Jack Sugden

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Not to be confused with Jack Sugden, another fictional character of Emmerdale.
Jack Sugden
Jack Sudgen.png
Clive Hornby as Jack Sugden (2007)
Emmerdale character
Portrayed by Andrew Burt (1972–76)
Clive Hornby (1980–2008)
Duration 1972–73, 1976, 1980–2008
First appearance 16 October 1972
Last appearance 21 February 2008
Created by Kevin Laffan
Introduced by David Goddard (1972)
Michael Glynn (1976)
Anne Gibbons (1980)
Book appearances See List
Classification Former; regular
Occupation Farmer (1972–2008)
Barman (2004–08)
Pub landlord (2004–08)
Jack Sugden 1972.jpg
Andrew Burt as Jack Sugden (1972)

John Jacob "Jack" Sugden is a long running fictional character in the British television soap opera Emmerdale. The character was originally played by Andrew Burt from 1972 to 1973 with a brief return in 1976, when he left for Italy to write a book. On his return in 1980 he was played by Clive Hornby. Hornby stayed in the role until 2008 when he was forced to take a break from Emmerdale due to illness. His last on-screen appearance was on 21 February 2008, and his absence was explained by the character visiting his mother, Annie Sugden in Spain. Hornby died of the illness without returning to the series.


Jacob and Annie Sugden’s son Jack is one of the original characters in Emmerdale. The Sugden family were the owners of Emmerdale Farm from the programme's early days. Jack and his younger siblings, Peggy Skilbeck and Joe all worked on the farm.

From the early days, Jack seems to be a very rebellious and self-righteous character, who cares little for others' views. He also has numerous flings with different women and failed marriages, due to his infidelity. Jack is also an intelligent and articulate man but shown to be secretive from his family too. As time passed and Jack became a father, he has matured much more. He has firmly secured his roots in farming, which he originally tried so hard to escape from. Jack is still a man of principles and of pride, which can sometimes be his biggest weakness


Jack Sugden was born in 1947 at Emmerdale Farm in Beckindale to Jacob and Annie Sugden (Sheila Mercier) as their eldest child. He left the village in the spring of 1964 after a row with father Jacob over intensive farming, wanting to see more of the world than Beckindale, and went to London. He had unknowingly got his childhood sweetheart Ruth Harker (Lynn Dalby) pregnant. She married local thug Tom Merrick (David Hill) that year and tricked him into thinking that the baby was his. In October 1972, Jack heard his father had died and this brought him back to Beckindale for the show's opening episode.



Jack returns to Beckindale on the day of Jacob's funeral and arrives in the Woolpack where he is served by a surprised Amos Brearly (Ronald Magill). Jack watches the funeral procession from afar and lets himself into the farmhouse while the family attend the funeral. Annie returns and she is not pleased to see him but lets him stay. Following the reading of Jacob's will, the family are horrified to learn Jacob has bequeathed the farm to Jack. Jack's sister Peggy Skilbeck (Jo Kendall) is annoyed as she feels the family have done all the work while Jack was in London and remains bitter at him for a while. The farm is run between Jack, his brother Joe (Frazer Hines) and Peggy's husband, Matt (Frederick Pyne). Joe and Peggy are suspicious when they learn of a Mrs Sugden where there is a reservation for a Mrs Sugden and Joe follows him to the feathers Hotel.

Jack begins a relationship with Marian (Gail Harrison), daughter of local businessman Henry Wilks (Arthur Pentelow) but Henry prefers Joe as he taught Marian how to fish but Annie accuses Marian of playing them off against each other. Marian confronts Jack about the woman he met at the hotel, as Henry had seen them together. Jack explains to her that the woman was his common-law wife, Lynn (Jenny Lee-Wright) and they were discussing a divorce settlement as if they had been an actual married couple. Ruth and Tom return to the village from Leeds with their children and Jack hires Tom as a farmhand but Tom proves lazy and Jack fires him. Tom retaliates with blackmail, threatening to tell Marian that Jack is the biological father of his eldest child, Jackie. Tom's suspicions come from Jackie's likeness to Jack and sharing the same names John Jacob and knowing of Ruth's past relationship with Jack. Jack refuses to cave to the blackmail and fires Tom, Marian finds out and the Merricks leave.

When Jack comes into some money, The family are suspicious of its source and discover Jack has written a successful novel while in London. Marian is curious and enjoys the book but is ultimately unimpresed with the sexist views. Jack battles with Henry over a piece of land that Harry Jameson (John Glyn-Jones), an old friend of Jacob's, is selling. Harry tries to get them to increase their offers but Jack knows Harry is desperate and Harry accepts Jack's offer. Jack plans to move into an abandoned mill and renovate the place and consults a solicitor and has the farm shared between Annie, Joe, Peggy and their grandfather, Sam Pearson (Toke Townley) but Sam, not wanting the responsibility, sells his share to Henry.


After Peggy dies from a brain hemorrhage, Jack leaves for Italy in October 1973, a year after returning and returns in May 1976 as he was suffering from writer's block and after some words of wisdom from Annie, he leaves the dales once again. He returns in February 1980, vowing to stay for good as he wanted to settle down. Ruth, now calling herself "Pat", returns to the village with Jackie (now played by Ian Sharrock) and her daughter, Sandie Merrick (Jane Hutcheson) after leaving Tom for good and reunites with Jack. During this time, Jackie discovers that Jack is his biological father and takes the news badly and there is an unease between the two. In October 1982, Jack and Pat marry but less than two years into the marriage, Jack begins an affair with local newspaper reporter, Karen Moore (Annie Hulley). Pat finds out and demands Jack chooses between her and Karen and He chooses Pat and they reconcile. In 1985, Pat learns she pregnant and gives birth to Jack's second son, Robert (Richard Smith), on 22 April 1986. Jack is left devastated when Pat dies in a car crash four months later, leaving him to bring up Robert on his own.

Clive Hornby as Jack Sugden after the recast and when he returned in 1980.

After a lengthy period of grieving, Jack begins dating again when he meets mobile librarian, Sarah Connolly (Madeleine Howard), in 1988; Sarah also becomes a mother figure to Robert. Jackie dislikes Sarah at first and feels she is trying to replace Pat but warms to her thanks to intervention from his wife Kathy (Malandra Burrows). Jack is left bitter and angry when Jackie dies in a shooting accident and Sarah is there for him. The couple move in together in 1990, and Jack often proposes but she keeps turning him down. Sarah falls pregnant in 1993 and gives birth to a daughter in March 1994, Victoria (Jessica Heywood) whose crying wakes up Annie, who had been knocked comatose following a plane crash. Jack and Sarah marry in May and in the same month the village is renamed Emmerdale.

Jack faces more grief when he learns of Joe's death in a car crash in Spain and is inconsolable and is unable to attend the funeral due to a bad back. Jack and Sarah's marriage is tested when Jack has a fling with Sarah’s friend and Jack's former stepniece, Rachel Tate (Glenda McKay) but they reconcile. The Sugdens adopt Robert's school friend Andy Hopwood (Kelvin Fletcher). By the end of the 1990s, Jack and Sarah's marriage is in trouble again when Jack suggests Robert and Andy work on the farm rather than attend school and money problems worsen. They take in a lodger, Richie Carter (Glenn Lamont) and Sarah, feeling neglected begins an affair with Richie and leaves Jack. Andy sets the barn on fire to help Jack claim on the insurance but the plan goes wrong when Sarah is killed and Jack is arrested as the chief suspect. Andy comes clean to Richie about the fire and begs him to change his statement and he agrees, resulting in Jack's freedom.

Jack later begins dating Woolpack landlady Diane Blackstock (Elizabeth Estensen). When Andy discovers Robert's affair with his wife, Katie (Sammy Winward), he waits for Robert in his caravan with a shotgun, intending to shoot him but accidentally shoots Jack instead. Having almost died, Jack initially disowns Andy but they reconcile and Jack and Diane plan to marry but she reveals that she had colon cancer and undergoes chemotherapy. The couple married and enjoy a honeymoon in Las Vegas while Diane recovered. Further drama ensues when Jack learns Andy is the father of 15-year-old Debbie Dingle's (Charley Webb) daughter, Sarah, but supports Andy when he said he wanted to be a hands-on father, impressed with how responsible Andy had become. After a revenge attempt against Andy for killing Sarah backfires, resulting in the death of Max King (Charlie Kemp), Jack banishes Robert from the village.

Jack and Diane assume responsibility for Andy's half-brother, Daz Eden (Luke Tittensor), as they did with Andy a decade earlier. Andy and Daz's father, Billy (David Crellin), Andy and Daz's real father, is released from prison and returns to Emmerdale much to the Ire of various residents, having robbed the Post Office and killed Vic Windsor (Alun Lewis) on Christmas Day 1998. During this time, Billy works to prove he has changed and begins an emotional affair with Diane. Diane, riddled with guilt, confesses and she and Jack separate but late reconcile following Victoria's discovery of the truth about her mother's death. Jack visits Annie in Spain and remains for several months until Annie informs the family of Jack's death of a heart attack, leaving them devastated.

Diane brings Jack's body back from Spain while Val (Charlie Hardwick) and Eric Pollard (Chris Chittell) arrange his funeral. Jack is buried next to various family members. Andy, Daz, Sam (James Hooton) and Zak Dingle (Steve Halliwell) are pallbearers. Just before the service, Alan Turner (Richard Thorp) recalls to Betty Eagleton (Paula Tilbrook) a conversation where Jack had told him about the events of Jacob's funeral. Diane reads a letter Jack had written for Andy, Victoria, Daz and Robert during the service, telling them that he loved them and wanted them to live together as a family and reveals that he knew in his last weeks that he would not live to see the village again. Andy breaks down in tears and flees the church. As Jack is laid to rest, Diane places his chequered cap onto the coffin. Andy sees Robert, who is watching from a distance and drives away. Robert leaves a flower on the grave before leaving again. That afternoon, Val put a framed photo of Jack up next to the pictures of Amos and Henry Wilks in the pub. Andy, Diane, Daz and Victoria visit the grave that night to say a last goodbye. As they walk away, Diane looke back and sees a vision of Jack next to the grave. He smiles at her and she smiles back and realises that Jack will always be with her and the children and would be looking down on them.

Book Appearances[edit]

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