10 soap characters who are missing in action, from EastEnders' Ben to Emmerdale's Adam

When actors leave soaps, viewers often must make peace with the fact that their characters will inevitably miss important events for the families and friends left behind once they’re off screen.

However, sometimes there’s only so far viewers can suspend their disbelief when characters fail to appear when they’re needed the most. Here are those characters who are still missing in action when the soaps are crying out for their returns.

1. Andy McDonald (Coronation Street)

With so much recent drama for the McDonald clan, there was no better time for Andy McDonald to return. Right?

The forgotten McDonald brother was last seen in 2009 when he made an appearance at his twin Steve’s wedding to Becky Granger. Since then, Andy has been living in Spain and has missed countless huge events for his family. While missing the occasional wedding in soap world is acceptable, it’s Andy’s absence in recent months that has been most jarring.

The shock arrival of Katie was a huge moment for Liz and although Katie was a con woman, Andy would have undoubtedly booked a flight home to see his little sister. It’s too late now to reunite the entire family on screen, but surely the least Andy could do is visit his mum who is grieving the loss of her daughter all over again.

2. Adam Barton (Emmerdale)

He’s not even been off screen for a year and Emmerdale is already in need of the return of this popular character. After deciding to go on the run to protect Moira’s murderous secret, he’s been the talk of the village recently when his mum finally decided to reveal all to Victoria and Matty.

Despite all signs pointing to a dramatic return, actor Adam Thomas was quick to deny rumours he’ll be back any time soon as he discussed his upcoming roles in an interview on Lorraine. Still, with Victoria clearly not over her husband, as well as Matty’s feelings for Victoria bubbling under the surface, the opportunity for drama is too good to ignore. Emmerdale must give viewers some resolution, however brief. If a week-long stint is good enough for Kim Tate…

3 and 4. Peter Beale and Lauren Branning (EastEnders)

Flights from New Zealand must be expensive because it seems like nothing will tempt Peter Beale to catch a flight home. He’s missed his brother being jailed, his other brother dying and barely bothered with the fact that on-off girlfriend Lauren Branning had shacked up with said brother.

Speaking of Lauren, after a turbulent final few months she too left Albert Square and was later revealed to have returned New Zealand – prompting fans to speculate that the pair had reunited off screen. Even so, wouldn’t Lauren have a thing or two to say about Max’s sham relationship with Rainie, or want to be involved in baby Abi’s life?

Ben Hardy’s acting career is going from strength to strength, so any kind of return is unlikely, but maybe it’s time the show bit the bullet and recast him again. Ian’s in dire need of some family on screen these days!

5. Elle Robinson (Neighbours)

It’s been nearly a decade since Pippa Black bowed out as fan favourite Elle Robinson, and we’re well overdue a visit.

She’s missed the attempted murder of her father, the actual murder of her niece, Paul’s fake cancer scare, Paul being sent to jail, the news that she has two more brothers – we really could go on. To make things worse, any time Elle gets a mention, it’s only to remind viewers that her relationship with Paul has since fractured during her time away.

With Neighbours‘ fondness for returning characters, recent years have seen visits from other Robinson dynasty favourites like Lucy and Hilary, but Elle remains AWOL. Hopefully 2019 is the year Elle makes a visit home to make up with her dad and get to know the siblings she has living in Erinsborough.

6. Andy Sugden (Emmerdale)

What is it about Emmerdale and characters being on the run? It’s been just over two years since manipulative Chrissie set him up to protect her son, and we’re still no closer to seeing Andy back in the village.

With Chrissie dead and Lachlan finally arrested, Andy has no reason to stay away. Sure, he’ll still have to face charges for perverting the course of justice, but at least that pesky attempted murder accusation isn’t hanging over his head.

Wouldn’t Andy want to return to the only home he’s ever known? There’s also the small issue of his daughter Sarah undergoing a heart transplant! For that reason alone, Andy needs to face the music and come home.

7. Ben Mitchell (EastEnders)

When news broke that Ben Mitchell was to be written out of EastEnders, fans were not happy – even going as far as launching a petition to save him. That may have fallen on deaf ears but if you ask us, it was a mistake to lose a character who still had so much more to give.

After fleeing to France earlier this year, it’s fair to say the Mitchell family hasn’t been the same since. Jay has been left adrift without his best friend, and it was a shame to lose Ben’s troubled relationship with Phil, which had been a massive highlight in recent years.

Despite Harry Reid keeping himself busy in the theatre, former co-star Jamie Borthwick recently predicted that a return was inevitable. Ben could be getting into all sorts of fresh trouble abroad that could follow him back to the square, so let’s hope it’s sooner rather than later.

8. Lisa Dingle (Emmerdale)

Not quite gone but still greatly missed, Lisa Dingle has missed a lot since she left the village earlier this year – and we mean a lot. Charity revealed her secret son, Belle was terrorised by Lachlan, Sarah faced her heart transplant and Chas is going through her devastating baby ordeal. As for Lisa? She’s working with young offenders in Scotland.

While its’s been confirmed that actress Jane Cox hasn’t left the show for good, her absence has really left a massive hole. She may not be on the best of terms with her family after grassing up Liv for accidentally poisoning her, but Lisa would never stay away when her family has been going through hell. Hopefully it won’t be long until the much-loved matriarch makes her return and sorts things out with Zak.

9. The Tinker family (Coronation Street)

Okay, we’re cheating a little and grouping Sinead’s extended family together, but seriously, where are they? Both Sinead’s mum and gran were last spotted earlier this year at Sinead’s failed wedding to Chesney Brown but since then, they’ve barely garnered a mention.

We can understand their absence at Sinead’s recent surprise wedding ceremony, but now that her pregnancy and cervical cancer diagnosis are common knowledge, her family should be making a trip to Weatherfield ASAP. Whilst nothing seems to be on the horizon, we’re hoping Corrie soon remember Sinead’s family links, so they can support her through what promises to be a traumatic few months.

10. Tessie Thompson (Hollyoaks)

She may not be as memorable or had as much impact as some on this list, but there’s no denying her continued absence on Hollyoaks is more than a little suspect. With her son Harry now a regular fixture, Tessie should be a semi-regular fixture on the show – but didn’t even bother attending her son’s wedding. Though given how that turned out, it’s maybe for the best…

Setting aside the fact she’s missing key moments in Harry’s life, Tessie has potential to be an exciting character in her own right. She did try scam Tony for his money before leaving the village secretly carrying his child, after all. With original actress Siân Gibson’s career reaching new heights in recent years, it could be great to see Tessie return to cause some trouble for Tony.

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