All the Emmerdale stars rumoured to be leaving this year and when they could go

It's a huge year for Emmerdale this year as the iconic soap celebrates its 50th anniversary.

The show first aired on October 22, 1972 and is still one of the most beloved ITV programmes to date.

Earlier this year, it was revealed by Emmerdale's official Instagram that they had some "exciting" plans for this year.

The post said: "Our birthday year has begun! Watch out for lots of exciting things happening later in the year."

As the 50th anniversary approaches the cast are getting ready for some explosive storylines.

Viewers are in store for some shocking twists and turns, which could include the departure of some characters.

ITV bosses have kept their plans under tight wraps but there's lots of characters in danger. Here are all the stars rumoured to be leaving the soap this year.

Nicola Wheeler – Nicola King

Nicola King, who's played by Nicola Wheeler, is having a tough time in Emmerdale at the moment.

She's been left traumatised after being beaten and robbed by a group of teenage girls and in a sick twist the horrifying attack was filmed and posted online.

Since then, Nicola's mental health has been crumbling as she suffers from panic attacks and unfortunately it looks like things aren't going to get any better for her soon.

Nicola recently hinted to Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby that her character could be set for an explosive exit during the 50th anniversary when she appeared on This Morning.

She told Phil: "She thinks she's gathered her strength back but it gets worse and worse."

The actress went on to drop a major hint as she said: "Just when you think this story may have been put to bed, something else comes along.

"And then there's the 50th year and maybe something might happen which means she can't spend any more time in the village anymore. Who knows? I don't!"

The 50th anniversary is in October so Nicola may only have a few months left on the soap.

Dean Andrews – Will Taylor

Dean Andrews is another Emmerdale actor who has hinted they could be departing the show this year.

Dean's character Will Taylor is currently engaged to Kim Tate and the pair have been planning their wedding.

The couple have had a difficult few weeks after their relationship almost broke down when Kim found out that Will had been searching for her son Jamie – who fakes his death.

However, the pair have since gotten back on track.

But earlier this year, Dean teased that he could leave the soap due to the rumoured return of BBC's Life on Mars and its accompanying series Ashes to Ashes.

He told Big Issue: "It seems to be something that is still ongoing. And you know, if I was a betting man, I might put a couple of quid on it.

"I’ve just got to try and beg Emmerdale.”

Life on Mars co-writer Ashely Pharoah has now confirmed that talks are underway for a pilot episode of a third series.

Asked whether it might happen this year, Pharoah told the Express: "If it gets greenlit soonish I guess we'd film later this year – so possible. God only knows what the actors' diaries are like."

Michael Wildman – Al Chapman

Michael Wildman's character Al has been involved in some huge storylines already recently.

Last year he was responsible for the Christmas day explosion of the Woolpack pub and he was also involved in a bitter feud with Cain Dingle – which came to an end when he saved Cain's life.

More recently, Al started an affair with Cain's sister Chas Dingle, which could reignite the feud between them.

Al's son has moved to Australia so if he need's to get out of the Dales quickly he might escape to visit his son.

According to IMDb, Wildman is currently recording voice work for the Lord of the Rings animation film, the new work could provide some opportunities for him to focus on other acting work.

Sally Dexter – Faith Dingle

Faith Dingle is a fan favourite character in Dingle but she'll be making a tragic exit from the show after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Actress Sally Dexter reflected on her character's exit storyline with TV Times magazine.

She said: "Some of the script reflects how I feel – she's hurtling towards her end and I'm hurtling towards the end of my time in Emmerdale".

"I think [the exit storyline] is excellent. I haven't read the scripts for her death, but I'm hoping it's as positive as it can be. This isn't just a story about a cancer; it's a wider story about family."

It's not been confirmed how long Faith Dingle has left but the character was recently told that her cancer had spread and treatment hasn't worked so it looks like Sally Dexter could be leaving the soap very soon.

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