Thomas "Tom" Merrick was a recurring and sometimes regular character in Emmerdale from 1972 to 1988. He first appeared in Episode 7 (6th November 1972) and made his last appearance in the show in Episode 1221 (10th February 1988). In 1980-1981 he was a regular for several months but all other times Tom appeared intermittently between 1982 and 1988. He was one of the original bad boys of the show. He was the first husband of Pat Sugden and father of Sandie Merrick. He last appeared at the wedding of Jackie Merrick whom he thought was his son until 1982 when it was revealed that Jack Sugden was the real father.
Tom was a compelling villain and was an outspoken and fiery man through and through. Tom, however did mellow by 1985 and by 1986 and 1988 was nothing like he was in the early 1980s when he was very villainous. On a personal note I think Tom Merrick (Edward Peel's version) is one of the best characters ever in the shows history.
Ruth Harker (1964-1981) divorced.
Mary, sister or aunty.
Former, minor 1972, regular 1980-1981, recurring 1982-1988.
Tom Merrick was born on the 6th April 1941. He had a sister Miss Merrick and they grew up in Beckindale and lived next door to the Harker family. Tom's father died when he was young, probably in the war, and his mother was a respected lady in the village and was a great friend of Annie Sugden. Tom's mother died in about 1962 or 1963. Tom's sister left home and married Jimmy Ratcliffe.
When Annie's son Jack Sugden left Beckindale in 1964 leaving his girlfriend Ruth Harker pregnant, Tom got with Ruth and they married in April 1964. Being a few years older than 18 year old Ruth in 1964, she saw him as a financial support for her unborn baby for when it was born. Jackie Merrick was born November that year. Although Ruth pretended he was premature to make Tom think he was the father. Tom did think Jackie looked perfectly healthy for a premature baby. In late 1965 Tom and Ruth had a daughter Sandie and in 1968 a son Tommy Merrick. Amos Brearly, the Woolpack landlord also knew Tom's mother well. Tom became friends with fellow soundrel Derek Warner.
As Jackie got older, Tom had a small suspicion that he may not be Jackie's real father as he was not sure that Jackie was premature after all, also Tom had married Pat just shortly after her boyfriend Jack Sugden broke up with her and left the village for London. Tom thought Pat was lying about Jackie being premature to make Tom think he was his father.
In November 1972 when Joe Sugden was having a drink with Ruth Merrick in The Woolpack Tom picked a fight with Joe. He later apologised to Ruth back home. He was unemployed at the time but soon found work as a farmhand at Emmerdale Farm. He was lazy and unreliable and Jack fired him after Tom blackmailed him when he found that he spent the night with Marian Wilks and threatened to tell her disapproving father Henry Wilks. also Tom said that he is bringing up Jack's possible son Jackie. Tom is given 2 weeks wages and his cards. The Merricks swiftly left the village to live in Leeds with Ruth's aunty Mary.
1972-1980 Life away from Beckindale
Tom never visited the village again for another 8 years. He was seldom mentioned until the summer of 1980 when his estranged wife Pat returned to the village. Tom was caught offscreen for drink driving and displaying an out of date tax disc in August 1980.
1980-1988 Return to Beckindale and various visits
14 year old Sandie Merrick. She had left Tom for good after years of physical and mental abuse from him. Tom returned to Beckindale in December 1980 and wanted a reconciliation with Pat. Pat denied. Tom was later charged with stealing christmas trees from a plantation at Home Farm with friend Derek Warner. While on remand Reverand Donald Hinton offered to take Tom's side in court. Pat Merrick, who was getting back with her childhood sweetheart Jack Sugden asked Tom for a divorce and he hit her. Tom then tried to implicate Jack Sugden in an arson attack. Jack had an alibi. Seth Armstrong forced Tom out of the area with threats of disclosure. Pat and Tom divorced in late 1981. The divorce affected Tom badly and he went on a bender, almost getting killed when he slept rough near a railway line. Tom returned to Beckindale in January 1982. Now aged 40 he was still the same bad boy he always was. The truth was finally
revealed about Jackie Merrick's paternity. By then Tom was dating a curvaceous woman called Brenda and was living back in Hotten. Tom went and confronted Pat at the vicarage after Jackie felt bad about being told the truth about who his real father was. Tom and Jack Sugden had a fight outside the Woolpack a few days later. Tom started to accept the truth after having suspected anyway for years. He got a job offer to work on the oil rigs. Henry Wilks lent him the money for the air fare up to Aberdeen. Tom left the village in February 1982 for Aberdeen where he went to work on the oil rigs. He said an emotional farewell to Jackie and left him a contact address and number. He was not seen again in Beckindale until March 1984. Home Farm manager Alan Turner caught Tom Merrick and a few mates poaching. In October 1984 Tom was sent
to prison. He was released in early 1985 and when Jackie was involved in a motorbike accident, Tom was persuaded to look after Emmerdale Farm while Jack and Pat kept a vigil at Jackie's bedsie in the hospital. When Jackie's condition improved, Tom left the village again. By then he was showing his more mellower side now he was middle aged and had had a steady job for the past 3 years.
He returned in September 1986 for his ex wife Pat Sugden's funeral and when Jack thanked him for coming Tom said it was for Pat and Jackie and Sandie. Tom gave his ister in law Janie Harker a lift to the station and did not return afterwards. He came back to Beckindale once more in January 1988 to help Jackie Merrick and Kathy Bates prepare for their wedding. Tom was present at the wedding. He then left the village once again in mid February 1988 after Jackie wed. He told Sandie to be good. Tom left Beckindale and has never returned.
In 1989 Tom was mentioned by Sandie who wanted to join him in Scotland where he was based while working offshore on the oil rigs.
Tom has not made contact with any residents of Beckindale/Emmerdale since then and what happened with Tom after 1989 is uncertain therefore his current whereabouts are unknown.
First Appearance Episode 7 (6th November 1972)
Last Appearance Episode 1221 (10th February 1988)
First Line:- "Here you are then". To wife Ruth.
Final Line:- "Remember. Think of No 1. And be good", to daughter Sandie.
Birthday: 6 April 1941
Full Name: Thomas Merrick
Tom Merrick was played by 3 actors during the characters 15 years as a semi regular, although in early 1981 Tom appeared continuously for 4 months so was a regualr as well at one or two various times during his 16 year on off reign. David Hill played Tom in 1972 for 6 episodes. When the character was bought back by producer Anne W Gibbons in 1980, Edward Peel took over the role and brought a sneering, grimacing edge to Tom that was not seen before. Edward's Tom seems to be the most memorable out of the 3 actors to play him. Tom left Beckindale in 1982 and when he returned in 1984 another actor Jack Carr took over the role. Tom last appeared on the 11th February 1988.
- In 1972 Ruth Merrick said that she had contacted Aunty Mary in Leeds and said they could stay there. Now whether Mary was on her side of the family of Tom's is a mystery. No further known revealings said Ruth/Pat had an aunty Mary so this Aunty Mary mentioned in 1972 may have been Tom Merrick's aunty or even his sister and Ruth referred to Aunty Mary in the way meaning it was their childrens aunty Mary. Ruth had just 1 sister Janey.
- Like in many long running shows there is confusion over the backhistory of certain characters and Tom Merrick is one of them. In 1972 he said he had lived in Beckindale for 8 years yet in the 1980s when he returned to visit the village, yet still lived in Hotten, it was said by Amos Brearly that he had grown up in Beckindale and lived next door to the harker family. Tom himself said that his mother was a good friend of Annie Sugden, a true Beckindaler and Tom knew a lot of the old farmers in the area.
- In 1972 the first actor was balding on top. When the revamped character returned years later played by a different actor he had a full head of hair yet the same facial features, such as black moustache and black eyebrows. The production team obviously looked at the first actor but wanted to get a sexier actor to play a more nastier and more menacing version of the character.
- From what Amos said on Tom's early life it would seem Tom was an only child as Amos said he was orphaned on one side (so he lost his father as a baby or infant or child) and if Tom had any siblings Amos would probably have mentioned them. Tom would have been the man of the house at a young age if he was an orphan and only child.
Father Mr Merrick (First name never revealed)
Mother Mrs Merrick (First name never revealed)
Siblings Miss Merrick
Spouse Pat Sugden (1964-1981)
Adoptive children Jackie Merrick
Grandchildren Louise Merrick