The BEST soap resurrections of all time: 17 characters who rose from the dead


by Emma Dodds |
Published on

We love a good undead soap character, so we've rounded up the best soap resurrections from TV history...

If there's ever a dip in soap ratings, you can bet your bottom dollar that the writers will be thinking up ways to bring back a dead soap character.

Remember when Dirty Den Watts returned to EastEnders in 2003? He was shot, fell into a river and drowned and was even identified by his daughter - but that didn't stop BBC bosses bringing him back.

But it's not just Den who was resuscitated - there are LOADS of soap resurrections across TV history...


CLOSER soap stars who rose from the dead STACKED

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CREDIT: Lime Pictures

Nico Blake, Hollyoaks

After killing Trevor Doyle, Carly Bradley and her granddad Patrick Blake, attempting to murder Theresa McQueen and getting totally obsessed with Holly Cunningham and Peri Lomax we all thought Nico's evil reign had ended back in 2016. After all, she supposedly died in that horrific fire on Halloween... Fast forward a year and a half and she's back on our TV screens as her mum Sienna Blake's stalker.We have to had it to them, Hollyoaks bosses hide her return very well.

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Dirty Den, EastEnders

Possibly one of the most iconic soap resuscitations, Dirty Den Watts' return from the dead was one of the most scandalous moments in British TV history. After originally being believed to have been shot and drowned in the canal by a gang member, Den's previously-unknown son Dennis Rickman turns up in Walford and, after doing some digging, reveals that Den survived the shooting and scarpered to Spain. His return was watched by more than 16 million viewers.

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Pat Phelan, Coronation Street

We're STILL waiting for Phelan to get killed off, but Corrie viewers thought the moment had finally arrived when his wife Eileen finally saw him for what he was really was and kicked him off a cliff into the sea. But then he suddenly appeared at a B&B with a bloody leg! Kill him off already.

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Kat Moon, EastEnders

Big Mo's return to Walford in 2018 was centered around the fact that Kat Moon had apparently died. But little did we know that Mo was selling her family a big fat lie to raise money. Turns out that she'd lied to a man online to get her hands on his cash, only for his daughter to turn up in the Square, demanding the cash. Then Kat turned up, confused as to why they were holding a benefit night for her in the Vic. Awks.

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CREDIT: Shutterstock

Kim Tate, Emmerdale

One of soap's favourite villains, Kim Tate was the original "super-bitch." In 1997, Kim hired a lookalike so she can disappear from the village. But when the woman is found dead at the wheel of her car, Frank (Kim's husband) identifies the body as Kim. So when she turns up three months later, the shock causes Frank to have a heart attack, and she watches on as he dies. The classic scene then sees Kim check he's dead with her compact mirror before fixing her makeup and walking out. Shudder.

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Nick Cotton, EastEnders

Nasty Nick Cotton was the bane of everyone's life in Walford. After terrorising his poor mum Dot throughout his entire life, we finally though we were rid of him when he'd apparently died after a drugs overdose in March 2014 - but of course, he reappeared in October that year to try and extort money from his son Charlie.

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CREDIT: Twitter/ Emmerdale

Ross Barton, Emmerdale

Emmerdale's incestuous love triangles all got a bit much back in 2015, after Pete Barton discovered his brother Ross was cheating with his fiancée, Debbie Dingle - whose mum Ross had just had a baby with. Pete couldn't control his anger and ended up beating his brother to death in the woods... Before Ross returned to the soap three weeks later in hospital.

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Kathy Beale, EastEnders

Poor Kathy had a tough life, and it was something of a relief when she was killed off-screen in a car accident in 2006 whilst living in South Africa. This was done to more easily introduce her son Ben Mitchell into the show, but she returned in 2015 after being hidden away by her ex-husband Phil Mitchell.

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CREDIT: Lime Pictures

Mercedes McQueen, Hollyoaks

When Mercedes McQueen was brutally stabbed multiple times in 2014 with her lifeless body being dragged away, Hollyoaks fans were heartbroken to see the death of one of their favourite characters. But when Joe Roscoe went on a little trip to France a few months later, viewers were stunned to see her answer the door.

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Denise Fox, EastEnders

Remember when Denise's ex, Lucas, came back into her life after their daughter Chelsea tracked him down? He turned out to be an absolute wrong'un. After they're married, Lucas drives Denise to a canalside and tells her she must submit to God, but when she refuses he strangles her - and viewers assumed he'd killed her. But then he killed a prostitute and used her body to be identified as Denise, convincing her family she'd killed herself. That was until we discovered that Lucas was keeping Denise prisoner in the house next door.

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CREDIT: Shutterstock

Richard Hillman, Coronation Street

Ok, we'll admit it - we've cheated a bit with this one. Richard Hillman is well and truly dead, people. Well, so far anyway... After he tried to kill off the entire Platt family in Coronation Street in 2003, he only ended up killing himself. But when Rosemary the psychic arrived in the square, she convinced Gail that his spirit was haunting her... So, you know, a bit tenuous but there you go.

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Max Branning, EastEnders

It's got to be said, this is one of the weirdest storylines EastEnders ever went for. Max Branning was drugged by his wife Tanya as revenge for his terrible cheating behaviour, and she and her new boyfriend Sean Slater buried him alive in a coffin, based on a childhood trauma. Thankfully, Tanya changed her mind and went and dug him up.

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Claudette Hubbard, EastEnders

Vincent Hubbard took drastic action when he thought he killed his mum, Claudette. He mustn't have checked very thoroughly for a pulse, because he instantly set about burying her and covering her with concrete. HOWEVER - she was still breathing, and turned up at a hospital after being found at the side of the road.

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Vera Duckworth, Coronation Street

Another slightly tenuous one, but we couldn't leave out Vera Duckworth's return to Coronation Street to help her dying husband Jack through his own death. Jack was joined in his final moments by his one true love, Vera, who'd passed away two years before.

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Pat Butcher, EastEnders

In the same vein, the ghost of Pat Butcher returned to Walford in 2016 after her death four years earlier when her best friend/arch enemy Peggy was deciding to take her own life as her terminal cancer became too much for her.

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James Barton, Emmerdale

Even Emmerdale have had a go at the old ghosty thing. When Evil Emma Barton was becoming even more unhinged than normal, she saw the ghost of her husband James, who she'd killed a year earlier.

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Bobby Ewing, Dallas

And finally, one of the most well-known soap resurrections - Bobby Ewing in Dallas. The popular character was killed off, but after a dramatic ratings slump, he was brought back to life as his wife Pam woke up to find him in the shower. The entire previous series had been a dream of hers. WE KNOW.

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Which was your favourite soap resurrection? Let us know over on Facebook and Twitter.


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