Emmerdale is a British soap opera first broadcast on 16 October 1972. The following is a list of characters that debuted during 2021, by order of first appearance. All characters are introduced by the series producers Kate Brooks and Laura Shaw.Ethan Anderson (Emile John) is introduced in January as the son of vicar Charles Anderson (Kevin Mathurin). Frankie is then born in February. In August, Rob Jarvis joined the cast as Wendy Posner's (Susan Cookson) ex-husband Russell, later followed by Chloe Harris (Jessie Elland), the sister of Sarah Sugden's (Katie Hill) heart donor. Additionally, multiple other characters appeared in 2021.
|Portrayed by||Emile John|
|First appearance||Episode 8937 |
7 January 2021
|Introduced by||Kate Brooks and Laura Shaw|
Ethan Anderson,played by Emile John, made his first appearance in episode 8937, first broadcast on 7 January 2021. Ethan is introduced as the son of vicar Charles Anderson (Kevin Mathurin). Ethan's character and casting details were announced on 26 November 2020, alongside that of Charles'. Ethan was described as "intelligent", and Digital Spy noted that he "inherited his father's strong sense of justice and worked hard to carve himself a successful law career". It was also stated that Ethan would be accused and arrested of a crime he did not commit, which would lead to a rivalry between himself and the established Dingle family. Ethan works at a law firm after years of "working hard for a successful career", and John confirmed that the storyline would have "consequences" on his career.
Producer Sophie Roper stated that Emmerdale are "delighted" to be welcoming John to the soap, and noted the "dynamic new father and son duo" will "send shockwaves through the village as they find themselves embroiled in the heart of a thought-provoking story with one of our most loved families", referring to the Dingle family. She added: "With two actors of such great calibre, they're certainly set to make their mark on the Dales."Producers later confirmed that Ethan will be a heavily featured character in 2021, with the younger cast getting a focus throughout the year, and Ethan set to have a "longer-term story arc" after the conclusion of the justice storyline. John stated that playing Ethan is "a dream", and on the storyline, he stated: "I feel a tremendous sense of responsibility in articulating his struggle with truth and authenticity and I can only hope that the audience fully engage with him in the same way I have." He added that Ethan's arrival in the village would be "far from quiet", and revealed that Ethan's presence in the village will have "huge consequences" for other characters.
Ethan attends a stag party with his friends at the Woolpack, where Sarah Sugden (Katie Hill) hides a bag of drugs inside of his coat pocket, since she needs to get rid of the drugs quickly. When the police arrive at the party, they discover the drugs in his pocket, and this leads to Ethan getting arrested. He is later released on bail, but is suspended from his law firm, leading him to demand justice from Sarah. Charles advises him not to cause a rivalry between himself and the Dingle family, but feeling he has worked too hard for his career to be ruined, he continues to demand justice for himself.
|First appearance||Episode 8980|
25 February 2021
|Introduced by||Kate Brooks and Laura Shaw|
Frankie is the daughter of Nate Robinson (Jurell Carter) and Tracy Metcalfe (Amy Walsh). Frankie first appears on 25 February 2021, when she is born.Tracy and Nate's relationship is initially not serious, so when she discovers she is pregnant, it results in divided feelings for the couple, but they go through with the pregnancy. Tracy goes into labour two weeks early in front of Nate's father Cain Dingle's (Jeff Hordley) and Cain's half-sister Chas Dingle (Lucy Pargeter) at Cain's garage. Cain then drives Nate and Tracy to the hospital where she gives birth to Frankie. Nate is initially scared of becoming a father, until Cain talks to him.
In July 2020, it was announced that Tracy would become pregnant with Nate's baby. Of the storyline, Walsh said that for Tracy, the news "does come as a massive surprise and in general it's quite shocking news to hear". Digital Spy noted that it would bring back memories from her abortion from a previous relationship, and Walsh stated that she is "a bit older than she was then, she's a bit more strong and independent". On Tracy and Nate's relationship, Walsh commented that "neither of them really know how each other feels about each other – they've never properly told each other that they love each other or any of that – so it is very soon to be going into parenthood together. They know it's a bit ridiculous that this is where they're at in this stage of the relationship". Despite this, Walsh stated that both characters would be happy to be parents, and that they "know that they can do it".The baby is named Frankie after Tracy's father, Frank Clayton (Michael Praed). Carter said Nate is "absolutely ecstatic" about his daughter and added that Nate and Tracy want to do their best for Frankie, as neither of them have had much luck in life. Due to COVID restrictions, real babies were not allowed on-set, so the cast had to use fake babies and dolls to portray Frankie.
|Portrayed by||Rob Jarvis|
|First appearance||Episode 9128 |
17 August 2021
|Introduced by||Kate Brooks and Laura Shaw|
Russell “Russ” Posner, played by Rob Jarvis, made his first appearance on 17 August 2021. Jarvis' casting was announced on 12 August 2021, with his character being described as a "mystery newcomer" set to be involved in a storyline for Wendy Posner (Susan Cookson); his connection to Wendy was not initially revealed.His initial scenes see him approach Ben Tucker (Simon Lennon) for information on Wendy and he confirms that he will be sticking around in the village to see her. Russell was later confirmed to be Wendy's abusive ex-husband. He confronts Wendy about his dead mother leaving Harry Sugden (Brody and Teddy Hall) money in her will rather than him. He tells Wendy that if she does not help him to get the inheritance from Harry, her and Harry's mother Victoria Sugden (Isabel Hodgins) will "face consequences".
On 31 August 2021, it was confirmed that Russell would hold Wendy and Victoria hostage in a siege at the Hide café to get his money.Speaking about the plot, Jarvis said that Russell tells Wendy that he has been involved in an armed robbery and that the police are after him. Jarvis opined that Russell does not want to shoot anyone, but sees a siege as a last resort to getting the money he needs. The actor also felt that Russell would be capable of shooting someone due to the desperation of his situation. Despite the state of their relationship, Jarvis stated that his character likely still has feelings for Wendy, due to the pair sharing children together.
|Portrayed by||Jessie Elland|
|First appearance||Episode 9132 |
20 August 2021
|Introduced by||Kate Brooks and Laura Shaw|
Chloe Harris, played by Jessie Elland, made her first appearance on 20 August 2021.Elland's casting and the details surrounding Chloe's character were announced on 6 August 2021. Chloe is the sister of a woman named Gemma who died in a car accident; she is contacted by Sarah Sugden (Katie Hill), who received the heart of her dead sibling as part of a transplant operation. It was confirmed that she would form friendships with Sarah and Noah Dingle (Jack Downham). Elland was told by her agent in May 2021 that she had received an audition for Emmerdale. She filmed a self-tape from home with her mother and a week later, she was invited to the studios for a screen test. This was Elland's first in-person audition, which she expressed her nervousness at. She performed a scene with cast member Karen Blick and a few weeks afterwards, Elland received a call to say she had received the part of Chloe. Elland looked forward to her costume and has admitted her jealousy for her character's wardrobe, praising the costume department at Emmerdale for their talent. Elland did not have to change her natural red hair for the role, which she was happy about due to not feeling she would look good with darker hair. Elland described Chloe as a sweet and genuine character who is eager to please people and form connections with them. Despite this upbeat persona, she said that Chloe struggles with various dark emotions such as anger and sadness due to her sad experiences throughout her life. She cited these experiences with making Chloe have a "sense of determination to go out and get what she wants".
Elland was asked by Metro 's Duncan Lindsay if she was similar to or different from her character; she initially felt that Chloe is very different from her in real life. The actress saw Chloe as "more naive, vulnerable, and super sweet" than herself, as well as having a fancy car and numerous Swarovski bracelets. However, as she got more into her tenure, Elland began to see similarities to her character. Elland felt that she is as determined as her character and noticed that both her and Chloe value sisterhood; both between Chloe and Gemma and a newly-found sisterhood between Chloe and Sarah. Speaking more on Chloe's bond with Sarah, Elland explained that Chloe wants to know Sarah from a place of desperation. She is desperate to talk about her dead sister Gemma since her family have denied her the chance to do so; she also "wants the reassurance that something good came from something so awful".
|Mason||7 January||Noah Valentine||A drug dealer that Danny Harrington (Louis Healy) is helping to sell drugs.|
|Connor Cooper||16 January–26 March||Danny Cunningham||A man who Paul Ashdale (Reece Dinsdale) borrows money from so that he can gamble. When Paul fails to win his bets, Connor begins threatening him to get his money back. The debt comes to £4000, and in order to get the money quickly, Paul arranges for Connor to pretend to hold him hostage. Connor demands £4000 ransom from Mandy in return for Paul. However, after Mandy only delivers a portion of the money and threatens to kill him, Connor continues to threaten Paul. Liv Flaherty (Isobel Steele) sees Connor and questions him on what Paul has done; Connor confesses everything to her.|
|Fake Greg||3 February||Paul Hawkyard||A man that Mackenzie Boyd (Lawrence Robb) pays to pretend to be a Greg (Frank Laverty), a business contact seeing Jamie Tate (Alexander Lincoln).|
|Greg||4 February||Frank Laverty||A business contact that Kim Tate (Claire King) meets with. He makes Gabby Thomas (Rosie Bentham) feel uncomfortable by flirting with her at the meeting. When Moira Dingle (Natalie J. Robb) storms into the meeting with a shotgun, he pulls out of the investment deal.|
|Kenny Cheadle||25 February||Ronnie Leek||The ex-boyfriend of Faith Dingle (Sally Dexter). When she discovers that he has been cheating on her, Faith steals a hearse from his undertaking business as revenge.|
|Private Investigator||9–25 March||Tom Colley||A private investigator that spies on Jimmy (Nick Miles) and Nicola King (Nicola Wheeler), after being hired by Juliette Holliday (Amelia Curtis).|
|Hot Dog||24–26 March||Dean Williamson||An affiliate of Connor Cooper's (Danny Cunningham), who works with Aaron Dingle (Danny Miller) and Mackenzie Boyd (Lawrence Robb) to sell stolen televisions.|
|Max||17 May||Will Barnett||A man that buys alcohol and condoms for himself and Liv Flaherty (Isobel Steele). Aaron Dingle (Danny Miller) arrives and interrupts the pair.|
|Airport Security||22 May||Vincent Davies||A security guard at an airport that notices Liv Flaherty's (Isobel Steele) drunk state. He tells Liv that she cannot board the plane to Dublin due to her drunkenness.|
|Tyson||24 May, 14 June||Jamie Redford||A friend of Sandra Flaherty's (Joanne Mitchell) who greets Liv Flaherty (Isobel Steele) when she arrives on their campsite.|
|Warren Tucker||30 June, 23 July||Steve Marsh||A drunk man who argues with Aaron Dingle (Danny Miller) in the Woolpack. Liv Flaherty (Isobel Steele) later sees Aaron's boyfriend Ben Tucker (Simon Lennon) into a taxi. Liv informs Aaron of the two interacting and he demands to know who Warren is; Ben reveals he is his alcoholic father.|
|Eddy||3 August – 3 September||George Martin||A man that Ethan Anderson (Emile John) arranges a date with. The pair agree that they cannot see a relationship between them in the future, but agree to having sex. Eddy later interrupts Ethan's date with JJ (James McDowall) to inform him that his ex-boyfriend has HIV and that he may have transmitted it to Ethan. Eddy later informs Ethan that he is HIV-positive.|
|George||25–26 August||Callum McArthur||Two customers at the Hop who unknowingly test Liv Flaherty's (Isobel Steele) alcoholism by ordering alcoholic drinks from her. They later see her in the village and persuade Liv to get drunk with them.|
|JJ||25 August||James McDowall||A man who arranges a date with Ethan Anderson (Emile John), which is interrupted by Eddy (George Martin).|
Victoria Sugden is a fictional character from the British soap opera Emmerdale, played since 12 October 2006 by Isabel Hodgins. As a young child, Victoria was played by Jessica Heywood until 1997, followed by Hannah Midgley from 1997 to 2006. Victoria is currently the longest serving female character on the soap. Her storylines have included surviving an explosion which she caused, being put in psychiatric care, being bullied at school, romancing with Daz Eden, marrying Adam Barton, accidentally running over Ashley Thomas, coping when Adam goes on the run, falling in love with Adam's brother Matty and being the victim of rape during her night out in April 2019, leading to her pregnancy as a result and giving birth to a son named Harry.
Belle Dingle is a fictional character from the British soap opera Emmerdale, played by Eden Taylor-Draper. Belle made her first screen appearance during the episode broadcast on 25 December 1998, and was originally played by twins Emily and James Mather, with the latter leaving the role in 2005. Belle has featured in various storylines throughout her time on the soap, such as falling down a mineshaft, killing her best friend Gemma Andrews, having an affair with doctor Jermaine Bailey, faking a pregnancy to prevent Jermaine from leaving after their affair is revealed, being diagnosed with schizophrenia, a relationship with Lachlan White which ends after discovering he is a serial killer and suffering mental health relapses.
Mandy Dingle is a fictional character from the British ITV soap opera, Emmerdale, played by Lisa Riley. She made her first appearance during the episode broadcast on 20 July 1995 and departed on 28 September 2000. She returned briefly on 16 November 2001 and departed on 26 November 2001. Riley agreed to reprise the role in late 2018 for a brief stint, and made her on-screen return on 4 January 2019, however she departed once again on 8 January. On 10 July 2019, it was announced that Riley would be returning once again on a permanent basis, and Mandy reappeared from 12 September 2019.
Storylines of Emmerdale, the British ITV soap opera, have spanned more than five decades, from the programme's inception in October 1972 until the present day. Emmerdale has covered a number of storylines that created dispute and debate in the media and caused public outcry from viewers. A viewer poll conducted in January 2021 found that the top three storylines/episodes voted by viewers were the Emmerdale plane crash of 1993, the Storm of 2003 that occurred on around the 10th anniversary of the plane crash, and the Hotten Bypass Crash in 2016. Some storylines are seen as having caused controversy amongst viewers and in the media due to the sudden sacking of an actor by the programme's producer, or as a result of a topic or theme that openly shocked viewers or was seen as taboo.
Sarah Sugden is a fictional character from the British soap opera Emmerdale, played by Katie Hill from January 2017. She is the daughter of Andy Sugden and Debbie Dingle and has appeared since June 2005. Her storylines in the series have included her diagnosis of Fanconi anaemia, her subsequent health struggles following her diagnosis and being involved with drug dealer Danny Harrington.
Ross Barton is a fictional character from the ITV soap opera Emmerdale, portrayed by Michael Parr. He made his first appearance in episode 6600 of the soap, broadcast on 9 July 2013. Ross first appears as the carjacker of Laurel Thomas, before being revealed to be the nephew of Moira Barton. The character is initially characterised as a bad boy and a "nasty piece of work". The softer side of Ross' personality is explored when he enters a secret relationship with police officer Donna Windsor, who has terminal cancer. When Donna dies, Ross bonds with her daughter April Windsor.
Chloe is a fictional character from the British soap opera Hollyoaks, played by Susan Loughnane. The character made her first on-screen appearance on 12 August 2013. Loughnane had to audition for the role. Initially appearing in a small number of episodes, Loughnane returned to film new storylines. Chloe is introduced into the show as the mother of Matthew McQueen. The character has earned a reputation as a "serial surrogate mother" from selling her babies. Chloe sold Matthew to John Paul McQueen and Craig Dean. While on-screen she agrees to sell another baby to Sienna Blake and later Carmel McQueen. Chloe has featured in a same sex kiss with Tilly Evans.
Leanna Cavanagh is a fictional character from the ITV soap opera Emmerdale, played by Mimi Slinger. Leanna is introduced as the troublesome daughter of Liam Cavanagh when producers made the decision to explore Liam's character. Since making her first appearance on 6 March 2018, her storylines in the soap have included her numerous rivalries with her father's partners, her friendship and eventual rivalry with Gabby Thomas, and her on-off relationship with Jacob Gallagher. The character was killed off in the episode airing on 8 July 2021 when she is murdered by Meena Jutla.
Liv Flaherty is a fictional character from the ITV soap opera Emmerdale, played by Isobel Steele. The character made her first on-screen appearance on 25 February 2016. Liv was introduced as part of her half-brother Aaron Livesy's sex abuse storyline, which would see her realise that her father is a sex offender. Liv is initially characterised as a troublemaker, but her depth is explored following the decision to move in with Aaron. Steele has noted that similar aspects of her character are similar to herself, and appreciates that Emmerdale wrote her as a teenage with authority since she felt that this is rarely seen on television. Liv became the first asexual character to be featured in a soap opera, and Steele has been praised by viewers and critics for her role in the storyline. Asexual people felt that the character was an accurate portrayal of themselves, and Steele has expressed her gratitude at being able to represent them on-screen.
Meena Jutla is a fictional character from the ITV soap opera Emmerdale, played by Paige Sandhu. Details surrounding her casting and Meena's characterisation were announced in September 2020 alongside that of two other new characters as part of what Emmerdale described as a "big autumn shake-up". She was introduced as the estranged sister of established character Manpreet Sharma and arrives in the fictional village with the intention of reconciling her relationship with Manpreet.