Douglas Potts

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Douglas Potts
Douglas Potts.jpg
Emmerdale character
Portrayed by Duncan Preston
Andrew C. Wadsworth (2016, Ashley’s perspective) [1]
Duration2007–2011, 2014–2020
First appearanceEpisode 4663
30 April 2007 (2007-04-30)
Last appearanceEpisode 8744
27 February 2020 (2020-02-27)
Introduced by Kathleen Beedles (2007)
Kate Oates (2014)
Classification Former; regular
Bar manager
B&B assistant
Cafe Waiter
Home Australia

Douglas "Doug" Potts is a fictional character from the British ITV soap opera, Emmerdale , played by Duncan Preston. In July 2010, Preston announced that he was taking a break from the show, initially temporarily for several months to allow him to do some theatre work. [2] However, it was later announced by Executive Producer, Steve November, that a return for the character of Doug wasn't definite. November stated that the door would remain open for Preston to come back to the show but that it was in the actor's hands if and when he decides to discuss a return. [3] On 30 July 2014, it was announced that Preston has reprised the role and Doug is returning to the show as a regular character from September. [4] During a December 2016 episode of the show, Doug was recast temporarily to provide an alternative physical appearance from the viewpoint of dementia patient Ashley Thomas (John Middleton). [5]



In October 2006, it was announced that Laurel Thomas' (Charlotte Bellamy) father, Douglas Potts, would be cast in the show. It was then later revealed that actor Duncan Preston had been given the role. He started filming in February 2007 and Douglas Potts arrived in the village on 30 April 2007.



Doug is Laurel Thomas' (Charlotte Bellamy) father. He and Laurel's mother, Hilary (Paula Wilcox), come to the village to visit their daughter but after they leave, they are involved in a car accident. Doug suffers minor injuries but Hilary is comatose for several weeks. Laurel immediately goes to look after her father despite being heavily pregnant. Doug tells Hilary after she recovers that Laurel had moved in to take care of him and the house while she was ill.

Doug returns with Hilary to meet their grandson, Daniel. Daniel dies of cot death in February 2008 and Hilary asks a devastated Doug to contain his grief for Laurel's sake, and he confides his true feelings to Pearl Ladderbanks (Meg Johnson). Hilary and Doug leave the village after Laurel bans Hilary from attending a memorial service for Daniel. They return a couple of weeks later. Laurel and Hilary resolve things and Hilary and Doug move in with Laurel and her husband, Ashley (John Middleton).

Hilary discovers that Daniel was not Laurel and Ashley's son and when she confides her suspicions to Doug, he is reluctant to believe her but she is later proved to be right. Hilary falls out with Laurel over this and leaves but Doug stays to support Laurel, and gets a job at Eric Pollard's (Chris Chittell) furniture factory.

In August 2008, Doug makes plans to reunite with Hilary, who had been on a long holiday to Cuba but she telephones him and asks for a divorce. Doug begins suffering a midlife crisis and buys himself a new sports car and sleeps with Bonnie Drinkwater (Sue Jenkins), a friend of Val Lambert's (Charlie Hardwick). Laurel and Ashley tricked Bonnie into leaving the village, but she had unwittingly caused more problems for Doug. In the village shop, Brenda Walker (Lesley Dunlop) notices him scratching his crotch, and assuming he is a pervert, calls the police. Doug is arrested but released without charge when it is revealed he had an STI, passed on to him by Bonnie. The news spreads around the village and Doug feels humiliated. Laurel reassures him that they would both laugh about the event sometime in the future. Doug disagrees but laughs with her.

Doug begins building a relationship with Brenda but her daughter, Gennie (Sian Reese-Williams), realises that Brenda has feelings for Bob Hope (Tony Audenshaw). Brenda initially denies it but eventually ends her relationship with Doug, and begins dating Terry Woods (Billy Hartman) instead.

Brenda and Doug continue to be friends, and in early 2009 they form Emmerdale Explorers, a playgroup for the local children. They receive some funding from Natasha Wylde (Amanda Donohoe), but they disagree repeatedly over her son, Will (Oscar Lloyd), attending the group. Eventually, Doug returns her money.

Doug begins to resent Terry's involvement in the Explorers project, and his jealousy is further increased when he learns that Brenda intends to buy half of Bob's business. Doug convinces Terry and Bob that Brenda only wants to buy into the business to try to win Bob's heart. When Bob reneges on the deal, a furious Brenda pours a pint over Doug's head. Doug later apologises for interfering.

Doug continues to work at the factory until Eric Pollard is forced to close it down. As a result of the credit crunch, Doug realises that people did not want new soft furnishings. Doug is disappointed to lose his job but finds a new one, running the Home Farm Fayre shop in the village with Leyla Harding (Roxy Shahidi). In March 2010, Doug becomes attracted to Diane Sugden (Elizabeth Estensen) and asks her out but she turns him down. Doug is unhappy when Charlie Haynes (George Costigan), a friend of Diane's ex-husband, Rodney Blackstock (Patrick Mower), arrives in the village and begins a relationship with Diane. Fearing Charlie is a con-artist, Doug informs Diane of his suspicions, but Diane does not believe him. In July 2010, Diane discovers that Charlie has fled the village with her money and she forgives Doug for not believing him, but tells him she does not want a romantic relationship. Diane and Doug remain good friends and Doug offers Diane a loan when she faces financial problems as a result of Charlie's actions. Diane is reluctant to accept at first but eventually does so and Doug is pleased to have helped her.

In January 2011, Doug tells Diane that he is seeing a woman, but does not reveal details. Doug eventually tells Diane that his new girlfriend is Hilary. He asks Diane to not tell Laurel and explains that he wants to give his marriage another go. On 11 February, Doug tells Laurel that he is going on a cruise with Hilary. He also tells Laurel that he intends to move back in with her at their old home. Laurel is reluctant at first but eventually accepts her father's decision. At the same time Diane realises that she does have feelings for Doug after all and invites him to a romantic meal at The Woolpack. He tells her of his plans and she is disappointed. On Valentine's Day, as Doug is about to leave, Laurel and Diane's sister, Val, arrange for Doug to meet Diane at the pub. Diane tells Doug that she regrets turning him down, and pleads with him to stay and give her another chance. But Doug is dismissive, telling Diane that had Charlie not been a conman then she would have gone to Spain with him and that he was not the sort of man she wanted and that he did not want to settle for second best. Doug then leaves and says farewell to Laurel, Ashley, Leyla and Ashley's father Sandy (Freddie Jones). As he is leaving the pub, Diane follows him outside and wishes him well. They embrace and bid each other farewell, parting on good terms. Doug then gets into his waiting taxi and is driven out of the village.


Doug returns to the village in September 2014 for Laurel's wedding to Marlon Dingle (Mark Charnock), and he moves in with the couple and their children for a while. He reveals to Laurel and Marlon that Laurel's mother, Hilary, has begun a relationship with an Italian man named Alberto. He rekindles his relationship with Diane, and his friendship with Leyla. He starts a vlog about gardening and builds up a fan base, however other residents find this silly, which humiliates Doug. In early 2015, Doug notices that Laurel is drinking more than normal, and soon realises that she has descended into alcoholism. He tries to stop Laurel from drinking, but his actions result in Laurel throwing Doug out, forcing him to move in with Diane. Doug's worries for Laurel's health grow when she is hospitalised after choking on her own vomit after drinking two bottles of wine. He mentions his concerns regarding Laurel's drinking to Diane numerous times.

In July 2015, Doug is upset to hear that Hilary has died from heart failure, but is furious at her funeral when Alberto acts as if he knew Hilary for longer than he did, despite Doug's almost fifty-year marriage to Hilary. In December 2015, Diane is stabbed by Chas, who is sleepwalking due to her undiagnosed PTSD, and Doug is later heartbroken to learn that Diane's cancer has returned in her stomach, which would never have been found if it weren't for the stabbing. Doug supports Diane as she decides to sell her share of The Woolpack.

In February 2016, Doug learns from Chas who told everybody in the pub, her ex-husband Gordon Livesy (Gary Mavers) sexually abused their son Aaron Livesy (Danny Miller) when he was a child. At the same time, Doug finds out that Laurel is remarrying Ashley, which concerns him due to Ashley's condition; he has dementia. Laurel later miscarries her and Ashley's baby, and Doug realises he does not agree with Ashley and Laurel's marriage, and tried to talk Laurel out of it, but this only results in a rift in their relationship. They later reconcile on Laurel's hen night party, where Doug also discovers Laurel is still pregnant, and Doug witnesses Laurel and Ashley married the following day. Their happiness is shortlived as Ashley suffers a "mini-stroke" which results in him losing months from his memory, leading him to believe he is still dating Harriet Finch (Katherine Dow Blyton). Doug gives Laurel a shoulder to cry on, but Ashley suddenly and miraculously remembers his wedding.

In March 2016, Diane is off to Spain to look after a sick family member. Beforehand, she and Doug had invested in Eric's B&B becoming co-owners alongside Eric. At the same time, Diane has sold her share of the pub to returning Charity Dingle (Emma Atkins), a relative of Chas', who promises to get the money for the share. However, Doug doesn't trust her, a view which Chas shares, and they warn Charity not to screw them over. For the time being, Doug assisted Chas and Charity behind the bar whenever he could before going to Spain to help Diane look after an ill Annie Sugden (Sheila Mercier). After returning from Spain, Diane rent and move into Brook Cottage as The Woolpack is full due to Charity, her son Noah Dingle (Jack Downham) and Liv Flaherty (Isobel Steele) moving in.


On Doug's most memorable moment; a writer from Holy Soap said that "despite bringing some real gravitas to the soap, he's best remembered for when he caught an unfortunate STD [...] and was arrested for indecent behaviour in a public place because he was scratching himself." [6]

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  1. Series Producer: Iain MacLeod; Director: Peter Rose; Writer: Maxine Alderton (20 December 2016). "Episode 7699:Inside the Mind of Dimentia". Emmerdale. ITV. ITV.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. "Duncan Preston to take 'Emmerdale' break". 28 July 2010.
  3. "More 'Emmerdale' chat from Steve November". 17 March 2011.
  4. Kilkelly, Daniel (30 July 2014). "Emmerdale: Duncan Preston to reprise Doug Potts role". Digital Spy . Hearst Magazines UK . Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  5. "Emmerdale: Did you recognise the Fake Aaron?". Digital Spy. 20 December 2016. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  6. "Douglas Potts". Holy Soap . (Northern & Shell). Archived from the original on 5 November 2009. Retrieved 21 April 2012.