Zak (played by Steve Halliwell) and wife Lisa (Jane Cox) have been residing in Scotland since the couple left Emmerdale last year, leaving their daughter Belle Dingle (Eden Taylor-Draper) to face the villainous ways of Lachlan White (Thomas Atkinson) on her own.
Next week will be Zak’s first appearance back on the ITV soap this year as Lisa has already made a brief comeback during the all female led episode of the village-based drama earlier this year to celebrate International Women’s Day in March.
Lisa’s return wasn’t as joyful as fans had hoped however, as after a series of mysterious phone calls to Charity Dingle (Emma Atkins), the stalwart called upon the Woolpack owner to meet with her.
It was then Lisa revealed to Charity she was dying of a terminal heart condition and also explained to the shell-shocked blonde she didn’t have long left to live, but wanted to keep the secret between the two of them.
When the pair arrive back in the village next week, Belle puts up the bunting and throws a party for her parents, gathering the whole Dingle clan at the Wishing Well cottage.
With Zak also aware of his wife’s looming death, he stands by Lisa as she finally reveals to Belle and the rest of the family she is dying.
Lisa’s decision comes after she sees how upset Charity is having harboured the secret for several months and overwhelmed by the family’s joy to see her, she finally reveals the truth.
The news leaves Belle heartbroken over her mother’s ill-health, but the teenager also lashes out at Charity for knowing the secret and not telling her.
However, a tender moment between Lisa and her husband comes when she decides to have a heart-to-heart with Zak about how she is feeling know the secret is out in the open.
Admitting she’s frightened about dying, Zak comforts his wife, seemingly ready to stand by his wife until the very end.
It seems Zak is more scared about his wife’s looming death then he’s letting on as the stalwart disappears without any explanation, leaving his family in turmoil.
Viewers will have to wait and see whether Zak returns to be by his wife’s side, with the pressure of losing Lisa leading to his sudden departure.
Speaking of her character’s exit from the soap after the harrowing announcement in the special episode in March, actress Jane Cox, 66, said: “Lisa is so close to my heart as she’s been such a huge part of my life for more than 23 years.
“So I know I will shed more than a few tears when it comes to filming her final scenes,” the actress admitted, with the heartbreaking scenes set to play out over the coming weeks.
Elsewhere in the village, the flashbacks of the Big Night Out episodes which aired a couple of weeks ago came to an end last night.
The final story to play out was the rape of Victoria Barton (Isabel Hodgins), who was sexually assaulted by a stranger she’d met in the club.
However, as Victoria confided in her mother-in-law Moria Dingle (Natalie J Robb) about her harrowing ordeal, it was revealed Lee (Kris Mochrie) had sexually assaulted the distraught villager in her own home.
Although viewers didn’t see the full extent of the scenes, they did see the Woolpack lying in hr bed with bruises on her legs as Lee left the house.
Taking to Twitter in reaction to the episode, one viewer wrote: “Devastating episode. Could feel my blood running cold as it played out. If only Vic had accepted a lift from Robert. He’s gonna be beside himself when he finds out what happened to his sister #Emmerdale @Hodge_Isabel.”
Another added: “Oh god Victoria. That was horrendous. #Emmerdale.”