Tom King (Emmerdale)

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Tom King
Emmerdale character
Portrayed by Ken Farrington
Duration 2004–06
First appearance 29 February 2004
Last appearance 27 December 2006
Created by Steve Frost
Emmerdale: Text Santa special (2013)
Classification Former; regular
Occupation Businessman

Thomas Albert "Tom" King is a fictional character from the British ITV soap opera Emmerdale, who appeared on the show from 29 February 2004 before being killed off on 25 December 2006 in a long-running "whodunit" storyline dubbed Who Killed Tom King?. He was last seen on 27 December 2006 as a dead body in a morgue. Throughout his time on the show he was portrayed by Ken Farrington. Farrington decided to leave the show in 2006 but reprised the role briefly as a ghost in a "Text Santa" special on 20 December 2013.



Born into a family of successful businessmen, Tom King grew up in Emmerdale where his father Albert ran a successful business. As an adult, Tom grew away from the family business and founded his own haulage firm, becoming familiar with fellow businessmen such as Frank Tate (Norman Bowler) and Alan Turner (Richard Thorp). Tom fell in love with a woman named Mary, and he went on to marry her. From their marriage they produced four sons: Jimmy (Nick Miles), Matthew (Matt Healy), Carl (Tom Lister) and Max (Charlie Kemp). When his sons grew up Tom began running his haulage firm with them (with the exception of Max who became a vet), renaming the firm King & Sons.

Mary became ill with terminal cancer and Tom hired nurse Carrie Nicholls (Linda Lusardi) to look after her. Mary eventually died in 1986 and Tom and Carrie began an affair. In 1991, Carrie gave birth to Tom's daughter, Scarlett (Kelsey-Beth Crossley). Tom decided not to tell his sons about their half-sister but did pay for her to attend private school. The last time Tom ever saw Scarlett was when she was one year old.


Tom made his first appearance in Emmerdale in February 2004. He went to the local graveyard to lay flowers on the grave of his late wife, Mary, who had died in 1986. Marlon Dingle (Mark Charnock) was also present, doing the same, leading to the pair talking about their late wives, and Tom revealed that he had grown up in Emmerdale and was keen to return. Tom did move back to Emmerdale but had trouble re-establishing his haulage firm there. To get some inside information on his key competitor, Tate Haulage, Tom sent his son Carl to get a job there and act as a spy. When Carl found out that Tate Haulage planned to bid for a valuable contract, Tom undercut them to win it, moving himself, his family and his haulage firm into Emmerdale. Tom ran King & Sons with his sons, Jimmy, Matthew and Carl, while Jimmy's ambitious wife Sadie (Patsy Kensit) would also prove influential.

After the Kings established themselves as the new top dogs of the village, replacing the Tates, Tom began searching for a partner. He set his eyes on the much younger widow Charity Tate (Emma Atkins), and was overjoyed when she revealed she felt the same way. However, while Charity genuinely cared for Tom, he had trouble believing an attractive young woman was really interested in him and not his money - especially as most of the village believed Charity had married her late husband Chris Tate (Peter Amory) for the same reason. Things changed when Tom's close friend Roger Dyson died of a heart attack while playing golf, making him decide life was too short, Tom proposed to Charity and she accepted, and they held a massive engagement party in The Woolpack. However, Tom's family, particularly his daughter-in-law Sadie, wereless than impressed, fearing Tom would leave his fortune to Charity rather than them.

When the day of the wedding eventually arrived, Sadie gave Tom photos of Charity kissing her cousin and former lover Cain Dingle (Jeff Hordley). Tom subsequently jilted Charity at the altar, sparking a massive fight between the Kings and the Dingles. Tom became convinced Sadie was the only person out for his best interests; however, Charity was determined to clear her name, and when she obtained proof she took it to Jimmy, who was furious with Sadie. To hurt both Tom and Sadie, Charity seduced Jimmy, who was unaware he was being videotaped. At Jimmy's 40th birthday party Charity marched in and played the video, which Sadie had set her up. Tom was furious and begged Charity to take him back, but she refused and left Emmerdale.

After returning for the aborted wedding, Tom's youngest son Max prepared to leave Emmerdale to continue his around-the-world trip with his girlfriend Amy Carter. Bent on trying to get his son to remain in Emmerdale, Tom persuaded local vet Paddy Kirk (Dominic Brunt) to give Max a job, with Tom covering his salary. Max subsequently broke up with Amy and moved into Home Farm with Tom, Matthew and Carl. However, when he later discovered the truth Max became tired of his father dictating his life, making plans to flee the village with friend Robert Sugden (Karl Davies). The plan ended in tragedy when Robert crashed the car, which exploded with Max inside, killing him instantly. Tom was devastated to realise he had virtually driven his youngest son to his death.

Determined to get back into Tom's good books, Sadie blackmailed Charity's sister-in-law Zoe Tate (Leah Bracknell) into selling Home Farm - the Tate family home, which Tom dreamed of owning - to Tom. However, in an act of revenge, Zoe destroyed the house by deliberately damaging the gas pipes just as she fled abroad, leaving Tom with a huge refurbishment bill. In spite of this disaster, a vulnerable Tom let Sadie back into the fold and, with Sadie's marriage to Jimmy in tatters, Tom began to wonder if her feelings for him were more than those of a "daughter". Tom confided in Sadie that he was considering retiring and handing over the business to one of his sons. Unbeknown to Tom, Sadie was secretly in love with Matthew, having only married Jimmy because his position as the eldest made him the obvious heir. With no chance of reconciling with Jimmy, Sadie steered Tom towards putting Matthew in charge.

As Matthew was a much better businessman than Jimmy, Sadie got her way when Tom decided to hand the business over to Matthew. However, just as Tom was about to sign the deal, Jimmy arrived and revealed Matthew and Sadie were having an affair. Tom didn't believe Jimmy at first, but when Tom mistakenly believed Sadie was making a move on him love with him, Matthew was forced to reveal the truth. Matthew didn't believe Sadie wasn't pursuing Tom, and when Tom made Matthew choose between Sadie and the business, he chose the business. However, when Sadie subsequently married the rich Alasdair Sinclair (Ray Coulthard) for his money Matthew realised he couldn't live without her and begged her for another chance, saying he'd give up the business if he had to. Faced with potentially losing another son, Tom decided to accept Matthew and Sadie as a couple.

Tom's next business venture was a development of new homes in Emmerdale, Kings River, which divided the village, as many local people couldn't afford the prices the Kings were asking. Carl got around opposition by raffling off the showhouse and rigging the competition for local couple Marlon and Donna Windsor-Dingle (Verity Rushworth) to win, creating goodwill in the community. However, Jimmy cut corners during the development, and the showhouse was destroyed by a gas explosion at the launch of the development, killing three people. Jimmy himself was trapped in the house, with only Sadie in a position to save him - but she took the opportunity to get rid of Matthew's rival for good, pushing him to what she assumed would be his death. Jimmy survived, and when Matthew discovered the truth he furiously ended things with Sadie.

Determine to get her hands on the King fortune somehow, Sadie plotted with Cain Dingle to kidnap Tom and demand a £2.5 million ransom. When he took Tom hostage, Cain faked kidnapping Sadie too, even shooting and supposedly killing her to show he meant business. Tom was traumatised, but after his sons paid the ransom it was revealed Sadie's "death" had been a stunt. Cain fled Emmerdale with the money, double-crossing Sadie in the process and forcing her to leave the village penniless.

Following the kidnapping and the failure of Kings River, Tom found himself in dire financial straits. He decided marrying Sadie's wealthy mother-in-law Rosemary Sinclair (Linda Thorson) could be the answer to his problems. Rosemary was interested but, unbeknown to Tom, had a financial motive of her own, being deeply in debt and believing Tom was the better off of the two of them. Their engagement upset Tom's sons, who sensed a rival for their inheritance, and Rosemary's son Grayson, (Christopher Villiers), who worried he would be pushed aside by the Kings. When Rosemary confided in Tom that Grayson had cheated on his wife with men, Tom taunted him with the knowledge, making their relationship even more antagonistic.

Grayson was far from the only enemy Tom made during his engagement. Angry that Carl was reuniting with his former girlfriend Chas Dingle (Lucy Pargeter), who Tom believed was not being good enough for his son, he bullied her into breaking things off. When his loyal secretary Edna Birch (Shirley Stelfox) learned the truth about the showhouse disaster, Tom blackmailed her with the knowledge that she was not her son's real mother, but his aunt. Edna's friend Len Reynolds (Peter Martin), who was secretly in love with Edna, was furious and, following a brief fistfight with Tom, vowed that he would get his comeuppance one day. Finally, Tom infuriated Bob Hope (Tony Audenshaw), Terry Woods (Billy Hartman) and Jamie Hope (Alex Carter), the father, ex-husband and brother of Dawn Woods (Julia Mallam), who had died in the Kings River explosion, by offering them a large amount of money in compensation to drop any further action. They refused, but when Dawn's mother Jean Hope (Susan Penhaligon) took it and fled the country with Terry and Dawn's son TJ, Terry, Bob and Jamie all blamed Tom.

By the time of his wedding on Christmas Day 2006, Tom's relationships with his remaining sons were also in trouble. Jimmy had been tired of being treated as a useless son and Tom favouring his brothers, Matthew was angry because he believed Tom would now leave everything to Rosemary instead of him, and Carl discovered Tom had ruined his relationship with Chas. Tom even angered Rosemary as soon as they were married after the truth about their respective finances came to light. Later on Christmas Day, Tom was struck on the head with an ornament and pushed out of his bedroom window by an unseen assailant. Tom died of a broken neck.

Jimmy, Matthew, Carl, Rosemary, Grayson, Chas, Bob, Jamie, Terry and Len were all suspected of Tom's murder. Bob Hope was initially arrested for the murder, but later released. As the murder investigation continued, Tom's will caused another shock when it was revealed he had left a share in the business to his secret daughter Scarlett. Matthew and Carl resented their new-found sister initially, angry that Tom was still causing problems from beyond the grave, but Jimmy made an effort to make her part of the family.

Worried she was in the frame for Tom's murder, Rosemary blackmailed Hari Prasad (John Nayagam) into giving false evidence that suggested that Jimmy, Matthew and Carl had all conspired to murder their father together. Hari's girlfriend Louise Appleton (Emily Symons) backed him up, but later withdrew her allegation. Matthew was convinced Jimmy was guilty and forced a confession out of him, but scared Matthew was about to kill Jimmy, Carl blurted out that he had killed Tom. Matthew was ready to call the police, but Jimmy persuaded him Tom had ruined their lives enough and that they should protect Carl. On Christmas Day a year later after Tom was killed, Rosemary died and was later buried along with Tom on New Years Day in 2008. Over 4 years later after Matthew's death near the end of 2008, the truth was finally revealed in 2012 after Carl was also murdered, making Jimmy the only current King member and Tom's only son left alive. At Christmas 2015, Ashley Thomas (John Middleton) sent flowers to his and Rosemary's grave when Eric Pollard (Chris Chittell) was led by his dog Cheryl to his late wife Val (Charlie Hardwick). Ashley tried to help Eric by telling the difference between him and Tom in terms of letting family and loved ones in or reaching out to family and loved ones.

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