Emmerdale producer hints at return of former cast members
Emmerdale producer Iain MacLeod has teased a new member of the Dingle family will be joining the ITV rural soap as well as hinting that some former cast members may return to the Dales.
At a screening previewing two special episodes which will be broadcast next week, he did not expand on the new female cast member, but did reveal more trouble for Cain Dingle, played by Jeff Hordley.
The longstanding character will face "an acute test of loyalty" with wife Moira (Natalie J. Robb) when old flame Charity Dingle (Emma Atkins) returns.
MacLeod also promised a "special" and "spectacular" week of Emmerdale episodes in the autumn.
Formerly series producer of teen soap Hollyoaks, he has replaced producer Kate Oates, who is now Coronation Street boss.
MacLeod has vowed to "retain the integrity" of the long-running soap set in the Yorkshire Dales.
Speaking to the Press Association, he said some Emmerdale fans on social media had reacted negatively to his appointment.
"When I got the job, I did look up the Emmerdale hashtag on Twitter and there was quite a lot of people going, 'I'm never watching Emmerdale again - he's going to ruin it'.
MacLeod added: "But I'm absolutely not going to change it into something viewers don't recognise. It's too much of a precious thing to mess around with."
The former journalist, who has previously also worked on Coronation Street, was at the helm of Hollyoaks from 2013 until the end of last year.
He said "quite a few" former cast members had contacted him with regard to a possible return.
"It means the show's doing really well, that people still hold it in really high regard, that they enjoyed working there," he said.
"I think it's a massive compliment to Emmerdale, but I can't say any more than that at this point because it's top secret."
MacLeod, who has been in his new role for just five weeks, said he did not feel nervous about taking the job.
He said Oates had given him "lots of invaluable bits of input".
MacLeod also praised Emmerdale's "fantastic characters" and "brilliant writing", and said there was currently no "gaping hole" to fill.
"I feel my responsibility is to protect what we've got, to retain the integrity of the show, to build on that and keep telling these brilliant stories with the characters that everybody loves."