Emmerdale teases return of huge fan favourite - could it be Robert Sugden?

Emmerdale, Robert Sugden
(Image credit: ITV)

Emmerdale bosses have spoken about what lies ahead for 2021

Insiders at Emmerdale HQ have revealed we can expect to see a village favourite back on our screens soon.

In a Zoom conference with producers – and cast such as Lisa Riley and Emma Atkins (opens in new tab) who play Dingles Mandy and Charity – executive producer Jane Hudson had a big reveal as she discussed what’s coming up in the Dales.

“We have a very much loved character coming back to the village!" said Jane. “They light up the screen. There’s going to be lots of fun. The actor/actress has returned to shooting. Look out for their return coming up soon.”

The identity of the returning cast member is yet to be announced leaving tongues wagging about who it might be.

Dingle matriarch, Faith (Sally Dexter)?

Faith Dingle

Might Faith Dingle return? (credit: ITV)

Or David Metcalfe’s ex Alicia (Natalie Anderson)?

One of Marlon Dingle’s exes such as Carly Hope (Gemma Atkinson) or Delilah Dingle (Hayley Tamaddon)?

Carly Hope. April Windsor

Could Carly Hope be returning to Marlon's world? (Image credit: Andrew Boyce)

Or Debbie Dingle's ex Joe Tate (Ned Porteous)?

Emmerdale, Debbie Dingle, Joe Tate

Might Joe Tate come back to Emmerdale?

Or even – dare we even say it Aaron's banged up beloved – Robert Sugden (Ryan Hawley)?

We’ll have to wait and see.

The producers discussed other things to look forward such as the will-they-won’t-they wedding for Mandy Dingle and gambling addict Paul Ashdale (Reece Dinsdale). As the ongoing messy storyline unfolds it was revealed it will end in tragedy for someone involved.

Jimmy and Nicola King are set to face "the biggest test of their marriage with betrayals of trust on both sides" confirmed producer Laura Shaw.

As the couple’s lives collide with Mandy and Paul’s saga, viewers will see the Kings are being watched – and Jimmy's son Carl (whose birth mother was Juliette Holliday) will go missing.

Unless the law changes, Emmerdale plans to carry on shooting having already got their stringent Covid protocols down pat when they returned to filming last May.

Jane promised that Emmerdale is set to entertain during the current new lockdown and beyond:

“While the rest of the world is shutting down, Emmerdale is definitely opening up and we’re here to entertain. We have some fantastic stuff coming up – we haven’t locked down our imaginations at all as you will see over the next 12 months.”

She continued: “It’s so crucial that people have something familiar, like soaps, in their lives they’re an escapism, something every day you can rely on to be there in the same place. It’s not just Emmerdale, it’s the same for Coronation Street, EastEnders, Hollyoaks, Doctors, Casualty, Holby. We’re all making sure we’re there so viewers can have that place to escape to for a night.”

Emmerdale continues on ITV weekdays from 7pm.

Sarah Waterfall
Soaps Editor at What's On TV

Sarah has been writing about soaps for over 20 years! She’s worked for Hello!, WOMAN, PA News, Closer, TVeasy – and is currently What’s On TV's Soap editor as well as writing for WhatToWatch.com 

She’s interviewed tons of famous people from movie stars to pop stars, TV stars and of course, soap stars. The soaps have always been at the heart of Sarah's work; visiting the sets, getting the goss, and writing about all the soapy shenanigans week in week out, earning her a place on the judging panel for The British Soap Awards in 2017 and 2018 and on the BAFTA TV Awards in 2022 … and the nickname Soapbird!