Emmerdale’s Barton family will face an emotional crisis as Hannah Barton returns to the village – as a man named Matty.
Thinking that the farm has been broken into, Cain Dingle (Jeff Hordley) knocks out a man he believes is an intruder.
However, when Moira (Natalie J Robb) arrives she instantly recognises him as her daughter Hannah, who was last seen a few years ago before she moved to London.
Matty Barton, the ITV soap’s first transgender character, will be played by Ash Palmisciano, who has already begun filming.
The actor said: “I’m very excited to be joining the very welcoming Emmerdale family.
“From nervous auditions to now working alongside the team daily has been truly amazing.
“Matty’s a ground-breaking character to play and I can’t wait to see what’s ahead for him.”
Producer Kate Brooks said: “The character of Matty certainly knows how to make an impact: cheeky, effervescent, quick-witted and headstrong, it’s not long before he’s charmed his way into the affections of all those who meet him.
“His tale of a man trying to shake off his past and find acceptance in the present is full of emotion, humour and ultimately hope as he settles back into rural village life, turning Moira’s world upside down in the process.”
“We are absolutely thrilled to have Ash on board to play this role,” Brooks added.
“A skilful actor of great talent, he exudes charisma and there’s an unflinching honesty to his performance that adds real depth to this complex character.
“Ash has already proven himself to be a brilliant addition to the cast and we look forward to charting his journey as he reconnects with old friends and forges new relationships along the way.”
Palmisciano, who has previously appeared in Boy Meets Girl and Mum, will appear on screen at the end of the month.