ITV Emmerdale fans 'work out' icon's return for Zak Dingle's funeral

Zak Dingle on Emmerdale
-Credit: (Image: (Image: ITV))

Emmerdale fans are buzzing with speculation that a favourite character might be making a comeback for Zak Dingle's upcoming funeral. Zak, played by Steve Halliwell since 1994, was a much-loved figure in the soap as the head of the Dingle family. Unfortunately Steve passed away last year at the age of 77 after battling several health issues. Currently his character Zak is off-screen residing with his granddaughter Debbie in Scotland.

Despite many Dingles still living in the iconic village they have often taken long trips to visit him. However this week the soap confirmed that Zak's death will be incorporated into a future storyline. The Dingle family, based in the Yorkshire Dales, will receive the heartbreaking news of Zak's passing later this year, according to the Express. Emmerdale producer Sophie Roper told Digital Spy that a tribute storyline honouring both Zak and Halliwell, and acknowledging his significant contribution to the show, is in the works.

Sophie admitted that filming the funeral scenes was "very difficult for a lot of people who work on our show and a lot of our viewers who have grown and loved Zak for many, many years.", reports the Manchester Evening News. "But there'll be a hugely fitting tribute for such an iconic character coming up," she promised. Now, fans think they've worked out that an Emmerdale legend could be returning for the emotional funeral.

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On an Emmerdale online forum, fans suggested it "makes sense" for Zak's granddaughter Debbie Dingle to return. Debbie, portrayed by Charley Webb, was a familiar face in Emmerdale, having first appeared on the show in 2002. In 2021, she said goodbye to the Dales, with her character choosing to settle in Scotland with Zak. But fans are abuzz with rumours of her potential comeback.

Debbie Dingle on EastEnders
-Credit:(Image: ITV)

On a fan forum, one enthusiast speculated: "I hope Debbie comes back to break the news. It would be fitting for the Dingles to be told, properly, (not by phone) of Zak's passing. And as many previous cast to attend the funeral, as possible."

Another agreed: "I totally agree," while a third chimed in: "I hated Debbie, but in this instance it makes sense and is fitting she should return if not to break the news, but to bring Zak's body back to the village."

The discussion went on with another suggesting: "It would also be nice if Jacqueline Chadwick reprised her role as Tina, having heard of Zak's death returned for the funeral." And another added their voice: "It'd make no sense if Debbie didn't return, considering that's where Zak is supposed to be. Perhaps she'll return as a tribute to Steve." For the latest TV & Showbiz news, sign up to our newsletter.