Why everyone left Emmerdale this year

marcus, priya, rishi, emmerdale
Why everyone left Emmerdale this yearITV

Emmerdale waves goodbye to a handful of cast members every year, as characters' storylines reach a natural end and popular stars choose to move on.

2023 has been no exception, with six departures so far and at least two more rumoured for the coming months.

Here, we look back at the exits and how each of them came about.

1. Fiona Wade (Priya Kotecha)

priya kotecha, emmerdale

Fiona Wade's decision to leave her role as Priya Kotecha in Emmerdale was first revealed in press reports in October 2022, but her final scenes didn't air until January this year.

Priya's last scenes saw her leave the village after landing a new job in London, taking her young daughter Amba with her.

Fiona said at the time: "It was one of the hardest decisions I've had to make. Leaving my Emmerdale family is a big thing and it wasn't easy filming my last scenes.

"When you've been somewhere for that long and that's your every day, it's hard and feels sad. But as every actor knows, you need to challenge yourself and that's very important too."

2. Darcy Grey (Marcus Dean)

from itvstrict embargo no use before embargo 700am wednesday 12th january 2020emmerdale turmoil for rhona as pierce’s son arrives in the villagerhona goskirk’s life is turned upside down when the son of her violent ex husband pierce arrives in the village she’s finally getting on with her life after the trauma of her ill fated relationship with pierce, so marcus’s arrival comes as a huge shock to her how will she react when she comes face to face with him actor darcy grey takes the role of marcus dean, who has his father’s brooding good looks, but do the similarities end there what kind of childhood did marcus have and has his upbringing affected how he lives his life now the mention of pierce, who is still serving time in prison for raping rhona, is certain to bring back anxiety and trauma for rhona, and she will have to dig deep to overcome the terrible experiences of her past, so can she allow marcus into her life is rhona opening herself up to more pain which could ultimately destroy her relationship with marlon marcus will first appear on our screens on thursday 3rd februarypicture contact davidcrookitvcomthis photograph is c itv plc and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above, or itv plc once made available by itv plc picture desk, this photograph can be reproduced once only up until the transmission tx date and no reproduction fee will be charged any subsequent usage may incur a fee this photograph must not be manipulated excluding basic cropping in a manner which alters the visual appearance of the person photographed deemed detrimental or inappropriate by itv plc picture desk this photograph must not be syndicated to any other company, publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of itv picture desk full terms and conditions are available on wwwitvcompresscentreitvpicturesterms

In February 2023, it was revealed that Darcy Grey would be the second departing cast member of the year. Tabloid reports confirmed that Darcy had chosen to leave his role as Marcus Dean after only a year as he wanted to pursue other acting opportunities.

Marcus made a low-key departure from the village after his relationship with Ethan Anderson broke down.

Darcy didn't give an interview about his departure, but thanked fans on Twitter for their support and expressed his excitement for future roles.

3. Karene Peter (Naomi Walters)

naomi walters in emmerdale

In April 2023, it emerged that Karene Peter would also be leaving Emmerdale after just a year in the show. Tabloid reports suggested that Karene left the soap of her own accord, preferring to play a variety of characters rather than sticking to one role.

Karene's character Naomi Walters left the village to go travelling after being sacked from her job at The Woolpack and falling out with her father Charles.

4. Max Fletcher (Marshall Hamston)

marshall, colin, emmerdale

One of the year's most surprising departures came in July when the latest set of weekly storyline spoilers revealed that Marshall Hamston would be leaving the village.

Marshall had been living with the Sharma-Thomas family after escaping from a traumatic home life with his homophobic father Colin. However, after tense times with his boyfriend Arthur, Marshall decided to end their relationship and moved away with his aunt Jean.

No official reason was given for Marshall's departure and, as a younger cast member, Max Fletcher didn't give any interviews. However, his exit had been signposted in advance by executive producer Jane Hudson, who'd always hinted that Arthur's first romance wouldn't have a fairytale ending.

Jane previously told ITV's Loose Women: "It's been such a lovely story and I'm so proud of Alfie [Clarke], who plays Arthur. He's done it so brilliantly.

"It's not just a story about coming out as gay. It's a story about teenage love and teenage angst. I think we all remember when we first broke up and we thought: 'Oh, I'm never going to find love again!'"

5. Bhasker Patel (Rishi Sharma)

rishi sharma in emmerdale

Emmerdale pulled off a rare soap surprise in July when Rishi Sharma was unexpectedly killed off on the day of Jai and Laurel's wedding. There had been no prior announcement that Bhasker Patel, who played Rishi, had left the show and his character's tragic fate had been deliberately kept out of all spoiler releases.

When Bhasker appeared on ITV's Lorraine the morning after his final scenes aired, he confirmed that it wasn't his choice for Rishi to leave the show.

Bhasker explained: "The producer rang me and said, 'We now need to talk to you and we're killing him off because we want a big story and it's going to be a big surprise'.

"Because my 12 years at ITV, they let me do a lot of other work, so I felt also a part of ITV, a part of Rishi, but at the same time, I did a lot of work in London as well.

"So when the producer said, 'We're going to kill you off', I was like, 'Okay, that part of my life with this guy is over and I'm going to move on.'"

6. Liam Fox (Dan Spencer)

dan spencer, emmerdale

Liam Fox bowed out from Emmerdale in August as his character Dan Spencer received an eight-year prison sentence for accidentally killing stalker Lloyd in a "one-punch" attack. His departure from the role had been rumoured for several weeks, after eagle-eyed fans spotted that he'd signed up for a Christmas pantomime.

After his final scenes aired, Liam clarified that it was Emmerdale's choice to write out Dan. However, he also revealed that he'd been questioning his future with the show anyway.

Liam told The Mirror: "I had actually got to a point where I had been starting to think I needed a change to perhaps leave Emmerdale but I was struggling to have the bottle to make it.

"And so, when the producers first told me about what was going to happen to Dan, my immediate reaction was 'this is brilliant'. I knew it would mean I would be working flat out so I wanted to put everything into it."

7. Samantha Giles (Bernice Blackstock)

bernice blackstock, emmerdale

Samantha Giles is currently still on air as Bernice Blackstock in Emmerdale, but rumours are rife that her days in the show could be numbered.

In July, word leaked out that Samantha has decided to leave her role as Bernice once again – although show bosses declined to confirm or deny the reports as they don't usually comment on cast contracts.

Appearing on ITV's Loose Women this year, Samantha said: "I've never lost that thing of wanting to go and do other things. You know, like the stage, I really miss theatre, because it's like this. You've got your audience there, you're having a relationship with your audience."

8. Matthew Wolfenden (David Metcalfe)

leyla cavanagh, david metcalfe, emmerdale

David Metcalfe is still on screen at the moment too, but rumours suggest that he'll be leaving in the coming months.

Tabloid reports have suggested that Matthew Wolfenden, who plays David, decided not to renew his contract after a recent lack of dramatic storylines for his character. He has played David for 17 years.

Matthew hasn't discussed the reports publicly so far, while Emmerdale declined to clarify any details when Digital Spy reached out for comment.

Check out more of our Emmerdale coverage:

- Emmerdale star Mark Charnock reveals Marlon Dingle's role in special episode

- Emmerdale star Zoe Henry explains why Rhona Goskirk hits breaking point

- Emmerdale star Louise Jameson reveals turning point in Mary's storyline

- Emmerdale star Liam Fox explains Dan Spencer's exit

- 13 huge Emmerdale spoilers for next week

Emmerdale airs on weeknights at 7.30pm on ITV1, and streams on ITVX.

Read more Emmerdale spoilers on our dedicated homepage

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