Follow that, Sharon Watts: soap’s best and worst comebacks

From Bobby Ewing to Bet Lynch - watch videos of the ultimate TV resurrections

Following the news that EastEnders’s Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean) is set to reappear in Albert Square after a six-year absence, looks back at some of the characters who have made a memorable return to popular soaps.


Bobby Ewing (Dallas)

Ratings tanked following the departure of Patrick Duffy from Dallas in 1985. Unfortunately, his character had been killed off so a return for Bobby seemed unlikely. Until, that is, Pam woke to find her husband in the shower and realised that she’d dreamed both his demise and – in enviable detail, it has to be said – the entire last season of the show.


Den Watts (EastEnders)

Shot by a gun hidden in a bunch of daffs in 1989, Dirty Den had long been presumed deceased. Imagine daughter Sharon’s surprise, then, when he was brought back alive and well to Walford in 2003. Unfortunately, this miraculous resurrection was short-lived and Den left E20 for good two years later, this time most definitely dead.

Bet Lynch (Coronation Street)

One of the shortest comebacks of them all, Julie Goodyear make a grand re-entrance as the leopard-skinned Bet in 2002, turning up in Weatherfield in time for Betty’s retirement party. However, the pressure of increased recording schedules led to Goodyear’s exit just a few episodes later amid reports of ill health. Bet – and Goodyear – are set to return, though, in stage musical Coronation Street: Street of Dreams in March this year.

Harold Bishop (Neighbours)

It was one of the most haunting soap scenes of all time: Madge standing on a cliff edge holding husband Harold’s thick-framed specs. We watched, we grieved. Yet five years later, the Bish was back, having been swept out to sea and picked up by a trawler. Suffering from amnesia, he was now going by the name of Ted and working for the Salvation Army.

Kat and Alfie Moon (EastEnders)

On Christmas Day 2005, Kat and Alfie Moon left Walford for a new life in America. Yet the lure of a grotty Square in the East End of London proved too attractive to resist and the pair resurfaced in autumn 2010. This amusing Wild West-style trailer heralded Jessie Wallace and Shane Richie’s return – although the laughs weren’t to last. By new year there was the ill-judged baby-swap plot to contend with…