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Soapland switchers: The actors who have appeared in multiple UK soaps

Former Corrie star Paula Lane has a new job on Emmerdale - but who else has switched soaps?

Who's made the move between soaps? (ITV/BBC)
Who's made the move between soaps? (ITV/BBC)

Once a soap star, always a soap star for these big names from the small screen, who might have been written out of one show but later turned up in another.

Being a household name on a UK soap doesn't necessarily seem to rule an actor out of being cast in a rival programme. In fact, in some cases, it seems to make them an even more popular choice.

With former Corrie star Paula Lane about to make her Emmerdale debut, we take a look back at some of the most notable soap switchers.


Paula Lane - Coronation Street to Emmerdale

Paula Lane has joined Emmerdale after previously appearing in Coronation Street. (ITV)
Paula Lane has joined Emmerdale after previously appearing in Coronation Street. (ITV)

Paula Lane was beloved by Coronation Street fans as wild child turned mum Kylie Platt, who married the equally feisty David.

In a live episode of Corrie in 2015, she murdered villain Callum Logan and buried him under the Platts' house, but was later stabbed to death on the cobbles in a revenge attack.

Lane is due to make her Emmerdale debut in the new year as mysterious newcomer Ella.


Michelle Collins - EastEnders to Coronation Street to EastEnders

EastEnders,13-11-2023,6801,Cindy Beale (MICHELLE COLLINS),****EMBARGOED TILL TUESDAY 7TH NOVEMBER 2023****, BBC PS, Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron
Unbelievably, Cindy's back in EastEnders. (BBC)

One of soap's greatest switchers is Michelle Collins, who made her name as EastEnders favourite Cindy Beale for 10 years until she was killed off in prison in 1998.

In 2011, Collins rejoined soapland as she headed up north to Coronation Street, where she split viewer opinion with an unconvincing accent as Stella Price.

Collins left in 2014, but pulled off the greatest of soap feats earlier this year - a comeback from the dead in EastEnders, with a huge twist revealing that Cindy had actually been in witness protection for 25 years.


Gemma Atkinson - Hollyoaks to Emmerdale

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 09:  Gemma Atkinson hosts Key 103 Live at Manchester Arena on November 9, 2017 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/WireImage)
Gemma Atkinson enjoyed fame in Hollyoaks, Casualty and Emmerdale before taking part in Strictly 2017. (Shirlaine Forrest/WireImage)

Many a young soap star has made the move from Hollyoaks to a soap with an older audience, and one of the most famous was Gemma Atkinson.

She found fame as Lisa Hunter from 2001 to 2005, taking on meaty storylines including bullying and self-harming.

Atkinson cropped up in Emmerdale 10 years later as Carly Hope from 2015 to 2017, taking over the role from another actor — before going back to her original Hollyoaks character in 2022.


Jamie Lomas - Hollyoaks to EastEnders

Hollyoaks actor Jamie Lomas watches Kym Marsh perform   (Photo by Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images)
Jamie Lomas appeared in EastEnders and Hollyoaks. (PA Images via Getty Images)

Jamie Lomas was Hollyoaks' resident villain from 2006 to 2018, where he played Warren Fox on and off.

Warren is a gangster connected to 12 deaths in the village — eight of them, murders that he had committed — as well as carrying out kidnappings, drug dealing, and plenty of affairs.

During one of his breaks from the soap, Lomas found time to join EastEnders as recovering alcoholic Jake Stone between 2013 and 2015, before returning to Hollyoaks in 2016.


Nikki Sanderson - Coronation Street to Hollyoaks

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JUNE 03: Nikki Sanderson attends The British Soap Awards 2023 on June 03, 2023 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)
Nikki Sanderson switched from Corrie to Hollyoaks. (Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)

From 1999 to 2005, Nikki Sanderson was one of Corrie's best known young stars as hairdresser Candice Stowe.

She got one of the soap's best exit storylines ever as she landed a job as stylist to Status Quo, leaving the cobbles behind for life on the road with the band.

But Sanderson turned up in Hollyoaks in 2012 as Maxine Minniver, where her wide-ranging storylines over more than 10 years have included being a victim of domestic violence, having an illicit affair with her stepson, and being diagnosed with Munchausen's syndrome.


Gillian Taylforth - EastEnders to Hollyoaks to EastEnders

EastEnders,09-11-2023,6800,Kathy Beale (GILLIAN TAYLFORTH),****EMBARGOED TILL TUESDAY 31ST OCTOBER 2023****, BBC, Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron
Gillian Taylforth is back in her Walford home. (BBC)

Another classic Albert Square star to switch soaps was Gillian Taylforth, who starred in the BBC soap from 1985 to 2000 as Cindy's mum Kathy Beale.

For a while, a return seemed off the cards as Kathy was said to have died off screen as a way of bringing son Ben back to the cast.

Meanwhile, Taylforth joined Hollyoaks as matriarch Sandy Roscoe for two years from 2013 — but when EastEnders came calling again in 2015, she couldn't resist the lure and has now seen her screen daughter Cindy resurrected, too.


Chris Fountain - Hollyoaks to Coronation Street

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 16: Chris Fountain attends the Superdry Merchant Store launch event on February 16, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Dave Benett/Getty Images for Superdry)
Chris Fountain appeared in two high profile soap roles. (Dave Benett/Getty Images for Superdry)

Another of Hollyoaks' early Noughties stars was Chris Fountain, who played Justin Burton from 2003 to 2009 and was best known for his storyline as a schoolboy having a relationship with his teacher Becca (played by Ali Bastion).

Post-Hollyoaks, Fountain moved over to Corrie where he played Jack and Vera Duckworth's grandson Tommy from 2011 to 2013, but lost his job after posting online rap videos about rape and extreme violence.

Tommy got an off-screen exit, leaving Weatherfield for a new life in the Canaries.


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