Popular Emmerdale star Adam Thomas is saying goodbye to his namesake character after eight years on the farm

Adam Thomas says the time is right for him to challenge himself with new roles as he announced his departure from Emmerdale .

Adam (pictured with girlfriend Caroline Daly) has played Moira Barton’s son, also named Adam, since 2009, and said on Emmerdale’s website: “I’ve had an amazing eight years working on Emmerdale and I’ve loved every minute of it. It was a really tough decision to take to leave, but I felt that now is the time to move on and challenge myself with some new roles.”

He continued: “I’d like to thank everyone at Emmerdale for both giving me the opportunity to work as part of such a great team and for giving my character Adam Barton some great storylines too.”

Adam, who first found fame on BBC1 school drama Waterloo Road, has been involved in a number of key storylines in Emmerdale. Initially, he took over Butler’s Farm with father John, mother Moira and sisters Holly and Hannah. He’s witnessed the deaths of his father John and sister Holly, the discovery his uncle James was actually his biological father, the break-up with his wife Victoria Sugden and the long-standing bromance with his gay best friend Aaron Dingle.

Emmerdale producer Iain MacLeod said: “Everyone will be really gutted to see Adam go! He’s a top bloke and a really talented actor. But he’s given us a lot of notice, so we’ve been able to prepare a huge exit story for him. I’m really excited to see it play out on screen – however sad it will be to wave goodbye to such a brilliant character and cast member.”

Adam will continue working on Emmerdale until the end of this year, so will still be on our screens in early 2018.