|Portrayed by||Elizabeth Estensen|
|First appearance||23 November 1999|
|Created by||Kieran Roberts|
Pub landlady (1999–2016)
B&B Owner (2016–)
Diane Jean Sugden (also Lambert and Blackstock) is a fictional character from the British ITV soap opera, Emmerdale, portrayed by Elizabeth Estensen. Since her first appearance in 1999 she has been involved in several high-profile storylines, including her marriage to Jack Sugden (Clive Hornby) and his subsequent death, a battle with colon cancer, the revelation that her ex-husband Rodney Blackstock (Patrick Mower) fathered her sister Val Lambert's (Charlie Hardwick) son, being held hostage in a siege at The Woolpack, sleeping with her sister Val's husband Eric Pollard (Chris Chittell), assaulting a police officer, being involved in a helicopter crash, coping with her sister Val's death in the crash, being stabbed by Chas Dingle (Lucy Pargeter) after thinking she broke into the pub, the revelation that her cancer has returned and a feud with Chrissie White (Louise Marwood) after it is revealed that she framed Andy Sugden (Kelvin Fletcher) - Diane's adoptive stepson - for attempted murder.
Diane is introduced in 1999 as the mother of Bernice Blackstock (Samantha Giles), the manageress of The Woolpack public house. Diane raised Bernice alone after her unreliable husband Rodney Blackstock (Patrick Mower) left her. Unbeknown to Diane, Rodney had also had an affair with her younger sister Val, resulting in Val's pregnancy and the birth of a son, Paul (Matthew Bose).
Diane struggled to raise Bernice alone, and by her own admission was a far from perfect mother. However, Diane cares deeply for her daughter, and is a key source of support when Bernice's engagement to Gavin Ferris (Robert Beck) collapses. After initially only coming to Emmerdale to attend Bernice's wedding, Diane decides to stay and take Gavin's place as Bernice's business partner, with the two buying The Woolpack together.
Diane offers comfort to Jack Sugden (Clive Hornby) who had been through difficult times, following his discovery that his wife, Sarah Sugden (Alyson Spiro), has cheated on him. They kiss but decided to be friends. They remain close for a number of years. Rodney reappears in Diane and Bernice's lives after abandoning them. Bernice forgives Rodney but Diane is more hesitant. There is still a spark between Diane and Rodney and the two spend a night together but Diane calls things off. After failed relationships with builder Jerry "Mack" MacKinley (Rob Dixon) and Alan Turner (Richard Thorp) in 2003, Diane and Jack reunite and started considering life together. When Diane decides to join Bernice in Brighton, Jack proposes in an attempt to get her to stay.
Diane is horrified to discover she has colon cancer. She goes to Scarborough with Rodney, trying to come to terms with the news. Rodney does not know about her illness and Val assumes they were having an affair. Upon finding out Diane is ill, Rodney ends things with Val, begging Diane to give their relationship another chance. However, she rejects him and soon begins planning her wedding to Jack. They marry on 21 September 2004, when Jack's daughter Victoria (Hannah Midgley) tells the congregation about Diane's illness. After the ceremony, Val tells Rodney that he has fathered her son, Paul. Horrified by Val's selfishness, Diane disowns her and is given the all-clear early in the New Year.
Diane struggles to cope with Jack's children, at the detriment to her health. In 2006, she becomes a victim of the Kings River Showhome explosion, but makes a full recovery (albeit with a "Live for the Moment" outlook on life). Diane falls for Billy Hopwood (David Crellin) and they begin an emotional affair. She and Jack try to work through their problems but end up separating. However they grew closer following Andy's conviction for manslaughter and whilst Jack was in Spain, Diane received a text mentioning patching things up on his return. While Jack is away, Diane takes over looking after the family and rebuilds bridges. She is appalled when Andy is discovered to be beating his wife, Jo but helps him when he suffers a breakdown. Diane is devastated when Jack dies in February 2009. She is comforted by a letter he had written before his death, letting her know how much he loved her.
Diane tries to move on with her life, but struggles. Val, after receiving an offer for the pub from Maisie Wylde (Alice Coulthard), tries to convince Diane she is too depressed to stay on as owner and should sell up. When Diane learns of Val's scheme, she shocks her by pretending she plans to sell to Rodney and Nicola. She then chased Val out of the pub with a water squirter. Sandy Thomas (Freddie Jones), who constantly argues with his son Ashley (John Middleton), asks if he could move into The Woolpack. Diane agreed. Douglas Potts (Duncan Preston) helps Sandy move in, and after a few drinks, Diane impulsively kisses him. She realises she needs to sort herself out, and leaves to visit Bernice, Louise Appleton (Emily Symons) and Paul, respectively. On her return she discovers Daz has left, and Andy has given custody of his daughter Sarah to Debbie Dingle (Charley Webb) and is on the verge of a breakdown. Following another fall out with her Val, Diane realises that they can no longer work together and she uses the inheritance left to her by Jack to buy Val out, making her the sole owner of The Woolpack Inn.
Charlie Haynes (George Costigan), an old friend of Rodney's, wins Diane's heart. Their relationship gets off to a good start, and Charlie whisks Diane away on romantic holidays, and away to France, even taking Victoria along so she can brush up on her French. On this trip Diane opens up to Charlie and tells him about her cancer. However, their happiness comes to a halt as Charlie reveals to Diane he was suffering from an inoperable brain tumour, meaning he will die and does not have long left. Making the most of their time left, Charlie and Diane decide to move to France, with Diane deciding to sell The Woolpack. On the night of her leaving party, Charlie leaves to inform his daughter of his illness. The next day, a worried Rodney phones the hospital, only to find there are no records of Charlie or his doctor ever being at the hospital, and Rodney and Doug find Charlie's shop had never been used. Diane and Val go to France, only to find the Charlie's chateau is in fact, someone else's and the owner has never heard of Charlie. Diane then realises she has been conned and is left devastated. Val then comforts Diane as she bursts into tears.
Doug offers Diane his life savings, which she tearfully accepts, much to the annoyance of Doug's daughter, Laurel, who then goes on to warn Diane it is only a loan, and she must pay Doug back as soon as she can. Diane hopes that she may now have a future for Doug, but he reconciles with estranged wife, Hilary (Paula Wilcox), and leaves in early 2011 to travel the world with her, leaving Diane once again heartbroken. The following year, Diane tries to sell the pub, wanting a fresh start and finding it an increasing struggle running the place on her own, but unable to find a buyer for the whole business, she settles for Chas Dingle (Lucy Pargeter) buying a stake in the Woolpack and becoming her new business partner. Diane and Chas' friendship and partnership becomes strained in 2012 after the revelation of Chas' affair with Cameron Murray (Dominic Power). Diane is touched when Andy and Debbie name their newborn son after Jack. Bernice returns before Christmas after her marriage falls apart and Diane departs shortly after Bernice returns and travels to Brighton to look after her daughter, Dee-Dee. Diane returns in early June, to say she wants to go live with Dee-Dee in Brisbane, and wants to sell her share on The Woolpack. In October 2013, Diane, along with many other villagers including Bernice and Nicola, is held hostage in The Woolpack by Cameron, who has escaped from prison. He orders for Diane to look out of the window, but she shouts to help, so he pulls her away, causing her to fall over and hit her head on a table. She sustains a cut to the head, and is later released by Cameron.
Diane has sex with Eric Pollard (Chris Chittell), Val's husband. Victoria reveals that Val is HIV positive. Diane goes to a clinic that day, lying that she has been exposed to HIV post exposure treatment to combat the virus. Diane later reveals the truth and Val humiliates the pair by revealing their one-night stand. In August 2015, Diane is furious when she hears that Val is planning to fake her own death to escape a prison sentence, and refuses to talk to her. In an attempt to make the pair reconcile, Eric, Rodney and Doug lock Val and Diane in a hall of mirrors so that they have no choice but talk to one another. However, after arguing continually, they are spooked when they lose light in the hall of mirrors, after a helicopter crash caused by Chrissie White (Louise Marwood). Soon after, an explosion rips through the village as a result of the helicopter crash, reaching the hall of mirrors and trapping Val and Diane. They repair their relationship before firefighters arrive, where Val insists that Diane is rescued first. However, Val is then killed when a large shard of glass falls and impales her. Diane is overwhelmed with grief, and is devastated when Eric bans her from her sister's funeral.
After Robert is shot in the village in September 2015, Chas and Diane fall out as Diane believes that Chas' son Aaron Livesy (Danny Miller), is the culprit behind it. Their feud results in Diane briefly moving in with Doug. Chas then begins sleepwalking and trashing the pub at night die to the stress of watching Robert being shot. She strongly believes it is Emma Barton (Gillian Kearney), however one night when Diane returns from a meal with her family, she accidentally knocks over a glass, resulting in Chas believing that Emma has broken in again. Chas grabs a knife, storms downstairs and stabs Diane, leaving her bleeding on the floor while she calls Aaron and Cain Dingle (Jeff Hordley). Diane is rushed to hospital and Chas hands herself into the police for stabbing Diane. However, after being treated for the stab wounds, Diane is informed by a doctor that they have discovered abnormalities in her stomach, and later reveal that Diane's cancer has returned in her stomach.
This causes Diane to re-evaluate her life. She makes the fateful decision to sell her share of the pub, after 17 years. Chas is devastated, but respects Diane's wishes. Later, Diane and Doug buy a share of The Grange B&B, becoming partners with Eric. Later weeks, Diane meets and bonding with Aaron's dad Gordon Livesy (Gary Mavers) during her chemotherapy sessions. Following their visit at the hospital, Diane support Gordon when he returns into Chas and Aaron's life; unaware a dark past between Gordon and Aaron when Aaron was child. In February 2016, Diane does her best to support Chas after she discovers that Aaron was sexually abused by Gordon, when he was a child. Diane apologises to Chas for letting Gordon back into her and Aaron's lives, not knowing what he had done to Aaron. A couple weeks later, Diane is eventually called away to look after Annie in Spain after she falls ill. Diane ultimately leaves Doug to handle the B&B. The following month, it is revealed that Diane sold her share of the pub to Charity Dingle (Emma Atkins), but is unaware that Charity does not have the money to officially buy the share, and that she still owes her and Doug the money. After returning from Spain, due to the fullness of The Woolpack's living arrangements, as Chas, Aaron, Robert, Charity, her son Noah Tate (Jack Downham) and Aaron's half-sister Liv Flaherty (Isabel Steele) are now all living there, Diane and Doug decide to rent and move into Brook Cottage and after the break down of Bernice's marriage to Lawrence White (John Bowe). Bernice joins Diane and Doug living at Brook Cottage.
Diane is disgusted in November 2016 to discover that Chrissie framed Andy for the attempted murder of her father Lawrence, when it was in fact her son Lachlan White (Thomas Atkinson) who shot Lawrence. Furthermore, she is shocked to discover that Robert, Bernice, Victoria and Aaron all knew what the Whites had done, and that Robert had joined forces with Lawrence's other daughter, Rebecca White (Emily Head) to seek revenge on Chrissie. Diane throws a brick through the Home Farm window, resulting in Chrissie phoning the police and Diane being cautioned. However, before the police are called, Chrissie serves Diane, Doug and Bernice an eviction notice for Brook Cottage but after the police caution, Lawrence revokes the eviction notice. However, Diane decides to confront Lachlan, and when he nastily insults Andy, Diane furiously slaps him, witnessed by Lawrence. The following day, Diane confronts Chrissie at Home Farm, and when she continues to refuse to listen to her, Diane threatens Chrissie with Lawrence's shotgun, which Lachlan films on his mobile phone to show the police. However, Chrissie informs Diane that she believes that Lachlan is dangerous and wanted to kill Lawrence on purpose, upsetting Lachlan and ending her feud with Diane.