Emmerdale 50th anniversary cast: which characters will appear in one-hour special - and who might die?

British soap opera Emmerdale will celebrate its 50th anniversary this month with an hour-long special episode. It will see the return of past characters.

The first episode of British soap opera Emmerdale aired on ITV on 16 October 1972 - back then it was called Emmerdale Farm. Originally the show was only intended to run for 26 episodes, but over the last five decades, more than 8,000 episodes have been broadcast - there have been dozens of births, and more than 100 deaths - and it has become one of the UK’s longest running shows.

Emmerdale 50th anniversary
Emmerdale 50th anniversary
Emmerdale 50th anniversary

Who stars in the Emmerdale 50th anniversary?

Some iconic characters who previously left the show will return for the anniversary - they include:

  • Diane Sugden, played by Elizabeth Estensen, who appeared in the show from 1999-2021
  • Aaron Dingle, played by Danny Miller, who starred in the soap on and off between 2003 and 2021
  • Tracy Metcalfe, played by Amy Walsh, who first appeared in 2014 

Regular cast members who are expected to feature in the special include:

  • Michael Wildman as Al Chapman
  • Lawrence Robb as Mackenzie Boyd
  • Lucy Pargeter as Chas Dingle
  • Jay Kontzle as Billy Fletcher
  • Jurell Carter as Nate Robinson
  • Dominic Brunt as Paddy Kirk
  • Katherine Blyton as Harriet Finch
  • Jeff Hordley as Cain Dingle
  • Zoe Henry as Rhona Goskirk
  • Fiona Wade as Priya Kotecha
  • Chris Bisson as Jai Sharma
  • Lisa Riley as Mandy Dingle
  • Mark Carnock as Marlon Dingle
  • Chris Chittell as Eric Pollard
  • Claire King as Kim Tate
  • Emma Atkins as Charity Dingle
Emmerdale cast photo
Emmerdale cast photo
Emmerdale cast photo

Will any original characters return in the Emmerdale anniversary special?

The only original cast members who are still alive are Frazer Hines, who played Joe Sugden, Gail Harrison, who played Marian Wilks, and Frederick Pyne, who played Matt Skilbeck.

Sugden’s character was killed off in 1995, while the actress playing Marian was switched in 1987, before the character was written out a year later. Matt Skilbeck’s last appearance was in 1989. None of these characters has been confirmed to return in the anniversary special.

Who could die in the Emmerdale special?

Showrunners have not announced who will be killed off in the special episode, though they have confirmed that more than one character will meet their end. The special will see a storm rip through Emmerdale village, causing chaos for the residents.

However, some fans have looked into the typical profile of soap characters who are killed off in specials and deduced that they are more likely to be male, and have been in the soap for at least five years. Therefore, Billy Fletcher, Nate Robinson and Mackenzie Boyd are thought to be most at risk of dying in the special.

Fans are also concerned for Paddy Kirk, who has been played by Dominic Brunt for 25 years. Brunt has recently turned to life behind the camera, directing the horror film Wolf Manor. Brunt said: “If I was to go tomorrow though, I wouldn’t complain because I’ve had 25 amazing years – but long may it continue. I absolutely love that job to pieces. I can’t explain to you what it means to me.”

When is the Emmerdale 50th anniversary on TV?

The 50th anniversary special will air on ITV on Sunday 16 October, 50 years to the day from the very first episode. It will air from 7pm-8pm - unlike the soap’s 40th anniversary the episode will not be broadcast live. The special will be available to watch on the ITV Hub shortly after it first airs. A special documentary, Emmerdale - 50 Unforgettable Years, will air at 6pm before the anniversary.

Is there a trailer for the Emmerdale anniversary special?

Yes there is, and you can watch it right here: