With Izzy Hoyland back causing trouble in Erinsborough, Mel Owen a resident of Albert Square again plus Luke Morgan and Mandy Richardson making us feel nostalgic about the 90s in Hollyoaks, it’s been looking a lot like yesteryear in soapland.
But we’re not complaining, as we love it when characters from the past return. Especially if they haven’t been heard from in six million years. Or they were killed off and we never expected to see ’em again!
So to celebrate this month’s Slater family reunion in EastEnders, Martin Platt being back in Corrie and next month’s return of Jane Harris (aka Plain Jane Super Brain) to Neighbours, we’re taking a look back at some of soapland’s most unexpected and (very!) long-awaited returns…
Coronation Street – Dennis Tanner, Jenny Bradley and Martin Platt come home
Dennis Tanner (played by Philip Lowrie)
The son of the iconic Elsie Tanner, he was an original cast member when Corrie first began in 1960. Philip quit the soap in 1968 and it was a whopping 43 years before he returned again – getting hitched to Rita Sullivan and then turning out to be a right ratbag!
Jenny Bradley (played by Sally Ann Matthews)
She can’t beat the Weatherfield record of 43 years but there was a 22 year gap between her original run and return to the soap in 2015, when she came back to try and make amends with former foster mum, Rita Tanner, having always blamed Rita for the death of her nasty dad Alan Bradley – when he got squashed by a tram in Blackpool.
Martin Platt (played by Sean Wilson)
Gail’s second husband has been living (off screen) in Liverpool since the character was written out of the soap in 2005. But Martin is always there for his son, David. And David is really going to need his dad’s support this month when he is sexually assaulted by new garage mechanic, Josh Tucker.
EastEnders – Dirty Den and Kathy Beale come back-from-the-dead!
“Dirty” Den Watts (played by Leslie Grantham)
Den got shot by a hitman in 1989, fell into the canal and his dead body was identified by his daughter, Sharon. But Shazza clearly wasn’t paying attention, as 15 years later Dirty Den came back from the dead, having survived the shooting hiding out in Spain. But he got properly bumped off again for the soap’s 20th anniversary in 2005 when his scheming estranged wife Chrissie Watts whacked him over the head with a heavy doorstop.
Colin Russell (played by Michael Cashman)
Colin was the first openly gay character in the soap back in the 80s. He stuck around in Walford until 1989. But we didn’t see him again for 27 years when Colin came to personally invite old friend Dot Branning to his wedding in 2016.
Kathy Beale (played by Gillian Taylforth)
Kathy returned for the soap’s 30th anniversary in 2015 and it was eventually revealed she had faked her own death in South Africa 15 years earlier and was now on the run from her horrible hubby, Gavin Sullivan. What are the chances of Ian Beale’s scheming ex-wife, Cindy Beale returning? Cindy is supposed to have died in prison while giving birth. But it all happened off-screen – so you never know!
Simon “Wicksy” Wicks (played by Nick Berry)
He was the son of Pat Wicks, half-brother of David Wicks and dad to the now dead Steven Beale, after an affair with Ian’s wife, Cindy. He was a regular character between 1985 to 1990 and then left Albert Square for a new life in New Zealand. But 22 years after his exit, Wicksy made a very brief cameo appearance and was seen laying flowers on Pat’s grave after she died from cancer.
Emmerdale – Annie Sugden, Joseph Tate and other ghosts from the past
Annie Sugden (played by Sheila Mercier)
The original feisty mama of the village, Annie was a regular on the soap between 1972 to 1994. But after a 13 year absence she made an emotional return in 2009 to break the sad news that her son, Jack Sugden had died from a heart attack while staying with her in Spain. Annie is still heard from off screen, most recently when granddaughter Victoria phoned to tell Annie that grandson Robert is now a dad to baby Seb.
Joseph Tate (played by Ned Porteous)
Joseph was just a bratty schoolboy during his original run on Emmerdale between 1995 to 2005. Fast forward to the present and Joe (aka businessman Tom Waterhouse) is back in the village, all grown up and out to make life a misery for anyone who has crossed him or the Tate family in the past. We’re hoping other Tate family members will soon join him, as Home Farm is a big ‘ol house for one fella to be living in alone, right?
Various dead Emmerdalians
OK, so there are no plans to bring back dead characters Val Pollard (Charlie Hardwick), Katie Sugden (Sammy Winward), Tricia Dingle (Sheree Murphy) and Chrissie White (Louise Marwood) anytime soon. But we all got totes nostalgic after the ladies all made appearances at The Emmerdale Studio Experience. to meet and greet with fans. And we love seeing their Insta snaps of present day cast reunions!