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Peter Amory as Chris Tate (1999)
|Portrayed by||Peter Amory|
|First appearance||14 November 1989|
|Last appearance||18 September 2003|
|Introduced by||Stuart Doughty|
Christopher Francis "Chris" Tate is a fictional character from the British ITV soap opera, Emmerdale, played by Peter Amory. The character made his first appearance on 14 November 1989, when he arrived in the village alongside the rest of the Tate family - his father Frank, stepmother Kim and younger sister, Zoe. Initially, Chris was a good man who ran his business fairly, but was left permanently resentful of his life when he was maimed in a plane crash in 1993, which left him paralyzed from the waist down. The character then became much more jaded and bitter, often using his intelligence and assets to exact revenge on those he perceived to have hurt him. The resulting disabilities he was left with made him realize that his wife Kathy only remained with him to fulfill the role of his carer, leading to their divorce. He went on to marry Rachel Hughes in 1995, but his growing lust for money and indifference for everyone else's feelings lead to marital breakdown and divorce. Chris then married former prostitute Charity Dingle in 2001, despite a 12-year age gap and the disapproval of Zoe, but Charity's selfishness and cheating behaviour ultimately lead to the deterioration of their relationship. Chris soon learned he had an inoperable brain tumour, and rather than wait to die, decided to take revenge on Charity. After ensuring Charity would be left with nothing, he made his final appearance on 18 September 2003, when he committed suicide so as to frame her for his murder. Although Charity claimed she was sorry, Chris's last words consisted of a tirade of insults towards her, before the poison he had taken killed him.
Chris first appeared in November 1989 when his father Frank and stepmother Kim bought Home Farm. He was the managing director of his father's haulage firm. He had owned a flat in Skipdale, but moved into Home Farm soon afterwards to be closer to love interest Kathy Merrick. He had a tense relationship with his father Frank Tate (Norman Bowler), partly due to the death of Chris's mother Jean, who had died five years ago from cancer, and Frank's remarriage to his secretary Kim, who was only a few years older than Chris and had been having an affair with Frank whilst Jean was ill. Despite the turbulence between father and son, Chris was close to his younger sister, Zoe Tate. When Frank admitted he had helped Jean die when she was terminally ill, Chris initially accused Frank and Kim of plotting his mother's death. Chris was also unimpressed when Kim persuaded Frank to have an operation to reverse his vasectomy.
Chris and Kathy began dating and Chris wrote a song for Kathy to sing at a village concert, 'Just This Side of Love' (which was released as a single sung by Malandra Burrows). They briefly split up over Chris's gambling habits after he lost his motorbike in a poker match to Alan Turner, but reunite and marry on 5 November 1991. The marriage began to break down a year later when Chris found out Kathy knew that Kim was having an affair with village toff Rt. Hon. Neil Kincaid (Brian Deacon). In the row that follows, Chris nearly hit Kathy, and later confides in Zoe that he is worried that he has inherited their father's temper. He also admitted that although he wanted children, Kathy didn't. When former alcoholic Frank relapses into drinking again, Chris sees an opportunity to gain control of the business by buying Kim's shares, mortgaging his and Kathy's cottage to do so, Kathy only finding out when Frank confronts her. As it turned out, Zoe joined forces with Frank to vote down Chris. Kathy, angry at his actions, begins an affair with American wine merchant Josh Lewis (Peter Warnock), and plans to leave Chris.
On 30 December 1993, Chris spent the evening in Skipdale with a friend, unaware Kathy was planning to leave him that night. He was supposed to pick up Kathy and meet Zoe in the Woolpack but went straight to the pub and was there when a plane crashed into the village. Chris was trapped in the wreckage of the wine bar with his family thinking he was still in Skipdale. He was eventually discovered by Kathy's lover, Josh, and was dug out overnight. He suffered spinal injuries and was left paraplegic.
Chris was very bitter about being disabled and realised that Kathy was only with him out of duty. He formed a bond with Rachel Hughes, whose brother, Mark, died in the plane crash, and she began giving him swimming lessons. The friendship became an affair and Kathy found out when she saw them kissing on their third wedding anniversary. When Kathy found out Rachel was expecting Chris's child, she threw Chris out of his wheelchair.
Rachel went into labour prematurely after discovering that her stepfather Joe Sugden had died. She gave birth to a baby boy named Joseph Mark after her stepfather and brother. Chris and Rachel soon fell out with Frank over his interference with Joseph.
Chris and Rachel got married on 7 December 1995 with only Jack and Sarah Sugden as witnesses. The marriage lasted less than a year because of Chris's increasingly selfish and money-grabbing ways. Rachel later died, leaving Chris custody of Joseph.
When Frank died of a heart attack in 1997. Chris was convinced that Kim had killed him. Kim admitted to Chris that she had watched his father die. When Chris tried to blackmail her into giving him custody of his half-brother James, Kim hit Chris over the head and tipped him out of his wheelchair, pouring whisky over him before escaping with James by helicopter.
In 1999, Chris was held hostage by an employee, Liam, who revealed that he was Frank's illegitimate son and Chris's half-brother. Chris eventually formed a bond with Liam and was upset when he was shot dead by Zoe 'rescuing' Chris
In 2001 Chris married for a third time, to prostitute Charity Dingle. However, Zoe didn't like Charity and told Charity it was because of her history, but it soon transpired that Zoe fancied Charity herself. She offered Charity money to leave Chris and Charity responded by kissing her. The two then famously had a lesbian affair, which lasted for several months. Charity became alarmed by Zoe's obsessive behaviour and tried to end the fling, but Zoe secretly recorded Charity confessing to the affair on tape and blackmailed her into signing a prenuptial agreement, so she would always have a hold over her. Charity then confessed all to Chris, and he surprised her by forgiving her and ripping up the prenup. He later forgave Zoe after she was diagonised with Schizophrenia.
In 2003 Chris discovered that Charity had had a baby when she was 13 and given it up adoption, after Emily and Paddy Kirk's 13-year-old foster child Debbie Jones claimed she was Charity's daughter. He was shocked to discover that Debbie's father was Charity's cousin Cain Dingle. In later 2003 he threw Charity out after discovering that she had been having an affair with Cain. Learning that he had an inoperable brain tumour and only months to live, Chris began frittering away all his money to ensure Charity would be left with nothing. He said a tearful goodbye to Zoe and Joseph and then arranged a meeting with Charity where he poisoned himself in order to frame his wife for his murder. He died on the floor of Home Farm in the same spot where his father had died six years previously. His last word was 'whore'.