Emmerdale has broken the hearts of legions of fans as ailing Lisa Dingle (Jane Cox) has been left dead after her wedding day to her beloved soulmate Zak (Steve Halliwell). Jane bows out of the role following 23 years of playing Lisa and Dingles will never be the same again.
In a day which began with such love and hope, there was an overshadowing foreboding as all guests knew that there could only ever be a short time limit on this marriage – but Lisa and Zak both knew that their love would carry on forever, whether they were physically together or not.
Fans have been reacting in dismay and devastation by the moving scenes which saw the special wedding day seal the love between Zak and Lisa – one of soap’s most legendary couples – before Lisa passed away for the last time after the perfect wedding in her own home.
The soap had held back the twist from fans for maximum impact and now the Dingles will have to rally together to try and come to terms with what has happened.
Speaking of the exit decision, Jane said: ‘I’ve been part of her for 23 years, so it’s a long time but I’m 66 now, and I felt – I’m very young – but I wanted to not be working at this pace so much in the future, and I’ve got lots of other things that I want to do, not necessarily acting but there’s lots of things that I’m interested in, and if I didn’t do it now, I probably wouldn’t.’
The character has been at the centre of some massive storylines since arriving and joining the Dingle clan. As well as giving birth to a now adult Belle in a pig sty on Christmas Day, she has also helped her husband Zak through depression and cancer and her daughter through psychosis.
And Lisa has had some dark times herself after being raped by a work colleague and more recenty, almost dying after having her drink accidentally spiked.
But fans will remember her more for the traditional soap and family warmth she brought to the Dingle household.
And despite Marlon having the recipe, the rabbit stew in the cooking pot in the centre of that rustic table will be missed – but nowhere near as much as Lisa.