Surprisingly, the longest surviving female character without a break is now Victoria Sugden. Going back to the "Farm" days (pre-89), I can only think of Matt, Dolly and Sam Skilbeck, and Sandie Merrick who are still alive (actor and character) with links to the Sugden family. Can anyone else come up with others?
Kathy - effectively a member of the family through her marriage to Jack’s son Jackie - is still alive and could theoretically return. Most of her family (the Bates) are alive as far as we know.
I think David Hughes (again related through marriage), though never a regular character, is still alive somewhere. They swiftly killed off Joe, Kate, Mark and Rachel - an entire family unit - over the course of the 90s, then Sarah and Jack in the 00s. I do wonder if they ever regret having killed off so many regulars - probably not, as the show has changed so much there’s little reason for any of them to return.
I wonder if Annie will be given an off-screen death? The village is named after her farm after all!
I still hope ITV plan a suitable send-off for Annie Sugden/Sheila Mercier as is right and proper for the actress and character
Let’s assume Annie passes away in Spain but wanted to be buried in Beckindale/Emmerdale. A special episode could show her funeral, and characters from the past could return for this episode - Matt, Dolly, Sam, Sandie, Kathy, Nick, Alice - maybe Robert would get permission to attend. This all depends on whether these actors wish to return, of course. It’s a shame they have killed off so many of Annie’s closest relatives, including all her children.
I worry that the relevance of such an episode would be lost on today’s viewers - anyone under 30 wouldn’t remember Annie unless they had seen old episodes (and her appearance in 2009), and nor would most of the current villagers/characters.
CEEFAX SUBTITLES BEGIN SHORTLY