Matthew Wolfenden and Isabel Hodgins return to Emmerdale after ‘race row enquiry’


Matthew Wolfenden and Isabel Hodgins returned to Emmerdale on Friday night following a three-month absence after they became embroiled in an alleged race row.

Actor Matthew, 41, who plays David Metcalfe, and Isabel, 28, who portrays Victoria Sugden, had been off screen following claims ‘the accent of a mixed-raced actress was mimicked’ on set, with the characters’ absence being explained by the pair taking an extended Portuguese holiday after Meena Jutla’s (Paige Sandhu) attempt to kill Victoria last year.

In Friday’s scenes, the pair were seen returning to the village shop to surprise Jacob Gallagher (Joe-Warren Plant).

Comeback: Matthew Wolfenden, 41, and Isabel Hodgins, 28, returned to Emmerdale on Friday night following a three-month absence after they became embroiled in an alleged race row

The couple told Jacob their relationship was now so strong they wanted to become a ‘proper family’ with Jacob and their young children.

David was later seen reacting with shock after learning the extent of Meena’s crimes after she was exposed as a serial killer before going on the run.  

Matthew and Isabel had been absent following claims that ‘the accent of a mixed-raced actress was mimicked’ on set. 

Shock: In Friday's scenes, the pair were seen returning to the village shop to surprise Jacob Gallagher (Joe-Warren Plant)

Shock: In Friday’s scenes, the pair were seen returning to the village shop to surprise Jacob Gallagher (Joe-Warren Plant)

The unnamed actress was upset following an inappropriate comment made towards her, before it was claimed her accent was mocked during the fall out.  

According to The Sun, ITV bosses accepted Matthew and Isabel’s explanation that the alleged remark and mimicry were ‘misheard’, with no formal action to be taken against them.

A source told the publication: ‘ITV have conducted a rigorous enquiry into the allegations made, with witness statements taken. Bosses accepted Matthew and Isabel’s explanation and agreed they can return to work.

Claims: Matthew, who plays David Metcalfe, and Isabel, who portrays Victoria Sugden, had been off screen following claims 'the accent of a mixed-raced actress was mimicked' on set

Claims: Matthew, who plays David Metcalfe, and Isabel, who portrays Victoria Sugden, had been off screen following claims ‘the accent of a mixed-raced actress was mimicked’ on set

On a break: The characters' absence being explained by the pair taking an extended Portuguese holiday after Meena Jutla’s (Paige Sandhu) attempt to kill Victoria last year

On a break: The characters’ absence being explained by the pair taking an extended Portuguese holiday after Meena Jutla’s (Paige Sandhu) attempt to kill Victoria last year

Plans: The couple told Jacob on Friday that their relationship was now so strong they wanted to become a 'proper family' with Jacob and their young children

Plans: The couple told Jacob on Friday that their relationship was now so strong they wanted to become a ‘proper family’ with Jacob and their young children

‘However, it has been made very clear that racism and bullying will not be tolerated by ITV. They have also offered the subject of their alleged remarks guidance about how to deal with the pair’s return.’

MailOnline contacted an Emmerdale spokesperson for comment at the time.  

Neither cast member had been formally suspended by the producers of the Yorkshire-based soap, but they had not filmed scenes since September.

Exciting: It recently emerged Matthew and Isabel would return to Emmerdale 'as soon as possible'

Exciting: It recently emerged Matthew and Isabel would return to Emmerdale ‘as soon as possible’

Shock: The fictional couple hadn't featured in the ITV soap since September, after jetting out to Portugal to visit Victoria's step-mum Diane

Shock: The fictional couple hadn’t featured in the ITV soap since September, after jetting out to Portugal to visit Victoria’s step-mum Diane

Back in November, it was claimed Matthew and Isabel were facing allegations.

Both stars – who joined the soap in 2006 – categorically denied claims of racism and suggested the whole thing was a misunderstanding.

An Emmerdale spokesman told MailOnline at the time: ‘While we would never comment on individual cases, Emmerdale has robust policies in place to deal with any allegations brought to our attention and take the appropriate steps.’  

Gripping: Their characters made their way back to the Dales after David's ex Meena Jutla was revealed to be a murderer (Paige Sandhu is pictured in-character)

Gripping: Their characters made their way back to the Dales after David’s ex Meena Jutla was revealed to be a murderer (Paige Sandhu is pictured in-character)

It was also reported that following the alleged incident, Matthew is said to have rowed with co-star Aaron Anthony, who plays Ellis Chapman.

A source told The Sun: ‘It is common knowledge on set that Matthew and Isabel are not filming at the moment following a complaint.

‘This all came about after a conversation between them and another actress – during which the alleged remark was made.

Controversial: Matthew and Isabel had been absent following claims that 'the accent of a mixed-raced actress was mimicked' on set (pictured in-character)

Controversial: Matthew and Isabel had been absent following claims that ‘the accent of a mixed-raced actress was mimicked’ on set (pictured in-character)

‘An accusation was also made that the actress’s accent had been mimicked.’  

The source went on to say that Matthew and Aaron subsequently had a ‘tense conversation’, adding that afterwards, Matthew and Isabel ‘stopped filming’.

The insider said that ’emotions have been running high’ on the set since the incident, with cast unsure ‘what to believe’.

Meanwhile, it was said the female cast member at the centre of the race row was continuing to film ‘as normal’, though she wished she ‘wasn’t entangled in it’.

The publication reported that the ‘issue was far from solved’ and as two of Emmerdale’s biggest stars their sudden absence from set caused major ‘production issues’.

Oh dear: Neither actor had been formally suspended by the producers of the Yorkshire-based soap, but they have not filmed scenes since September

Oh dear: Neither actor had been formally suspended by the producers of the Yorkshire-based soap, but they have not filmed scenes since September

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