Emmerdales Diane Sugden actress Elizabeth Estensen retires from soap after 22 years

Emmerdales Diane Sugden actress Elizabeth Estensen retires from soap after 22 years

Get daily celeb exclusives and behind the scenes house tours direct to your inbox

It's the end of an era on Emmerdale and one that fans of the ITV soap won't be glad to see the back of. After 22 years of playing matriarch Diane Sugden, actress Elizabeth Estensen has decided to retire from her role in the village.

Emmerdale certainly won't be the same without Elizabeth as she's been a cornerstone of the soap since her debut in 1999. Her character Diane has been through countless highs and lows throughout her time on the show and at the heart of many much-loved storylines.

She's been married and widowed, worked at the helm as landlady of the Woolpack for seventeen years and even undergone treatment for cancer twice.

Past storylines have seen Diane ripped off by her conman lover Charlie, trapped at gun point in a siege and stabbed in the dark by Chas Dingle.

However, through all the trials and tribulations, Diane has been a supportive mother, sister, stepmother and grandmother to her fictional family.

So, like any soap character, Diane's life in the village has been anything but smooth sailing. She was lost in a mirror maze which ultimately killed her sister Val, and more recently helped ex lover Eric Pollard run the village B&B.

Become an OK! VIP and see all our exclusives – for free!

Become an OK! VIP and you will unlock access to all of our big exclusives…

Be the first to meet the latest showbiz babies, see the most sought after wedding pictures of the year, or take a guided tour around your favourite star's lavish multi-million pound home – all for free!

Sign up here

After such an action packed run in the village, Diane will soon be packing her suitcases and heading off to warmer climes leaving her life in the village behind her.

Speaking on her decision to leave the programme, Elizabeth said: “For the past 22 years I have loved playing Diane Sugden – she’s kind, reliable and fiercely loyal. However, I now feel the time has come to say goodbye."

She continued: "Emmerdale will always remain special to me. I’ve been treated with respect and kindness and I’ve had the very best friends and colleagues, both past and present. I’ll miss everyone dearly.”

John Whiston, Managing Director of Continuing Drama and Head of ITV in the North, said: “For 22 years, Liz has shone through the screen and into our living rooms as the natural heart and centre of the Sugden family.

Keep up with all the latest Emmerdale news and spoilers by signing up to OK!’s daily newsletter.

"It's a role she has made so totally her own, bringing compassion, humour and credibility to her portrayal of Diane," he continued. "Whenever she's on screen, as a viewer, you just let out a contented sigh and say to yourself 'The Queen is on her throne and all is well with the world'.

"And off screen, you don't get to stay in a soap that long unless you are a truly professional actor and really, really lovely person. Liz is both.”

ITV have confirmed that Elizabeth has filmed her final scenes, but she will remain on our screens for a number of weeks before her departure.

Emmerdale airs weeknights at 7pm on ITV, with an extra episode at 8pm on Thursdays.

Source: Read Full Article