After an eventful Christmas full of murder, mayhem and extra-marital lust, there's no let-up for the residents of Emmerdale as the new year begins.
2024 got off to a tragic start with a shocking death, and that's just the beginning of the drama as families are torn apart, the past comes back to haunt more than one local, and danger lurks around the corner.
Here is RadioTimes.com's huge preview of what to expect in Emmerdale in 2024.
Heath's death rocks the village
The village is in mourning after teenager Heath Hope died in a joyriding accident. Grieving dad Bob Hope is full of conflicted emotions as Heath’s twin sister Cathy was driving the stolen car and crashed it, almost killing her and Angelica King too.
How will Cathy live with the guilt of causing her brother’s demise, and will the rest of the family, and the Kings, turn against her? “This tragedy changes the dynamics of the Hope family forever, and will tear friendships apart,” teases Emmerdale producer Laura Shaw. “Bob and Cathy’s relationship will be tested to the max as they hit rock bottom.”
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Charity's killer meltdown
Charity Dingle continues to be haunted by gangster Harry/Damon’s grisly death and will struggle with being responsible for ending the villain’s life – even though it was technically an accident.
If she hadn’t tackled horrid Harry and his loaded gun then hubby Mackenzie Boyd wouldn’t be around to see 2024, but her bravery left her traumatised. Even though the police quickly rule Harry’s death as accidental, the case is far from closed for the couple, as the incident threatens their future as they process what’s happened.
Newcomer Ella's mystery romance
Former Corrie star Paula Lane, who played Kylie Platt, joins Emmerdale this month as newcomer Ella Forster. An encounter with Mandy Dingle leads Ella to the village, where a job opportunity arises at the GP surgery that means it won’t be a flying visit.
Producer Laura Shaw says: “Ella is a complex, multi-layered character who makes a real impact. She’s hard-working and doesn’t mince her words, but there is more to her than meets the eye. Ella quickly catches the eye of one of our most eligible bachelors…”
Caleb's wife Ruby arrives
Caleb Milligan is embroiled in a steamy secret affair with married minx Tracy Robinson, but a reunion with an old flame is on the cards this new year when his wife arrives. Ruby Fox-Milligan, mum to Nicky, crashes back into her estranged husband and son’s lives and plans to stake her claim on Caleb and entice him back into her bed.
According to producer Kate Brooks, she’s not the kind of woman who takes no for an answer: “Ruby is an absolute force of nature with scores to settle. Fiercely loyal to her family, she will do anything to protect her loved ones. Her relationship with Caleb is intense and volatile.” Ruby will be played by Beth Cordingly, best known for her role in cop drama The Bill as PC Kerry Young.
Rhona's dangerous decision
The complicated connection between Rhona Goskirk and baby Ivy deepens after the newborn and her grieving dad Gus spent Christmas in the village. Unable to fight her maternal instinct for the child she didn’t carry, but is biologically hers, will Rhona jeopardise the family she already has?
“In 2024 Rhona will be pushed to breaking point by this situation,” teases producer Laura Shaw. “She’s forced to make a really risky decision that affects her whole family. Can she be talked round or is she going to lose everything in the quest to help Ivy?”
Aaron puts Cain in danger
Aggressive and constantly agitated, Aaron Dingle is still a ball of rage after being forced back to the village in 2023, and his need to take it out on everyone around him has serious repercussions as 2024 begins.
Aaron teams up with Mackenzie Boyd in a car-stealing scam, but their thrill-seeking illegal activities get a little too close to home when they plot to nick an expensive motor from the garage right under the nose of a certain Cain Dingle.
Mack tries to keep Cain occupied while his partner in crime does the deed, only for events to spiral out of control to create a dangerous situation that sees the tension between Aaron and Cain explode in spectacular fashion…
Chas and Liam's surprise passion
2023 wasn’t exactly a vintage year for Chas Dingle and Liam Cavanagh – romantically speaking. The pub landlady was forced to swallow her jealousy as ex-husband Paddy Dingle got back together with first wife Mandy Dingle, while Dr Liam had a torrid affair with nurse Wendy Posner and earned a punch in the face from her partner Bob Hope when the fling was exposed.
Early in 2024, these two lost souls bond over their miserable love lives, and end up finding comfort in one another as they share an unexpected kiss! Is this the start of a new relationship for the unlucky singletons?
Wedding hell for Belle?
It was all rom com cuteness when Belle Dingle proposed to Tom King at an ice rink, with skating legends Torvill and Dean as special guests. The loved-up couple are making plans for their big day in 2024, but the memory of Tom violently lashing out at Belle during an argument is lingering. Will Tom’s fiery temper flare up in the future, and could the consequences be even worse for Belle if he flipped out again?
“It was a terrible thing to happen, but it was a freak accident,” insists James Chase, who plays Tom. “They spoke about it afterwards and it shows how good a person Belle is that she was able to forgive him and move on. Everyone is ready to assume Tom will go down the path of being aggressive, but right now it’s lovely and romantic.” Let’s see how long that lasts…
Ryan and Gail reunite with Oscar
Ryan Stocks and Gail Loman are delighted their long-lost son Oscar Grisham wants to build a relationship with the parents who had him adopted at birth. Unfortunately, Oscar’s adopted mum Sophie Grisham is less than thrilled at the idea.
In January, Oscar’s sneaky visits to the village are discovered by Sophie, who is threatened at her lad wanting to bond with his biological mum and dad. Insecure Sophie launches a tirade of abuse at Gail in a shocking showdown and demands she stay away from her son. Will Gail and Ryan turn their back on the boy?
Meanwhile, Oscar starts exploring his family tree and asks granny Charity Dingle about Ryan’s real dad. Can young Oscar handle the truth, that Charity was raped as a teenager by a corrupt copper?
Guess who's back…
Someone gets a blast from the past very soon, as producer Laura Shaw teases an exciting comeback to the cast. “We’ve got a familiar face returning in January. This person comes back to help one of our villagers who’s in a little bit of trouble. We’ll leave you to guess who that might be…”
Our money is on Vanessa Woodfield, as actress Michelle Hardwick’s maternity leave after having her second baby must be up soon. Ness’s little sister Tracy Robinson and ex-lover Charity Dingle are both facing tough times in 2024, giving her at least two good reasons to return.
Laura Norton, aka Kerry Wyatt, is also due back from maternity leave in 2024, and daughter Chloe Harris really needs her mother right now.
Or what about Debbie Dingle showing up in mum Charity's hour of need after killing Harry? Only time will tell.
- Emmerdale airs surprise update on much-missed character Robert Sugden
- Emmerdale spoilers for Christmas and New Year: Festive proposal and joyride terror
- Emmerdale casts Paula Lane as new character Ella Forster
- Emmerdale Christmas 2023 preview: Tragedy, returns, weddings, new arrivals