Emmerdale fans were greeted with the return of Meena Jutla during the soap’s return to screens on Monday night. The latest trip to the Dales kicked off with a visit to the serial killing nurse who is currently behind bars as she awaits her murder trial.
It has been a couple of weeks since Meena, played by Paige Sandhu, was last on-screen in the ITV soap in which she caused chaos in court during her plea hearing after being charged with a raft of offenses.
During those scenes, things got off to a seemingly good start when she pleaded guilty to some of her lesser offenses – in the grand scheme of things – but she ended up pleading not guilty for the murders of Ben Tucker, Leanna Cavanagh and Andrea Tate in another twist to the storyline.
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So now, it all comes down to the trial which looks set to be one of the biggest Emmerdale fans have seen for some time and one which has left Meena’s sister Manpreet Sharma all in a tizz.
But during Meena’s return to the Dales, albeit behind bars, fans were distracted by a couple of familiar faces who made their way into scenes alongside her.
First, Meena tried to have a little flirt with her latest security guard as he interrupted her morning yoga flow. As she clapped eyes on him, the evil character said: “Oh! That’s more like it. You’re a vast improvement on Officer Redwood. I’m a sucker for a pretty boy!”
The new prison officer may have been flattered but he did warn her: “You’re not allowed to talk to me like that!” to which a smirking Meena replied: “Sorry,” she continued on with her stretches.
But Emmerdale viewers were quickly pointing out where they had seen the actor playing the prison officer before. It turns out Dean Smith had a role in a popular BBC One series which is set to make a comeback this year.
@JamiePrestigio1 tweeted: “#Emmerdale I’m a bit late with this, but was that prison guard who spoke to Meena the same guy who played Phillip Ryan in Waterloo Road?”
“It’s Philip Ryan from @WaterlooRoad. #Emmerdale,” @AndyGibsonTV said.
@CasualtyFan03 commented: “OMG Phil from Waterloo Road in #Emmerdale.”
Dean, as Emmerdale viewers rightly pointed out, played Philip Ryan in the BBC school drama from 2009 to 2011. He also played Vinnie Dupe, the geek without chic, in STV’s comedy Being Victor, and William, in BBC1’s Last Tango in Halifax.
The prison officer was informing Meena that she had a visitor, her defense barrister Milligan who was soon heard telling Meena it was her job to get a not guilty verdict from the jury, and set her free.
She also gave Meena some good news, telling her that Leanna Cavanagh’s ring, which she stole after pushing her to her death, could not be used as evidence, and Meena now looks set to frame Manpreet for something instead.
But once again, viewers recognized Milligan as she plotted alongside Meena. The character is played by actress Amy Robbins who fans quickly remembered her for her role of ella on The Royal between 2003 and 2011.
However, they may also get her confused with her famous sister, Kate Robins, who recently appeared in Netflix’s After Life and BBC’s EastEnders and is the mother of comedian and Inbetweeners and Celebrity Juice star Emily Atack.
And it’s fair to say it’s an acting family as Amy and Kate’s brother Ted Robbins has had roles in Ackley Bridge, The A Word, Mount Pleasant, Bad Education and ITV’s Coronation Street.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.