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Richard Thorp returns to Dales filming

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generic image of annie sugden and alan turner
Emmerdale veteran Richard Thorp has returned to filming at the soap after taking a leave of absence for health reasons, Digital Spy can confirm.

The 78-year-old, who plays Alan Turner on the Yorkshire-based drama, has been recuperating for the past eight months after having his right knee replaced.

However, Thorp is now on the road to recovery and finally went back to work last week. He is due to return to screens in six weeks' time.

In an interview with the Evening Courier, the actor joked that he is keen to show Emmerdale fans that he is still alive after such a long break.

He explained: "I was hobbling round the supermarket the other week when I heard one woman say to her friend, 'Isn't that Alan Turner over there?' Her friend replied, 'Don't be silly, it can't possibly be - he's dead!'"

Speaking of his recovery, he added: "I have had to learn to walk again and didn't drive for four months."

An Emmerdale spokesperson this evening told DS: "We are delighted to have Richard back on set after such a long time off and we are sure the audience will be pleased to see him back on the show. "

Thorp has been a cast member on Emmerdale since 1982. Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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