Emmerdale Robert Sugden star is unrecognisable in new role two years after exit

Emmerdale fans have eagerly awaited Ryan Hawley's next role after his exit from the soap two years ago.

The talented actor, whose character Robert Sugden last appeared in November 2019, took some time out due to the pandemic. He also welcomed his first child earlier this year, with his wife Daisy Prestes de Oliviera.

Now Ryan has shown up on BBC forensic pathology drama Silent Witness in a guest role – looking very different from his clean cut Emmerdale days.

Appearing during the show's season finale, Ryan played a man called Michael, whose father's mysterious death was being treated as murder.

But as Nikki Alexander (Emilia Fox) and her team worked to solve the crime, Michael was left troubled by the death of his father, and fans were wowed by his performance.

"Watching the second part of Silent Witness and only just realised that Robert Sugden… errr I mean Ryan Hawley is in it!! Almost didn't recognise him under the beard…" tweeted one viewer.

"Just caught up on #SilentWitness & WOW what a performance from Ryan in that scene where he was going to shoot himself!" praised another.

"Well done to Ryan Hawley for detaching himself from Robert so successfully. I had not a flicker of recognition… Brilliant. #emmerdale #silentwitness" said a third.

Fans of Ryan's turbulent on screen romance with husband Aaron (Danny Miller) were hoping that 'Robron' will eventually be reunited. But with Robert currently serving life in prison for murder – with a minimum 14 year term – that seems unlikely.

Earlier this year, Emmerdale's Isobel Steele, who plays Robert's ex-sister-in-law Liv, told Digital Spy:“We do miss Ryan a lot. We were really close when we filmed together. When you're filming every day, you become really good friends.

“We do miss that dynamic and I know that the fans do as well."

Meanwhile, Silent Witness fans were thrilled when a post-credits scene revealed that Amanda Burton is returning to the show as pathologist Sam Ryan.

She will reprise the role for six episodes in the show's 25th anniversary season next year.

"I am so excited to be returning to Silent Witness and stepping back into Sam Ryan's shoes – with a difference!" she said.

"Audiences can look forward to plenty of twists and turns as they discover what Sam's been doing since leaving the Lyell."

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