Soap Movers: Who's leaving, returning and joining in EastEnders, Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks?

With the soap world as busy as ever for comings and goings, here’s our Soap Movers page as we keep track of all the new arrivals, shock exits and returning characters that we can look forward to over the coming weeks and months.

Our table covers EastEnders, Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Hollyoaks, Neighbours and Home and Away – so bookmark us and keep checking back for the latest updates as they come in.

Latest update: April 23

Jump to your favourite soap…

  • EastEnders
  • Coronation Street
  • Emmerdale
  • Hollyoaks
  • Neighbours
  • Home and Away


Halfway (Tony Clay)

Status: Returning

When: April 30

More info: Tony Clay recently returned to filming at EastEnders to reprise his role as Halfway, who proved popular with fans when he had a short stint at the start of the year.

“I’m really happy and excited to be back on EastEnders and working with such a brilliant cast and crew,” Tony said. “Halfway is such a lovely role to play and I’m really looking forward to exploring his story further and seeing where it takes us.”

Stuart Highway (Ricky Champ)

Status: Joining

When: May 2018

More info: Halfway will have a family member on the Square second time around, as show chiefs have cast Him & Her star Ricky Champ as his older brother Stuart Highway. Stuart is also an old friend of Mick Carter and leads the Queen Vic landlord astray as they start to channel their troublesome younger selves.

Speaking about the new role, Ricky commented: “I’m so happy to be part of this brilliant team of people on this great show that I grew up watching. Look out Albert Square… Stuart’s coming!”

Woody (Lee Ryan)

Status: Leaving

When: 2018

More info: Woody recently returned to the Square following his time in Spain, but as the show announced recently, Blue star Lee Ryan will be leaving the show permanently when his contract expires.

Donna Yates (Lisa Hammond)

Status: Leaving

When: 2018

More info: Lisa Hammond is another star who’s announced a shock departure from EastEnders, although we’ll still have her on our screens for a while yet.

Show bosses have confirmed that it was Lisa’s own choice to leave the show after four years as Donna.

Alfie Moon (Shane Richie)

Status: Rumoured to be returning

When: 2018

More info: EastEnders fans need answers on what’s been going on between Kat and Alfie – but it looks like they’re coming soon.

Although show bosses haven’t confirmed the news officially, tabloid reports reckon that we’ll see Shane Richie reprise his role as Alfie for a stint later this year.


Pat Phelan (Connor McIntyre)

Status: Returning for a final stint

When: 2018

More info: Pat Phelan may have survived his recent pier fall, but his days in the show are still numbered. While it’s no secret that Phelan will feature in more episodes later this year, a final exit for his character has been confirmed. Will he finally get his comeuppance?

Corrie producer Kate Oates recently told What’s On TV: “A character like Pat Phelan was always going to go out with a bang rather than a whimper, and the exit we have in store for him will definitely pack a punch.”

Ryan Connor (Ryan Prescott)

Status: Returning

When: Spring 2018

More info: Hot on the heels of Ali Neeson’s recent return after 10 years away, we’ll also see Ryan Connor arrive back on the cobbles within the next few months. Fans can expect some tension between Ali and Ryan as they come face-to-face again.

James Burrows, who plays Ali, told us: “There’s a lot of hatred there and maybe some sort of jealousy as well. It’s a Cain and Abel type relationship, so it might get interesting!”

Former Emmerdale star Ryan Prescott will be taking over from Sol Heras in the role of Ryan.

Lewis Archer (Nigel Havers)

Status: Returning

When: Spring 2018

More info: Con artist Lewis will have some explaining to do when he returns to Weatherfield for another stint later this year.

Hilarious paparazzi pictures taken on location have revealed that some of Lewis’s first scenes will involve him brawling with Roy Cropper, before Gail wades in to give him a kicking!

Aidan Connor (Shayne Ward)

Status: Leaving

When: Spring 2018

More info: Nobody saw this exit coming, but it’s been revealed that former X Factor champ Shayne Ward will be bowing out from Coronation Street this year.

Shayne will be leaving in the late spring of 2018, when his current contract expires, although little more is known about his departure at the moment.

Shayne recently told OK! Magazine: “It has been an incredible three years that I’ve had at Coronation Street. It’s probably been the best three years of my life.

Corrie has been one of the best things I’ve ever done. I was only meant to be there six months and I’ve been there three years. I am very sad to go, but to be trusted with such an important storyline, I am truly blessed.”

Eva Price (Catherine Tyldesley)

Status: Leaving

When: Summer 2018

More info: In another shock exit, Catherine Tyldesley has quit Corrie to pursue other roles and will bow out in summer 2018.

A show spokesperson confirmed: “We can confirm that Cath Tyldesley will leave Coronation Street at the end of her current contract after seven years in the show.

“Cath’s portrayal of Eva Price has made her a firm favourite amongst fans and she will be missed. The producers and writers are currently working on her exit storyline which will be on screen in early summer.”

Zeedan Nazir (Qasim Akhtar)

Status: Leaving

When: Spring/Summer 2018

More info: After four years in the role of Zeedan, Qasim Akhtar has decided that it’s time to leave the cobbles. His departure is expected to tie in with his ongoing storyline with Kate and Rana.

A show spokesperson told us: “Qasim is a talented actor who has been involved in some great storylines. We wish him every success for the future.”

Rosie Webster (Helen Flanagan)

Status: Leaving temporarily

When: 2018

More info: Helen Flanagan has announced that she’s pregnant, which will mean taking a break from her role as Corrie’s Rosie.

The soap favourite is expecting her second child with her footballer partner Scott Sinclair.

Claudia Colby (Rula Lenska)

Status: Returning

When: 2018

More info: Audrey Roberts’s frenemy Claudia will be heading back to Weatherfield for a new storyline with the Corrie favourite later this year.

It’s thought that Claudia will feature in a separate plot to Lewis’s return. Double the trouble!

Fiz Stape (Jennie McAlpine)

Status: Leaving

When: 2018

More info: Jennie McAlpine recently announced the happy news that she’s pregnant with her second child. Jennie and her husband Chris Farr are already parents to 3-year-old Albert.

Jennie will be taking maternity leave later this year.

Nick Tilsley (Ben Price)

Status: Rumoured to be returning

When: Autumn 2018

More info: Although show bosses have yet to announce the news officially, it’s been rumoured that Ben Price will reprise his role as Nick Tilsley in a few months’ time – just one year after he left.

It’s thought that Corrie‘s team are still working on a comeback plot for Nick, but with so many dramas for the Platt family at the moment, there are plenty of reasons for him to return.


Lachlan White (Thomas Atkinson)

Status: Rumoured to be leaving

When: TBC

More info: Lachlan recently survived the road crash that killed most of his family, but he was on the Emmerdale leavers’ list that was leaked by one newspaper last year.

Could we still see Lachlan leave the Dales when he gets his inevitable comeuppance?

Leyla Harding (Roxy Shahidi)

Status: Returning

When: TBC

More info: Roxy Shahidi is currently on maternity leave and her temporary exit scenes aired last month.

We’ve since found out about David sleeping with Leyla before she left the village, so it seems like the writers are already sowing the seeds for a dramatic return plot.


Ryan Knight (Duncan James)

Status: Leaving

When: TBC

More info: Ryan Knight has now been exposed as Amy Barnes’s killer, paving the way for his departure from the show.

Hollyoaks boss Bryan Kirkwood explained: “In a business way, it’s been such a treat to have Duncan James in the show. He’s such a superstar, so talented and such a sweet man as well.

“We knew we weren’t going to have Duncan around forever, more’s the pity, so we thought there was something quite delicious about taking a superstar like Duncan and turning him into a murderer!”

Duncan also told Digital Spy: “Obviously I’ve got commitments with Blue and I’m thankfully working, so I was never going to be at Hollyoaks for too long.”

Esther Bloom (Jazmine Franks)

Status: Leaving

When: Spring 2018

More info: As exclusively revealed by Digital Spy, Jazmine Franks has now filmed her final scenes as Esther Bloom and will be bowing out soon.

Jazmine told us: “I’ve had such a wonderful time at Hollyoaks over the past eight years and have had the chance to work with the most amazing people, but my character no longer having Frankie around meant the time was just right for Esther to move on.

“I just want to say a massive thank you to the cast, crew and fans of the show for all of their support and I hope you follow me onto my next chapter.”

Brooke Hathaway (Talia Grant)

Status: Arriving

When: June 2018

More info: New character Brooke will arrive on screen this summer, when she’s fostered by the Osborne family. Brooke is autistic and Talia, who identifies as having high-functioning autism, is the first female actress who is autistic to land a mainstream role on British television.

Talia commented: “I am so excited to be joining Hollyoaks. I have met some of the cast and being on set was fun and everyone was super-nice and made me feel welcome.

“For a long while there has been no representation on screen of autistic women, especially autistic women of colour, so I am really looking forward to developing the character of Brooke and representing something that perhaps people are unaware of.”

Mercedes McQueen (Jennifer Metcalfe)

Status: Returning

When: Summer 2018

More info: Jennifer Metcalfe is currently away on maternity leave after welcoming her first child, a baby boy, and has confirmed that she’ll be gone from the show for a whole year.

Appearing on ITV’s Loose Women, Jennifer explained: “I’ve been on Hollyoaks for 11 years now, a brilliant 11 years, so I’m going to take a year’s break.”


Steph Scully (Carla Bonner)

Status: Rumoured to be leaving

When: 2018

More info: Carla Bonner recently dropped a huge hint that she’d left Neighbours when one of her Twitter followers questioned her lack of storylines as Steph Scully.

Carla replied by warning “You’re being weaned” and then hit the ‘like’ button on a number of tweets from fans who were upset about her apparent departure. Looks like the cat is out of the bag!

Dee / Andrea (Madeleine West)

Status: Returning

When: TBC

More info: Neighbours fans were stunned when Madeleine West made another special reappearance in the show, especially as it wasn’t clear whether she was playing impostor Andrea Somers or the real Dee Bliss this time. Fortunately, Channel 5 has revealed that we’re likely to get our answers… at some point, at least!

Channel 5’s commissioner Greg Barnett exclusively told Digital Spy: “We loved the audience response to Madeleine West’s return this year. Whether you were Team Dee or Team Andrea, the storyline got people talking.

“We always planned a sequel following the scandalous events in London and this week’s appearance by Madeleine is a nugget for the future.

“Was the mysterious woman on the park bench Dee or Andrea? And who was the man who sat down beside her? The answers lie in a juicy new saga waiting to be told.”


Chelsea (Ashleigh Brewer)

Status: Arriving

When: 2018

More info: Former Neighbours and The Bold and the Beautiful star Ashleigh Brewer has signed up for a six-month stint in Summer Bay as new cop Chelsea.

Ashleigh exclusively told us: “I’m not allowed to give too much away just yet, but we know that her name is Chelsea and she’s a police officer. She’s come to the Bay to give one of our favourites a real shock.

“I would say she is an extremely nice person with a strong head on her shoulders, but she’ll be causing a little bit of trouble through circumstances out of her control.”

Ash (George Mason)

Status: Leaving

When: 2018

More info: Home and Away bosses usually keep quiet about their departing cast members, but George Mason’s departure from the role of Ash has now been officially announced.

George has already filmed his final scenes, but Ash will remain on screen for a few months due to the show shooting so far in advance.

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