HOLLYOAKS began the new year with a literal bang after an explosion shook up the cast of the show.
And with plenty of drama in store for the rest of 2022, here’s the lowdown on the Channel 4 soap's latest comings and goings…
Lisa Hunter (Gemma Atkinson) – returning
More than a decade has passed since her last appearance in Hollyoaks.
However, Gemma Atkinson is set to return to Chester during the Spring of 2022 and reprise her iconic role of Lisa Hunter.
She will be part of a story line revolving around her best friend Zara Morgan.
Hollyoaks bosses had always left room for her potential return following her final departure in 2006.
But why will she come back?
Ethan Williams (Matthew-James Bailey) – joined
Ethan is Dave Chen-Williams' half-brother, partner to a dangerous criminal named Maya.
He was first introduced to Hollyoaks viewers in November, 2021, ahead of the rest of his family.
Celebrating Christmas with his brother, much to the delight of his nieces and nephews, the celebration turned deadly when Maya found out he was conspiring against her.
Maya (Ky Discala) – joined and left
Ky's stint on the programme as ruthless criminal Maya didn't last long.
Alongisde Ethan, Maya was in the process of performing a robbery at Marringcroft Jewellers in November, 2021.
The couple took Darren Osborne as a hostage when they realised he had been an unwanted witness.
While Maya wanted him dead, she eventually spared him.
Maya wasn't well-liked by Ethan's family.
Maya met her demise at Christmas when she plans to kill Ethan's step-niece Serena upon finding out he was conspiring against her.
The pair scuffled over a gun, which led Maya to accidentally shoot herself.
Chen-Williams family – joined
The new clan will made their first appearance in December, 2021.
The tight-knit clan were first introduced to Channel 4 viewers as they spend the festive season together.
The family is made up of Psychiatrist Honour, played by Vera Chok and delivery driver Dave, portrayed by Dominic Power, along with their kids and stepkids.
Viewers have already met the couple in separate storylines.
Dave has already crossed Theresa McQueen and met his biological daughter Maxine for the first time in decades.
Honour, discovered a huge secret about Warren Fox while working at the prison.
Meanwhile, charming police officer Sam (Matthew McGivern) has crossed paths with Celeste Faroe (Andrea Ali) following Lisa Loveday's murder and Sid Sumner's new love interests Serena and Lizzie are members of the family.
The youngest son Mason (Frank Kauer) is still trying to find himself and makes attempts to be cool which can often backfire.
The new family are already stirring things up in Hollyoaks, with daughter Lizzie catching Sid Sumner's attention.
This shocked her sister Serena aka Galaxy who already went on one date with Sid in September, 2021.
Trish Minniver (Denise Welch) – left
Following her one-year stint on the show, Trish made her last appearance in the village on January 3, 2022.
Trish made plans to leave for Los Angeles, to be with her daughter Mitzeee.
The feisty resident couldn't shake the feeling she had to leave when Dave moved in to the village with his own family over Christmas.
Trish was at odds with her other daughter Maxine when the latter found out about her true parentage, understanding that Dave is her biological father.
Angry that her mother Trish kept this a secret, Maxine wanted nothing to do with her.
Both women made amends before Trish departed.
Sylver McQueen (David Tag) – left
Slyver departed Hollyoaks earlier in 2021 alongside Mercedes and their son Bobby.
The trio left for Alicante after discovering that Bobby was posing as Cher’s mysterious friend Jade.
But the family returned to Hollyoaks, with Sylver getting ready to leave Mercedes behind, fearing she may cheat on him again.
Unfortunately, David Tag's character met a tragic death in January, 2022, when he died during the explosion that occurred at Marnie Nightingale's Salon de Thé. $
He succumbed to his injuries after being left for dead in the rubble by his stepson Bobby.
Marnie Nightingale (Lysette Anthony) – left
Much like Sylver, it's safe to say Marnie won't be seen in Hollyoaks again.
After opening her beloved patisserie, Marnie hosted the fundraising event for the hospital adjacent to her Salon before it went up in flames.
One of the many residents trapped inside following the explosion, she sustained heavy injuries to the head.
She continually refused to be checked by a doctor, relieved that her grandchildren – Juliet and Romeo – had been saved.
Thanking Donna-Marie for letting her be a part of their lives, Marnie fell asleep on her shoulder and peacefully passed away, despite MIsbah's effots to revive her.
Celeste Faroe (Andrea Ali) – left
Celeste is the third explosion victim to have perished in January, 2022.
While confessing his crimes to Martine and Cleo, Toby was convinced by his sister Celeste to leave the collapsing Salon, following the explosion.
However, Celeste could not make it out in time as the ceiling caved in and she died of her injuries moments later.
Leela Lomax (Kirsty-Leigh Porter) – returned
Kirsty-Leigh left Hollyoaks on maternity leave.
The actress shocked fans in December 2020 when announced she was secretly pregnant and had given birth.
Kirsty-Leigh made her return in October, 2021.
Leela had previously made a brief return for Hollyoaks’ New Year episode as the storylines teased in the flashforward episode 12 months earlier were finally resolved.
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Fergus Collins (Robert Beck) – left
Brookside legend Robert Beck joined Hollyoaks back in March 2021.
The actor – who is married to Coronation Street star Jane Danson – played Fergus Collins, Brad King’s former business associate and Trish Minniver’s ex-boyfriend.
The dangerous businessman creeped fans out when he started spying on Peri and her girlfriend Juliet after installing a hidden camera in Peri’s bedroom.
Fergus was killed by Maxine when she struck him over the head with a champagne bottle to defend Trish in November, 2021.
Pete Buchanan (Kai Owen) – left
Kai Owen reprised his role as Cleo McQueen’s sexual abuser Pete Buchanan on the Channel 4 soap earlier this year.
Pete returned back in April and began terrorising Cleo as part of a mental health storyline.
The villain was found guilty of abusing his stepdaughter Cleo and was handed a seven-year sentence back in 2016.
After a one-off appearance in 2018, Pete returned to Hollyoaks in April, 2021, followin his release from prison.
In June, 2021, he was hauled away by police again after breaching his parole, hinting this would be his final exit.
Zara Morgan (Kelly Condron) – returned
Actress Kelly Condron reprised her role as Zara Morgan earlier this month (August 2021) after 16 years away from the soap.
Zara left the village in 2005 to pursue charity work in Thailand but returned after hearing about her mother Sue’s funeral on social media.
Speaking about her return, Kelly revealed: "When I was first approached by Hollyoaks to bring Zara back, it was an offer I couldn't refuse
"I'm really excited to be back in the iconic village after such a long time and to work with the team playing a part in what's going to be such an important and relevant story.
"It's really lovely to be working with the old cast again such as Nick and Steph and of course Zara's big brother – Gary Lucy – who feels like my big brother at times.
Discussing how her character has changed, she added: "Zara returns all grown up.
"She's back and is going to make sure everyone in the village knows about it."
Sid Sumner (Billy Price) – returned
Sid left the village reeling after seemingly meeting a tragic end back in March 2021 as the soap's County Lines storyline came to a terrifying head.
Fans thought it was all over for Sid when Victor Brothers stabbed him after James and Ste's plan to bring the dealer down failed miserably.
But in a huge death twist, Sid reappeared later in March and revealed he'd faked his death.
Drug dealer Victor Brothers might have been brought to justice following his reign of terror in the County Lines storyline, but just how Sid is going to navigate life after faking his death remains to be seen.
Teasing what’s to come for his character, he told Digital Spy: "From the stuff I've been filming now… he's done the deed and tried to take it into his own hands to finish what he started, in a sense, with the County Lines."
He added: "Now, we'll go back to him living with a disability. I feel like that will be quite nice."
Timmy Simons (Sam Tutty) – left
Hollyoaks killed off creepy stalker Timmy Simmons in October 2021.
Timmy was murdered by his sinister boss Fergus Collins after finally being exposed as Peri’s stalker.
Fearing that the truth about Operation Bluebird could be exposed if Timmy was taken in for questioning, Fergus panicked and shot him.
Actor Sam Tutty, who played Timmy in the Channel 4 show, is returning to the stage to play the title character in the musical Dear Evan Hansen.
"I think what's consistent about Hollyoaks is that all of the characters have so much potential to go in so many different directions. I felt very emotional. I only had a limited amount of time before I was due to go back to Dear Evan Hansen, but I just felt there was so much more I wanted to do,” he told Digital Spy.
"I really enjoyed my time on Hollyoaks and everyone from the cast and crew was so fun to work with."
Brody Hudson (Adam Woodward) – left
Hollyoaks aired a dramatic exit for Brody Hudson, played by Adam Woodward, in September 2021 as he was a victim of a hit and run.
The tragedy struck just as he was reuniting with his on-off partner Sienna Blake.
In a huge plot twist, Sienna’s ex Warren Fox mowed Brody down in the middle of the village.
Adam joined the cast of Hollyoaks in 2017, and was involved in several huge storyline over the years, including the soap’s child grooming plot, the Sienna surrogacy plot and Summer’s horrific revenge plans.
Courtney Campbell (Amy Conachan) – left
Hollyoaks star Amy Conachan has left the show after a five-year stint as Courtney Campbell.
Amy’s final scenes aired back in June 2021 as she accepted her dream job as a headteacher in a school in Scotland and departed.
Speaking to Digital Spy about her exit, actress Amy revealed: "It's such a strange one, because everything gradually calmed down. When I was filming, I'd think: 'Okay, I've got two weeks left. I've got one week left. I've got two days left…' Then it was my last day, so it gradually just went away.
"Then when you're out of it, you're still on screen, so it comes in stages. Coming to the end of filming, I was a bit of a woman on the edge – so emotional about it!
"I've been fine since then because I'm on screen, but now I feel a bit emotional again. I was catching up on episodes last night and thought: 'My God, this is it. She's only going to be on a couple more episodes and that's it.'
"It's strange when it's such a big part of your life for five years and then it's just gone. It's a funny one to get your head around."
Marco and Jacob (AJ and Curtis Pritchard) – left
Strictly Come Dancing and Love Island stars AJ and Curtis Pritchard made their last appearance on Hollyoaks back in May 2021.
The pair had portrayed scheming twins Marco and Jacob, who were professional dancers who had arrived in the village to sabotage Trish Minniver’s plans to open a new dance school.
Fans were quick to slam the pair’s attempts at acting, with former soap stars chiming in to criticise the casting of non-actors because of their large followings.
AJ confirmed back in February 2021 that he and brother Curtis would be joining the soap.
"I can’t believe we will be featuring on Hollyoaks, we have grown up with the show on TV and it’s always been one of our favourite serial dramas," he said at the time.
He added: "Our characters are fantastic, and we can’t wait for everyone to see how we bring them to life.”
Curtis said on joining: "I am so excited to be working with my brother AJ on a show we grew up watching! I am also excited to continue our journey together with Channel 4 and E4."
"She's a keen environmentalist, but she still has the fiery personality and the outspoken nature she's always had.
"She's back and is going to make sure everyone in the village knows about it."
Brad King (Tom Benedict Knight) – left
Trish Minniver’s sleazy boyfriend Brad King made a hasty exit from Hollyoaks in April, 2021, after joining the soap at the beginning of that year.
Brad caused trouble from day one when he orchestrated a love triangle with Trish and her daughter Maxine Minniver.
Tom Benedict Knight’s final scenes aired back in April 2021 after his love rival Fergus Collins sabotaged one of his dodgy deals and blackmailed him into departing.
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Victor Brothers (Benjamin O’Mahony) – left
Benjamin O’Mahony confirmed he had quit the Channel 4 soap back in March 2021 after his character Victor’s reign of terror came to an end.
The County Lines villain was finally arrested after the villagers came together to bring him down.
Posting on his Instagram page, Benjamin bid farewell to the soap but teased that the door had been left open for his return: "Victor out. Cheers @hollyoaksofficial it's been fun! Ciao… for now."
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