Emmerdale fans were chuffed this evening when an old favourite made an unexpected return to the village – Zak Dingle.

The local, who is played by Steve Halliwell, hasn't been seen in the Dingles' house in months, with his name rarely getting a mention.

However, when he heard Liv Flaherty (Isobel Steele) had gone missing and was refusing to answer her calls, he returned to offer a helping hand to the family.

Surprised to see Zak walk through the door, Emmerdale fans took to Twitter to exclaim over his return, welcoming Steve back to the soap.

One said: "I'm so pleased that Zak is back.”

"Awwwwwww Uncle Zak is back!,” wrote a second, while a third penned: "YES ZAK IS BACK!!!!!”

And a fourth weighed in: "Zak and his Cap are back again i see!”

The patriarch of the Dingle clan, Zak has been central to the soap since 1994, though his character has been on the sidelines of the drama in recent years.

Liv, whose half-brother Aaron (Danny Miller) is a Dingle, ran away from Emmerdale last month, escaping her demons and drinking herself to oblivion.

She has been staying with her mum in a trailer park, waking up each morning with a drink and refusing her brother's calls.

A despairing Aaron resigned himself to leaving Liv to self-destruct until Zak offered him some sage advice on Friday's episode.

"Your feelings aren't gonna help get your sister back," Zak pointed out, making it clear Aaron needed to act fast to rescue Liv.

Vinny Dingle (Bradley Johnson) appeared to offer a solution, as certain details of the caravan park – which he had seen on a brief video call with Liv – stood out to him.

Meanwhile, a drunken Liv could be seen climbing into a caravan with a stranger, the alcohol clouding her judgement.

Will Vinny and Aaron manage to rescue Liv before it's too late?

Emmerdale airs on weekdays at 7pm on ITV, with an extra helping on Thursdays at 8pm.

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