'Emmerdale's' Elizabeth Estensen to retire from Diane Sugden role after 22 years

·Contributor
·3-min read
FROM ITV

STRICT EMBARGO
Print media - No Use Before Tuesday Tuesday 14th September 2021
Online Media - No Use Before 0700hrs  Tuesday 14th September  2021

Emmerdale - 9161

Thursday 23rd September 2021 - 2nd Ep

Diane Sugden [ELIZABETH ESTENSEN] and Kim Tate [CLAIRE KING] screech to a halt next to GabbyÕs parked car ready to plead with Gabby Thomas [ROSIE BENTHAM] to see sense and call off the wedding to a man who doesnÕt love her. Has she seen sense? Gabby makes a phone call.

Picture contact David.crook@itv.com 

This photograph is (C) ITV Plc and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above, or ITV plc. Once made available by ITV plc Picture Desk, this photograph can be reproduced once only up until the transmission [TX] date and no reproduction fee will be charged. Any subsequent usage may incur a fee. This photograph must not be manipulated [excluding basic cropping] in a manner which alters the visual appearance of the person photographed deemed detrimental or inappropriate by ITV plc Picture Desk. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other company, publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on  www.itv.com/presscentre/itvpictures/terms
Elizabeth Estensen stars as Diane Sugden. (ITV)

Emmerdale legend Elizabeth Estensen has announced her retirement from the ITV soap.

The actor has played Diane Sugden for 22 years but after a tumultuous couple of decades in the Dales has finally decided to call it a day and will bow out in the coming weeks.

Read more: Colin Baker to join Emmerdale as Diane Sugden's mystery man

Her storylines as Diane have included being treated for cancer twice, trapped at gunpoint in a siege and lost in a mirror maze, which ultimately claimed the life of her sister, Val.

Diane has served as The Woolpack's landlady for 17 years, been married and widowed, ripped off by conman lover Charlie and stabbed in the dark by Chas Dingle.

FROM ITV

STRICT EMBARGO 
Print media - No Use Before Tuesday 20th July 2021
Online Media - No Use Before Tuesday 20th July 2021

Emmerdale - Ep 9110

Tuesday 27th July 2021 

Diane Sugden [ELIZABETH ESTENSEN] wants revenge for Jamie Tate [ALEXANDER LINCOLN] cruelty towards Gabby and she throws his belongings out of the B&B.  

Picture contact David.crook@itv.com 

This photograph is (C) ITV Plc and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above, or ITV plc. Once made available by ITV plc Picture Desk, this photograph can be reproduced once only up until the transmission [TX] date and no reproduction fee will be charged. Any subsequent usage may incur a fee. This photograph must not be manipulated [excluding basic cropping] in a manner which alters the visual appearance of the person photographed deemed detrimental or inappropriate by ITV plc Picture Desk. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other company, publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on  www.itv.com/presscentre/itvpictures/terms
Diane Sugden has had a busy time in the village. (ITV)

But viewers will most fondly remember her as the Sugden family matriarch, providing support and love to her children, stepchildren and grandchildren.

Fans of Diane need not worry about her meeting a grisly end as although full details of her exit storyline have not been revealed, we do know that she will pack her suitcases and head off for sunnier climes in her retirement.

Estensen said: “For the past 22 years I have loved playing Diane Sugden - she’s kind, reliable and fiercely loyal. 

Elizabeth Estensen attending the National Television Awards 2018 held at the O2 Arena, London (Photo by Matt Crossick/PA Images via Getty Images)
Elizabeth Estensen has enjoyed 22 years in the Dales. (Matt Crossick/PA Images via Getty Images)

"However, I now 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.”

Managing director of continuing drama and head of ITV in the North John Whiston paid tribute to the actor, saying: “For 22 years, Liz has shone through the screen and into our living rooms as the natural heart and centre of the Sugden family. 

Colin Baker was recently cast as Diane Sugden's date. (ITV)
Colin Baker was recently cast as Diane Sugden's date. (ITV)

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

Read more: Coronation Street hit by complaints as Corey gets away with murder

It was recently announced that Estensen would star alongside Doctor Who veteran Colin Baker, who is set for a guest role in the soap as a mystery date for Diane with an unusual passion.

Estensen has already filmed her final scenes but will still be on air for a number of weeks.

Watch: Emmerdale Soap Scoop! Kim strikes a deal with Paddy

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting