|Portrayed by||Chris Chittell|
|First appearance||30 September 1986|
|Created by||Michael Russell|
Eric Charles Pollard is a fictional character from the British soap opera Emmerdale, played by Chris Chittell, who has appeared in the show since 1986. Following the death of Richard Thorp, who played Alan Turner, Eric became the programme's longest-running current character. He is also serving as the second longest running character in the history of the show.
For many years, the character served as the show's villain, but this has been noticeably toned down in recent years, particularly since Eric's marriage to Val Lambert and the introduction of his long-lost illegitimate son, David Metcalfe, in 2006, and later a foster daughter, Amy Wyatt. He has also been featured in a number of storylines, including his dodgy dealings, marriage to Elizabeth Feldmann, his mysterious whereabouts on the night of the Emmerdale plane crash, marriage to Thai student Dee de la Cruz (which later leaves him near suicidal), running for council, a rocky marriage to Gloria Weaver, his on-off relationship (later marriage) with Val, the return of Michael Feldmann & the truth about the plane crash and supporting Val after discovering she has HIV. He has also developed many feuds over the years, notably with the Dingle family and Rodney Blackstock.
Eric Pollock was born on 11 June 1945.
He married his first wife, Eileen (Arbel Jones), in 1964. He left her but they never divorced. He also changed his name to Eric Pollard so that the chances of Eileen tracking him down were minimal. In 1981, he had an affair with Lydia Holloway, resulting in a son, David (Matthew Wolfenden), whose existence Eric would not discover until 2006.
Eric arrives in Emmerdale (formerly called Beckindale) in September 1986 and immediately annoys Sandie Merrick (Jane Hutcheson). He makes himself very unpopular, even threatening Sandie with a poker when drunk. Eric quickly becomes the villain of the show and is involved in a number of illegal schemes, often with his crooked business associate, Charlie Aindow (David Fleeshman), who he meets in 1990.
In 1990, Eric finds romance with Debbie Wilson (Debbie Arnold) and they soon become engaged. However, Debbie turns the tables on Eric when she leaves with £2,000 and valuable goods that Eric gave to her to start an antiques shop, to which he intended to divert goods from Hotten Market. Unfortunately the money wasn't Eric's, it belonged to Charlie. Following Debbie, there is little romance in Eric's life until 1991 when he and Elizabeth Feldmann (Kate Dove) start dating. The relationship surprises many in the village, as two years before, Eric bought the Feldmanns' farm at a reduced price. Elizabeth's son, Michael (Matthew Vaughan) is particularly upset but Elizabeth ignores him and accepts Eric's proposal, marrying him that September. However, the marriage soon turns sour and when Elizabeth discovers Eric has framed Michael for fraud, she tells him that she will be going to the police. On 30 December 1993, Eric goes to Demdyke Farm, where Elizabeth is babysitting her granddaughter, Alice Bates, and threatens her to keep quiet. However, Elizabeth is determined and leaves the house and Eric follows. Moments later, an aeroplane crashes into Emmerdale village and Elizabeth's body is later recovered. Michael is convinced that Eric murdered his mother and is determined to prove it. However, when he knocks Eric out during a heated argument, Michael panics. Thinking he has killed him, Michael leaves and consequently gossip about Elizabeth's death dies down but never goes away. Meanwhile, his first wife Eileen comes to Emmerdale, as she learned about Elizabeth's death and threatens to expose him as a bigamist. Knowing this would cost him Elizabeth's estate, Eric agrees to pay Eileen in return for a divorce and her silence.
Despite his reputation for dodgy business deals, Eric persuades Kathy Glover (Malandra Burrows) to go into business with him and turns her tea rooms into a wine bar at night. When he goes on holiday to the Philippines for Christmas 1996, Eric shocks everyone by returning with a young fiancée, Diwata Margharita, better known as Dee De la Cruz. She and Eric get married, despite a backlash when Rachel Hughes (Glenda McKay) discovers that Dee was a mail-order bride. Dee is surprisingly keen to make the marriage work, convincing Eric that they should put their energy into the business but Dee tires of Eric's business woes and paranoia that she will be unfaithful, particularly when she makes friends with Will Cairns (Paul Fox), who is much closer to her own age. Dee decides to go home, leaving Eric suicidal, but Marlon Dingle (Mark Charnock helps Eric to recover from his heartbreak.
In 2000, Eric saves Kathy's life. Suspecting that her boyfriend, Graham Clark (Kevin Pallister), murdered his fiancée Rachel, Eric voices his worries, but no one believes him. When he rescues Kathy, he proves to be a hero. In the aftermath, journalists appear in Kathy's Diner, wanting information about Graham. Sarah Sugden asks Pollard why he didn't warn her there were journalists there but Pollard verbally attacks her, angrily asking why should he have told her when she and the "rest of [them]" never believed him about Graham in the first place.
Eric meets Gloria Weaver in 2001. Gloria pushed him to become mayor and, when on their wedding night in 2002, she insists he spend the night with councillor Glynis to secure her nomination. When the scandal breaks, thanks to Steph Forsythe (Lorraine Chase), Gloria twists it so she looks like the wronged wife and takes the job, despite the fact it is in Westminster. While away, Gloria has an affair with Hilary, her male researcher. When Eric finds out, he is horrified and throws her out. In despair, Gloria leaves the village and only her car and shoes are found later. Convinced she is dead, Eric grieves until a few months later when he gets a video of her sipping a cocktail in the sun, revealing that she faked her death in order to clean out Pollard's bank account undetected.
After many disastrous marriages and relationships, Eric finally meets his match in troublemaker Val Lambert (Charlie Hardwick). The sparky duo go into business together and let their romance flourish but politics come between them. When he decides to run for re-election, Eric realises that having a woman like Val as his partner could spoil his chances, so they claim to have split. They plan to reunite after the election but Eric gets carried away and she dumps him. However, the pair continue to work together and it is clear they still have feelings for each other. Eric is horrified when he finds out that Val is running against him and any attempt at a reconciliation will be in vain. However, when she realises the damage she is doing to his campaign, Val tries to sabotage her own by admitting her shady past. Eric is touched by this but horrified that she is still doing better than him. Things worsen when he gets tangled up with a local dominatrix; however, despite competition from Rodney Blackstock (Patrick Mower), he still wins. Eric soon reverts to old ways once he is back in office, taking bribes from Jimmy King (Nick Miles).
In late 2006, David Metcalfe (Matthew Wolfenden) arrives in Emmerdale, believing Eric is his father. Eric didn't know that David even existed, so their relationship doesn't start well. David blames Eric for his mother's financial troubles. Eric doesn't care what David had been through and implies she had loose morals so David hits him and Eric id determined to prove David is lying. Eric conducts a secret DNA test which suggests David isn't his son but the test is faulty. A second test confirms that Eric is David's biological father. In 2007, David and his girlfriend Delilah Dingle (Hayley Tamaddon) secretly embezzle £20,000 from Eric, reclaiming money Eric stole from Lydia. After Eric discovers David's scheme, father and son agree to put the past behind them.
In 2007, Donna Windsor-Dingle (Verity Rushworth) and Marlon Dingle (Mark Charnock) finally have the opportunity to get their dream home. Eric plans to bid too but Eli (Joseph Gilgun) and Sam Dingle (James Hooton) stop him by tying him up and is rescued by his son, David. On 17 December 2007, Eric and Val are out when he accidentally crashes into another car. The woman driving, Rosalind, instantly fancies him. She reveals she is married and then tries to seduce him. Eric refuses and rushes to the Woolpack where he proposes to Val and she accepts. Three months later, Eric discovers Rosalind is married to one of his business partners. They go to a hotel together and when they leave (nothing has happened between them) Rosalind passionately kisses Eric, unaware someone is taking photographs of them. The next morning, Rosalind turns up at Val's Interiors and tells Eric she'd received a blackmail letter, with photos of them kissing, demanding £5000 for the blackmailer's silence. They are instructed to leave the money in a phone box in Hotten. Eric manages to get the £5000 but is still blackmailed. At one point he suspects his son, David, but then realises his mistake. On 5 May 2008, Eric finds out that Rosalind is the blackmailer.
In the episode "What Price Love?", aired on 3 June 2008, Eric and Val marry in a surprise ceremony coinciding with the final of the Pub of the Year Competition, and Emmerdale's 5000th Episode. Eric cannot afford the wedding Val wants so he convinces her family to go along with a surprise wedding which will take place after the Pub of the Year competition. Val is kidnapped by the Dingles and overhears Eric's true plans. When Eric comes to rescue her, they have a furious row and the Dingles dump them in the village. After some thought, Val does marry Eric. After their marriage, they argue frequently but always make up. Eric sinks deeper and deeper into debt, even asking David to borrow money from Val. When Val finally learns about his problems, she sells the factory to the Kings and Eric tells Sam that he wished the factory could go up in smoke. Thinking Eric is serious, Sam, Eli and Gennie Walker set the factory on fire and Eric moves the factory to the B & B. Worried about Leyla Harding's (Roxy Shahidi) constant requests for overtime, Eric tries to convince David that she is a gold digger. David believes him, and as a result, nearly loses her. David moves out of his father's house and, backed by Edna Birch (Shirley Stelfox) and Alan Turner (Richard Thorp), decides to run for Eric's council seat. Eric is working with Nathan Wylde (Lyndon Ogbourne) to close a public footpath, and Nathan begins applying more and more pressure as the campaign continues, causing Eric to have a heart attack. He keeps it from David but when he learns the truth, they reconcile as the election returns come in. To David's shock, he wins. Eric is relieved to no longer have the pressure but doesn't know what to do with so much free time so he starts giving David advice. Edna, however, resents his interference and makes him think David feels only pity for him. So he starts thinking of neighbourhood improvement plans to steal David's thunder.
Unfortunately the business is still in trouble as orders have dropped dramatically so Eric decides to close the factory and sell the sewing equipment. Unfortunately Val and the Dingles have already sold the equipment and used the money as redundancy payments. Eric plans to open a funeral parlour but the locals protest and David talks him out of it so he starts looking for a job. Val hears that Louise Appleton (Emily Symons) wants to sell her share of the B&B and Terry isn't pleased to learn that she has sold it to Val and Eric, especially when they expect him to do all the work. They soon realise what hard work running a B&B can be and suggest opening a restaurant. Terry agrees cautiously and is also persuaded to hire Sam's "friend", Olena, as a cleaner - thinking she is Polish and wants money to fund her travels.
In 2010, Eric receives letters, messages and cards, apparently from his dead wife, Elizabeth. Amy Wyatt (Chelsea Halfpenny), Eric and Val's foster daughter, is the original suspect but the culprit is actually Elizabeth's son, Michael. Michael, who had been to jail repeatedly, confronts Eric at Elizabeth's grave and follows him back to The Grange, threatening to tell Val about his past. Michael leaves initially but later tells Amy that he is demanding Eric pay him a lot of money or he will reveal Eric is a murderer. Eric tells Michael that he will pay him and they get into the car but Eric drives Michael to a remote area. After an argument, Eric produces a tyre iron and threatens Michael. The result of the incident is not revealed as Eric returns alone, seeming on edge, and tells Val that he took Michael to the station. Eric finally tells Val that Elizabeth was killed by falling debris but he did consider killing her. Val is initially horrified; however, when Michael returns on 4 January to confront Eric again, Val tells him that the coroner's report states that Elizabeth was killed by falling debris. Val tells Michael that it is time to stop blaming Eric. He agrees and after a calm discussion, Eric persuades Michael to take the money he asked for and use it to start again. Michael then leaves the village.
When Val and Eric learn that Amy had a baby and didn't tell anyone that she was pregnant, they forgive her for keeping it a secret and discuss putting the baby up for adoption. Val wants Amy to keep Kyle but Eric tells her that he will support her, regardless of what decision she makes. Val is unhappy with Eric's choice to defend Amy and Kyle is adopted, ending Amy's contact with him. Val forgives Amy but blames Eric for not backing her up and goes to visit her son. Eric begins drinking heavily and gets frustrated with the guests staying at the B&B. Amy and Eric receive a message from Val instructing them to pick her up at the airport the next day. When they arrive, Val is not there as she decided to stay with a friend for the foreseeable future. Amy tries her hardest to keep running the B&B but Eric argues with a guest who is celebrating their birthday and they get a bad review. Diane tells Eric and Amy that Val may not return and that she has also emptied their bank account. After weeks of hoping Eric will come to his senses, Amy snaps and stands up to him but he sacks her and Victoria. After a long discussion with Amy, he reinstates them and sobers up. Eric makes friends with and later starts dating Brenda, which makes him happy, but Amy is unhappy but David talks her round. While having dinner with Brenda, Amy, and other guests, Val suddenly returns and is surprised not to be welcomed with open arms, but Eric asks his guests to leave before he, Amy and Val have a massive argument about her abandoning them. Later, Eric is forced to choose between Brenda and Val and after advice from David and Amy, Eric chooses Brenda. Eventually, Brenda and Eric end their relationship and he resumes his relationships with Val. After Rodney becomes a gigolo, he takes a woman out, but is horrified when her husband comes looking for him in the Woolpack. Rodney lies, telling the man that it was Eric, so he punches Eric in the face. To get his own back, Eric fakes his own death and Val comes to the cafe to ask Rodney help her with the body, but Eric opens his eyes just as Rodney walks over to him.
In 2014, Eric is shocked when Val reveals that she had a fling while in Portugal. Ian comes looking for her as he is HIV positive and may have given Val the virus. When Eric is ill, Val panics and thinks she has passed the virus onto him, but he only has mild flu. Eric recovers but is furious to see Val leaving her lover's car and ends their marriage. While they're on a break from one another, Eric sleeps with Val's sister, Diane (Elizabeth Estensen). They both regret it, but Diane is horrified to learn that Val may be HIV positive, and takes medication to fight the virus. Val finally tells Eric about the HIV and they both get tested. Eric is negative but Val is HIV positive. This devastates the couple. While Val is watching films with Diane, she inadvertently lets slip about her and Eric's one-night stand, which leads to Val throwing them out and her breaking down. The next day, Eric tries to apologize but she sees red and throws a bottle of whisky at him, leading to him cutting his head. Val then tells everyone in The Woolpack about Eric and Diane's one night stand. When Val gets drunk with Kerry Wyatt (Laura Norton), they both fall over, although Val cuts her knee. Eric and Victoria rush to help and Val is distraught when Eric has to wear gloves before cleaning her wound.