1988, you cry - but Zak wasn't in Emmerdale in 1988. True, actually. But Steve Halliwell was cropping up as Stephen, a bit-part character in Brookside, who seemed amazingly like Zak. He's seen above, being roughed up by Bobby Grant - played by Ricky Tomlinson (later Jim Royle in the Royle Family).
It wasn't a long story. Our Sheila, played by Sue Johnston (later Babara Royle in the Royle Family), had been out on the town with her pal Kathy Roach, played by Noreen Kershaw (formerly Lynne Harrison in Albion Market).
The jolly lads got the same bus home as the ladies, after silly Kathy told them that their husbands were away working on oil rigs (which, incidentally, Ron Brownlow, Ian's Crossroads character had spent a spell doing).
On arrival in Brookside Close, Steve and Greg woke the neighbourhood, trying to get the ladies to let them into the house for a drink. Which led to the arrival of Sheila's angry husband, Bobby. No harm was done, Billy Corkhill broke up the brawl.
But the evening did a great deal to end the marriage of Sheila and Bobby Grant.
Zak Dingle still lay several years ahead for actor Steve Halliwell. But for that one episode of Brookside, a prototype Zak was strutting his stuff and coming unstuck.
Recommended viewing for all Zak fans!