Emmerdale‘s Dingle clan are devastated by the death of beloved matriarch Lisa Dingle (Jane Cox) who died on her wedding day to soul mate Zak Dingle (Steve Halliwell).
Friday 24th May’s emotional episode showed the cut-up clan reeling with grief as news of the death spread around the village, with Belle Dingle (Eden Taylor-Draper) the first to find Zak with Lisa minutes after she passed away in her sleep.
Lisa had been suffering from rare condition amyloidosis which left her with a severely weakened heart due to a build-up of abnormal proteins in the body. She thought she had months to live, but shortly after remarrying Zak she died peacefully at home with faithful dog Monty at her side.
Cox had announced her decision to quit after 23 years in March and confirmed her character would be killed off – but the soap had not revealed the exact date of Lisa’s final scenes, so when they aired on Thursday 23rd May it came as a heartbreaking shock to fans.
Belle found a wedding card written by her mum for Zak and heartstrings among the viewers were no doubt pulled as she read it out during their last moments with Lisa: “Some people are born to be together and that’s us,” it said, “my one true love…”
After Lydia Hart (Karen Blick) cut the wedding reception party in the Woolpack short by announcing the news about Lisa, the Dingle clan descended on Wishing Well Cottage and stood together as the authorities arrived to drive her body out of the village.
Is Zak Dingle also leaving Emmerdale?
Lisa’s passing leaves an unquestionably big hole in the Dingle dynamic and signifies the end of one of the show’s most popular partnerships. Actor Steve Halliwell celebrates 25 years as Zak in 2019, but has co-star Cox’s departure made him consider his future on the show? “I’ve been very happy here and have no great desire to go out and have another challenge,” the actor told RadioTimes.com.
“It was challenging enough surviving before I got this job! If they keep asking me to come back I will. I’ll probably keel over in the Woolpack which is a good way to go!”
As to how Zak will handle life as a widower, Halliwell warns there are difficult times ahead. “He won’t cope well. The finality of death is something we all experience at some point, sadly, but it’s good to explore bereavement as millions go through it. Zak will have to find a way but it won’t be good. Zak has had nervous breakdowns before, but I’m not sure what the writers will do. We’ll see.
“As for finding another love interest, I think not! The stress of another relationship would be too taxing at his age, as it is for me in real life – I’m 73 and single! I think Zak will just want to look after his family, go down the pub and have a quiet life.”
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