but when Moira arrives on the scene, she’s stunned to recognise him as her youngest “girl.”

Matty is the first regular transgender character on the ITV1 soap, and will be played by trans actor Ash Palmisciano, who has previously starred in the BBC2 sitcom Boy Meets Girl and the short film Mum.

Says Ash: “I’m very excited to be joining the very welcoming Emmerdale family. From nervous auditions to now working alongside the team daily has been truly amazing. Matty's a ground breaking character to play, and I can’t wait to see what’s ahead for him.”

Matty in Emmerdale

Cain thinks Matty is an intruder!

Adds producer Kate Brooks: “The character of Matty certainly knows how to make an impact: cheeky, effervescent, quick-witted and headstrong, it's not long before he's charmed his way into the affections of all those who meet him. His tale of a man trying to shake off his past and find acceptance in the present is full of emotion, humour and ultimately hope as he settles back into rural village life, turning Moira's world upside down in the process.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have Ash on board to play this role. A skilful actor of great talent, he exudes charisma and there's an unflinching honesty to his performance that adds real depth to this complex character. Ash has already proven himself to be a brilliant addition to the cast, and we look forward to charting Matty’s journey as he reconnects with old friends and forges new relationships along the way.”

Grace picture: ITV/REX/Shutterstock