Diane Emmerdale
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Emmerdale: Elizabeth Estensen to retire from soap after 22 years playing Diane Sugden

Elizabeth joined the soap in 1999

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Elizabeth Estensen, who plays Diane Sugden in Emmerdale, has decided to retire from the ITV soap after 22 years.

Diane has been at the heart of Emmerdale for many years. She has been married, widowed and was even Woolpack landlady for 17 years

Her past storylines included being ripped off by conman lover Charlie and stabbed in the dark by Chas Dingle.

Throughout all of this Diane has been a supportive mother, stepmother, sister and grandmother.

Elizabeth will be leaving the soap (Credit: ITV)

Read more: Marlon Dingle in Emmerdale: Who is the real love of his life? (Sorry Rhona!)

Diane’s other storylines include having undergone treatment for caner twice and being held an gunpoint in a siege.

In 2004 she married Jack Sugden and in 2015 she ended up losing her sister Val, who died after a helicopter crashed into the village while the sisters were in the mirror maze.

More recently Diane helped her ex lover Eric Pollard run the B&B.

Soon Diane will be packing her suitcases and leaving her life in the village behind.

Emmerdale: Elizabeth Estensen speaks about her decision to leave

Speaking about her decision to leave the show, Elizabeth said: “For he past 22 years I have loved playing Diane Sugden – she’s kind, reliable and fiercely loyal.

“However, I feel the time has come to say goodbye. 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.”

Elizabeth has been a part of Emmerdale for 22 years (Credit: ITV)

John Whiston, Managing Director of Continuing Drama and Head of ITV 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.

“It’s a role she has made so totally her own, bringing compassion, humour and credibility to her portrayal of Diane.

Diane first appeared in 1999 (Credit: ITV)

Read more: Emmerdale SPOILERS: Charity to die after horrific attack?

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.”

Although Liz has now filmed her final scenes, she will be on-screen for a number of weeks.

Want more spoilers from Emmerdale? Entertainment Daily has a dedicated Emmerdale spoilers section for you to get your fix before the latest episodes air.

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

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