Emmerdale actress Elizabeth Estensen is quitting the role of Diane Sugden after 22 years
Soap star Elizabeth Estensen is quitting Emmerdale after 22 years.
The Diane Sugden actress, 72, has been a mainstay in the ITV soap, serving as the landlady of The Woolpack pub for 17 years.
Some of her biggest storylines have included being ripped off by her conman lover, stabbed and held at gunpoint, as well as undergoing cancer treatment.
She said in a statement: “For the past 22 years I have loved playing Diane Sugden - she’s kind, reliable and fiercely loyal. 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.”
Praising her contribution to the show, John Whiston, head of continuing drama and of ITV in the North, said: “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.’”
Whiston pointed out that actors don’t “get to stay in a soap that long” unless they are “truly professional” and a really, really lovely person”.
“Liz is both,” he concluded.
Whiston has already filmed her final scenes, but will continue to be seen on screen for a while.
In addition to Emmerdale, she has also appeared in rival ITV soap Coronation Street from 1996 to 1998 and comedy The Liver Birds from 1975 to 1979.
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