The Cast of Emmerdale – Then & Now

Affairs, murders, lies, tears and lots of drama, you name it, that was all part of one of the storylines that evolved the characters of the fictional village of Emmerdale. The first episode of the long-running soap opera debuted on October 16th, 1972 and until 1989 it was known as Emmerdale Farm. The ITV Yorkshire production included an endless amount of actors who were cast and then left the show just to return a few years later. Some actors stayed for a considerably long time, some characters were replaced by different stars over the years and others have had small performances that left long lasting impressions. Let’s check out what some of our favourite village residents have been up to.

Patsy Kensit – Then

The sizzling 48-year-old started her acting days as a child star. Apart from acting, Kensit pursued a career in singing, and she was the lead singer of a group named, Eight Wonder back in the eighties, between 1983 and 1989. When she joined the cast of Emmerdale in 2004, she played the role of Sadie King, the wealthy, snobbish blonde with the blings who brought a whole lot of drama to the storylines, from a very ugly split from her on-screen husband, Jimmy, to her endless love affairs.

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Patsy Kensit – Now

Since her time on the show, Kensit went on to appear in Holby City and in 2015 she was part of Celebrity Big Brother. One of the reasons for leaving the show was because she found it hard to commute to Yorkshire where the filming was taking place. The actress has tied the know just to later get a divorce four times in her life. These days she is part of the cast of Tina and Bobby, a three-part series that follows the relationship between Tina Dean and her footballer hubby, West Ham United player, Bobby Moore.

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Chris Chittel – Then

Chittel has played the role of Eric Pollard on the successful soap opera for over thirty years as he’s been on the show since 1986. He is considered the actor who has been the longest time on the show. For quite a few years his character was portrayed as the villain, however, this has been toned down in recent years. Before his time on the show, Chittel had some stage experience with the National Theatre back in the sixties and later he starred in several movies including The Royal Hunt of the Sun and in the film from 1967, To Sir, With Love.

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Chris Chittel – Now

Chittell is 68 years old, and although his Emmerdale character has been married multiple times, in reality, things have looked quite differently. In fact, the actor has only tied the knot for the first time lat year when he married his co-star, Lesley Dunlop who plays the role of Brenda Walker in Cornwall. The two wed in a private and intimate ceremony. The two started dating not long after Lesley joined the cast on 2008.

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Emma Atkins – Then

Emma Atkins is mostly known for her role as Charity Tate on the soap opera where she appeared from 2000 to 2005 and later from 2009 and on. Being on the show was actually the first time she appeared on a British show. Her character has been part of many important storylines including her marriage to Chris Tate, played by Peter Amory, reuniting with her lost daughter, Debbie, being framed for someone’s death and more.

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Emma Atkins – Now

Since she left the set of Emmerdale, the actress has had some stints on a couple of BBC productions including Dalziel and Pascoe, Mayo, I’m with Stupid, New Street Law, Doctors, and Casualty. In 2010 she was nominated for Best Actress at the British Soap Awards.

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Stephen McGann – Then

Stephen McGann played the role of Sean Reynolds, but before he joined the show in 1999, the actor, who comes from a family of actors began his acting career in 1982 where he starred in the musical Yakety Yak. He loved the stage as he continued to work in theater for many years later. In the beginning of the nineties, he played in the mini-series, The Strauss Dynasty where he played the role of Johann Strauss.

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Stephen McGann – Now

For three years, McGann played the patriarch of the Reynolds until 2002. The actor enjoyed his time on the show and he was even quoted saying that despite his initial reservations ‘Within minutes of arriving I felt I knew what I was doing here and I was enjoying it. There’s good and bad in every genre, whether it’s films, television or theatre, but I have to say I think I’ve picked a good soap.’ McGann serves as a public speaker of science, after all, he has a master’s degree in Science Communication from Imperial College London.

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Adele Silva – Then

Adele Silva appeared on the show on and off in different years playing the role of the troublemaker, Kelly Windsor, who returns to stir things up on the farm. When she wasn’t appearing on the show, Silva tried to pursue a modeling career as well as turned to reality television where she was part of shows such as Celebrity Fear Factor, and The Salon.

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Adele Silva – Now

The 36-year-old bombshell has also appeared on Hell’s Kitchen’s third season where she actually came second. Following the show, the actress had her own limited edition of selected wines that was part of an online reality show called Mistress the Vines. After having a long term relationship with Antony Costa, Blue singer, Adele has been with Oliver Farber, whom she also has a daughter with.

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Lorraine Chase – Then

Lorraine Chase joined Emmerdale in 2002 when she was cast as Steph Forsythe. In fact, in a funny turn of events, the producers picked her to play Tricia Stokes’ mom due to her resemblance to the real-life actress who played her, Sheree Murphy. Her character played a former convict and she was involved in some of the mist controversial storylines in the show’s history. Her character was even sent to jail for a lifetime.

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Lorraine Chase – Now

Since leaving the show, the actress has been on many different shows including My Family and Doctors. In addition, she also took part in ‘I’m a Celeb’ back in 2011. Chase also took part of the 2010 ‘Soap Opera Special’ of Come Dine With Me. In 2013, She returned to the show to reprise her role when in the episode where she attended the funeral of Alan Turner.

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Peter Amory – Then

Peter Amory played the role of Chris Tate from 1989 to 2003. The character of Chris Tate was introduced to the audience when he arrived in Emmerdale with the entire Tate family which includes Frank, the father, his stepmother, Kim and his sister, Zoe. His character has experienced an awful turn of events when he was involved in a plane crash which left him paralyzed basically from the waist down.

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Peter Amory – Now

It seems like Amory found love on-screen when he married in real life his co-star, actress Claire King. King actually played his stepmother on the show. The couple separated after 10 years together.

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Noah Huntley – Then

The 42-year-old actor has been on the show for two years from 1993 to 1995. He played the role of Luke McAllister. When he first appeared on the show, his character was portrayed as a nice, innocent man, however as the show progressed it all changed due to some very bad turns of events, including a big feud between the Dingles and the McAllisters.

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Noah Huntley – Now

After Huntley left the show he went on to star in a couple more television series. He played Will Curtis in Holby City and later Michael Dillon in Dream Team. He recently appeared in the US drama show, The Royals.

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Charley Webb – Then

Before she landed the role of Debbie Dingle in the successful soap opera, Webb started her acting career when she was as young as eight years old and appeared in a stage production of Bugsy Malone in Manchester. When she joined the cast of Emmerdale she was just a teenager. Despite her young age, she was nominated for Best Actress in 2009 at the British Soap Awards.

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Charley Webb – Now

The 28-year-old actress is still on the show since she arrived in 2002. She has been together with her show’s co-star, Charley was dating Emmerdale co-star, Matthew Wolfenden who played the role of David Metcalfe, and the two have two children together, after splitting and the rekindling their love.

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Kate McGregor – Then

McGregor first appeared on the show in 1999 and she was cast to play the role of Emily Kirk. She was on the show from 1999 to 2008 with a minor break in the middle. Her character was living a very sheltered life with her father, who was portrayed as a vert strict man that has been very protective of Emily since her mother passed away when she was just a little girl.

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Kate McGregor – Now

Kate’s acting career post Emmerdale never really took off and she hasn’t appeared on any British television shows since. She did, however, make occasional comebacks to the Dales.

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Bobby Knutt – Then

Knutt played the role of Albert Dingle for years. Albert was the eldest son of the Dingle family and he was married to Delilah, with whom he has two sons. When he first appeared on the show, his character has been involved in armed robbery for which he was sent to jail. This was definitely not the last time he was sent to prison. Appropriately enough, when he married Lisa Clegg, her ex-husband, Berry had tried to stop the wedding.
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Bobby Knutt – Now

In real life, the 71-year-old actor was married to former Olympian medallist, Donna Hartley-Wass until she died in 2013. After his time on the show, Knutt has mostly hit the stage. In 2008 he released his autobiography. Since 2016, he has been part of the cast of Benidorm playing Eddie Dawson.

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Suzanne Shaw – Then

Before she played Eve Jenson on the popular soap opera from 2010 to 2011. Before she was cast on Emmerdale, Shaw started her performance arts career when she was just two years old dancing ballet. By the age of five, she was already playing Annie on stage. The actress was always passionate about acting and she was part of many important productions throughout the years. Shaw also turned to a career in music and even learned how to play the violin and the saxophone.

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Suzanne Shaw – Now

Shaw’s character on the show was actually played in the past by actress, Raine Davison until she took over in 2010. Shaw started dating television personality, Jason King in 2005 after the twp met on Britain’s Worst Celebrity Driver. They later tied the knot in 2009, however, the couple separated in 2012. The mother of two has tried to avoid the spotlight for many years because she wanted to focus her time on raising her family.

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Ben Freeman – Then

Freeman played the roles of Scott Windsor on the popular soap opera, but before appearing on the show, Freeman’s stints at acting were when he was part of an acting course in school and later when he went to Redroofs Theatre School. His first television role was when he played on Grange Hill as Chris Longworth, before he was cast as the womaniser automotive mechanic.

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Ben Freeman – Now

After Emmerdale, the hunky player turned to the stage and he was part of the Romeo and Juliet production. He was also cast to play Warner in the West End production of Legally Blonde. When Freeman left the show in 2013, it didn’t take him long to join the cast playing The Fonz in the musical version of Happy Days. He was later part of an independent film named The Dark Channel, where he played the lead role.

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Lisa Riley – Then

Riley played Mandy Dingle from Emmerdale. In fact, the actress has been in the acting sphere since she was nine years old. Before the big breakthrough on the soap opera, the actress has had a couple of minor roles for example when she playing an extra in Coronation Street. For over seven years, Riley has been part of the cast of the successful soap opera. In 1996 she even won the National Television Awards for being a popular newbie in Emmerdale.

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Lisa Riley – Now

The 40-year-old actress has done some presenting work when she was on You’ve Been Framed for four years until 2002. She actually replaced Jeremy Beadle and really to the show to its highest peak. She kept appearing on television and in 2011 she played Goody McEldrich in Young Dracula. A year later she played Nadia Hicks in Scott & Bailey’s second season. Riley has had some of the most amazing weight loss transformations when she dropped over 10 stone.

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James Sutton – Then

Before he played Ryan Daniel Lamb on the soap opera, James Sutton was mostly famous for playing John Paul McQueen in Hollyoaks. In March 2009, Sutton joined the cast of the popular show and stayed there for two years. He went on to star in the supernatural series, Bedlam.

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James Sutton – Now

After it was publicly announced that Sutton would be leaving the show, he returned to star in the former series he was part of, Hollyoaks. Sutton became engaged to his model girlfriend, Kit Williams in January 2015. The good looking actor was nominated for multiple awards including Sexiest Male, Best Dramatic Performance, and Best Actor.

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Pauline Quirke – Then

Coming from the comedy genre, where she played Sharon Theodopolopodous in Birds of a Feather for almost ten years, Quirke joined the cast of Emmerdale in 2010 to play the role of Hazel Rhodes. She also played the lead role of Mary Jane Croft in the BBC series, Missing before joining Emmerdale as the mother of Jackson Walsh. She was very happy to be part of the show for two years and she was quoted ‘I’ve never done anything like this before so it’s something different for me and I’m very happy to be a part of it’.

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Pauline Quirke – Now

Pauline had had a major weight loss when she went on a diet in 2011 dropping 6 stone. She is the founder of The Pauline Quirke Academy which gives young people the opportunity to be involved in performing arts.

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Chelsea Halfpenny -Then

For three years, Chelsea Halfpenny played the role of Amy Wyatt on the series from 2012 to 2013, but before that she starred in Byker Grove. The actress followed in her actress aunt, Jill Halfpenny, when she attended St Augustine’s Primary School, Gateshead and later she attended St. Edmund Campion School.

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Chelsea Halfpenny -Now

Halfpenny soon became a regular on the show, but after she left she continued to star when she was part of the cast of a short student production called Lilium. In 2015 she became part of Casualty playing Alicia Munroe.

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Paul Opacic – Then

Opacic has tried his luck at acting in the beginning of the nineties when he was part of a couple of comedies such as Only Fools and Birds of a Feather, but it was definitely Emmerdale that won Opacic his big break. The actor was cast to play Steve Marchant, Kim Tate’s new object of affection.

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Paul Opacic – Now

Opacic left the show in 1999, and in 2001 he followed his co-star, Claire King when he joined Bad Girls to play Mark Waddle. He was later also a regular on The Cahse from 2006 until he later returned to the world of soap opera to play a former football player in Hollyoaks. His successful time on the show won him many of his future roles.

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Deena Payne – Then

Deena played the role of Viv Hope on Emmerdale from 1993 to 2011, making her one of the longest running actresses to be on the show. When Payne took a break from the show in 2007, the writers explained her departure by making her character sentenced to three years in prison. She returned briefly in 2008. Deena also appeared in one episode True Crime. In her past, the actress used to be a backup singer for her then boyfriend, Alan Price as well as being a member of the girl band, Cats U.K.

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Deena Payne – Now

These days the 62-year-old actress is married to musician Steve Grant. Since she left the show, Payne hit the stage when and one of her most famous productions was Calendar Girls.

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Verity Rushworth – Then

The 31-year-old actress played Donna Windsor for quite some time, in fact, she was on the show from 1993 to 2009, had a five-year break and came back later in 2014. In 1998 she landed the role of Donna Windsor, after she took the part over from actress Sophie Jeffery.

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Verity Rushworth – Now

Rushworth made a comeback in 2006 when she was part of the especial episode of All StarFamily Fortunes alongside some of the most memorable cast members of the Windsor family. She was also part of Soapstar Superstar, the celebratory singing competition where she finished ninth.

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Tom Lister – Then

The actor was actually born Thomas Brown and not Lister as we know it today because when he rose to fame he wanted to avoid any confusion with another actor named Tom Brown. He attended Birmingham School of Acting and graduated in 2001 in order to pursue his acting dream. His television debut was playing a small role in 1999 and he later appeared in some more famous shows such as Doctors, Heartbeat and more.

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Tom Lister – Now

It was in 2004 that Lister had his career breakthrough when he was cast as Carl King on Emmerdale. He stayed on the show for eight years until his character was killed off during the 40th Anniversary of the show. Since he left he has been part of many stage productions. In 2014 he went on a national tour with the musical of Calamity Jane.

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Jim Millea – Then

When Millea first appeared on Emmerdale in 1989, that was his first time he rose to fame. he played the role of Pete Whiteley, who had been involved in a very controversial affair with a teenager while still married. Before his time on the show, Jim played in Hollyoaks. He gained his professional acting skills at the Rose Burford College of Speech and Drama and later on stage.

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Jim Millea – Now

After he left the Dales, Millea turned to the soap opera world when in 2000 he appeared in The Return of Nick Cotton, an EastEnders spinoff.

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Sammy Winward – Then

The blonde beauty played Katie Sugden on the soap opera, and the Bolton-born started to pursue her acting career when she was just in high school. Winward’s time on the show started in 2001 and in 2005 she took maternity leave but returned a year later. Her character was killed off by her former lover and brother in law, Robert Sugden.

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Sammy Winward – Now

Since the show, Sammy had made several guest appearances on different shows, and she was part of the Prey’s second season.

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Frazer Hines – Then

Before landing the role of Joe Sugden, Hines has been part of films where he had a minor role on. In the late fifities and beginning of the sixties, he turned to the small screen and had a good role in terms of his television appearances. One of them was when he played the role of Roger Wain in the 1965 series, Coronation Street. His first big break was on Doctor Who where he played Jamie McCrimmon.

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Frazer Hines – Now

After Doctor Who, Hines was cast as Joe Sugden in 1972 and he stayed on the show for over 20 years. After he left in 1994, he focused mainly on his stage work in theater. He even starred with his former fellow star, Verity Rushworth, in a production called Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. Hines is 72 years old and has been married and divorced twice.

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Jason Merrells – Then

Before joining the cast of Emmerdale in 2010, Merrells has had quite a few notable roles including playing Matt Hawley in Casualty, the role of stylist Gavin in Cutting It, Jack Rimmer in Waterloo Road. He played Declan Macey, the confident farm owner in Emmerlade.

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Jason Merrells – Now

Merrells has been married and divorced twice in the past.He has a total of 5 children from his ex wives and current partner, Emma Lowndes. In 2015 he appeared in in BBC’s Death in Paradise.

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Heather Peace – Then

Heather Peace has always been attracted to the arts and she began learning piano when she was only six years old. She obtained her BA at the same place she was studying acting, at Manchester Metropolitan University. Peace joined the cast of Emmerdale in 1996 when she was cast as Anne Cullen.

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Heather Peace – Now

It’s without a doubt that Emmerdale was Peace’s biggest career breakthrough. As she has always been attracted to music, it’s no surprise that the actor-turn-singer has four albums up her belt. She was also part of a television movie named Thunder Road.

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Tony Pitts – Then

Tony Pitts joined the cast of Emmerdale in 1983 playing the role of Archie Brooks. The actor stayed on the show for ten years from 1983 to 1993. It was Pitts’ dynamic acting and versatile character that won him the role of his life after Kevin Laffan watched him act on stage.

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Tony Pitts – Now

Pitts’ character was killed off the show in 1993 in the Emmerdale plane crash that shook the whole village up. His last time on the show was in December 1993.

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Jenna Coleman – Then

The 30-year-old actress is mostly known for her roles as Clara Oswald in Doctor Who and for playing Jasmine Thomas in Emmerdale. In fact, Coleman wasn’t the original actress that was intended to play Jasmine, in fact it was Roxanne Pallett that first auditioned for the role. The young actress was quoted saying about her time on the show ‘It was a big decision but I put drama school on the back burner to join the show. I might go back at some point but for now I just thank my lucky stars I’ve started off in this industry with such a fantastic break.’

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Jenna Coleman – Now

For her role on the show, Coleman had received critical acclaim and she was was even nominated in 2006 for the Most Popular Newcomer at the National Television Awards. She later played Lindsay James on Waterloo Road, the BBC drama series. Her second big breakthrough came in 2012 when she played he role of Clara Oswald in Doctor Who.

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Eden Taylor-Draper – Then

The young actress played the role of Belle Dingle since 1998. One of the most famou storylines that revolved around her character was when she fell down a tunnel on Christmas Day of 2005. She replaced the original twins who played the role of Belle, James and Emily Mather.

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Eden Taylor-Draper – Now

She might only be 19 years old, but the young actress has managed to receive an impressive amount of awards and nominations. In 2006 she won the title of ‘Most Spectacular Scene’ when she co-starred with Luke Tittensor who played the role of Daz Eden. In 2007 she also won ‘Best Dramatic Performance from a Young Actor or Actress’ at the British Soap Awards. Taylor-Draper also took part in the Great North Run in 2016 in order to raise money for Bloodwise.

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Jeff Hordley – Then

Hordley grew up in Lancashire and in 1977 he went on to earn his B.A in Theatre Arts from Manchester Metropolitan University School of Theatre. His big break came when he was cast as the bad-boy, Cain Dingle, on the popular soap opera. He first appeared on the show in 2000 for a couple of episodes and in 2001 he became a regular.

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Jeff Hordley – Now

When Hordley decided to leave the show in 2006, his character was written out, however he returned three years later. His role as a villain helped him land future roles as a similar typecast, for example he was part of the 2006 production of Mother Goose that was taking place at the Churchill Theatre in London.

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Natalie Anderson – Then

The multi talented and sassy actress is mostly famous for playing the role of Alicia Metcalfe. She first appeared on the show in 2010 when she was introduced as the estranged sister of Leyla Harding that was played by Roxy Shahidi. For three years from 2005 to 2008 she played the role of Stella Davenport in The Royals.

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Natalie Anderson – Now

Anderson left the show in 2015 and her last appearance was in September of that year. It stayed in the family for Anderson, who has  been a regular host on the lifestyle morning show, This Morning that is also an ITV production.

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Danny Miller – Then

Another member of the Dingle family, Danny Miller played the hunky Aaron Dingle (Livesy) who was reintrpduced to the audience in 2008 after the part was played in the past by Danny Webb. His debut on the show was in December, 2003 and the main storyline that evolved him had to do with his coming to terms with being gay and the relationships that he has experienced.

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Danny Miller – Now

Miller also turned to the stage when he starred in the the Pantomime production of Cinderella as Prince Charming. He also appeared in the drama series, Lightfields and later in BBC’s Jamaica Inn. After he left the show in 2012, it was agreed that Miller would return to Emmerdale in 2014.

 

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Michelle Hardwick – Then

The 40 year old actress joined the cast of Emmerdale fairly late in her career as her debut was in 2012. Hardwick was chosen to play the role of Vanessa Woodfield. She is also very much known for playing the receptionist, Lizzie Hopkirk at the hospital in the drama series, The Royal. Hardwick’s first experience with acting was when she studied Performing Arts at Park Lane College and later Scala Performing Arts in Leeds.

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Michelle Hardwick – Now

Hardwick has been part of the show since 2012 and one of the most important storylines of her character revolved around ehr sexuality, and it was noted that her performance helped many people come out. Hardwick is also a lesbian in real life and she is very open about it. She married her long-time partner, Rosie Nicholl in 2015.

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Matthew Wolfenden – Then

The blonde actor played the role of David Metcalfe who was the illegitimate son of the character of Eric Pollard that was played by Chris Chittel. It was a misfortunate gymnastics injury that prevented him from continuing with the sport. However, after he could no longer practice gymnastics, he turned to his second passion – acting. Wolfended actually first auditioned for the role of Eli Dingle, however when he didn’t make it he was called back to read for the part of David.

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Matthew Wolfenden – Now

The actor has been engaged in the past to his fellow star on the show, Charley Webb, however the two split in 2013 just to rekindle their relationship in 2015.

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Claire King – Then

King played one of the most popular characters on the show, Kim Tate. She has been part of the show for ten years and many of the storylines that were related to her were around her marriage to Frank Tate that was played by Norman Bowler. Her character was also involved in different love affairs and a very big family feud with her stepson, Chris Tate. The most controversial one of them all was probably faking her own death just to get back at her husband.

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Claire King – Now

After King left the show in 1999, she joined the cast of Bad Girls where she played Karen Betts for four years. She also later was part of Strictly Come Dancing’s fourth season where she competed and in the Celebrity Big Brother back in 2014.

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