Emmerdale’s iconic Zak Dingle character returns to the soap – but where had he been?

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Zak Dingle is one of Emmerdale’s most iconic characters with actor Steve Halliwell having played him since 1994.

And it’s good news for viewers of the soap who are Zak fans, as he finally returned to the Dales on Monday evening after a long absence.

The soap patriarch walked into a family war zone, with Debbie Dingle clashing with mum Charity over daughter Sarah’s issues.

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But where had Zak been during his long absence from the soap? Let's take a look…

Where was Zak Dingle?

Well, the head of the Dingle clan, who is the father to Nathan, Butch, Ben, Cain, Sam, Tina and Belle, married Lisa – another iconic character – in 1998 and they became a staple soap couple.

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However the pair later divorced in 2016 and Zak went to marry Joanie, but their marriage didn’t last long at all.

More heartbreak came for Zak in January 2017 when Lisa went to pick Joanie up from prison, after she was sentenced for assaulting an officer, but she died after entering cardiac arrest.

After this, Zak and Lisa reconciled and Lisa went to Scotland in 2018 and she was later joined by Zak.

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While there, however, Zak had even more bad news as he found out Lisa was terminally ill with a condition called amyloidosis.

They returned to the village to get married but during the wedding Lisa went to Wishing Well cottage and died.

The devastating death shook the village, and Zak went up to Scotland after with Debbie, to run a garage which was left to the late Lisa by a friend.

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Zak returned to the village briefly for a christening in 2020 but he’s since been off the scene until his big return on 18 January.

It’s currently unknown whether Zak will be sticking around this time or if it’s a fleeting visit but we of course hope he’s around for a while.

Steve, 66, who plays the part of Zak revealed in 2019 he was taking time away from the show to have a pacemaker fitted; a small device which is typically fitted to keep the heart beating regularly and not too slowly.

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The actor told The Sun at the time: “I’m back at work in a few weeks and feeling fitter than ever after having a pacemaker fitted in September. It’s done me the world of good and I feel fantastic.

“Emmerdale have been brilliant throughout and really looked after me.

“I did have to spend some time in hospital and it was really funny to see the entire Dingle clan around my bed.

“Everyone has been so considerate and I know it sounds a bit of a cliche, but we really are one big happy family.”

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