The Kings were one of Emmerdales most popular families and also the most tragic. Emmerdale bosses had previously tried to introduce two large families - The Calder/Weston clan in 2001 and the Marsdens in 2003 - but they were axed after failing to impress the viewers, leading producers to attempt it for the third time. The King Family first arrived in Emmerdale in early 2004 consisting of father Tom, eldest son Jimmy and Jimmy's wife Sadie, and younger sons Matthew and Carl. They were later joined by the youngest King brother, Max. Within months of their arrival, they became viewer favourites and were set to become Emmerdales new version of the Tate clan. However, by the end of 2008, actors Charlie Kemp (Max), Patsy Kensit (Sadie), Ken Farrington (Tom) and Matt Healy (Matthew) had all quit the show, leading to producers writing their characters out in shocking exit plots. The Kings biggest plot was the Who Killed Tom King storyline (2006–2007) in which Tom was murdered on Christmas Day and 10 of the shows characters were all suspects.
The 2003 - 2007 era of Emmerdale is fondly remembered as a classic period for the show, due to its high viewing figures, exciting storylines and popular characters, including the King family.