Emmerdale to air Zak Dingle funeral in Steve Halliwell tribute

Emmerdale spoilers follow.

Emmerdale has confirmed that it will write the death of Zak Dingle into the soap following the death of Steve Halliwell, who played the iconic character for 29 years.

Zak has been living in Scotland with granddaughter Debbie since moving away from the village, with several of his family members having made trips to visit him off-screen.

However, the family will receive tragic news later this year when they learn that Zak has died.

Halliwell passed away peacefully in December last year at the age of 77, having played Dingle patriarch Zak since 1994.

Denim, Blue, Facial hair, Clothing, Beard, Dress shirt, Standing, Jeans, Sleeve, Human,

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Emmerdale producer Sophie Roper has told Digital Spy and other media that fans can expect to see a fitting tribute to both Zak and Steve in a future storyline, as the Dingle family gathers to remember Zak's life.

"The Dingles have been at the heart of our show for 30 years now and will continue to be so," she said.

"We lost Steve recently – the very sad loss of Steve. So we're going to be marking Zak's passing – the iconic Zak Dingle character – in the coming months with a Dingle funeral."

Roper added that filming the funeral scenes will be "very difficult for a lot of people who work on our show and a lot of our viewers who have grown and loved Zak for many, many years.

Zak and Lisa Dingle stage a protest in Emmerdale

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"But there'll be a hugely fitting tribute for such an iconic character coming up," she confirmed.

When Halliwell's death was announced, Emmerdale paid tribute to the much-loved actor in a statement, saying: "Steve will forever be synonymous with Emmerdale. The proud defender and head of the Dingle family.

"Heart and humour in all he did, it has been and always will be impossible not to smile when you think of him."

Many of Emmerdale's cast members also shared praise for their co-star following his passing.

Lisa Riley, who plays Mandy Dingle star Lisa Riley, thanked him for "years of laughter" and said he was "adored, loved [and] respected by us all".

She added: "A LEGEND in my eyes, that's for sure – we have stories and memories to last for many more years to come."

Emmerdale airs on weeknights at 7.30pm on ITV1, and streams on ITVX.

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