Amongst the most popular soap operas on British television is Yorkshire based, Emmerdale. Starting in 1972 as Emmerdale Farm, the series has been entertaining viewers for nearly 50 years, and we now take a look back at what some of our favourite characters are up to now.
Peter Amory – Then
The son of Frank Tate and heir to the Tate throne was a good guy, Chris. However, after a huge plane crash, Frank’s personality did a complete 180, and he became the bad guy in the Emmerdale village.
Peter Amory – Now
After playing the role of Chris Tate for 14 years, Amory left the show in 2003. His character had committed suicide with a hope to frame Charity for his murder. Meanwhile, Amory has remained relatively quiet on the television front ever since and has kept himself out of the limelight. In real life, he married Claire King who played his on-screen stepmother, Kim Tate, in Emmerdale. The couple separated after ten years together, and Amory also has a son from another relationship.
Andy Devine – Then
Andy Devine played Shadrach Dingle who was a member of the complicated Dingle family tree. Devine played the role on and off for from 1998 but was finally killed off the show in 2010 to suit his retirement at age 68. His character, Shadrach, may have come from a complicated family but, he himself, suffered from liver disease. On Devine’s final appearance in Emmerdale in 2010, his character had collapsed into a river and drowned while attempting to retrieve some fallen beer cans.
Andy Devine – Now
Following his emotional storyline from Emmerdale and his subsequent departure from the soap opera, Devine has had minor roles on Monroe and Doctors. He also reprised his role as Shadrach Dingle in The Big Quiz: Coronation Street v Emmerdale. Devine had, in fact, appeared in Coronation Street for a minor role in 1995 as a photographer for a wedding before eventually joining the cast of Emmerdale for the long-term. Overall, Devine’s acting career survived nearly 50 years before he retired.
Paul Loughran – Then
Probably best remembered as the lovable ginger one in the village who was always on hand for a good friendly hug, would, of course, be Butch Dingle, another member of the Dingle clan, and played by Paul Loughran. Since he was not the sharpest knife in the draw, Butch was always getting himself into trouble but had first appeared in the village to confront Luke McAllister. Butch believed Luke was responsible for the death of his brother Ben.
Paul Loughran – Now
Loughran’s character was killed off the show in 2000 when he was caught in a bus crash with his friend, Pete Collins. Since then, Paul has been no stranger to soap operas and has appeared in The Bill, Heartbeat, and Blue Murder. In 2016, it was announced that Loughran would appear as Darryl Perkins, the father of Craig Tinker, in Coronation Street. A year later, in 2017, Loughran was cast to appear in another series, and this time it was BBC One’s medical drama, Casualty.
Kate McGregor – Then
For such a quiet and timid character, it was surprising how complicated Emily Kirk’s love-life had become on the show. Played by Kate McGregor, Kirk did not seem interested in love whatsoever, but it seemed to follow her during her time in the Emmerdale village. Her time in the village was from 1999 to 2007, with a brief return in 2008. During this time, viewers watched how Kirk became the girl scared of the outside world, and her transformation when she took a job at Viv Windsor’s post office.
Kate McGregor – Now
It seems that Kate McGregor was committed to the Yorkshire Dales for her career since she has not been spotted since her brief return to Emmerdale in 2008. Reprising her role as Emily Kirk for a commitment ceremony was the last time McGregor was seen on television, and fans will have to best remember her as the misfit from Emmerdale. On the show, her character Emily had originally left the ‘Dales to become a Vicar and moved to Manchester to pursue her new career path.
Richard Thorp – Then
Richard Thorp played the role of Alan Turner from 1982 to 2013, making him one of the longest-serving members of the cast of Emmerdale. Alan joined the village in 1982 with his wife Jill, but the two ended their marriage three years later, and Alan spent his early years doing business deals and working on the local council. Alan was also known to be quite the boozer and a womanizer in his younger days, but he had mellowed down as he got older.
Richard Thorp – Now
Thorp may also be recognised from his roles in The Dam Busters (1955) and The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1957). However, he was a prominent figure and character in Emmerdale up until his death in May 2013. He had taken a short break from the series in 2010 due to health issues but returned soon after. His last appearance was in June 2013 when an hour long show was dedicated in his name, and he it was written in the script that he had died in his sleep.
Norman Bowler – Then
The Tate family were well-known in the Yorkshire Dales, and the leader of the pack and the Tate empire was, Frank Tate. Played by Norman Bowler for eight years, much of Frank’s storylines revolved around his volatile relationship with his wife Kim Tate, who he had divorced and then remarried before his death in 1997. It was revealed that Kim was Frank’s secretary and the pair embarked on an affair when his former wife was dying of cancer
Norman Bowler – Now
Bowler decided to quit Emmerdale in 1997, and his character was subsequently written out of the show the following year. Before taking on the role as Frank Tate in 1989, he was a regular star of the ATV soap series, Harpers West One where he played Roger Pike and had a recurring role in the series Crossroads from 1986-1987. After Emmerdale, he and his third wife focused their time on charity work and spent several years at Auroville International Township in Tamil Nadu, India working with the people in the surrounding villages.
Stan Richards – Then
Archibald Seth Amstrong, better known as Seth Amstrong, first appeared in Emmerdale in 1978. He became a full-time regular, however, from 1980 and his most memorable storylines include his complicated relationship with Beggy Eagleton, the death of his wife Meg. his friendship with Kim Tate, and dealing with the guilt over his role in the death of Jackie Merrick. Having been a resident of the Emmerdale village until 2005, he has been through a lot. Seth died while on a flight over from Leeds back to the village.
Stan Richards – Now
Stan Richards’ time as Seth came to an end when he died in 2005. He is the fourth-longest-serving character in the series and has remained to be one of the most iconic characters to ever star in Emmerdale. He was originally signed to play Seth for just four weeks in 1978 but, he became so popular, he was brought on as a full-time character in the series from 1980. Before his time on Emmerdale, Richards had starred in six episodes of Coronation Street as Arthur Stokes.
Paula Tilbrook – Then
Elizabeth Eagleton, who is better known as Betty, was played by Paula Tilbrook from 1994 to 2015. During her 21 years on the show, Betty’s love affair with Seth Armstrong won the hearts of many. Betty waited for Seth on his return from Australia, but his plane suffered a crash, and he died, leaving Betty heartbroken. On top of her relationship with Seth, fans watched when Betty’s former flame Reggie arrived at the Emmerdale village. Betty previously had an abortion after she fell pregnant with Reggie’s child.
Paula Tilbrook – Now
In April 2015, it was announced that Tilbrook would be retiring and therefore, leaving her role as Betty on Emmerdale. Her final scenes as Betty aired on 25 May that year, when she left the village to move back to Australia. Other than Emmerdale, Paula has appeared in Coronation Street where she played Estelle Plimpton and Olive Taylor-Brown, and in Tales of the Unexpected where she played Vivian Barford. She also played three roles in Last of the Summer Wine and played the dog-loving, Mrs. Tattersall in Open All Hours.
Andrew Burt – Then
While many of us will remember Jack Sugden being played by Clive Hornby, the character was originally played by Andrew Burt from 1972-1974. When Jack first arrives at Emmerdale Farm, it is at the funeral of his father, Jacob. He quickly finds out that Jack has left him the farm in his will, which makes his siblings feel animosity towards him. Having been away from his family for eight years, his return was met with a frosty reception, but his mother said he could stay if he helped at the farm.
Andrew Burt – Now
Burt left Emmerdale in 1974 when his character had left for Italy. When his character returned in 1980, Burt did not return and handed over the role to Clive Hornby. Rather, Andrew Burt went to star as the brother of Lesley Whittle in the 1977 film, The Black Panther and had a starring role in the BBC series, The Legend of King Arthur. He is now said to be living in Ealing, West London, where he works as a counsellor for people with stress-related illnesses.
Deena Payne – Then
Over her 18 years on the soap opera, Deena Payne played Viv Hope, who was known by several names during that time. She first arrived at the Emmerdale village in 1993 and was last seen on the drama in 2011 when her character was killed in an explosion. When Payne had asked for a break in 2007, her character was sentenced to three years imprisonment after pleading guilty to conspiracy to fraud. She had also cheated on her husband, Vic, during her time in the village and later married Bob.
Deena Payne – Now
After 18 years on the show, it was written in the show that Viv would die in her sleep during a fire because producers believed the character had run its course. As one of the longest-serving characters on the show, Payne was angry at the way she was written off-screen. Since her departure, however, she has gone onto perform on stage and appeared in Calendar Girls and various pantomimes. She also starred as Irene in the television show, True Crime.
Jo Kendall – Then
When Emmerdale first aired in 1972, the first line to be said on the show was “Matt, who’s she?” This line was said by Peggy Skilbeck who was played by Jo Kendall. Peggy had married Matt in 1968, and the couple welcomed twins Sam and Sally Skilbeck in April 1973. However, just three months later and at the age of 26, Peggy sadly died from a brain hemorrhage. This saw the departure of Jo Kendall from the show after starring on the soap opera for just one year.
Jo Kendall – Now
Kendall later moved to radio comedy and continued to appear in several dramas. She starred as Adelaide Palliser in The Pallisers, as Annie in the film adaptation of Howards End, and as a publican’s wife in another Merchant Ivory film, The Remains of the Day in 1993. She continued to appear in television roles and appeared in Grange Hill during the 1980’s and played the abrasive Miss Elizabeth Wait in the BBC’s adaptation of the Vivien Alcock book, The Cuckoo Sister.
Ronald Magill – Then
After playing Amos Brearly for 23 years, Ronald Magill’s character has become one of the most iconic characters to come from the show. For 19 of those years on the show, Amos ran the infamous Emmerdale pub, The Woolpack. At one time, Amos and his business partner, Henry Wilks, were threatened by burglars while closing up the pub and kept in the cellar overnight. When he decided to retire in 1991 and move to Spain, he handed over The Woolpack to Alan Turner.
Ronald Magill – Now
Magill originally starred in Emmerdale from 1972 to 1991 and made more appearances in the show between 1994 and 1995. Before his time in Emmerdale, Magill starred in the West End production of The Ruling Class and appeared at the Bristol Old Vic in Death of a Salesman and The Browning Version. It was in 1969 that he first appeared on television in Special Branch and Parkin’s Patch. He was considered perfect to play Amos when he came to the audition with his bushy sideburns from playing an Edwardian in a stage play.
Arthur Pentelow – Then
Arthur Pentelow played Amos Bearly’s righthand man, Henry Wilks. Together they would bring a more humorous side to the soap opera and, as a pair, the pub owners won the hearts of many fans. When Amos Bearly left for Spain, Henry continued to stay behind the bar but became irritated with Alan’s ways when he took over. The pipe-smoking character was part of the Emmerdale village residents for nearly 20 years and is the sixteenth longest-running character on the show.
Arthur Pentelow – Now
Amos and Henry ran The Woolpack together up until 1991, but that same year they ended up both leaving the Emmerdale village. While Amos had left for Spain, Henry had suddenly died from a heart attack. In fact, this was written into the script because Arthur Pentelow had suddenly died from a heart attack himself when he was driving back from his family home in Birmingham to commence filming again in Leeds. Aside from Emmerdale, Arthur had made television appearances in Z-Cars, Emergency – Ward 10 and Hadleigh.
Sheila Mercier – Then
Sheila Mercier appeared from the very first episode of Emmerdale in 1972 and continued as a regular on the series until 1994. She played the role of Annie Sugden, who was considered to be the soap’s “first matriarch” since she was the maternal force behind one of Emmerdale’s main focal points – the Sugden family. After her husband, Jacob died, she focused on rebuilding the farm and putting an end to the feud between her sons Jack and Joe. Her daughter Peggy also died after suffering from a brain hemorrhage.
Sheila Mercier – Now
Mercier became the longest-serving female character in the series’ history, and since her departure in 1994, she has made several appearances in the show. Mercier and Frazer Hines, who played her son Joe, were the only two original cast members to appear in the shows 20th anniversary. Her last appearance on Emmerdale was in 2009, and before her long stint on the series, she had a long career on stage. Furthermore, during World War II, she joined the WAAF division of the Royal Air Force.
Toke Townley – Then
Toke Towny was another original cast member of Emmerdale Farm since he appeared as Sam Pearson from the very first episode. He was the father of Annie Sugden, and grandfather to Peggy Skilbeck, and Jack and Joe Sugden. He passed away peacefully in his sleep in 1984, after winning a pumpkin in the village show the night before. It was his daughter Annie who found him when she went to take him his morning tea. While he was a grouch to some, he was also a lovable and god fearing man.
Toke Townley – Now
Sam Pearson died in the show after Toke Townley died of a heart attack two months prior. He had appeared in over 800 episodes of Emmerdale Farm over 12 years by the time of his death, and he was an admired cast member on the show. Before Emmerdale, he had also appeared in nearly 30 films including, Lady Godiva Rides Again, Doctor at Sea, The Quatermass Xperiment, The Admirable Crichton, Carry on Admiral, Doctor in Distress and Scars of Dracula. He also appeared in The Avengers and was an accomplished flutist.
Natalie Anderson – Then
Natalie Anderson joined the cast of Emmerdale in 2010, playing the role of Alicia Gallagher, the estranged sister of Leyla Harding. Alicia always thought she was glamorous, but to most, she came across as trashy, with her fake tan, long nails, gold jewellery and hair extensions. She arrived at the village with her husband and son, Jacob. From the moment she arrived, the bad blood between the sisters was evident, and it was later revealed, that Layla was Jacob’s real mother, not Alicia.
Natalie Anderson – Now
Before joining the Emmerdale cast from 2010 to 2015, Anderson was best known for playing Stella Davenport in the medical drama, The Royal, from 2005 to 2008. She then took to the stage to perform in the London production of Wicked from 2009 to 2010, and since 2015, she has been a regular on ITV’s, This Morning and Loose Women. Meanwhile, Anderson had also shown off her musical skills when she appeared on the talent show, Pop Idol, and released her debut album entitled “Return to Me” in 2008.
Emily Symons – Then
Louise Appleton was played by Emily Symons from 2001. Louise first arrived at the village to be a temporary barmaid, but she ended up as the co-landlady alongside her best friend, Diane Sudgen. She was the gorgeous Australian in the village, and the men could not believe their luck when she arrived in the UK. However, Louise’s heart was set on Rodney, who was the ex-wife of Diane. The couple was still in love with one another and had an affair behind Louise’s back.
Emily Symons – Now
Symons career on soap operas began when she appeared on Richmond Hill in 1988. It was a year later than she became best-known for her role as Marilyn Chambers-Fisher in the Australian hit series, Home and Away. After almost ten years on the show, she moved to the UK and immediately won the role of Louise Appleton in Emmerdale. Her last appearance on the series was in 2008, and she has since moved back to Australia to reprise her role in Home and Away.
Stephen McGann – Then
Stephen McGann was cast for the role as the patriarch of the Reynolds family, Sean Reynolds, in 1999. Upon his arrival to the Emmerdale village, he gained a rival from Chris Tate. The two would often bicker over their businesses, and refused to ever get into business together. Sean had come to Emmerdale village with his wife and two children, but he later embarked on an extramarital affair with businesswoman, Tara Thornfield. In 2002, the two are seen driving off into the sunset together to start a new life in Chester.
Stephen McGann – Now
That drive off into the sunset was Stephen’s last appearance in Emmerdale, and he went onto star in the hit West End play, Art, in 2003. In 2006, he played Reverand Shaw in the West End musical, Footloose, and he can currently be seen playing Dr. Turner in BBC’s, Call the Midwife. As well as acting, McGann is a public speaker and communicator of science. He has published books over the years, and as of recent, he published “Flesh and Blood: A History of My Family in Seven Maladies.”
Leah Bracknell – Then
Leah Bracknell took on quite the role when she played Frank Tate’s daughter, Zoe Tate. Also, sister to Chris, Zoe was involved in an LGBT storyline, and viewers watched how she tackled this even with the dismay of her father. It also came to light later on that Zoe had schizophrenia. During her time on the show, Zoe loses both her father and brother, has a tumultuous relationship with her stepmother, Kim, and falls pregnant without knowing how it happened.
Leah Bracknell – Now
Leah Bracknell played Zoe on Emmerdale from 1989 to 2005 and won the 2006 British Soap Award for Best Exit. She was also nominated for a National Television Award in 2002 for Most Popular Actress. Away from her brilliant acting abilities, she is also a qualified teacher with the British School of Yoga and has been teaching meditation and yoga since leaving Emmerdale. She also has her own line of jewellery which she designs, and in June 2007, she joined the cast of The Royal Today as Matron Jenny Carrington.
Dominic Power – Then
Dominic Power took on the villain role as Cameron Murray in Emmerdale from 2011. Over his two years in the village, crazy-eyed Cameron was responsible for the murders of Carl King, Alex Moss, and Gennie Sharma. It seems as though karma caught up with Cameron when he was electrocuted within the flood that occurred in the pub’s cellar, and subsequently killed. Power won the ‘Best Bad Boy’ award at the 2013 Inside Soap Awards for his role as Cameron.
Dominic Power – Now
Power’s first major role on television was when he appeared as PC Leon Taylor in ITV’s police drama, The Bill from 2008, and remained till the last episode in 2010. After Emmerdale, and playing bad boy Cameron on the show, he starred as Saul Hammond, a paranoid schizophrenic in Channel 5’s, Suspects. Power’s role gave a glimpse into the struggles of mental illness and his performance was highly credited. Power has continued his work with ITV, and, in 2015, it was announced that Dominic had joined the cast of the new drama, Unforgotten.
Sian Reese-Williams – Then
From 2008 to 2013, Sian Reese-Williams played the role of Genesis “Gennie” Walker. Gennie enters the Emmerdale village in hope to reunite with her birth father, Shadrach Dingle, but she was accidentally knocked off her motorbike while on her way. She later met Shadrach while at Eli Dingle’s birthday party. She is also known for her relationship with Jamie Hope, and her relationship and marriage to Nikhil Sharma. She was tragically murdered by bad boy Cameron Murray in 2013, after being involved in a car crash with him and Debbie Dingle.
Sian Reese-Williams – Now
Following her departure from Emmerdale, Sian returned to theatre in 2013 and played Marta in Children of Fate. The following year, she played Linda in Alan Bennett’s, Enjoy, and won critical acclaim for her role as W in Lungs. As for television, Sian starred in the Welsh crime drama, Hinterland during its third season, where she played Manon, DI Tom Matthias’s love interest. She later appeared in the award-winning series, 25 Diwrnod, and will star as Trudy in the BBC One/Netflix drama, Requiem, set for release this year.
Lisa Riley – Then
When Lisa Riley joined the cast of Emmerdale as larger-than-life character, Mandy Dingle, she was a quick hit when she began working behind the bar at The Woolpack. Although known to have quite the promiscuous past, fans watched as her love life with Paddy panned out over the years. When he left to live in Ireland, she married Butch, but the pair embarked on an affair and eventually got back together. This was not the end of the lies and deceit for the couple, however.
Lisa Riley – Now
Riley played Mandy Dingle from 1995 to 2001, during which time she also became the presenter of You’ve Been Framed! She took on this role until 2003 and, in 2012, she became a contestant on the tenth series of Strictly Come Dancing. She became a fan favourite during the series and, along with her partner Robin Windsor, they have even considered the stars of the series. Her other television appearances include Waterloo Road, Wolverton, and Loose Women, of which she has been a regular panelist since 2016.
Matthew Bose – Then
Matthew Bose joined the cast of Emmerdale in 2004, and played the role of Paul Lambert for the following four years, with brief returns after that. Paul’s storylines focused primarily on his complicated relationship with his parents and on his love life. Bose very much opposed the story where Paul had a one-night stand with Grayson Sinclair and expressed his intense dislike to the producers of the show. He felt it was out of character and portrayed gay men in the wrong way.
Matthew Bose – Now
Bose left Emmerdale in 2008 but returned to the show in 2010 for the wedding of Paul’s sister, Nicole, and twice again in 2015. Before he began acting, Bose was a far cry away from the Emmerdale village and was actually working as a model, working all around Europe, Tokyo, and New York City. He got into acting while studying psychology after his lecturer told him to attend performance classes to help boost his confidence. He has since appeared in many shows including My Family, Cutting It, Silent Witness, and D-Day.
Kelli Hollis – Then
Kelli Hollis played Ali Spencer from 2011- 2015. She arrived at Emmerdale village with her two children and her girlfriend, Ruby. Ali had just left her husband of fifteen years, Dan, and her sister, Rachel, already lived in the village and told her of an available cottage to rent. Ali never planned to be with a woman, but she fell in love with Ruby and was determined to make their relationship work. This decision was not easy for Ali, nor her children, but all she wanted was to keep her family together.
Kelli Hollis – Now
Before appearing as Ali Spencer in Emmerdale, Kelli portrayed Yvonne Karib in Shameless for six years, starting in 2004. She has also starred as the character Tina Crabtree in the television dramas, Tina Goes Shopping and Tina Takes A Break. She appeared as Bridget Croft in two episodes of the series, Dalziel and Pascoe, and in BBC One’s television drama, Waterloo Road where she played Chantel. Hollis has also starred in the female football drama, Playing the Field, and in the TV film, See No Evil.
Billy Hartman – Then
The character of Terry Woods was played by Billy Hartman from 1996 until 2011. When Terry and his wife, Britt, arrive in Emmerdale, they do not give the best first impression, and everyone is less than impressed by their attitude. However, as managers of the Woolpack, they had a huge impact on the community. The couple were later offered their own bar in New York City and Britt decided to leave. This was when Terry also found out that his wife was having an affair, and they divorced.
Billy Hartman – Now
After playing the role Terry for 16 years, before being killed off the show, Billy is the twenty-second longest running character in the history of the show. That was not his last stint on a British soap opera, however, since he starred as Graham O’Reilly on Casualty in 2013. Before his time on Emmerdale, Hartman played a teenager in the 1980s American horror film, Slaughter High, and appeared as Isaac Talentire in the original west end production of The Hired Man.
Frazer Hines – Then
Amongst the original cast members was Frazer Hines, who played Joe Sugden, the son of Annie Sugden and the brother of Jack. Joe was a father just like his father, but his first wife leaves him when she realises she doesn’t want to be a farmers wife. This was not the last time Joe married, and he was involved in many relationships during his time in the Emmerdale village. He also could not keep away after he left in 1983 since he returned again in 1986.
Frazer Hines – Now
Frazer starred in Emmerdale up until 1994 and is well-known for his role as Joe Sugden. However, before his time on the soap opera, he appeared in 117 episodes of the popular hit, Doctor Who where he played Jamie McCrimmon. It was originally intended that Hines would make a one-off guest appearance, but he became a full-time regular on the series from 1966 to 1969. Hines has also embarked on a career on stage and, in 2014, he starred as Daddy Warbucks in the stage musical, Annie.
Adele Silva – Then
She first appeared as Kelly Glover when she arrived at Emmerdale village in 1993 and later, the character played by Adele Silva, became Kelly Windsor. Having starred on the show originally for seven years, Kelly certainly had her fair share of storylines including an affair with her teacher, suffering from a miscarriage, romantic feelings for her stepbrother, and an affair with him while she is married to Roy. She finally decided to leave for London when none of her friends or family are speaking to her.
Adele Silva – Now
Silva left Emmerdale in 2000 but later returned to the soap opera in 2005-2007, and again in 2011. She has also appeared in Doctor Who, Mr. Majeika, The Bill, and EastEnders. In 2015, she continued her run on soap operas by appearing on Hollyoaks, for a guest stint as Angele Brown. However, in 2017, Silva set her sights on Hollywood and relocated across the pond for more career options. It seems that acting did not work out for her since she was last seen working as a shop assistant in Ted Baker.
Sheree Murphy – Then
One of the most loveable characters to live in the Emmerdale village, was Tricia Stokes, the bubbly grandaughter of Alan Turner. Tricia worked behind the bar at The Woolpack and was a fan amongst the men who came to the bar. She later became Tricia Dingle when she married the Woolpack chef, Marlon Dingle, and joined the complicated family. Tricia, who was played by Sheree Murphy from 1998 to 2004, was killed off the show when she died after stumbling over a fallen tree.
Sheree Murphy – Now
Murphy announced she would be leaving Emmerdale in 2004 to focus on spending time with her family and her two young children.She appeared on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! in 2005, and is best remembered for being scared of everything. After a six-year hiatus from her career, Murphy returned to acting and joined rival soap opera, Hollyoaks as Eva Strong. She also had another two more children with her footballer husband, Harry Kewell, and appeared on the Australian soap opera Neighbours.