Emmerdale star Rik Makarem, who has played Nikhil Sharma since 2009, has announced that he is leaving the soap.

Fan favourite Nikhil has always been one to live by the book, so it will be interesting to see what exit storyline Emmerdale writers will come up with for Rik Makarem.

Will he and his partner Gennie, played by actress Sian Reese-Williams who has also announced her departure, leave in blissful happiness, or is there something sinister in store for the pair?

Speaking about his decision to leave the Dales Makarem said: "What a privilege for four years to be a part of such a brilliant show! Along with the creative team, it's been so enjoyable crafting the many wonderful 'under-surface' colours and quirks to my character. I will treasure the experience deeply."

"When making my decision to leave, on both artistic and personal levels, I listened very closely to my heart. I'm naturally ambitious - I believe in taking risks, as that's how we truly learn about ourselves, how we grow, and with this integrity in mind, I'm completely inspired for the journey ahead."