Emmerdale’s five biggest deaths – the soap’s most fatal character exits

Emmerdale: Meena appears to attack Andrea Tate

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Emmerdale is one of the longest running British soaps with more than 8,000 episodes, having aired since 1972. In 49 years the show has seen a host of tragic endings and shock exits with everything from disaster bus crashes to secret serial killers lurking in the fictional Yorkshire village. As Meena’s cruel plans continue to unfold on the soap, this is a look back at some of the most tragic deaths in Emmerdale history.

The plane crash

The infamous Emmerdale plane crash which struck the village in 1993 led to the death of four of the soap’s characters.

Renowned as one of the show’s biggest stunts, the plane crash tore the village apart when a structural failure saw the aircraft crash down over the Yorkshire Dales.

This epic tragedy killed off four prominent roles with Eric Pollard’s wife Elizabeth, Archie Brooks, Leonard Kempinski and Mark Hughes falling victim to the shock event.

Other characters were badly injured in the crash, including Chris Tate, who lost the use of his legs, and the Windsor family, who were trapped in a fire for a short time.


The collapse of The Woolpack pub

In most British soaps, the pubis often the heart of the village, making it even more tragic when they get caught up in the soul of the drama.

A pub tragedy played out on the soap in 2004 when The Woolpack was torn apart by a turbulent storm which ripped through Emmerdale.

The famous Dingle family found themselves at the centre of this fatal storyline with fan favourite Tricia Dingle losing her life to this sudden tragedy.

A lightning-struck tree came crashing down onto Tricia, the wife of Marlon Dingle, which later caused her to lose her battle while on life support at the fictional Hotten General Hospital.

The death of Val Pollard

After playing the role of Val Pollard for 11 years, former Emmerdale star Charlie Hardwich was written out of the soap in a tragic accident which happened at the funfair.

Another classic crash scene played out to viewers in 2015, which left Val Pollard trapped and crushed in the eerie mirror maze.

Val was not alone as she played out her last scenes, as she was with sister Diane Sugden – who was also killed in the rubble after a helicopter had crashed into the fun fair event.

Lighting her last cigarette, Val confronted the jagged mirror above her as she took her last breaths, saying: “Come on then, do your worst. I’m not frightened of you. I’m H-I-Val. I’m Valerie Pollard of the Valerie Pollard Foundation.”

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Christmas day death

The dramatic death of Tom King was one to remember as viewers tuned in to witness the stars’ tragic exit on the day of his wedding reception.

In a classic ‘whodunit’ plot, Tom was struck on the head and pushed out of a window by a mystery assailant and later died of a broken neck.

Tom’s death struck the Yorkshire village in 2006, though the mystery murderer wasn’t revealed until 2012 when viewers learned that it was his son, Carl King, who was responsible for the fatal blow.

The epic death was a family affair, with Tom’s sons Jimmy, Matthew and Carl – as well as new wife Rosemary Sinclair and her children Grayson, Chas, Bob and Jamie – all in on the secret.

The roof fall

Every soap has had its roof-fall moment, with Eastenders becoming renowned for the famous death of Bradley Branning as he fled from the police on top of the Queen Victoria Pub in 2010.

Emmerdale posed their own iconic roof tragedy, which took viewers by surprise when young mum Donna Windsor threw herself – and a notorious criminal – from the roof of a multi-storey car park.

Donna’s death came as a shock to viewers as the Emmerdale resident had only recently made a return to the village with her young daughter.

This heroic tragedy saw Donna trying to take down notorious gangster Gary North, though her attempts to save her daughter April and love interest Ross Barton from being shot by this cruel criminal ended in her death.

Donna was seen to handcuff herself to Gary before leaping off the roof to save her family.

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