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|Portrayed by||Patrick Mower|
|First appearance||24 October 2000|
|Created by||Kieran Roberts|
Truck driver (2012–)
Male escort (2013–)
When Rodney turned up in Emmerdale, no one was more surprised to see him than his ex-wife Diane (Elizabeth Estensen). He left her and their daughter, Bernice (Samantha Giles), when she was just five years old, and didn't send so much as a postcard.
He’d been invited to meet Bernice by her fiancé Ashley Thomas (John Middleton) - who had no idea of their troubled history. When Bernice realised he was her father, she was furious with Ashley and almost cancelled their wedding but on Christmas Day 2000, Rodney looked on proudly as Bernice and Ashley got married.
Settling into life in the village, Rodney started dating new barmaid Louise Appleton (Emily Symons). Rich, suave and charming, Rodney had never had much trouble attracting the ladies - but always had problems with sticking with just the one. Ever since he had come back, Rodney and his ex-wife had fought like cat and dog but there was clearly still an underlying attraction there. When the former spouses found themselves in bed together, Louise left Rodney and he threw himself into work again.
Meanwhile, Rodney was delighted when his younger daughter Nicola (Nicola Wheeler) arrived in Emmerdale, desperate to get to know Bernice. It looked like they would be friends forever until chef Carlos Diaz (Gary Turner) turned up to spoil the party. Bernice had a miscarriage and started sleeping with Carlos, who was already dating Nicola. Desperate to hold on to him, Nicola pretended she was pregnant and got Rodney to pay for a huge wedding - but the truth came out, and Nicola was left heartbroken.
When Bernice left a few months later, Rodney was devastated. As far as women are concerned, Rodney enjoyed a brief fling with Steph Stokes (Lorraine Chase) in 2003, but in 2004 his life got more complicated by the arrival of Diane's sister, Val Lambert (Charlie Hardwick). Thrilled to discover Rodney was still handsome and rich too, Val was quick to start dating him and enjoyed the luxuries Rodney's wealth afforded her. However, while he enjoyed spending time with Val, Rodney was still in love with Diane. When she discovered she had colon cancer, Rodney was horrified and declared his undying love to her. However, she didn't want to rekindle their relationship - and rejected him in favour of boyfriend Jack Sugden (Clive Hornby). When Diane and Jack got married, Rodney and Val had a vicious showdown outside the church in which she revealed that he was the father of her son, Paul (Mathew Bose).
Horrified and unable to cope with Paul's sexuality, Rodney struggled to bond with his son and the pair spent months at loggerheads before finally reconciling. Diane couldn't believe that her sister and her ex-husband had had an affair behind her back, but was so happy with Jack that she forgave them both. Meanwhile, Rodney started getting closely entangled in his children's love lives. Nicola was dating fishmonger Simon Meredith (Dale Meeks) and no one was more delighted than Rodney when they got engaged.
However, the arrival of Simon's mother Lesley (Sherrie Hewson) proved a headache. Lesley was absolutely smitten with Rodney and hoped they might get together, and was delighted when they spent the night together. The next day, Rodney was wracked with guilt, knowing he wasn't attracted to Lesley. Meanwhile, she was already dreaming of a happily ever after. Fortunately for Rodney, it wasn't him who put Lesley in the picture. Spiteful Kelly Windsor (Adele Silva) marked Lesley's card by taking her place at an event Rodney was attending and leaving her humiliated and heartbroken. What started as a fling became a more serious relationship between Kelly and Rodney. But while he was enjoying some romantic luck, his children’s relationships were about to fall spectacularly apart.
Nicola and Simon's romance had been on the rocks for a while. His business had fallen apart and they had been forced to cut back drastically. In boredom, Nicola developed a crush on Ivan Jones, their lodger and the boyfriend of her half-brother Paul. When Simon and Nicola split, she became obsessed with Ivan and tried to lure him into bed repeatedly. When Lesley saw them half-dressed, she assumed they were having an affair and Nicola let her. As accusations flew, Rodney took Nicola’s side, believing Ivan had been messing her about. When the truth was revealed, Rodney felt horribly embarrassed and realized he’d set his relationship with Paul back by a pretty long way. It took time but now father and son are reconciled, to the point where Rodney was even in charge of planning Paul's wedding to Jonny Foster.
Rodney lost both his house and antiques business due to owing a large amount of money to the Inland Revenue. Rodney claimed at the time that "Dodging tax was in his blood!" Although he had suspected this might happen, the large amounts of money he had hidden were all found, and none by him! He took various jobs ranging from a solar panel salesman to a window cleaner and eventually found permanent employment at Home Farm, working for the King brothers, Matthew King, Jimmy King and Carl King. In 2008, he followed Carl to work for their rival, Donald De Souza but was soon back at Home Farm.
Nicola returned after a break of eighteen months, and, despite initial promises to make amends for past misdemeanours, soon showed her true colours by threatening to take David Metcalfe away from Jasmine Thomas, and mocking Paul about Ivan. She claimed she was the widow of Donald De Souza, only for Jasmine to reveal that Donald was alive and hidden away comatose.
Rodney, unable to see through his daughter's crocodile tears, moved in with her after Paul forced him to choose between them. Rodney soon patched up his relationship with Paul and worked with Val to plan the stag do and reception for their son's civil partnership.
Upon learning Nicola was homeless, Rodney (who had no idea she'd tried to kill Donald) rented Mill Brook Cottage from the Kings, agreeing to live with his daughter as long as she paid half the rent. This didn't last as he discovered, via Belle Dingle, that Nicola had sold his "Rollercoaster Rod" stories to a publisher, claiming to have written them herself. He threw her out and Nicola stayed in a few places before settling into the vicarage with Ashley and his wife Laurel Thomas.
Laurel and Ashley suffered an awful tragedy - their baby son died and then they learned that their son had been switched at birth. These events traumatized Ashley's daughter, Gabby, and as she felt alone, she spent a lot of time with her grandfather and confided her problems in him. Rodney wrote and illustrated a book, Rollercoaster Rod, loosely based on his fairground days, with characters such as Terrible Trixie (a Nicola double) and "Derek Bollard" (Eric Pollard).
When Nicola found out what she'd been the inspiration for, she wasn't pleased but sensed the moneymaking potential behind the book. After repeatedly trying and failing to get Rodney to publish the book, she went to a publishing firm behind his back. They told her she needed to write several more books. David tried to find other stories around Rodney's house, to the point of "accidentally" leaving a tape recorder when Rodney was reading a story to Gabby (the story he read was actually many years old and David only stopped Nicola from committing plagiarism in the nick of time). Nicola finally told David she'd write the other stories herself.
Rodney's son Paul had marital problems for most of 2008, culminating in partner Jonny moving to Australia. At the beginning of 2009, Jonny asked Paul to join him, but Val, who didn't want to lose her son, lied to him that Rodney had a serious heart condition he was trying to keep from everyone. Paul decided to stay, and soon interrupted Rodney during a dalliance with a married woman whom he'd met while arranging shoots at Home Farm. She left, assuming Rodney was seriously ill, and Rodney was angry with Val for her lies. He accompanied Paul to the airport, saying goodbye to the son he'd come to accept and love.
His relationship with Nicola was not as warm, and he was surprised in May 2009 when Laurel told him Nicola was pregnant. He urged her to keep the child, but Nicola said he'd been a bad father to her and she didn't want to put her own baby through a bad experience. She finally decided not to have an abortion, but Rodney was guilt-ridden that both Bernice and Nicola had such problems accepting their children. He offered her his support and moved her back into his home.
In October 2013, Rodney decides to become a male escort behind girlfriend Georgia Sharma's back. He enjoys his job but on a date with a lonely woman called Pam, is found out by Georgia's ex-husband Rishi Sharma. He eventually swears Rishi to secrecy. He continues to enjoy his escort career, until one night in The Woolpack, Georgia's friends from tennis arrive for drinks and Rodney is shocked to see that one of the tennis friends, Veronica, has met him before when he accompanied her to a formal party. Veronica tells Georgia the truth and they split up. Rodney is devastated. However, with the help of Bob Hope, Georgia takes him back and surprisingly agrees to let him continue his career as an escort, due to the money he earns. Other residents soon find out about his new job, including Jimmy and Bernice, who disapproves. Rodney meets up with Veronica once more to take her out, but she insists that they stay home instead and cooks him a meal. She eventually tries to seduce him but he refuses. Rodney's next main job involves meeting up with a woman called Janet, who only wants to date Rodney to make her own husband jealous. However, things get out of hand when her husband turns up looking for Janet and confronts Rodney over his involvement. Due to his ongoing feud with Eric, he blames him which results in Eric getting punched by Janet's husband in front of his wife Val Pollard. Everything soon comes to light afterwards and Eric and Val decide to get revenge on him. They do by scaring Rodney while he is alone at the B&B one evening.
When Val discovers that she has HIV in January 2014, she tells nobody. Many weeks later, and after realising that she is not the only person suffering from it, she tells everybody in The Woolpack, including Rodney. By this time, Eric and Val have broken up due to Eric's concerns about HIV. Eventually, Eric decides that he needs to support Val and decides to do a sponsored skydive. Eric tournaments Rodney over not doing it, so Rodney signs up to also partake in the skydive. However, on the day of the dive, Eric feels that he cannot go through with it. Rodney tells Eric that his relationship with Val is worth fighting for and Eric, startled at Rodney's support, tells him that it is the nicest thing he has ever said to him. In June 2014, Rodney is embarrassed after it is revealed that Bernice has been having a casual fling with farmhand Andy Sugden. He strongly opposes it, as the age difference between them is large. The fling is espoused on the day of Bernice's new salon opening, and villagers such as Kerry Wyatt, Rhona Goskirk, Donna Windsor, Ross Barton and Dan Spencer are all present.
The character was selected as one of the "top 100 British soap characters" by industry experts for a poll to be run by What's on TV, with readers able to vote for their favourite character to discover "Who is Soap's greatest Legend?"