Aaron Dingle (Danny Miller) arrived back in Emmerdale village tonight, and to say it was perfect timing would be an understatement.
The character returned just as half-sister Liv Dingle (Isobel Steele) was injured by a man called Terry, the dodgy pal of Liv’s scheming mum Sandra Flaherty (Joanne Mitchell).
In true Aaron style, he stopped Terry from fleeing the scene with a prompt punch, but it’s not just coming to Liv’s rescue that makes Aaron’s comeback one of the most triumphant moments of the year.
The Dingles are currently going through a turbulent time, meaning Aaron’s reappearance comes at exactly the right moment. His grandmother, Faith (Sally Dexter) is in the final stages of terminal cancer, and the pair are due to share an emotional heart-to-heart.
Watch: Coming up on Emmerdale
Meanwhile, Aaron’s mum Chas (Lucy Pargeter) is in the midst of a sordid affair with Al Chapman (Michael Wildman).
It’s a typical soap storyline; but for a narrative that should be focused on the sensitive subject of cancer, this feels wrong on a different level. So who better than Aaron to talk some sense into Chas? We can only hope.
It’s Paddy’s (Dominic Brunt) heart that is at risk of breaking, and Aaron’s bond with the man who has been like a father to him is a big part of the reason we expect him to take a stand.
First on Aaron’s agenda, though, is to mend his fractured relationship with Liv. As it stands, Aaron has been left heartbroken after Liv’s husband Vinny (Bradley Johnson) turned him away from her hospital room. But there’s still time to put things right, as long as Liv pulls through.
Although he left the show right in the middle of a huge crisis for Liv, actor Miller reveals that it aided his return plot; and reflects on how busy Aaron will be in the coming weeks.
“It was kind of a shame the way it had all worked out with me leaving in the middle of a storyline. There was a serial killer [Meena Jutla] on the loose, which is always a dangerous thing to do in soap, to tell them that you’d like to leave when there’s a serial killer on the loose!
“It was unfortunate that [Aaron] left at that time. However, it's made for a better return because it's a nice way of coming back into the show, and reconciling with Liv; but also having a bit of drama with every other story that's going on in the village.
“There’s a lot of his family up to a lot of stuff at the moment, so it's been nice to be involved in pretty much all of it.”
Before his exit, Aaron endured a lot of heartache; including losing soulmate Robert Sugden (Ryan Hawley) to prison and struggling to cope with Liv’s drinking. The character was left exhausted, and Miller believes that resting Aaron was for the best.
“It's one of those things where [Aaron] needed to be selfish for once in his life. So I think at that point it was just time to give that character, after such a long stint, a break."
Judging by the scenes across the rest of this week, Aaron has certainly come home refreshed and ready for what life has to throw at him. But that doesn’t mean he’s any less chaotic! Expect powerful moments and more punch-ups along the way.
It’s not always possible for characters to rejoin their soap clan when they are most needed, and Aaron's latest stint couldn’t be more fitting ahead of Emmerdale's 50th anniversary.