Two classic Emmerdale characters are to return to the ITV Yorkshire soap for the on screen farewell to Jack Sugden.

Emmerdale has confirmed the returns of Annie Sugden [Shelia Mercier] and Robert Sugden [Karl Davies] to the soap for the funeral of Jack Sugden. The episodes will act as a tribute to actor Clive Hornby who sadly passed away earlier this year.

“It will be a pleasure to return for this special tribute episode to Clive. I’m sure it will be a fitting way to celebrate the life and memory of one of Emmerdale’s dearest characters.” – Sheila Mercier

The funeral will take place on the anniversary of Clive Hornby’s last appearance in the soap and will mirror Emmerdale Farm’s opening episode in 1972.

A few weeks ago, we reported that the saga’s bosses were hoping to persuade legendary actress Shelia Mercier to reprise her role as the Sugden matriarch, Annie, mother to Jack. Mercier was an original cast member of the show then known as Emmerdale Farm and remained with the YTV production until 1993. She made appearances in 1994, 1995 and 1996 before departing permanently.

When we published the story about Shelia Mercier’s return, the Emmerdale press office would not confirm or deny the story. However, today the press office has confirmed the story and that Karl Davies will reprise his much-loved role as Jack’s son Robert Sugden for the episode too.

The way we were: The Emmerdale Farm family in the early 1980s.

“Despite Emmerdale’s enduring success through 2008, the year will be remembered for the devastating loss of the legendary actor Clive Hornby, who sadly passed away at the age of 63. Clive played Jack Sugden in Emmerdale for an incredible 28 years and was the longest-serving member of cast.


“In February 2009, on the anniversary of Clive’s last appearance on-screen, Emmerdale will pay tribute to him with a special episode which will unite members of the Sugden family past and present for the funeral of Jack Sugden.  The special tribute will mirror the first ever episode of Emmerdale, which featured the funeral of character Jacob Sugden in 1972.


“It was hugely important to everyone at Emmerdale that we waited until an appropriate time to pay tribute to Clive on-screen. We have been in discussion with Clive’s son throughout this process and hope this episode will honour the memories that viewers, friends and colleagues hold of him.” – Anita Turner, Emmerdale Series Producer

Karl said of his return: “I was lucky enough to work with Clive over a number of years and he was the kindest, funniest man you could’ve wished to meet. I’m sure the show he loved will pay a fitting tribute to a genuinely wonderful person. I’m glad to be a part of it. He will be missed.”

The full cheek of Robert Sugden in 2003.
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