Major Emmerdale storylines
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Before the plane crash in 1993, Emmerdale had a number of major storylines during the 1970s and 1980s
- 1 The Death of the Skilbeck Twins (1976)
- 2 Pat Sugden's Car Crash (1986)
- 3 The Crossgill Fire (1988)
- 4 Jim Latimer's return/kidnapping of Sarah (1991)
- 5 The Plane Crash (New Year: 1993/1994)
- 6 Home Farm Siege (1994)
- 7 The Bus Crash (2000)
- 8 The barn fire (2000)
- 9 The Storm (New Years: 2003/2004)
- 10 Kings River explosion (2006)
- 11 Tom King's kidnap (2006)
- 12 Who Killed Tom King? (2006/2007)
- 13 Sugden house fire (2007)
- 14 Village arson/fire (2011)
- 15 Who Attacked Cain? (2011)
- 16 Emmerdale's live episode (2012)
- 17 The Woolpack siege (2013)
- 18 The helicopter crash (2015)
- 19 Mill Cottage explosion (2016)
- 20 Holly Barton's death (2016)
- 21 The Hotten Bypass crash (2016)
- 22 Ashley Thomas's dementia (2015−2017)
- 23 References
The Death of the Skilbeck Twins (1976)
In 1973, shortly after giving birth to twins, Sam and Sally Skilbeck, Matt's (Frederick Pyne) first wife Peggy (Jo Kendall) died of a brain hemorrhage, leaving Matt to face life as a single parent. Matt found life as a single parent difficult, going what with bringing them up and his work on the farm so the twins were sent to live with Matt's aunt, Beattie. However tragedy struck in January 1976 when their car stalled at a level crossing and was hit by a train killing all three instantly. Matt struggled to face up to the fact that he had now lost all his immediate family and he spent the night wandering around the Dales alone before finally coming home. He told Annie Sugden (Sheila Mercier) he should never have come to the farm as all he's brought is pain and misery to the family, but Annie reassured him that Peggy couldn't have had a better husband, twins a better father, or her a better son-in-law, and she made it clear to him that he was and always would be one of the family.
Pat Sugden's Car Crash (1986)
In late August 1986, Pat Sugden (Helen Weir) was driving her sister, Janie Blakely, back to the railway station after her visit to Emmerdale Farm. Jack (Clive Hornby) was supposed to have driven Janie back, but Pat wanted to do so, despite the fact it was nearing their new born son's Robert Sugden's (Richard Smith) feeding. After dropping Janie safely at Hotten Station, Pat was in a hurry so she first overtook a milk lorry, by which time she was speeding along Hotten Road. She then turned a corner where some sheep were blocking the road having escaped from their field. Pat swerved her car in order not to hit the sheep, but drove off a hillside, where her car rolled down the hill, killing her instantly. PC Blakemore broke the news to Pat's husband, Jack Sugden, and her mother-in-law, Annie (Sheila Mercier). Jack then broke the news to his older children, Jackie (Ian Sharrock) and Sandie (Jane Hutcheson), who were devastated. Pat's death had an effect on everyone in the Sugden family: Sandie broke down in front of Jack; Jackie was trying to remain strong; and Jack himself fell into a deep depression that took him years to get over. Robert never knew his birth mother as he was only four months old at the time. Ironically, he would lose his adoptive mother, Sarah Sugden, a decade later in an equally tragic way.
The Crossgill Fire (1988)
In December 1987, Matt Skilbeck (Frederick Pyne) discovered that he had been left Crossgill Cottage by an old friend of his. His wife, Dolly Skilbeck (Jean Rogers), wanted to move in straight away, but Matt was happy with his life in Emmerdale Farm. Sandie's partner, Phil Pearce (Peter Alexander), had decided to renovate the cottage in early 1988; however, one day, he carelessly left some rags, which caught fire. Annie, who had been inspecting the cottage on Matt and Dolly's behalf, was trapped in the inferno. Luckily, Dolly and Phil had been on the way to the cottage that afternoon and witnessed one of the windows explode and heard Annie's cries for help. Phil dashed into the burning cottage and rescued Annie just in time. She survived with mild smoke inhalation. The burning of the cottage, however, put an end to Dolly's dreams of a home of her own.
Jim Latimer's return/kidnapping of Sarah (1991)
This storyline really begins two decades earlier when Jim Latimer was convicted of the murder of Sharon Crosswaithe in 1973. Jack Sugden (Clive Hornby) had been one of the people that testified against him, and Jim held a grudge. He was released from prison after eighteen years, and followed Jack and Sarah Connolly (Madeleine Howard) to Kathy Merrick (Malandra Burrows) and Chris Tate's (Peter Amory) wedding. He kidnapped Sarah shortly after the party ended; however, Sarah used her calm intellect to take advantage of the situation. She was eventually released, and Jim was sent back to prison.
The Plane Crash (New Year: 1993/1994)
The plot line of a plane crashing in the village of Beckindale occurred on 30 December 1993. The crash killed four regular characters and led to the onscreen renaming of Beckindale to Emmerdale; the village name change was a tribute to the Sugden family, whose farm was known as Emmerdale Farm. The story garnered significant press and audience attention, giving Emmerdale its highest ever viewing figures of 16 million. The plot line attracted controversy due to the similarity with the real-life bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland on 21 December 1988, and was aired near to the time of the fifth anniversary of that disaster.
The first scene of the plane crash was when Frank Tate (Norman Bowler) was looking at his wife's Kim's (Claire King) stables, when suddenly a ball of fire hits them. Nick Bates (Cy Chadwick) and Archie Brooks (Tony Pitts) were walking home when they are blinded by some fluid ,and Archie is eventually engulfed in flames. This was last the time that Archie appeared onscreen; however, his body was never recovered in the series and suspicion remains if he actually died, although he was nevertheless declared dead.
The Woolpack windows explode in and Joe Sugden (Frazer Hines) crashes his car when a wing of the plane collides with the car. Annie (Sheila Mercier) and Leonard Kempinski (Bernard Archard) were also in the car. Joe suffered a broken leg and Annie remained in a coma for several months. However, Leonard died. He and Annie had only been married for two months. Up at the stables, Kim had to be restrained from trying to retrieve her horses, listening helplessly as her horses screamed for help. People in the Woolpack began to regain consciousness. Eric Pollard (Chris Chittell) started wandering around looking for his wife, Elizabeth (Kate Dove). As the hours passed, he started to draw attention as many people became suspicious of his behaviour. Elizabeth is eventually found dead and is declared a victim of the plane crash. However, many people, on and off-screen, believe Eric killed his wife as she was on her way to the police to report him for forging cheques. Outside, Alan Turner (Richard Thorp) picks up a plane ticket with the name Kurshkov on it, he notices more wreckage in the field together with Angharad and Bernard McAllister (Brendan Price) and it becomes more clear what has happened. The local school is used as a base. Mark Hughes' (Craig McKay) arm can be seen sticking out of some rubble. At the school, Jack Sugden (Clive Hornby) notices Mark's watch amongst the personal belongings that have been found, it is the one that Annie gave him at Christmas. Jack has the unfortunate task of identifying his body. Chris Tate (Peter Amory) is discovered in the wine bar but his legs are trapped under heavy rubble. When he is retrieved from the rubble, he is airlifted to hospital. Chris would later learn that he has lost the use of his legs. As Annie was being cut out of the car which Joe had crashed a news bulletin was being heard on the radio about a passenger jet had crashed on the Yorkshire village of Beckindale and it was on its way to Canada from eastern Europe and all 250 passengers and crew had believed to have been killed. We then saw Joe Sugden resting on the back of the ambulance when a paramedic told him that they were unable to save Leonard but Annie was still alive.
Many buildings in the village were left in ruins as a result of the plane crash. Excluding the four dead characters, many other bodies were found all over the village.
The Emmerdale story line also made a brief crossover into Brookside, as the Liverpool Echo (a real newspaper based in Liverpool), which was being read by one of the characters in Brookside, had a front page story featuring the crash in Emmerdale.
Home Farm Siege (1994)
In 1994, Scott Windsor's (Toby Cockerell) long-lost father, Reg Dawson (Niven Boyd), turned up in Emmerdale, claiming that he wanted to build bridges with his son. Vic Windsor (Alun Lewis), Scott's adoptive father, didn't trust him from the start. It soon emerged that the real reason Reg had come to the village was that he and his gang planned to kidnap his ex-wife, Viv (Deena Payne), and hold her hostage at Home Farm, and steal the money and valuable items that were there. Home Farm was then owned by the Tate family, who were on holiday at the time.
Reg and his gang stormed the Post Office, shot Alan Turner (Richard Thorp) and kidnapped Viv, plus Alan's wife, Shirley (Rachel Davies), and took them to Home Farm. The police were alerted and they did a stakeout at the house. Just as Reg was about to shoot Viv, Shirley performed an act of bravery and jumped in front of Viv, only for her to be shot dead. Reg was later gunned down by a police marksman, but the whole incident left the then 14-year-old Scott traumatised, hurt and ashamed by his father, and Alan was left to mourn his wife.
The Bus Crash (2000)
In the spring of 2000, one of the Tate lorries driven by Pete Collins (Kirk Smith) was faulty. Pete raised his concerns to Chris Tate (Peter Amory), but he was too busy, so Pete, despite his misgivings, used the lorry. Back in the village, Viv Hope (Deena Payne) was protesting against the village community bus. The bus passengers were Kathy Glover (Malandra Burrows), Butch Dingle (Paul Loughran), Alan Turner (Richard Thorp), Sarah Sugden (Alyson Spiro), Victoria Sugden (Hannah Midgley), Marc Reynolds (Anthony Lewis), Seth Armstrong (Stan Richards) and a councillor friend of Eric Pollard (Chris Chittell). On the road, Pete was having difficulties with his lorry, as it couldn't brake. Just as the bus was about to make its way to Hotten, the lorry crashed into the minibus, killing Pete instantly. Local vet Paddy Kirk (Dominic Brunt) was first on the scene and he rescued Alan, but he broke his hand in the process. Policewoman Angie Reynolds (Freya Copeland) reported the incident and was shocked when she discovered that her son, Mark, was inside the bus. Meanwhile, the villagers decided to use The Woolpack as a first aid centre for minor injuries. Slowly, the fire brigade began pulling out survivors. Emily Wylie (Kate McGregor) watched worriedly with Lisa Dingle (Jane Cox), hoping for Butch to survive. Mark was the first pulled out, followed by Seth; both were taken to hospital. The fire brigade learned that the lorry could completely collapse on the bus if they rushed the rescue, which would have killed everyone on the bus. Meanwhile, Chris and Zoe Tate (Leah Bracknell) thought that Joseph Tate (Oliver Young) was on board the bus along with Zoe's girlfriend, Frankie. Chris raged at Viv and blamed her for the entire crash; a few minuets later, however, both Frankie and Joseph arrived at the scene: it turned out that Frankie had taken Joseph to the play park around the back of the village. Chris thought that they were on their way to Hotten on the doomed bus. Zoe was relieved that they were both safe. Sarah's husband Jack (Clive Hornby) and his sons, Robert (Christopher Smith) and Andy (Kelvin Fletcher), eventually arrive and a few moments later Sarah is pulled out the bus badly injured and hysterical, as Victoria is still on the bus along with Kathy and Butch (the councillor had died at the scene).
In the next episode, Victoria and Kathy are finally pulled out and are taken to hospital. Butch was taken out a while later, but had more severe injuries, as he was sitting in direct impact of the lorry when it hit. He was taken to hospital with Emily at his side. The Dingles followed on, but it was clear that Butch did not have very long, so in one of the most touching scenes in Emmerdale's history Butch married Emily on his deathbed and died hours later. His death devastated his family, but none more so than his father, Zak (Steve Halliwell), who had already lost one of his other sons, Ben Dingle (Steve Fury), just six years earlier. The Dingles blamed Chris for what happened, as it was one of his lorries involved in the crash.
The barn fire (2000)
Andy Sugden (Kelvin Fletcher) set fire to a barn so his adoptive dad, Jack (Clive Hornby), could claim the insurance money. However, he accidentally killed his adoptive mum Sarah (Alyson Spiro), who was in the barn finishing her affair with toyboy, Richie Carter (Glenn Lamont). Richie survived and made a brief return to the soap in 2007 for the 35th anniversary of Emmerdale, when Andy's little sister, Victoria (Hannah Midgley), tracked him down to get answers about her mother's death. This led to Victoria setting fire to a cottage and the truth about the night seven years before, coming out (see "Sugden House Fire" section below). Andy was therefore jailed which changed him and caused him to domestically abuse his wife, Jo (Roxanne Pallett), on his release in 2008.
The Storm (New Years: 2003/2004)
Emmerdale was to experience another big disaster ten years on from the plane crash as a storm put villagers in peril. The storyline paved the way for Tricia Dingle's (Sheree Murphy) exit and provide a lot of New Year drama and a ratings boost for the show. The storm hit the village on New Year's Eve 2003 and saw popular characters such as Ashley Thomas (John Middleton) and Louise Appleton (Emily Symons) become stuck on the roads as a result of the terrible weather with Ashley so hurt that he could have lost his leg but they were saved in time. The episode also focused on Tricia and her husband, Marlon (Mark Charnock). Marlon had had a one-night stand with his cousin Charity Tate (Emma Atkins) when Tricia was in India and when Tricia found out he had been unfaithful, she decided to leave him and the Dales. However, upon reading the 101 reasons as to why Marlon loved her, she decided to reconcile with him and headed back to The Woolpack.
Upon reaching The Woolpack, lightning stuck an oak tree which caused Tricia to trip, and another bolt hit the roof of The Woolpack causing the roof to collapse and the chimney to fall through. This in turn caused the wall of the pub to collapse onto a helpless Tricia. She was taken to hospital, critically injured, and was put on life support until Marlon decided to finally let her go.
Ashley and Louise were rescued from the rubble, and in an extension of the storyline, popular character Bernice Thomas (Samantha Giles), made a brief return. Viewing figures for the special hour-long episode averaged 10.7 million. Ratings soared and the storyline went down in Emmerdale history. The year to come would see the show gain an even higher profile.
Kings River explosion (2006)
On Thursday 13 July 2006, the Kings unveiled their brand new showhome which was to house married couple, Marlon Dingle (Mark Charnock) and Donna Windsor-Dingle (Verity Rushworth). When local resident, Noreen Bell (Jenny Tomasin) opened a cupboard door inside the house, it triggered an automatic light switch that an electric spark discharged causing a gas ignition. that caused a large gas explosion that catapulted her down the stairs. The explosion ripped through the bathroom floor knocking Jimmy (Nick Miles) and Sadie King (Patsy Kensit) to opposite sides of the bathroom. The estate agent David Brown (Peter Alexander), who was located near the cupboard, was set alight. While running towards the house, Marlon and Donna were thrown back by another explosion. Debris such as a spark plug, a toaster, a boiler, and windows started to fly towards the residents as the house started to explode in various places. Diane Sugden (Elizabeth Estensen) was knocked out by a collapsing ceiling while Danny Daggert (Cleveland Campbell) and Dawn Woods (Julia Mallam), who were running behind her, got caught in another explosion. The bathroom floor gave way and Jimmy fell through, shortly followed by Sadie. The house then fully collapsed horrifyingly as the residents of Emmerdale watched in shock. Three were confirmed dead: Noreen Bell, who was hit by the full force of the initial explosion and died instantly, Dawn Woods, who was rescued from the rubble but later died in hospital as a result of internal injuries from burns and Smoke inhalation, and the estate agent David from burns.
This was an hour long episode, and attracted 6.7 million viewers, beating EastEnders in the ratings. It was the most watched television programme of the day.
At the 2007 British Soap Awards Emmerdale won two awards, one of which was "Most Spectacular Scene" for the Kings River Explosion.
The House Collapse won an ITV competition to find the best Emmerdale moment, coinciding with Emmerdale's 5000th Episode.
Tom King's kidnap (2006)
In September 2006, Cain Dingle (Jeff Hordley) and Sadie King (Patsy Kensit) plotted to kidnap millionaire Tom King (Ken Farrington) and demand a £2.5 million ransom. They carried out the plot, but Cain discovered that Sadie had paid for his girlfriend, Jasmine Thomas (Jenna-Louise Coleman), to have an abortion privately and kidnapped her and Tom. He took them to a deserted barn and threatened them with a gun. The kidnap followed a few twists and turns involving a car explosion, numerous theft of cars after Cain blew up his old car, a police car and helicopter chase, and the car crashing into a flooded quarry, only to later be found empty. He shot Sadie and demanded that his sister Chas (Lucy Pargeter) be the one to bring the money. She did and soon it was revealed that Sadie was alive and that she was working with him. However, when it came to the escape, Cain left Sadie stranded. They both left the soap afterwards. The hour long culmintation episode of the storyline on 21 September attracted 8.7 million viewers, leaving rival soap EastEnders with just 4.8 million viewers.
Who Killed Tom King? (2006/2007)
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In October 2006, ITV announced plans for a fully interactive storyline, surrounding the death of Tom King (Ken Farrington), who was killed on Christmas Day 2006. The ensuing weeks were full of twists and turns as some of the show’s most popular characters were placed at the centre of the enquiry, facing fierce interrogation in the hunt for the killer - the police are determined to leave no stone unturned.
In a world first, the whole storyline was fully interactive allowing viewers the opportunity of becoming super sleuths to help solve the crime via a dedicated ITV online portal. Launched in November, it consists of blogs, clues, secret e-mails and voicemails. Emmerdale Online was created for ITV by Branded Storytelling producers Hoodlum.
The viewers were taken inside the show and had direct online interaction with the storyline. The cast was seen trying to piece together the murder and their findings will, in turn, be immediately available for viewers to tap into online.
To add to the mystery, and for the first time, Emmerdale filmed 10 secret scenes, each showing a different suspect committing the murder and therefore enabling 10 different possible outcomes. As a result, even the cast and crew didn't know who the killer was.
On the same day, he married Rosemary Sinclair (Linda Thorson) in a lavish ceremony, he headed up to the bedroom but somebody hit him with an ornament (a bronze horse head statue) and pushed him through the bedroom window to his death.
As so many people wanted Tom King dead, the list of suspects was narrowed down to ten:
- Jimmy King
- Matthew King
- Carl King
- Rosemary King
- Grayson Sinclair
- Chas Dingle
- Bob Hope
- Jamie Hope
- Terry Woods
- Len Reynolds
All suspects had their own ending recorded to stop viewers finding out who killed him.
An eleventh ending was filmed which sees three from the line-up kill Tom together: his sons - Jimmy (Nick Miles), Matthew (Matt Healy) and Carl (Tom Lister). Carl and Matthew held their father still, while eldest brother Jimmy whacked Tom over the head with the horse statuette that figures in all eleven murder scenarios.
After a few months, it was determined that one or all of the three of his sons had killed him after DNA found that there was fibres of the sons' wedding suits under Tom's fingernails.
Tom King's final video has come to light. It was intended for his close friend Chief of Police Charles Vaughan. It sees Tom speaking candidly to camera about who, of those around him, would have had the motive to kill him. This first part shows Tom discuss Bob Hope (Tony Audenshaw), Jamie Hope (Alex Carter) and Terry Woods (Billy Hartman). 
The second part of Tom King's final video shows Tom speak of Len Reynolds (Peter Martin) and how he doesn't know his three sons as well as he thought. The third, and final part of Tom King's video shows Tom speak of Chas Dingle (Lucy Pargeter), Rosemary and Grayson Sinclair (Christopher Villiers) and why he thinks everybody hated him so much.
Eventually, nearly five months after the murder was aired on TV, it was revealed that Carl King, his son, had killed him. Carl had gone to his dad's bedroom to argue with him about Tom attempting to pay Chas Dingle (Carl's girlfriend) to split up with him. Tom gave him an ultimatum, split up with Chas or lose his multimillion-pound inheritance. In a fit of frustration, Carl hit him over the head with a bronze horse's head statue, and as Tom clung on to him, he pushed him away. This made him fall out of his bedroom window, to his death.
Carl was never prosecuted for killing him, as there was not enough evidence to prosecute one particular brother. When all three brothers was charged for conspiracy to murder, their trial collapsed when it was revealed that two key witnesses had lied in their statements for money, and there was insufficient evidence to find the brothers guilty without the statements.
At the Broadcast Digital Channel Awards in 2008, Emmerdale won the award for "Best use of Interactive" for the storyline.
Sugden house fire (2007)
Jack Sugden (Clive Hornby) had told his children that his wife, Diane (Elizabeth Estensen), had feelings for Billy Hopwood (David Crellin). Victoria (Isabel Hodgins) was full of guilt and tearful, insisting it was all her fault and she wished she’d never followed the pair and heard their conversation. An angry Victoria paid Billy a visit. During the heated argument in which Victoria blamed Billy for ruining her family, he implied that the Sugdens' had never been saintly and brought up the subject of Sarah's (Alyson Spiro) death, Victoria's mother. “Bit of a coincidence, Jack being there the night your mother died,” he said, smiling. “Think about it Victoria - have they ever really told you what happened to her?”. Victoria didn't want to listen to Billy but it was clear her desire to discover her mother's killer had resurfaced.
On 16 October 2007, after yet another row with Jack about Diane, Victoria went off alone and got drunk. The teenager had been rifling through old newspaper clippings of the fire that killed her mother. One of the pictures was of Sarah’s lover, Richie Carter (Glenn Lamont), who had been there and survived. Victoria had decided to pay Richie a visit, in a last-ditch attempt to find out the truth about the night her mother died. Richie told her he couldn't help her. Begrudgingly, Richie described the events leading up to fire, including how Jack had threatened to kill him and Sarah for their betrayal. Richie was adamant, telling Victoria it wasn't her dad. Victoria didn't believe Richie and returned to the village and was promptly sick from the alcohol. Spotting Andy Sugden (Kelvin Fletcher) down the road, she ran into a nearby garage to hide. She overheard Andy bump into Jack, who told him Victoria had not gone to school. The pair set off to look for her together. Inside the garage, a clearly disturbed Victoria spotted a petrol can. She picked it up. Victoria took the can home and doused the furniture with petrol. Moments later, Jack and Andy returned to Annie's Cottage and immediately smelled the fumes. Then they saw Victoria, poised with a lighter in her hand, ready to set the place alight. Victoria was screaming at her dad to tell her the truth about how her mother died or else they'd know what it feels like to burn. Unable to stay quiet any longer, Andy shocked Victoria by telling her that he had started the fire that led to Sarah's death. Victoria looked at her brother in horror and then fled upstairs where she fell and hurt her head badly. She was put on her bed, bleeding. Andy stayed with her while Jack went into the bathroom to soak a towel in warm water to clean his daughter’s head. He had forgotten about the petrol fumes in the house when he turned on the hot tap. The pilot light in the boiler came on and ignited the fumes. A massive explosion ripped through the house.
Daz Eden (Luke Tittensor) had been walking towards the cottage and was knocked to the ground with the force of the blast. Inside Annie's Cottage, the lounge was a raging inferno, where Victoria had soaked everything in petrol. As the fire took hold, there was a second explosion. Andy and Victoria were in her bedroom and Andy smashed her window. He swept her up in his arms and carried her to the window. By now many of the villagers, including Jonny Foster (Richard Grieve), Matthew King (Matt Healy), Perdita Hyde-Sinclair (Georgia Slowe), Diane, Billy and others, were standing outside. Jonny waited below the bedroom window with his arms up, telling Andy to drop his sister down. With Victoria safe, Andy went back for Jack but a wall of fire separated them. Billy climbed a ladder, which was set up outside, and got Andy to the window where he jumped out onto a hay truck, that Matthew had hot-wired and parked under the window. Using a blanket for cover, Billy got Jack from the bathroom and out the bedroom window. As Billy was about to climb out, numerous half-empty alcohol bottles caught fire creating another explosion, which blew Billy across the room. The fire services retrieved an unconscious Billy from the house.
Village arson/fire (2011)
In early 2011, crooked policeman Nick Henshall (Michael McKell) decided to set fire to his girlfriend's house late at night; Katie Sugden (Sammy Winward) shared the news with her best friends Chas Dingle (Lucy Pargeter) and Genesis Walker (Sian Reese-Williams), so he could come by and save her and be deemed the hero of the hour. However, his plan went awry when Andy Sugden (Kelvin Fletcher) saw flames coming out of the house. When Carl King (Tom Lister) was driving back from Hotten, he nearly crashed into Nick's car on the bridge. He also saw the fire and he and Andy rushed to alert Katie, Chas and Gennie, by which time, the fire had spread to other houses. Katie, Chas and Gennie had been rescued at this point. Carl then rushed to save Betty Eagleton (Paula Tilbrook). Every resident was now awake and involved in rescuing people. Betty got out but need to go to hospital for smoke inhalation; Edna Birch (Shirley Stelfox) and Pearl Ladderbanks (Meg Johnson) went with her as she was in shock. Meanwhile, Viv Hope (Deena Payne) had been drowning her sorrows with a couple of bottles of wine and had passed out just when the fire had now reached her flat above the café, with the twins; Cathy and Heath in the next room crying. When Bob Hope (Tony Audenshaw) and Terry Woods (Billy Hartman) learned of this, they rushed to the café to rescue them. Terry's girlfriend, Brenda Walker (Lesley Dunlop), was trying to dissuade Terry from doing this but he shouted that he had to and he couldn't let them die. In the meantime, Chas became concerned with Carl's inhalation of the smoke but he angrily brushed her off. Bob and Terry wrapped their scarves around their mouths so they wouldn't succumb to the smoke and together they rushed into the inferno. Andy volunteered to go in after them but Katie, Chas and Carl told him not to as he had already risked his life. Bob then hurried out with the twins. A few moments later, when he said that Terry had been behind him getting Viv, it soon became clear that Terry and Viv may not come out alive. Rhona Goskirk (Zoe Henry) had taken the twins to the hospital. The fire brigade arrived and just as they were about to go into rescue Terry and Viv, the café exploded, killing them, if the fire hadn't already done so. Bob and Brenda ran towards the shop but were held back by firefighters. By the next morning, it soon became clear that Terry and Viv had lost their lives in the blaze as the firemen brought out the bodies.
Andy had been accused of the crime and most the villagers turned against him, except for Debbie Dingle (Charley Webb), Katie and his family; Diane Sugden (Elizabeth Estensen), Victoria Sugden (Isabel Hodgins), Diane's sister Val Pollard (Charlie Hardwick) and her husband Eric Pollard (Chris Chittell) also didn't believe that Andy was the culprit. The storyline lead to the brief return of Viv's step-daughter; Kelly Windsor (Adele Silva), who wanted to see if her stepfather, Bob, was okay and she wanted her son; Elliot, to see the village where she grew up and to meet his father; Jimmy King (Nick Miles). Terry had his funeral in the village whilst Viv's body was transported to her hometown in Essex where Bob had agreed this was best with her other children; Scott Windsor (Ben Freeman) and Donna Windsor-Dingle (Verity Rushworth) rather than have her buried next to her second husband Vic Windsor (Alun Lewis) who had died in 1998.
The storyline shocked many viewers, since Viv and Terry had been among the show's longest serving characters before they were killed off. Viv had been one the show for eighteen years, and was involved in many of the show's storylines since her arrival in 1993. Terry first appeared in 1995. Many fans were disappointed at the producers' decision to kill them off.
Who Attacked Cain? (2011)
In the fall of 2011, it was announced that the show's serial villain Cain Dingle (Jeff Hordley) would be attacked by a mystery assailant. Six suspects to the attack were named: John (James Thornton) and Moira Barton (Natalie J. Robb) were given motives as Cain had destroyed their marriage by having an affair with Moira; Jai Sharma (Chris Bisson) and Charity Tate (Emma Atkins) were both given motives as Cain had terrorised them and caused them to end their relationship; Amy Wyatt (Chelsea Halfpenny) was given a motive as Cain had got her pregnant through a one-night stand and had then proceeded to taunt her about being a single teenage mother; and Cain's father Zak Dingle (Steve Halliwell) was also given a motive as he felt Cain needed to be taught a lesson for the things he had done and for disgracing the Dingle family name. In the two-part episode aired on 8 December 2011 dubbed "Judgment Day", Cain after insulting everyone in The Woolpack and being rejected by the entire village was out walking when he was attacked by an unseen assailant and left for dead, subsequently being left hospitalised and requiring brain surgery. John Barton was initially arrested but later released due to lack of evidence. When Cain awoke he accused Jai and he was subsequently imprisoned, but Cain later dropped charges against him. It was later announced in January 2012 it was announced that Cain would finally confront his attacker after a month of speculation. On 5 January 2012, Zak was revealed as his son's attacker. The storyline which saw Cain get his comeuppance proved popular with viewers and soap critics. A viewers' poll was devised so that viewers could vote for who they thought was the culprit. John Barton was proven viewers' favourite to be unmasked as the assailant, receiving 26.3% of the vote, followed by Amy Wyatt with 19.9%, Zak Dingle with 17.3%, Moira Barton with 16.3%, Charity Sharma with 10.4% and Jai Sharma with 9.8%.
Emmerdale's live episode (2012)
Main article: Emmerdale Live (2012 episode)
Emmerdale marked its 40th anniversary in October 2012, and to celebrate, it was announced that the anniversary week episodes would revolve around two days that centred on "life-changing" events. This included a live episode, the first ever soap to stage a live outside broadcast of an episode, which aired on 17 October 2012 - one day after Emmerdale's official 40th birthday.
The plot focused upon the wedding of Katie Sugden (Sammy Winward) and Declan Macey (Jason Merrells), along with Chas Dingle (Lucy Pargeter) and Dan Spencer (Liam Fox) also tying the knot. Both weddings though were beset by some form of drama with Declan's sister, Megan (Gaynor Faye), attempting to stop his marriage to Katie as revenge for him stealing the entire profits from the Home Farm music festival which had been held the previous week. She ultimately failed to prevent the wedding from being stopped, but would later get payback by shoving Katie's face into the wedding cake at the reception. Meanwhile, Chas had planned to flee Emmerdale with her former flame Carl King (Tom Lister), but not before marrying Dan. As Chas was packing to leave, she was caught red-handed by Dan and dumped her straight away.
The wedding reception for Chas and Dan at the B&B was eventually brought to a premature end when Genesis Walker (Sian Reese-Williams) went into labour and gave birth to a baby girl in the live episode. In the same episode, at virtually the same time, Debbie Dingle (Charley Webb) also gave birth to a baby boy in the hospital, which was planned to act as a "saviour sibling" to help with her daughter Sarah's (Sophia Amber Moore) treatment for leukaemia.
The live episode was also notable for featuring the death of a well-known character. Following a violent confrontation between Carl and Chas, which saw Carl attempt to rape her, Chas hit him over the head with a brick in self-defence and then fled, believing to have killed him. Carl however survived the impact only to come face to face with Cameron Murray (Dominic Power), who used the same brick to deliver a second, and this time, fatal blow. Before Carl was killed however, he managed to send pictures of Cameron and Chas together in bed to Debbie's phone, which resulted in Debbie ending her relationship with Cameron.
The live episode won "Best Single Episode" at The British Soap Awards 2013 under the title of "Emmerdale Live". The award was accepted by Lucy Pargeter (Chas), Charley Webb (Debbie), Jeff Hordley (Cain), Sian Reese-Williams (Gennie), Dominic Power (Cameron) and Rik Makarem (Nikhil).
The Woolpack siege (2013)
In 2013, it was announced that the episodes that would air on the week of the soap's 41st anniversary would be centred on a "dramatic stunt".
Having murdered Carl King (Tom Lister) in the 40th anniversary live episode last year, Cameron Murray (Dominic Power) had gone on to proceed in killing both Alex Moss (Kurtis Stacey) in December 2012 and Genesis Walker (Sian Reese-Williams) in July 2013, in desperate attempts to keep his first murder a secret. Cameron's crimes were soon exposed by Debbie (Charley Webb) and Chas Dingle (Lucy Pargeter) in September 2013 and he was consequently arrested and jailed. In the week before the anniversary week, Cameron escaped from police custody and secretly returned to the village.
On the anniversary week, set during when the village was hit by torrential rain, Cameron first scared Debbie by taking her daughter Sarah to an abandoned barn, leading Debbie to believe she had been snatched, before leaving Sarah (Sophia Amber Moore) in the barn to get Debbie and Jack and bring them back to the barn. She is later rescued by Andy (Kelvin Fletcher) and Moira Barton (Natalie J. Robb) who hear Sarah shouting and banging at the door. Later that night, Cameron stole Zak Dingle's (Steve Halliwell) shotgun and headed off for The Woolpack. Breaking in through the back door, Cameron knocked out Marlon Dingle (Mark Charnock) and locked him in the cellar before entering the pub, armed with the stolen gun, taking Alicia Gallagher (Natalie Anderson), Bernice Blackstock (Samantha Giles), Chas, Dan Spencer (Liam Fox), David Metcalfe (Matthew Wolfenden), Debbie Dingle, Diane Sugden (Elizabeth Estensen), Jack, Nicola King (Nicola Wheeler), Priya Sharma (Fiona Wade), Ruby Haswell (Alicya Eyo) and Zak hostage inside, vowing to shoot them if they threatened him.
As police began to cordon off the area and negotiate with Cameron, he told Debbie that he came back for her and wanted to flee the village with her to start a new life but she refused to do so. As Zak and Chas attempted to take matters into their own hands, Chas hit Cameron on the head with a chair just as he pulled the trigger on the shotgun and shot Alicia directly in the stomach.
Cameron eventually freed everyone with the exception of Chas and Debbie, as he still demanded to leave with Debbie. Whilst all this was going on, Marlon, still locked in the cellar, came round to discover the cellar was on the verge of flooding as rainwater continued to gush in quickly. Managing to escape, he hit Cameron round the head with a bottle and took possession of the gun. Meanwhile, Chas and Debbie now found themselves in the flooding cellar as Cameron had sent them to investigate a noise that Marlon had made to distract Cameron. After a struggle, Marlon overpowered Cameron and escaped just as the lights in the pub went out and armed police raided the building.
Debbie and Chas struggled to escape the rising floodwaters in the cellar, particularly as Cameron was now with them and constantly tried to pull them underwater so that they would drown. With the help of the police, Debbie and Chas were able to get out and just as Cameron followed them, he came into contact with the cellar light that had dropped into the water and was still switched on. The light electrocuted Cameron, killing him instantly.
Meanwhile, at the hospital, Alicia's life hung in the balance as she flatlined and was given CPR. Surgeons managed to restart her heart but as she was still in a grave condition, she was taken back into theatre for further surgery.
Hostages in the siege included:
- Debbie Dingle
- Chas Dingle
- Zak Dingle
- Diane Sugden
- Bernice Blackstock
- Nicola King
- Marlon Dingle
- Priya Sharma
- David Metcalfe
- Alicia Gallagher
- Ruby Haswell
- Dan Spencer
- Jack Sugden Jr.
The siege won "Spectacular Scene of the Year" at The British Soap Awards 2014, under the title of "The Woolpack siege and flood". The award was accepted by Charley Webb (Debbie) and Mark Charnock (Marlon).
The helicopter crash (2015)
In July 2015, a trailer was broadcast announcing a major summer storyline involving the death of many regulars, stating "Who will meet their Summer Fate?", the Summer Fate storyline was kept a secret until 1 August 2015 when it was announced that a helicopter would crash into the village hall at Pete Barton (Anthony Quinlan) and Debbie Dingle's (Charley Webb) wedding. The crash would be caused when an explosion would occur after Chrissie White (Louise Marwood) set alight her husband Robert Sugden's (Ryan Hawley) car during a heated argument at the scrapyard. The fire edged closer to some gas canisters explodes into the air colliding with the helicopter, causing the helicopter to then hurtle towards and crash into the village hall. Ruby Haswell (Alicya Eyo) was the first person to perish following the disaster after Dan Spencer (Liam Fox) and Kerry Wyatt (Laura Norton) were unable to save her. The helicopter later exploded and Diane Sugden (Elizabeth Estensen) and Val Pollard (Charlie Hardwick), who were stuck in a fairground mirror maze nearby, were affected by the blast. Before Val's death she said: "I'm H.I.Val. I'm Valerie Pollard of the Valerie Pollard foundation...I'm Val!"A falling shard of mirror struck Val and killed her. Outside the hospital, Pete and Ross Barton (Michael Parr) came to blows one last time and Pete pushed Ross to the floor, who hit his head on a concrete wall. Pete carried on beaten him unaware that Ross had immediately died from his injuries. Panicking, Pete decides not to call for help and decided to place Ross' lifeless body in the boot of his car, takes him to a ditch in the woods and buries him there and covers his body with leaves and later returns to the hospital to see his injured wife Debbie. It was revealed that Ross, Val and Ruby had met their summer fate. Ross however was shown to be alive a few weeks later meaning just Ruby and Val had met their summer fate.
Mill Cottage explosion (2016)
It was announced by incoming producer Iain Macleod in February 2016 that he plans for two separate big events to rock the village in 2016. First of them, occurring in late June, would involve Lawrence White, Nicola King, Priya Kotecha, Rakesh Kotecha and Ronnie Hale and would be a large explosion taking place at Mill Cottage. The storyline came to fruition on 20 June 2016, when Rakesh Kotecha (Pasha Bocarie) set fire to his building development after encountering major financial problems. This was in a bid to claim insurance on the property and pay off his debt. However, as he trashed the place and set it alight, he was unaware of Nicola King (Nicola Wheeler) hiding upstairs. The property quickly went up and Nicola tried to get out, but a column collapsed and whacked her on the right-hand side of her head, knocking her out. The fire later became apparent, and Nicola's whimpering cries were heard by Rakesh and local builder Ronnie Hale (John McArdle) and they dived into the property to rescue her. While Rakesh managed to get Nicola out of the building safely, Ronnie was knocked unconscious by the toxic fumes emanating from the fire. He was rescued in the nick of time before the building burned up and exploded, thankfully leaving no fatalities. Unfortunately, Ronnie lay in a coma for several weeks, and Nicola was later found to be completely paralysed on her right-hand side, potentially for life, which devastated Nicola and her family. It all came to nothing, as the insurance company concluded the fire was started fraudulently, and as a result, Rakesh's plan backfired.
Holly Barton's death (2016)
On 29 September 2016, Holly Barton (Sophie Powles) was found dead in her bed by her mother Moira (Natalie J. Robb) after a taking an overdose of heroin. It brought shock to fans of the show, as the twist was not promoted. However, fans praised the producers for keeping it a secret for so long, at a time when Emmerdale's popularity had taken a downturn following the arrival of producer Iain Macleod.
The Hotten Bypass crash (2016)
On 1 October 2016, a trailer was uploaded to the show's YouTube channel, with the keywords "Who will take their last dance?" The minute long trailer features Laurel (Charlotte Bellamy) and Ashley Thomas (John Middleton), Robert Sugden (Ryan Hawley), Aaron Dingle (Danny Miller), Marlon Dingle (Mark Charnock), Paddy Kirk (Dominic Brunt), Rhona Goskirk (Zoe Henry), Pierce Harris (Jonathan Wrather), James (Bill Ward) and Emma Barton (Gillian Kearney) dancing in the fog. However, as they dance, a mysterious ghostly figure is among them, almost haunting them. One death is confirmed, with speculation that it could be Ashley, Robert, Aaron, or even James. The storylines have been influenced by several horror and thriller films including: Misery, Final Destination and The Big Chill.
The week follows the characters in the same 24 hour time period. However, the week's first four episodes features a flash forward to the funeral for the character who dies in the week. Then, a vision is seen, Monday's is of Aaron drowning in a lake, Tuesday's is of Pierce with blood on his hands, followed by Paddy covered in blood appearing to pass out, Wednesday's is of James falling, and Thursday's is of a trapped Ashley.
Monday's episode ends with Aaron and Robert become involved of car crash with Robert's former stepson Lachlan White who Aaron kidnapped in the car boot. Tuesday's episode ends with the same involved Paddy and Rhona who chase after Pierce. Wednesday's episode ends with James and Emma face to face by the side of the road after James escape from Emma's madness.
On Thursday's first episode, Ashley forgets who his daughter Dotty is during her christening and, thinking he is late for the event thanks to a faulty digital clock, takes a drive in his Ford Focus. Unbeknownst to him, James and Emma are on a motorway bridge. As Ashley drives past, Emma accidentally pushes James, and he falls on Ashley's car causing the vehicle to crash and flip over. Pierce swerves to avoid a car and stopped his car in the middle of the road. An oncoming Mercedes truck hits Ashley's vehicle. Pierce tries to start his car but he also ends up getting hit by the truck. Pierce watches helpless as Paddy and Rhona's Vauxhall car flips over multiple times before getting hit by a Blue Volkswagen Van. Soon other vehicles are involved in the crash, including a collision between a Yellow Ford Transit and a Silver Citroen Van. As Aaron and Robert's Subaru approaches, Emma tries to warn them but Aaron crashes his car into the lake with Lachlan in the boot. Meanwhile, a Peugeot 607 smashes into a Jaguar X-Type, which in turn causes Paddy and Rhona's Vauxhall to flip over.
Ashley gets out of his car and sees everything. As Ashley looks at Emma, he is very nearly hit by a motorbike. Pierce runs to Paddy and Rhona, as he struggles to get Rhona out he eventually breaks open the door. Finn Barton (Joe Gill) arrives at the scene and finds Ashley, who again thinking he should be at his daughter's christening, later wanders off into the woods, despite Finn shouting for him to stay where he is. Underwater, Robert wakes up and attempts to wake Aaron up. Pierce panics when he finds no pulse on Rhona. Paddy who is responsive tells Pierce that he will never look at Rhona again as long as he looks after her. When Pierce is later questioned by the authorities he says nobody else is in the car which is badly damaged, but later chooses to save Paddy.
Meanwhile, Robert finally wakes up Aaron as they are still trapped underwater. They wait to get out but must wait to get the door open. Aaron discovers he is trapped under the steering wheel, Robert attempts to free him out couple of time but failed. As Aaron begs Robert to leave, Robert refuses and stays with Aaron. Aaron tells Robert that he loves him and begs him to go before slipping under the water. Robert screams in horror and refuses to give up on Aaron. Robert goes under the water to give Aaron air before making a final attempt to free him. The ambulance arrives at the scene as Laurel, Douglas Potts (Duncan Preston), Adam Barton (Adam Thomas) and Victoria Barton (Isabel Hodgins) turn up.
Rhona, Paddy, Aaron and James are severely injured and taken to hospital, while Ashley collapses in the woods as his wife Laurel and her father Doug search for him. Paddy only has a few minor injuries where as Rhona is in critical condition, although she later manages to recover. Elsewhere, both Aaron and James suddenly succumb to their conditions just moments after Aaron accepts Robert's proposal, although he ends up surviving while James unfortunately goes into cardiac arrest and dies in front of his family after doctors were unable to revive him; Ironically, James died in the same way as his late brother John Barton (James Thornton) died. The scene flashes forward to the funeral scene where we see Pete, Ross, Finn, Emma, Moira, Adam, Victoria, Paddy, Pierce, Rhona, Robert, Chas and Aaron stand at the scene of the coffin as Harriet finishes saying her prayer before laying James to rest; the storyline ends with a picture of James falling to the floor, signalling that he is the character who has been killed off from the show and, thus, has taken his last dance.
A reporter writing for the Inside Soap Yearbook 2017 described the car crash as "stunning stuff" and added that they were "shocked" by Emma's poisoning of the cat. They later named the week as one of the "best bits of October", describing it as "one of the biggest stunts in soap history". They added that the week featured "everything you could possibly want from a soap" and named Emma pushing James from the bridge as "the big moment" of the week.
Ashley Thomas's dementia (2015−2017)
On 19 November 2015, Ashley Thomas (John Middleton) was at a doctor's appointment where he was diagnosed with early onset vascular dementia. Ashley marries Laurel Dingle (Charlotte Bellamy) on 18 March 2016, and his illness begins to show. He also experiences mini-strokes, which affects his brain and he loses more memory.
During the Hotten Bypass motorway pileup (see above), Ashley forgets his daughter, Dotty's (Tilly-Rue Foster), christening, and is involved in the car pile-up. He sees Emma Barton (Gillian Kearney), who caused the crash, on the bridge above the motorway. He then wonders into the woods and collapses. Ashley is found by police officers. When Emma finds out about this, however, she confuses and upsets Ashley.
On 20 December 2016, Ashley leaves the hospital and starts to wonder the streets of Hotten alone and confused. Two teenagers take pictures of him as he is wearing his pyjamas. Laurel's father, Doug Potts (Duncan Preston), finds him wondering but Ashley fleas. Ashley then comes across a music shop. The owner becomes aware of Ashley's condition after he notices a dementia charity flyer in his wallet. The shop owner then offers Ashley a duffel coat and The Undertones CD, both for free. Ashley is found in a church by Aaron Dingle (Danny Miller). Aaron takes him back to Emmerdale where he tells Laurel some memories he is starting to remember of his mother in Helsinki. Later that night, Ashley doesn't remember who Laurel is.
In March-April 2017, Ashley unintentionally leaves the care home and goes missing for two days, later being found and returned home, but diagnosed with pneumonia. Slipping into a coma, his family learns he has days or weeks left of life, yet manages to regain consciousness on 7th April 2017, to speak his last word; "Laurel…", is uttered in a faint voice, to the astonishment of his wife who is overjoyed that he remembered her. Whilst Laurel heads upstairs to fetch some pillows, Ashley slips away peacefully.
- "Hoodlum" hoodlumactive.com.
- "Cluedo murder rocks the Dales" Digital Spy.
- "Emmerdale murder suspects revealed" Digital Spy.
- "Emmerdale shoots secret murder ending" Digital Spy.
- "Emmerdale murder picture" Digital Spy.
- "Tom King's final video: Part 1" Digital Spy.
- "Tom King's final video: Part 2" Digital Spy.
- "Tom King's final video: Part 3" Digital Spy.
- "2016... From A to Z!". Inside Soap Yearbook 2017: 5. 2016.
- "The best bits of October: Emmerdale - Carnage!". Inside Soap Yearbook 2017: 74. 2016.