Many soap stars leave the fictional worlds in a bid to further their careers.

While some big names such as Bill Roache and Adam Woodyatt become stalwarts of their shows, others use it as a stepping stone for greater success.

We often see the announcement being made that an actor is leaving a soap for "exciting new opportunities" or to "have more diverse roles".

But sometimes the grass is not greener on the other side and they come running back to soap land within a few years.

The most recent example is Emmerdale star Samantha Giles, who left the role of Bernice Blackstock at the end of 2019 and is now returning to the village after just over a year away.

Here is a look at what happened to Samantha during her time away and other soap stars who also made almost immediate comebacks.

Samantha Giles

Samantha Giles started playing Bernice Blackstock in 1998
Samantha Giles started playing Bernice Blackstock in 1998

Having started on Emmerdale in 1998, Samantha's most recent stint lasted from 2012 until 2019 when she decided to depart.

"I want to play something a bit more gritty," she explained on This Morning in November 2019. "I want to do some other stuff. There are so many things out there."

She actually told producers she didn't mind what they did with her character but was pleased they didn't kill Bernice off.

And it's lucky they didn't as it was announced this week that Samantha was returning to the Dales.

Speaking about what's ahead, actress Samantha said: "As an actress leaving a role that you love is always a hard decision and I’d been lucky to work so consistently for so long which is rare in our business, so I knew the time had come to be brave and take the leap back in 2019 to pursue my other passion of writing and focus on getting my first book published.

Bernice will be coming back this year
Bernice will be coming back this year

While she was away, the actress published her first book in August last year, Rosemary and The Witches of Pendle Hill, while also writing her next two during lockdown.

Samantha had planned to pursue other acting roles but wasn't seen in anything else, then this month The Mirror reported she was £18 spells online to raise money after quitting the soap.

She added: "I’m a big believer in fate so when Emmerdale offered me the chance to return as Bernice I took it as a sign that it was meant to be.

"I’m delighted to be returning to play out Bernice’s future storylines which I’m sure are going to keep the audience entertained.

"She certainly arrives back with a bang that’s all I’m allowed to say right now and I’m looking forward to releasing my next two books whilst juggling her hectic onscreen life!"

Beverley Callard

Liz McDonald with her troublesome ex-husband Jim
Liz McDonald with her troublesome ex-husband Jim

Having already played a one-off minor character a few years before, Beverely Callard first appeared as the iconic Liz McDonald in October 1989.

After nine years on the cobbles, Bev decided it was time to sail off into the sunset to spend more time with her family and focus on a very different career.

The actress was also an aerobics instructor and as a 'result' released a number of fitness DVDs, including Real Results, Rapid Results and Lasting Results.

She made a dramatic return to Weatherfield in 2003 but was off once again in 2011 - seemingly for good.

In a statement, Bev explained: "I've loved every minute of my second stint on the street - it's always a difficult decision to make the leap but I returned for the 40th [anniversary], so leaving for the 50th feels like perfect timing.

"I'll miss everyone on the show but I'm looking forward to some new challenges and to see what life has to offer beyond Liz's famous mini skirts!"

Beverly was meant to film her exit last year but had a hip problem
Beverly was meant to film her exit last year but had a hip problem

It was later revealed that Beverley chose to leave to spend time with her late mum, who lost her long battle with Alzheimer's in early 2012.

In 2012 she told The Mirror: "It pushed me into bankruptcy and I guess I'll be paying for it for years, but regrets? Not one. It was horrific. I've worked non-stop since I was 16 and somehow it all seemed it had been for nothing.

"Corrie schedules are full-on. It's all or nothing and I had to face a choice between the Street or Mum. I love everything about Corrie but there could only be one answer."

In June 2013, Corrie bosses confirmed the popular actress was reprising the role of Liz after a short time away.

"I am coming home and I can't wait. I am so excited to be back, I have missed Liz so it will be great to play her again," she said. "Hopefully her skirts will have got a little bit longer, but we will see!"

Beverley remained on Corrie until 2019 after 30 years and has since hit back at soap bosses for axing her from the 60th anniversary episodes.

Patsy Palmer

Sid Owen as Ricky and Patsy Palmer as Bianca in their first EastEnders stint
Sid Owen as Ricky and Patsy Palmer as Bianca in their first EastEnders stint

Patsy Palmer rose to fame as loud-mouthed EastEnders icon Bianca Jackson.

She was at the centre of some of EastEnders' most explosive storylines - with a staggering 22 million viewers tuning in to watch Bianca's wedding to Ricky Butcher- but quit Albert Square for the first time in 1999 after six years.

Patsy explained she was leaving EastEnders to spend more time with her family and concentrate on new projects, such as a cameo appearance as herself in Kathy Burke's sitcome, Gimme Gimme Gimme which mocked her role as Bianca.

As well as having her second child a year after her exit, she starred in animal series Battersea Dogs Home and detective drama McCready and Daughter as well as being a guest host on GMTV.

However, Patsy never managed to shed the influence of her overbearing EastEnders character.

Just three years after walking away from Walford, Patsy was reunited with on-screen partner Sid Owen for a special two-part special EastEnders: Ricky and Bianca.

Patsy did not make a permanent return to EastEnders - and it seemed like she never would when she publicly criticised the soap back in 2005.

Patsy Palmer has made a number of guest appearances
Patsy Palmer has made a number of guest appearances

The actress branded the storyline 'ridiculous and unbelievable' during an interview with The Telegraph and vowed she would never return.

But she made a drastic U-turn in October 2007 when it was announced she was returning as a full-time character the following year.

After another six years in Albert Square, Patsy decided to swap Walford for Tinseltown by quitting EastEnders for good to move to Hollywood.

The actress wanted to take her family to Los Angeles for a "once in a lifetime opportunity", with a friend adding: "Not only is Patsy excited about future work in Hollywood, she is making the move for the sake of the whole family. It is a lifestyle choice for them.

"She has lots of exciting offers lined up and feels the time is right to say goodbye. Her children are at the age where they can be moved across to the States relatively easily. And it has always been her big ­ambition to crack Hollywood."

Despite living across the pond, Patsy did return for a brief stint in the autumn of 2019 to reunite with on-screen daughter Tiffany Butcher, played by Strictly star Maisie Smith.

She had been due to reprise her role again and was back in the UK for filming, but her appearance was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Danny Miller

Emmerdale star Danny Miller has had two separate stints on the show
Emmerdale star Danny Miller has had two separate stints on the show

Emmerdale favourite Danny Miller first appeared in the village in 2008 as Aaron Dingle.

He was involved in some major storylines such as his character struggling to accept his sexuality and a controversial assisted suicide plot.

His first stint lasted less than four years as he decided to bow out to, you guessed it, pursue other opportunities.

"It has been an incredibly difficult decision but after three years playing Aaron and much soul-searching, I am eager to explore other roles," he said.

"I am so grateful to Emmerdale for the opportunity that I have been given and have loved every moment. I will miss everyone enormously but this might not be the last we see of Aaron."

During his time away, Danny played Prince Charming in a Blackpool Cinderella panto while also starring in Lightfields, Jamaica Inn and Scott & Bailey.

But after just two years away it was announced that Danny was returning to Emmerdale and he's been there ever since.

Lacey Turner

Lacey Turner plays Stacey Slater
Lacey Turner plays Stacey Slater

The Stacey Slater actress first burst onto our screens in November 2004, having originally auditioned for the role of Demi Miller on EastEnders.

Lacey was at the centre of some sensational storylines such as Stacey's affair with father-in-law Max Branning and murdering rapist Archie Mitchell.

EastEnders bosses were desperate to keep the acclaimed actress after the live episode in 2010 but she decided to leave after the death of on-screen husband Bradley.

"I'll miss Stacey and everyone in Albert Square very much but the time has come to try something different," she said, before revealing she had made a pact with Charlie Clements to leave together.

She told Fabulous magazine: "Charlie and I always said we'd go at the same time. For quite a while I'd been saying I was going to go and kept realising I wasn't ready. But when Charlie said he was going last year I was like, 'Right, OK, I'm going too'."

Lacey is still in EastEnders but her character is currently in prison
Lacey is still in EastEnders but her character is currently in prison

Lacey appeared in Being Human, Bedlam and switch - but her most prominent role was as Molly Dawes in the first series of Our Girl.

After over three years away from Walford, Lacey decided the time was right to come back in 2014.

"I may have left EastEnders over three years ago, but the show has always been in my heart, as has Stacey, and she has never really left my side," she explained.

"I am so excited about returning and seeing what the future holds for her. It's been a while since I set foot in Albert Square and I am looking forward to coming home."

Lacey has been on the soap ever since but taken breaks from filming to have her two children.

Ben Price

Ben Price came back to play Nick Tilsley after just a year away
Ben Price came back to play Nick Tilsley after just a year away

The third actor to play Nick Tilsley, Ben Price joined the cast in late 2009 as Gail Platt's eldest son.

In 2017, Ben announced he was leaving for entirely "personal" reasons so he could spend more time with his loved ones.

"The decision to leave is purely personal – I want to be able to spend more time with my family," he stated. I have been supported by a terrific cast and crew and have had the most glorious storylines and for that I am most grateful."

Luckily for Ben, Corrie bosses decided that Nick would not be killed off.

During his time away, Ben got a chance to do the school run, make his kids' packed lunches and write and direct his film Hope Dies Last.

Just one year on from his emotional exit, Ben announced he would be back on the cobbles and Nick rushed to be by Leanne's side.

Ben explained the decision to leave was not about pursuing other roles but sorting out his work/life balance.

Revealing how former Corrie boss Kate Oates secured Ben's return with more flexible filming hours, he told The Daily Star: "I now have a different way of working. I get a longer weekend - they make sure I can get home on a Friday.

"They crush my work into busy days rather than it elongating over time.

"And they are aware that I have to find that balance now. It's a really different working week and I couldn't be happier to be back."