Emmerdale: Rik Makarem to return as Nikhil Sharma

Viewers promised Sharma drama when Makarem's widower arrives back in the Yorkshire Dales

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Emmerdale is to welcome Rik Makarem back into the fold.

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Makarem’s widower Nikhil Sharma will return to the Yorkshire Dales this autumn. In 2013, Sharma emigrated to Canada with daughter Molly after wife Gennie Walker was murdered following a horrific car accident.

Show insiders have promised “an exciting storyline” but haven’t revealed what draws Nikhil back or whether he’s welcomed with open arms.

The actor left the soap in 2013 following the departure of his on-screen wife Sian Reese-Williams. At the time he said he took he decision to leave after listening “very closely to my heart” – “I’m naturally ambitious; I believe in taking risks, as that’s how we truly learn about ourselves”.

Makarem, who will begin filming his first scenes in September, said: “With fresh energy and wisdom from playing other characters, I’m over the moon to be re-investing in Nikhil. Emmerdale is fantastic at character-driven stories and for any actor, this is massively rewarding.”

Series producer Kate Oates said: “I am thrilled to be welcoming Rik back. Nikhil previously left Emmerdale under sad circumstances as he continued to grieve for his wife Gennie, but with strong family roots still in the village it was inevitable that he would reappear. But with Jai off the rails, Rishi at his wit’s end and Priya flaunting her new-found ambitions, what will he make of the family he left behind?”

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Since leaving Emmerdale, Makarem has swapped television for the stage, appearing in the plays Passing By, The Dishwashers and, most recently, Dead Simple.