List of Emmerdale Farm characters (1972–73)

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The following is a list of characters that first appeared in the British soap opera Emmerdale Farm in 1972 and 1973, by order of first appearance.

Marian Wilks[edit]

Marian Wilks
Emmerdale character
Portrayed by Gail Harrison (1972-75, 1978)
Debbi Blythe (1987-88)
Duration 1972-75, 1978, 1987-88
First appearance 16 October 1972
Last appearance 1 September 1988
Created by Kevin Laffan
Introduced by David Goddard (1972)
Robert D. Cardona (1978)
Michael Russell (1987)
Stuart Doughty (1988)
Classification Former; regular

Marian Rosetti (also Wilks) was first played by Gail Harrison from 1972 to 1978, then by Debbie Blythe for two stints in 1987 and 1988. She first appeared on the show's first ever episode. She was the daughter of wealthy retired factory owner Henry Wilks who later ran the Woolpack with long standing landlord Amos Brearly. Marian embarked on a brief affair with Jack Sugden in the first few months of the show.

Peggy Skilbeck[edit]

Peggy Skilbeck
Emmerdale character
Portrayed by Jo Kendall
Duration 1972-73
First appearance 16 October 1972
Last appearance 16 July 1973
Created by Kevin Laffan
Introduced by David Goddard
Classification Former; regular

Peggy Skilbeck (née Sugden) was one of Emmerdale's original characters, the middle child and only daughter of Jacob Sugden and Annie Sugden. She was the first character to speak in the show; her line being "Matt, who's she?" Peggy married Matt Skilbeck in 1968 and had two children, twins Sam and Sally, in April 1973. Peggy died in July 1973 of a brain haemorrhage at the age of 26.

Matt Skilbeck[edit]

Annie Sugden[edit]

Joe Sugden[edit]

Sam Pearson[edit]

Jack Sugden[edit]

Amos Brearly[edit]

Henry Wilks[edit]

Pat Sugden[edit]

Tom Merrick[edit]

Tom Merrick
Emmerdale character
Portrayed by David Hill (1972)
Edward Peel (1980–82)
Jack Carr (1984–88)
Duration 1972, 1980-82, 1984-86, 1988
First appearance 6 November 1972
Last appearance 10 February 1988
Created by Kevin Laffan
Introduced by David Goddard (1972)
Anne Gibbons (1980, 1982)
Richard Handford (1984, 1985)
Michael Russell (1986)
Stuart Doughty (1988)
Classification Former; regular

Thomas "Tom" Merrick is the first husband of Ruth Harker (later known as Pat). He appeared in 1972, 1980–82 and 1984–86, followed by a brief reappearance in 1988 at Jackie Merrick's wedding.

He was born in April 1941 (by early 1982 he says he is 40 years old) and married Ruth Harker in April 1964 when she was expecting Jack Sugden's child. The child was born just under seven months after the wedding in early November that year, although Tom believed he was the father and spent years bringing up Jackie Merrick. Pat even told Tom Jackie was born two months premature so Tom believed he was the father. Very little is known about his early background before his marriage to Pat but he had a sister Mary and his mother was a friend of Annie Sugden.

Tom returns to the village in 1972 and picks a fight with Joe Sugden after seeing Joe and Ruth together in "The Woolpack". Tom is suspicious of how their son, Jackie, bears a strong resemblance to Jack Sugden, as well as sharing his name, and Jack is later revealed as Jackie's father. Tom blackmails Jack when he finds out that he had been sleeping at Inglebrook while Henry Wilks was laid up, and Jack later fires Tom. The Merricks then move to Leeds to live near Tom's sister Mary.

Ruth - now calling herself Pat - and her children return in 1980, having left Tom. He reappears later that year, a much nastier and more menacing man than in 1972, although Pat is now seeing Jack. Pat tells Tom that she wants a divorce and he hits her. Tom tries framing Jack for arson in 1981 but Jack has an alibi and is never charged. Seth Armstrong later forces Tom out of the village with threats of disclosure about the fire and Pat soon divorces him. Tom returns in 1982 and finds out the truth over Jackie's parentage. He has a fight with jack Sugden outside the Woolpack. At 40 Tom thinks it is a bit too late to change his ways completely from his drinking and leaves for Aberdeen in February 1982. Tom returns a few years later when is persuaded to look after the farm while Jack and Pat keep a bedside vigil for Jackie, who is in a coma following an accident. By then we see a mellower side to the character. He returns in 1986 for Pat's funeral and made his final appearance in February 1988 at Jackie's wedding to Kathy Bates. He has not been seen or heard from since.

The second actor who played him, Edward Peel went on to play Tony Cairns in the late 1990s, making him the only actor in Emmerdale's history to play two different characters in regular roles.

Jackie Merrick[edit]

Jackie Merrick
Emmerdale character
Portrayed by Unknown Child (1972)
Ian Sharrock (1980–89)
Duration 1972, 1980-89
First appearance 21 November 1972
Last appearance 16 August 1989
Created by Kevin Laffan
Introduced by Kevin Laffan (1972)
Anne Gibbons (1980)
Book appearances Old Flames
Wedding Bells
Family Feuds
Young Passions
Another Door Opens
A Friend In Need
Divided Loyalties
Wives and Lovers
Classification Former; regular

John Jacob "Jackie" Merrick was played by Ian Sharrock from 1980 to 1989. The character was originally seen as a silent young boy (actor unknown) in the earliest episodes of Emmerdale Farm before becoming a fully-fledged regular character in September 1980. He was the son of Pat Merrick (originally Ruth), a former lover of Jack Sugden. Jack had left the village in 1964 and Pat subsequently married local bad boy Tom Merrick and made him believe he was the father, even claiming that Jackie was born prematurely, which was not the case. Jackie celebrated his 18th birthday in November 1982.

In 1985, Jackie almost died after being run over by Alan Turner while fixing his motorbike. During his slow recovery after waking from a coma, he finally acknowledged Jack as his father by referring to him as "Dad".

Jackie married Kathy Bates in 1988 but the marriage didn't last long as Jackie was killed the following year, in an accident while he and Seth Armstrong were hunting for a £10 bet. Jackie tried to take a shotgun out of his car, but it got caught and went off by mistake, killing him in the process. The character also had a brief fling with Angie Richards, who was played by Beverley Callard, now famous for her role as Liz McDonald in Coronation Street.

Sandie Merrick[edit]

Sharon Crossthwaite[edit]

Sharon Crossthwaite
Emmerdale character
Portrayed by Louise Jameson
First appearance 22 January 1973
Last appearance 30 January 1973
Introduced by Peter Holmans
Classification Former; guest
Occupation Hairdresser

Sharon Crossthwaite was a cousin of Annie Sugden. She appeared in 1973. The daughter of Beryl Crossthwaite, Annie's second cousin, Sharon is raped and murdered, aged 17, by Jim Latimer.[1] Sharon disappears after attending a sheep dog show. She is followed by Latimer who tries to attack her but is stopped by a homeless man, Ian "Trash" McIntyre, a friend of Jack Sugden. Jack let Trash stay with him but the police treat Trash as a suspect in Sharon's disappearance as he had some of her belongings. Trash later fell from a window at Mill Cottage and died from resulting injuries and Sharon's body is discovered shortly afterwards. Latimer is later arrested and charged with Sharon's murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. Sharon was the programme's first murder victim. Sharon's story is chronicled in the books Emmerdale Farm: Prodigal's Progress and Emmerdale Farm: All That a Man Has.[2]

Jim Latimer[edit]

Jim Latimer
Emmerdale character
Portrayed by Myles Reitherman (1973)
Dennis Blanch (1991)
Duration 1973, 1991
First appearance 22 January 1973
Last appearance 10 December 1991
Introduced by Peter Holmans (1973)
Morag Bain (1991)
Classification Former; recurring
Other names Suedeman

James "Jim" Latimer is the killer of teenager Sharon Crossthwaite. Latimer rapes Sharon before killing her. Latimer is arrested and later sentenced to life imprisonment. When he is released from prison in 1991 he kidnaps Sarah Connolly, who is in a relationship with Jack Sugden who was a prosecution witness at his trial in 1973. Sarah is saved by Jack and Latimer is arrested by the police.

Edward Ruskin[edit]

Edward Ruskin
Emmerdale character
Portrayed by George Little
Duration 1973–75, 1983
First appearance 5 February 1973
Last appearance 24 May 1983
Introduced by David Goddard (1973)
Anne Gibbons (1983)
Classification Former; regular
Occupation Vicar

The Reverend Edward Ruskin was first seen in the show during Sharon Crossthwaite's disappearance and revelation that she had been murdered. Jim Latimer confessed to Rev Ruskin that he had killed Sharon. Ruskin and his wife Liz lived at the vicarage in Beckindale. Ruskin and village churchwarden Wally Lumm had a disagreement in 1974 over divorced women joining the Women's Union.

In May 1975 Ruskin and his wife left the village after he was transferred to another parish. There was a nice send off for him at the village hall. Mr Matthews later became Rev Ruskin's replacement. Rev Ruskin was not seen in the village for the next 8 years.

In May 1983 Rev Ruskin returned to Beckindale as a stand in vicar for Rev Hinton when he was away. That was his final visit to the village. He was never seen again in the village.

Sam Skilbeck[edit]

Sam Skilbeck
Emmerdale Farm character
Portrayed by Jamie Bell
Duration 1973–76
First appearance 10 April 1973
Last appearance 13 January 1976
Introduced by Peter Holmans
Classification Former; recurring

Samuel "Sam" Skilbeck, played by Jamie Bell[3] made his debut screen appearance on 10 April 1973.

Sam is the son of Matt and Peggy Skilbeck. He appeared for three years from 1973 to 1976. Along with his twin sister, he was one of the first births in Emmerdale Farm. Born in 1973 along with Sally, Sam is named after his maternal great-grandfather Sam Pearson. His mother dies three months after his birth of a brain haemorrhage. Matt is unable to cope with the twins and so sends them to live with his aunt, Beattie Dowton. On 13 January 1976, Beattie and the twins are killed when a train strikes her car on a level crossing. In 1982, Matt has another son by his second wife Dolly Acaster and he is named Samuel Skilbeck after his dead half-brother. Sam Pearson, Peggy's grandfather, is delighted.

Sally Skilbeck[edit]

Sally Skilbeck
Emmerdale character
Portrayed by Justine Bell
Duration 1973-76
First appearance 10 April 1973
Last appearance 13 January 1976
Introduced by Peter Holmans
Classification Former; recurring

Sally Skilbeck, played by Justine Bell[3] is the daughter of Matt and Peggy Skilbeck. She appeared from 1973 to 1976. Along with her twin brother, she is the first birth of Emmerdale Farm.

Sally is born in 1973 along with twin brother Sam. Her mother dies three months after her birth of a brain haemorrhage. Matt is unable to cope with the twins and so sends them to live with his aunt, Beattie Dowton. On 13 January 1976, Beattie and the twins are killed when a train strikes her car on a level crossing.

Christine Sharp[edit]

Christine Sharp
Emmerdale character
Portrayed by Angela Cheyne
Duration 1973–74, 1976
First appearance 12 November 1973
Last appearance 13 April 1976
Introduced by Robert D. Cardona
Classification Former; regular

Christine Sharp (previously Sugden) is the first wife of Joe Sugden. She appeared from 1973 to 1974 and in 1976.

Only months after marrying Joe, Christine left because she did not want to be a farmer's wife. She returned two years later, hoping for a new start with Joe but when he asked for a divorce, she left Beckindale for good. In 1995, she sent flowers to Joe's funeral.

Lena Dawkins[edit]

Lena Dawkins
Emmerdale character
Portrayed by Lorraine Peters
Duration 1973–76
First appearance 31 December 1973
Last appearance 24 February 1976
Introduced by Kevin Laffan
Classification Former; recurring
Occupation Shop owner

Mrs Dawkins was first seen in late 1973 in the shop chatting to Alison Gibbons. She was a no nonsense lady. In early 1975 Norah Norris had to rush off and left Mrs Dawkins in charge of the shop. Norah later left and Mrs Dawkins took over the running of Beckindale's shop and post office. She disrupted Wilf Padgett from his work adding the post office as he claimed she talked too much. Lena took no nonsense from anybody, even her boss Henry Wilks. She was last seen in February 1976 and left the shop in between then and 1988 when a Mrs Robson ran the place.


  1. ^ Funerals Emmerdale,net. Retrieved on 2009-01-03
  2. ^ Books, Retrieved on 2009-01-03
  3. ^ a b "Emmerdale's twin stars". TVTimes. Independent Television Publications Ltd. 76 (37): 40. 7–13 September 1974.