Emmerdale Past & Present Wiki

Jack Sugden in 1986.

John Jacob "Jack" Sugden was a character in Emmerdale from Episode 1 (16th October 1972) to October 1973. He returned briefly in April 1976 and left again in May then returned for good in February 1980. Jack was one of the main characters in Emmerdale during his times in the show. For years he helped run Emmerdale Farm and even owned it. From affairs to dealing with family deaths, a plane crash, scandal and endless farming matters, our Jack saw it all. Originally a cheerful and flippant yet hard working farmer, Jack became more sullen as he got older due to everything he went through. He was the son of Jacob Sugden and Annie Sugden and older brother of Peggy Skilbeck and Joe Sugden.

He left the village in February 2008 to look after his mother Annie in Spain after she fell ill. His final appearance was 21st February 2008, 35 years spanning his first and final appearance. He died of a heart attack offscreen on the 5th February 2009.

Two actors played Jack, Andrew Burt from 1972-1973 and 1976 and Clive Hornby from 1980 to 2008.


John Jacob Sugden


28th November 1947


5th February 2009


Jacob Sugden


Annie Sugden


Peggy Skilbeck, Joe Sugden


Lyn Wallace (?-1972), Pat Merrick (1982-19860, Sarah Connolly (1994-2000), Diane Lambert (2004-2009)


Jackie Merrick (1964), Robert Sugden (1986), Victoria Sugden (1994) :- Andy Sugden (Adoptive)


Farm Labourer, (1962-1964), Writer (1964-1979), Farmer (1980-2008)


1972-1973, 1976, 1980-2008

Played by

Clive Hornby


Jack Sugden was born John Jacob Sugden on the 28th November 1947 at Emmerdale Farm in Beckindale, the eldest child of Jacob Sugden and Annie Sugden nee Pearson, whose father was Sam Pearson. Jack and Ruth Harker, a village girl were childhood sweethearts and often played together in the old mill. Jack left school in 1963 and started work on the farm. In February 1964 he had a fling with Ruth, leaving her pregnant. The same time Jack had a row with his father Jacob over intensive farming. Due to this Jack left home and moved 200 miles down south to London where he became an author. Ruth Harker married Tom Merrick in April 1964 shortly after Jack's departure.

In November 1964 Ruth gave birth to a son John Jacob "Jackie" Merrick. Ruth had told Tom the baby was premature to make him think he was his. Sometime in the mid to late 1960s Jack Sugden met Lynne Wallace. Shortly afterwards, he wrote and published his best seller The Field Of Tares. Although, during his 8 years in London, Jack did occasionally visit Beckindale but never told any of his family and friends during visits. In October 1972 he was notified of his father Jacob Sugden's death. Jack was also told that his father had bequeathed Emmerdale Farm to Jack in his will. This encouraged Jack to return to Beckindale to the funeral on the 16th October.


On the 16th October 1972 Jack returned to Beckindale for the day of his fathers funeral. He watched the funeral from

Jack Sugden in 1976. Photo courtesy of emmerdale.org

a large bridge crossing a river near the village churchyard. He then went for a pint in The village pub The Woolpack where a surprised Amos Brearly served him. After the service he turned up at the farmhouse to a surprised reaction from mother Annie, sister Peggy, brother in law Matt brother Joe and grandfather Sam. He had come to claim his inheritance. Jack stayed at Emmerdale Farm for a few days. He soon showed an interest in the old Mill and decided to make it his home so he could get some peace and quiet and concentrate on his new novel, whilst still being the owner of Emmerdale Farm. Throughout late 1972 and early 1973 he had a few flings with people such as Henry Wilks daughter Marian Wilks and another woman called Penny Golighty. In October 1973 Jack decided to leave Beckindale once again, 10 years after he first left, to move to Italy to concentrate on a film adaptation of his novel. His final scenes was of him walking along the bridge near the cemetery as he left the village once again.


In late March this year Jack returned to Beckindale briefly as he had writers block. He was saddened to hear that his old

Jack Sugden with Amos in 1976 in the Woolpack.

home The Mill had been demolished. Jack soon left Beckindale once again and returned to Rome.


Jack Sugden in 1980 with Matt and Dolly. Photo courtesy of Beckindale Bugle. http://www.beckindale.com/2008_08_01_archive.html

In February 1980 Jack Sugden made a surprise return to Beckindale and Emmerdale Farm. He decided to stay for keeps this time and sold his flat in Rome. He was sparkier than before and witty and a bit of a wind up merchant, however he was more hard working and a man of the soil. Later in the year his childhood sweetheart Pat Merrick return to the village, having left her violent husband Tom Merrick for good. Jack was more dedicated to farming than ever. In December 1980 Tom Merrick returned to Beckindale looking for Pat. By this time Jack Sugden and Pat Merrick were an item again and Tom wanted

Jack Sugden in 2007, his last full year in Emmerdale.

to put and end to this. He punched Pat when she asked for a divorce and tried to frame Jack in an arson attack. Jack had an alibi. Seth Armstrong forced Tom out of Hotten with threats of disclosure as he knew about Tom's motives.

In late 1981 Tom and Pat divorced. Jack later proposed to Pat. Another shock came in store for Jack in early 1982 when the truth was revealed about the paternity of Jackie Merrick. Jack was indeed Jackie's father and had been avoiding the truth for 18 years.

Jackie disowned his father and Tom Merrick disowned Jackie. Jackie went off the rails. Jack and Tom had a fight in the car park over the situation and Tom soon left the area after getting a job offer on the oil rigs. Jack started becoming lazy at the farm and taking his anger out on everyone. However by the spring him and Pat became closer again. They started making wedding plans. In October 1982, Jack Sugden and Pat Merrick married at Hotten Register Office. She became the new housewife at Emmerdale Farm. Jack did not take seriously the fact his son Jackie got sacked from NY Estates that November.


Jack becomes a dad again in 1986.

Jack and Pat seemed to have a happy marriage. But in 1984 Jack did the dirty on Pat by having an affair with Hotten Market auctioneer Karen Moore. It happened in the autumn of 1984. Pat found out and gave Jack an ultimatum, leave her or we are finished. Jack chose Pat. In November 1984, Jack's grandfather Sam Pearson died aged 83. In April 1985 Pat and Jack had a row as Pat still felt like she could not trust Jack after his affair. However, soon afterwards, Pat found out that she was pregnant again. Her and Jack were happy. On the 15th April 1986 Jack became a father again with the same woman as before when Robert Jacob Sugden was born, a full 21 years after Jackie Merrick was born (Whom Jack had abandoned Pat when she was pregnant and she quickly wed Tom Merrick who believed Jackie was his). However tragedy struck in August 1986 when Pat was driving back from dropping her sister off at the train station when she swerved to avoid a flock of sheep and the car rolled down a cliff, killing her instantly. Jack was aghast and had flashbacks. As Pat was his first love, Jack could not come to terms with it but a talking from his mother saw to that. Annie said that he needs to focus on his son now. In late 1986 Jack covered his grief by showing an interest in his old home, the mill.

In 1987 Jack was heavily involved in the protest against the proposed nuclear dump on Pencross Fell. He even spent 7 days in prison by breaching a restraining order to stay away from the fell to prove a point that the villagers would not back down. In September, the government plans to build a dump were abandoned and peace was resumed.

Jack saw his son Jackie Merrick get married in February 1988 to Kathy Bates. He briefly dated a woman called Barbara. Soon after, Jack met local librarian Sarah Connolly. Again, this was another brief romance as they broke up in April 1988. Jack clashed with lumberjack Steve Fuller over the felling of trees on Home Farm land. In August 1988, Marian Rosetti turned up again in Beckindale and offered Jack a chance to join her. Jack did consider and he did say "Beckindale is hardly The Garden Of Eden as I have sometimes cursed this village, its weather and some of its people". Jack decided to go and join her in Italy and said a fond farewell to his friends and family.


Jack looks at the dead sheep after the plane crash.

Jack returned to Beckindale briefly in April 1989. In August 1989 Jackie was killed in a shotgun accident. Jack returned to England and was again grief stricken but soon hid it by becoming more sarcastic than ever, maybe as a front to hide his grief over Jackie's death. Jack soon came to terms with his son's death. Late 1989 saw him and Sarah getting closer again. He decided to return to the village for good.

In December 1991, Jack's past came back to haunt him even if he was on the right side of the law at the time. Jim Latimer was released from prison after 18 years for the murder of Sharon Crossthwaite in 1973. Jack had given evidence against Latimer back then. Latimer wanted revenge on Jack. Latimer kidnapped Sarah Connolly. She was later found safe. Jack attacked Latimer but was restrained and Latimer was sent back to jail, this time for good.

In 1992, Annie begun dating Leonard Kempinski. Jack and Joe treated Leonard quite badly as they thought he was after their mums money. Amos Brearly said Leonard was a wealthy tax exile. In October 1993, Leonard became Jack and Joe's stepfather when he married Annie.

Jack with Diane in 2007.

In December 1993, a plane crashed on the village, killing Leonard and leaving Annie in a coma, after Joe swerved to avoid a piece of wing when driving them to the airport. Jack went down to help but saw dead sheep on a dark country lane. He then was distracted by an explosion in the distance and rushed to the village to give assistance. Skipdale Bridge was destroyed and Jack and Frank filled the gap with water pipes to let the emergency services through. The next morning, Leonard died and Annie and Joe were taken to hospital. Jack had to identify the body of Mark Hughes, as Mark had died when Whiteley's Farm was hit by wreckage.


Jack in 2008.

After the plane crash of 30th December the previous year, the early months of 1994 were tough for everyone including Jack and pregnant wife Sarah. But Sarah gave birth to their baby daughter Victoria Anne Sugden at the end of March 1994. In May 1994, Jack and Sarah got married. They took in troubled child Andy Hopwood and adopted him. Jack seemed to prefer the farm loving Andy over his natural son, the more ambitious Robert. Jack and Sarah's marriage hit the rocks and Jack's cheery nature and flippancy was lost and he bacme a more serious person due to this. Him and Sarah had many rows. He almost lost Sarah in the bus crash in 2000 and found she was cheating on him with much younger man Richie Carter. In November 2000, Andy tried to help his cash strapped father by torching a barn for insurance. The plan backfired when Sarah was hdiing in the barn with Richie. Richie escaped but Sarah died in an explosion.

Jack soon strated dating Diane Blackstock. In May 2004 he was accidentally shot by Andy. Jack and Diane got married.

In February 2008, Jack left Emmerdale to look after his sick mother and never returned. Annie soon recovered but Jack remained in Spain for a while longer. By early 2009 he was in bad health and died on the 5th February aged 61 of a heart attack. His body was bought back and buried in Emmerdale cemetery. Jack's mother Annie returned for the funeral.

First Appearance Episode 1 (16th October 1972)

Final Appearance Episode 4919 (21st February 2008)


Since he died Jack Sugden has been mentioned numerous times, especially by his widow Diane Sugden and adopted son Andy Sugden and daughter Victoria Sugden.

In October 2012, his adopted son Andy Sugden and Debbie Dingle had a baby boy together in order to help save their daughter Sarah Sugden. They named the boy Jack Sugden.

In November 2014, Lawrence White borrowed a copy of Jack's book The Field Of Tares. He told his future son in law Robert that he is reading the book written by his late father.

In October 2016, Robert once said that in 2001 when he was 15 that Jack caught him in bed with a male farmhand and then sacked him and beat Robert up for being gay. This is at odds with the 2001 storylines and Jack's character. The events may have took place offscreen.

Memorable Info

Birthday: 28th November 1947

Died: 5th February 2009 (Aged 61)

Full Name: John Jacob Sugden

In the episode dated 17 October 2002, Jack referred to when his dad died and how he came back to the village. He said a few episodes before it was 30 years since his dad died.

In about 2003 he said to Andy when he was his age (16 or 17) he had done more than he did and was writing a book. The refs to the shows past are good.

  • According to Sarah, Jack hates skiing. A fact he immediately confirms (19th December 1991, episode 1619)


Father Jacob Sugden

Mother Annie Sugden

Siblings Joe Sugden, Peggy Skilbeck

Grandfathers Joseph Sugden, Sam Pearson

Grandmothers Margaret Sugden, Grace Pearson

Great Grandfathers Mr Sugden, Mrs Pearson

Great Great Grandfathers Joshua Sugden

Spouses Pat Sugden (1982-1986), Sarah Connolly (1994-2000), Diane Blackstock (2004-2009)

Children Jackie Merrick (1964), Robert Sugden (1986), Victoria Sugden (1994)

Grandchildren Seb White, Harry Sugden

Adoptive Children Andy Sugden

Stepchildren Bernice Blackstock, Sandie Merrick

See also