Emmerdale star Rik Makarem has revealed he is leaving the show, days after his screen wife Sian Reese-Williams announced her exit.

The 31-year-old actor is set to wave farewell to Emmerdale later this year, after nearly four years of playing straight-laced hearthrob Nikhil Sharma.

“What a privilege for four years to be a part of such a brilliant show! Along with the creative team, it’s been so enjoyable crafting the many wonderful ‘under-surface’ colours and quirks to my character. I will treasure the experience deeply,” he told Emmerdale’s official website.

Rik said he was ‘inspired’ to see what lies in his future, away from Emmerdale.

“When making my decision to leave, on both artistic and personal levels, I listened very closely to my heart,” he said. “I’m naturally ambitious; I believe in taking risks, as that’s how we truly learn about ourselves, how we grow, and with this integrity in mind, I’m completely inspired for the journey ahead.”

His co-star Sian, who plays Nikhil’s wife Gennie, revealed she will be leaving Emmerdale this summer to pursue new challenges.

The screen couple welcomed the arrival of their baby daughter Molly in the 40th anniversary live episode, and got married recently. They have been supporting Gennie’s adoptive mother Brenda after she was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

The couple will be seen in Emmerdale throughout most of the summer. Details of their forthcoming exits are being kept under wraps.