Sarah Sugden (2005 character)

Last updated

Sarah Sugden
Sarah Sugden 2020.jpg
Katie Hill as Sarah Sugden (2020)
Emmerdale character
Portrayed by
  • Lily-May Bartley (2005)
  • Lucy Warren (2005)
  • Amber Child-Cavill (2006–2007)
  • Sophia Amber Moore (2007–2016)
  • Katie Hill (2017–present)
First appearance6 June 2005 (2005-06-06)
Introduced by Kathleen Beedles
Classification Present; regular
Other namesSarah Charity Sugden
Sarah Dingle
HomeJacobs Fold

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 (Kelvin Fletcher) and Debbie Dingle (Charley Webb) 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 (Louis Healy).



Having been played by Sophia Amber Moore from toddler-hood up to age 11 in 2016, the producers opted to recast the role in late 2016 to an older actress, "due to the nature of the storyline of the character". [1] [2]


When Sarah's mother, Debbie Dingle (Charley Webb), discovers she is pregnant at age fifteen, she conceals it and plans to leave the baby at the hospital after birth. Sarah is born in a shed with help from Daz Eden (Luke Tittensor) and is named Sarah Charity after her grandmothers Sarah Sugden (Alyson Spiro) and Charity Dingle (Emma Atkins). Debbie decides that she cannot raise a daughter and persuades Emily Kirk (Kate McGregor) to take Sarah when she leaves the village. Emily returns Sarah after Ethan Blake (Liam O'Brien) convinces her that Sarah should live with her father, Andy Sugden (Kelvin Fletcher). Debbie's step-grandmother, Lisa Dingle (Jane Cox), tries to get Debbie to bond with Sarah, but she refuses and suggests that Andy's ex-girlfriend, Jo Stiles (Roxanne Pallett), adopts Sarah; however, she does not sign the papers.

When Andy goes to prison, Sarah and Debbie start to bond. Upon his release, he starts abusing Jo and at nursery, Sarah bites another child, resulting in her suspension. Andy moves out, leaving Sarah in Jo's care but is permitted supervised access. When Jo leaves the villages, Sarah is reluctantly left with Debbie's family. Sarah and Debbie become closer, but she refuses to take custody. Sarah spends a night at Andy's house following the funeral of his father, Jack Sugden (Clive Hornby). Debbie and Andy fight for custody of Sarah, which is awarded to Debbie after Andy withdraws his application. Sarah begins to bruise and tire easily, worrying her parents, who believe someone is hurting her. After consulting a doctor, Sarah is diagnosed with Fanconi anemia (FA), which develops into leukemia. Sarah needs a bone marrow transplant and when a donor withdraws, her parents consider a saviour sibling. After being refused IVF, Debbie and Andy decide to conceive naturally, with the agreement of their partners. Sarah's brother, Jack Sugden (Seth Ball), is born and is a match for Sarah to have the transplant. A year later, Sarah is taken hostage by Debbie's serial killer ex-boyfriend, Cameron Murray (Dominic Power), but is saved by Andy and Moira Barton (Natalie J. Robb). Over two years later, Sarah leaves the village with Debbie and Jack.

A year later, Sarah, Debbie and Jack return to the village in a stolen car. Sarah and Jack are taken hostage by Debbie's bosses until she raises £50,000. Debbie reveals that Sarah has throat cancer and a fundraising page is set up to fund her proton beam therapy; an anonymous donation of £20,000 is made. Sarah finds a poorly Faith Dingle (Sally Dexter) in a barn, unaware she is Debbie's paternal grandmother. Faith collapses at the B&B and reveals that she made the donation. Sarah has treatment and recovers. Over a year later, she collapses with heart failure as a rare result of her chemotherapy. A matching heart is found but then discovered to be unfit. Emotionally and physically exhausted, Sarah questions whether a new heart would be worth the pain and hassle, and consequently refuses the transplant. After weeks of persuasion, she agrees to the transplant, which is successful. When Debbie moves to Scotland, Sarah asks to stay with Charity and her partner Vanessa Woodfield (Michelle Hardwick), which Debbie agrees to.

Sarah begins talking to Danny Harrington (Louis Healy) online and they meet when Sarah play truant. Charity and Vanessa warn Danny away, so Sarah explains that she meets him because she wants to enjoy herself in case she dies young from her illness. They agree to Sarah seeing Danny, but at a party, he gives her drugs. He convinces Sarah to sell drugs for him and claims that he will be beaten if he does not deliver, showing her injuries on his body. After learning the injury was from falling off his bike, Sarah realises that she was used and plants drugs in his pocket, before reporting him to the police. Danny is arrested and serves a jail sentence for at least a year in a youth detention facility; upon his release, he tries to rekindle their relationship but shows that he wants to use Sarah again for more drug transport instead of love.


Scenes in July 2020 show Sarah breaking into Holdgate to find details on Johnny Woodfield's (Luca Hepworth) missing father. When Sarah's "rebellious side" and "surprising attitude" is explored, actress Hill voiced her excitement at the change in personality for her character. She stated that when she began portraying Sarah, she "was playing an innocent little girl who was fighting an illness", and that the material she was given was "quite emotional, heavy stuff". She stated that while she enjoyed the scenes and showing the "sweet side to her", she found it fun to explore a side of Sarah that has not been shown. She noted that this personality change is the "Dingle in her". She defended the darker side of Sarah, explaining that her intentions are "usually good". She also explained that long-time viewers will have seen Sarah grow up in hospital, and should be able to understand her "spreading her wings", since she is "free" and has a "new sense of freedom that she's never had before". Hill opined that Sarah will go down a "more naughty side", accrediting this to having Debbie and Charity as her female role models. She added that despite wanting to go down that route, she wants Sarah to keep "a sweeter side" alongside it, due to her history in hospital. She explained: "I think she will always have that to look back and turn to, because she knows what it's like to go through that kind of stuff at such a young age". [3]


Actress Katie Hill received praise for her performances as a fearful Sarah Sugden awaiting an operation for a heart transplant. [4] Viewers also praised the relationship between the actresses playing Sarah and her on-screen mum Debbie Dingle (Charley Webb). [5]

See also

Related Research Articles

Jack Sugden Fictional character from the British soap opera Emmerdale

John Jacob "Jack" Sugden is a fictional character from the British ITV soap opera, Emmerdale. The character was originally played by Andrew Burt from 1972 to 1973 with a brief return in 1976, when the actor left for Italy to write a book. On his return in 1980 he was played by Clive Hornby. Hornby remained in the role until 2008 when he was forced to take a break from Emmerdale due to illness. His last on-screen appearance was on 21 February 2008, and his absence was explained by the character visiting his mother, Annie Sugden in Spain. Although Hornby was intended to return, he died from his illness in July 2008 without returning to the programme. Jack was written out following Hornby's death, dying off-screen of a heart attack in February 2009.

Andy Sugden Emmerdale character

Andrew“Andy” Sugden is a fictional character from the British ITV soap opera, Emmerdale, played by Kelvin Fletcher. He made his first on-screen appearance on 4 July 1996. Andy is the son of Billy Hopwood and Trisha Hopwood and the adoptive son of Jack Sugden and Sarah Sugden.

Cain Dingle Fictional character from Emmerdale

Cain Dingle is a fictional character from the British soap opera Emmerdale, played by Jeff Hordley. Cain made his first appearance on 30 March 2000, and in 2006, he was written out of the series when Hordley left the soap; however, the option for a return was confirmed, which occurred when Hordley returned to the cast in February 2009. Cain's main storylines have focused on discovering his "uncle" Zak Dingle is his father; his relationship with his cousin Charity Dingle ; discovering he is Debbie's father; his affair and subsequent relationship with Moira Barton ; being attacked in a whodunit storyline where his assailant was eventually revealed to be his father; being diagnosed with a brain aneurysm; supporting his nephew Aaron Livesy after discovering Aaron was sexually abused by his father Gordon Livesy as a child; reuniting with his and Chas's mother Faith Dingle ; his relationship with local vicar Harriet Finch ; building up a relationship with his children; and being blackmailed by DI Malone to do drug runs for him.

Debbie Dingle Fictional character from Emmerdale

Debbie Dingle is a fictional character from the British ITV soap opera, Emmerdale, played by Charley Webb. Webb has taken maternity leave three times, with the first time being in 2010 before returning in 2011, and the second throughout 2016 with Debbie departing on 1 January 2016. She returned on 24 January 2017 and then went on maternity leave for a third time in 2019 as Debbie left for Scotland on 13 August 2019. She returned on 25 December 2020 and left again in February 2021.

Jo Stiles

Jo Stiles is a fictional character from the British soap opera Emmerdale, played by Roxanne Pallett. She made her first screen appearance during the episode broadcast on 26 August 2005 and her last on 22 December 2008.

Daz Eden

Darren "Daz" Eden is a fictional character from the British ITV soap opera, Emmerdale, portrayed by Luke Tittensor until April 2009. He made his first appearance in the show on 9 October 2003.

The Woolpack

The Woolpack is a fictional public house on the popular ITV soap opera Emmerdale. Its sign is a wool bale, a popular symbol in sheep-rearing country. It has played host to many of the soap's storylines and is the focus of the programme.

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.

Ross Barton Fictional character from soap opera Emmerdale

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.

The Sugdens, are a fictional family in the ITV soap opera Emmerdale. Introduced during the show's conception in 1972, they were the main family for storylines between the 1970s and 1980s and remained as such for many years. The families original unit consisted of widowed farmer Annie Sugden, alongside her children Peggy Skilbeck, Jack Sugden and Joe Sugden. Subsequently these characters went on to produce more generations of Sugdens.


  1. O'Connor, Rory (19 January 2017). "Emmerdale forced to re-cast MAJOR character ahead of Debbie Dingle return - but why?". Daily Express. Retrieved 27 February 2021.
  2. Tutton, Charlotte (14 January 2021). "Who plays Sarah Sugden in Emmerdale, how old is she and who is the character's dad?". Daily Mirror . Reach plc . Retrieved 28 February 2021.
  3. Kilkelly, Daniel (22 July 2020). "Emmerdale star Katie Hill warns of more bad behaviour from Sarah Sugden". Digital Spy . Hearst Magazines UK . Retrieved 28 February 2021.
  4. Lindsay, Duncan (16 October 2018). "Fans praise Katie Hill as they fear Sarah Sugden will die". Metro. Retrieved 27 February 2021.
  5. Hill, Rose (15 August 2018). "Emmerdale viewers in 'floods of tears' over emotional Debbie and Sarah scenes and praise 'wonderful' acting". Irish Mirror. Retrieved 27 February 2021.