Six of the greatest soap comebacks

As Lisa Riley prepares to return to Emmerdale, we look back at the most memorable soap comebacks.

Lisa Riley is making a dramatic return to Emmerdale on Thursday night.

As Mandy Dingle, her arrival in the village is expected to cause chaos among the Dingle clan.

The show has had its share of comebacks over the years, and other soaps have also been keen to recall key characters.

Ahead of her highly-anticipated comeback, we take a look back at the great soap star returns of recent years.

1. Den Watts

SHOWBIZ Eastenders 1
EastEnders’ Dennis Watts (Leslie Grantham) with screen wife Angie (Anita Dobson) carving the Christmas turkey (PA)

After becoming a terror in Albert Square during the 1980s, Dennis Watts was killed off in 1989 when the character was shot and fell into a canal.

But “Dirty Den”, played by Leslie Grantham, was to reappear in 2003 for a two-year stint on the show before being killed off for a second time.

2. Harold Bishop

Ian Smith Neighbours photocall – London
Ian Smith, who played Harold Bishop in Neighbours (Anthony Devlin/PA)

A veteran of Australian soap Neighbours, Harold Bishop vanished near a cliff edge in 1991 after suffering a heart attack.

But Ian Smith’s character returned in 1996, and his second spell on the show was far longer than the first, lasting until 2009, and then followed by shorter appearances.

3. Peter Barlow

Corrie’s Peter kisses Tina on Wedding Day
Peter Barlow (Chris Gascoyne) on Coronation Street (ITV)

Peter Barlow has made several returns to Coronation Street since he first appeared in the 1980s, with darker storylines now surrounding Chris Gascoyne’s character.

Since his time off the show between 2003 and 2007, alcoholism and imprisonment have been among his many misfortunes.

4. Vera Duckworth

Coronation Street
Jack Duckworth is finally reunited with his beloved Vera (Ian Cartwright/ITV)

Also on Coronation Street, veteran character Vera Duckworth, played by Liz Dawn, made a very brief return.

She appeared as a vision in a short but poignant scene in 2010, following the character’s death in 2008, to dance with husband Jack. After she first berated him, the pair shared a kiss before Jack died peacefully.

5. Silas Blissett

Silas Blissett (Jeff Rawle) kidnapped heavily pregnant Mercedes Fisher (Jennifer Metcalfe) on her wedding day (Channel 4/PA)

Silas Blissett was a terrifying addition to Hollyoaks. He vanished in 2012 after tormenting Texas Longford, planning to leave her living in fear.

Blissett, played by Jeff Rawle, returned as the soap opera serial killer in 2016, to further bloodshed.

6. Kathy Beale

Gillian Taylforth returned to EastEnders as Kathy Beale after a 15-year break (Kieron McCarron/BBC/PA)

Gillian Taylforth had a staggering 15-year break from EastEnders after her character, Kathy Beale, supposedly died in a car crash.

But after being absent from Albert Square between 2000 and 2015, Taylforth returned to the role, for a storyline in which Kathy was struggling with an abusive marriage.

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