'Emmerdale' 2022 preview: 9 explosive twists to kickstart the year
'Emmerdale' 2022 — it's going to be a dramatic year in the Dales.
Last year was far from quiet in the country, and Emmerdale's 50th anniversary year is shaping up to be equally explosive.
As 2022 kicks off, serial killer Meena Julta is gearing herself up to commit a double murder, but the net is closing in, meaning her reign of terror is nearing its end, with Paige Sandhu already confirming her departure from the soap.
Battle lines are drawn between the Dales' top dogs Cain and Al when their rivalry takes another dark turn, while a sinister secret threatens to destroy Billy and Dawn's wedding day dreams.
There's drama for the Sharmas as Jai and Priya face their own personal challenges, and while newly single Tracy prepares to wave goodbye to the village, this year could see the return of a familiar face.
Here is our guide to all the shocks and thrills coming up in 2022...
Meena's reign of terror is finally over
Meena Julta has quite literally been getting away with murder, but time is rapidly running out for the unhinged nurse. The serial killer is currently holding her own sister hostage, and has told Manpreet she's got just seven days to live. But with Liam growing increasingly suspicious of her behaviour and PC Swirling and Harriet hot on the case of Manpreet's mysterious disappearance, Meena is forced to act fast and dispose of the trophy box containing her victim's trinkets. There's also the issue of Vinny, who's been getting perilously close to the truth, but Meena fixes that problem by leading Mandy's son into her lair to join Manpreet. Needing to silence them both for good, Meena prepares herself for a double kill. But how will this all end? Are Vinny and Manpreet about to become her next victims? Can anyone save them in time and expose Meena's diabolical crimes? And after causing so much death and destruction, is Meena about to meet her own maker?
Justice at last for Liv?
Liv's been rotting in prison ever since she was wrongly accused of Ben's murder. The lass is facing a life sentence for a crime she didn't even commit, but her hopes of freedom all depend on Meena's downfall. With big brother Aaron not around to fight her corner anymore, it's been left to Vinny to help his friend, and he's certainly been a busy boy, compiling an evidence board to try and prove Liv's innocence. Will the truth about Meena's killing spree out in time to spare Liv the ordeal of having to stand trial? Even if justice is served there's going to be a long road ahead for the teen, who's been battling an alcohol addiction. Will the trauma of her time behind bars lead Liv to fall off the wagon again? Or will Vinny be the rock she needs to turn her life around?
Charity and Vanessa reunited?
When Vanessa returned to the village after an 18-month absence the first thing she saw was former fiancée Charity declaring her love for Mackenzie. What a welcome home! Charity has seemingly moved on, and so has Vanessa. But just hours after introducing everyone to new girlfriend Fiona, Vanessa was gutted to learn Fi had bedded Nate while they were on a break. The shock discovery made Vanessa decide to stay put to support Tracy... but where does that leave her and Charity? There's a tug of love going on between the pair as they clash over access to Johnny. Vanessa's not happy at the idea of her ex spending time with the lad, despite the fact Charity is legally Johnny's adoptive mum. They may be a question mark hanging over Vanessa's future with Fiona, but it's clear there's unfinished business between her and Charity. This is sure to delight the loyal army of Chanessa fans who are willing the pair to get back together - might their wish be granted in 2022?
Ellis leaves the village
The rivalry between Cain Dingle and Al Chapman has been simmering for weeks, and it's about to boil over. After Cain kidnapped Ellis and left him for dead in the middle of the desolate moors Al wanted payback and taunted Cain by threatening Kyle's safety. But will that be the end of it? Will it heck! It has been reported that actor Aaron Anthony has quit the soap, but will Cain play a hand in Ellis's exit from the village? Cain isn't someone you want to make an enemy of, but he may have just met his match in Al. Let battle commence. Watch out, Ellis!
Tracy's exit leaves Nate devastated?
Nate's been a naughty boy again (when will he ever learn?!) and has been kicked out by Tracy after it turned out he'd slept with Vanessa's new girlfriend, Fiona. Undeterred, Nate vows to do everything in his power to win Tracy back, but just when it seems he may be getting somewhere she stuns him by revealing she's been offered a new job, meaning she and Frankie are moving to Nottingham. Tracy will be saying so long to the Dales as actress Amy Walsh is taking time out from the soap after welcoming her first baby with her partner, and EastEnders' actor Toby-Alexander Smith (who plays Gray Atkins) over Christmas. Does that mean Tracy and Nate will be parting on bad terms? Or is there hope of reconciliation down the line?
Wedding day doom for Billy and Dawn?
Billy and Dawn are walking on air after getting engaged over the festive season, and have been enjoying keeping it a little secret between the two of them. But the cat's out of the bag now Lucas knows his mum is getting married, and Dawn and Billy were forced to share their news with their families. Will is worried it's all a bit too quick, but Dawn is adamant she's found her soulmate, and Billy clearly feels the same as he asks Leyla to start planning their nuptials. Whilst we're desperate for the cursed couple to get their happy ever after, let's not forget the secret of Malone's murder is still looming over the bride-to-be. Kim may have recently shifted the corrupt copper's corpse to a new burial site, but for how much longer will he remain hidden? Is the happiest day of Dawn's life going to end in disaster as her dark past comes back to haunt her?
Jai resorts to desperate measures
The bridge collapse disaster at the HOP survival challenge has left the business on the verge of financial ruin. And 2022 gets off to the worst possible start for co-owners Jai and Kim when they find themselves landed with a hefty Health and Safety fine. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Jai resorts to applying for a loan to cover the costs, only to be left gutted when he's rejected. The shifty Sharma isn't adverse to breaking the law when the going gets tough, but this might be one mess he can't fix with an illegal scam. Is his home at risk? And will Laurel stand by her man through this mess?
Priya hits rock bottom
There are tough times ahead for Priya Sharma as she continues to recover from the horrific burns she suffered in the maze blaze during stunt week. As 2022 begins, Jai wants his sister to regain a bit of normality and asks Leyla if she can return to work at Take A Vow. But Priya's first day back in the office isn't without its challenges as she struggles with the pain of her injuries and is then forced to deal with a pushy client called Cassie. Unable to resist the urge, Priya ends up scratching her scars, and is distressed when Cassie makes a joke about it. Will this latest setback lead her to suffer another relapse in her eating disorder?
Jamie Tate returns?
Kim seems to have just accepted her son Jamie met a watery end after ploughing his car into a lake last September. But what the lady of the manor doesn't know is that Jamie faked his death to get as far away from her as possible, and is alive and well living with daughter Millie. Plot twists as good as this deserve an explosive reveal down the line. Might the vet make a dramatic return to Home Farm this year to surprise his mummy dearest and meet his newborn son, Thomas?
Emmerdale airs weeknights at 7pm on ITV, with an extra episode at 8pm on Thursdays - see our TV Guide for full listings. You can also catch up on ITV Hub now.
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Laura has been a journalist for over a decade, writing about soaps, TV entertainment, fashion, beauty, and food. After graduating from university, she started her career working at a national soap and TV magazine. During her seven-year stint there she joined the cast of Emmerdale for a tour around the famous village, partied with soap stars at awards bashes, interviewed her acting idol David Suchet, and sat in the front row of Strictly Come Dancing.
Her heart lies with the soaps, and her all-time favourite character has to be EastEnders' Pat Butcher - no one rocked a big earring quite like her. She's also a huge fan of detective crime dramas, particularly old school Inspector Morse, Endeavour, and adaptations of Agatha Christie's Marple and Poirot. When she's not writing, she loves a spot of second-hand shopping and going on adventures with her young son.