That revolving door used by the casts of soap just keeps on spinning, with more dramatic exits and explosive returns ahead. With the likes of Mick Carter and Max Branning taking breaks from EastEnders, Kim Tate heading back to Emmerdale, Lewis Archer meeting a nasty end in Coronation Street and Lisa Loveday coming home to Hollyoaks, some pivotal faces are making changes – and the storylines are sure to be dramatic.
Here, we present our every-so-often roundup of soap cast changes so you can keep track of who is doing what and potentially how.
Lewis Archer – Coronation Street
The smooth talking charmer of Weatherfield looks set to be heading for a nasty end as it has been revealed he will die in a dramatic New Year storyline – but will he be departing as a villain or a tragic loss to devastated Audrey?
For now, he is well trusted as a reformed character by the woman who loves him – but considering that Nigel Havers knew the outcome of the story from the day he signed up to come back, could there be another twist in store?
Mick Carter – EastEnders
In order to participate in theatre performances next year for several weeks, there is another break on the horizon for Danny Dyers troubled landlord character. He is currently in prison accused of shooting Stuart but he will appear on screen again before long for an explosive and violent showdown with his enemy.
But as he will then be performing in Harold Pinter plays The Dumb Waiter and A Slight Ache alongside Martin Freeman for most of February, it looks like another temporary goodbye will need to be said to Mick.
Fiz Stape – Coronation Street
Happily, Jennie McAlpine recently welcomed her newborn daughter Hilda to the world, meaning that she is taking maternity leave from her role as Fiz. This will come about after she has an almighty clash with Evelyn Plummer but will this spell the end of her relationship with Tyrone?
Jennie expects to return to the role after her maternity leave.
Max Branning – EastEnders
Things are about to kick off again for Max as he fears Rainie has ruined their chances of getting custody of baby Abi. When Rainie and Cora end up in a fight after the truth about Rainies night with Jack is exposed, Abi is taken into care.
Early next year, Jake Wood will be taking time off to tour with the live version of his podcast Pound For Pound, so will he be leaving Walford in despair? Or might he choose to flee with Abi?
Jude Appleton – Coronation Street
Jude will be back on our screens in coming episodes for the final part of his story but Paddy Wallace has confirmed that he has filmed his final scenes with the soap. As Jude remains absent following his disappearance act, what brings him briefly back remains to be seen.
Will Mary get the closer she seeks?
Buster Smith – Hollyoaks
Evil abuser Buster is due to stand trial next year for his abuse of Brody and Ollie but with cast members promising the right ending to the high profile storyline, it seems inevitable that we will be saying goodbye to Buster.
But will Brody and Ollie be able to pick up the pieces if they get the justice they deserve?
Dr Legg – EastEnders
It has been lovely seeing Dots old friend Dr Legg back in Walford but with his devastating bombshell that he is dying, it is only a matter of time before a painful goodbye follows. As Dot vows to be there for Dr Legg, there are emotional scenes ahead as they visit the graves of his parents.
Quite when the final goodbye will air remains to be seen but its certain to be emotional.
Kim Tate – Emmerdale
She caused a whole heap of trouble in just one day when she returned to the village recently but ended up back inside after just 24 hours of chaotic freedom. But Kim will be back in the village long term next year – with a vengeance.
With the death of Joe and her order for Graham to find James, she is going to want answers.
Phil Mitchell – EastEnders
While the cats away, Sharon will play – but her affair with Keanu could bring a devastating turn of events when Phil comes back. Steve McFadden is already back filming with the soap and fans will be waiting with bated breath for him to discover the shocking truth.
All hell is sure to break loose.
Lisa Loveday – Hollyoaks
Lisas return scenes air next week but we may have to enjoy her comeback while we can as she arrives straight into deadly danger. With Liam still determined to avenge his evil dad Glenn, he threatens Lisas life and sends the Lovedays into a spin.
Zack locks Lisa in the house for her safety but she soon escapes…
Imogen Pascoe – Coronation Street
Metro.co.uk recently confirmed the return of Kates ex Imogen to Weatherfield this winter for a handful of episodes that see her act as a catalyst for a Kana reunion. Kate and Rana are estranged by this point but Imogen will help them patch things up after coming face to face with Rana.
And its a good thing too, wed already bought our wedding outfits.
Alfie Moon – EastEnders
Shane Richie and Jessie Wallace have been back where they belong filming as Kat and Alfie Moon – with scenes on location airing in the coming weeks. But will Alfie discover the truth that Hayley has given birth to his child?
And could this lead to a colossal Slater showdown as Kat finally learns what has happened behind her back?
Luke Morgan – Hollyoaks
With Gary Lucy currently touring with The Full Monty, Luke is languishing in prison but he will be popping up again in the not too distant future for a few episodes here and there before his full time return next year.
And Sarah Jayne Dunn recently told us that this would bring big trouble Mandys way…
Mike Thornberry – Coronation Street
Liz may have been a bit too hasty in ditching reliable Mike due to her feelings for Johnny – look how spending the night with him turned out. And the teacher turned cabbie will soon be back – but will it be for Liz or for another reason?
Actor Louis Emerick has already returned to filming but how long the stint is for remains unconfirmed.