Back in the day, the stock stand-up comedian joke was about a Coronation Street cast trip to Emmerdale Farm in a charabanc which got lost and crashed into Crossroads Motel, killing everyone off.
Those were the days when the murder of Ernest Bishop during a robbery at the factory was a front-page headline. Nowadays, there are more deaths in soap operas than in many war zones.
Emmerdale’s form in this category is strong: 91. Yes, 91! More unnerving for the cast is the pace of deaths is picking up. In the first 27 years of the soap, they averaged one death per year. Even that statistic is misleading as 4 characters died in 1993’s plane crash while Reg Dawson shot Simmy and Shirley Turner. So deaths were relatively infrequent.
However, the 21st century, so far, killed off 64 characters. With headlines screaming about “Wild West Britain”, is art imitating life or the other way around?
Not that the Farm is the worst soap for this. Eastenders has 126 deaths in its relatively short life with 96 this century while Coronation Street, always relatively sedate by comparison, has 94 deaths in its 50-odd year existence.
But Emmerdale is never shy of culling the cast with a gory death or two. And like Midsomer, it has a murder rate way above the national average with more than one-third of the deaths in village by unlawful means.
Who Is Next?
The returning stars make some form of retribution most likely. Lachlan White, played by Thomas Atkinson, has three deaths to his name already; who will be number four? Former girlfriend Belle Dingle – Cain’s half-sister (see below) – seems likeliest given she played an integral part in Lachlan’s imprisonment. However, she won’t be a pushover and has grisly form of her own after pushing Gemma Andrews onto a rock. At 50/1, she is a decent shout.
Someone else on Lachlan’s radar is Diane Sugden, who upset White by ending her feud with Chrissie White, his wife. There is still the small matter of Chrissie framing Andy Sugden, Diane’s adoptive son which puts her on a collision course with the pair and an 8/1 shot to be the next to prop up daisies in the churchyard. Which they really should rename Boot Hill since Emmerdale is rapidly becoming a frontier town.
Ding Dong The Dingles Dead
If you’re looking for a family to lose at least one member to an ‘unlawful killing’, stop once you reach the Dingles. Goodness knows how Cain Dingle (20/1) is still alive but he is and having more lives than a cat, it’s not expected to be him. Lisa (12/1) and Charity (16/1) are both considered higher risk than the original Emmerdale bad boy.
Sam and Marlon, the light relief among the Dingles scheming are thought to be relatively safe at 33/1 and 50/1 respectively. What was it they said about Jaws 2? Just when you thought it was safe…
Ever Feel Like You’ve Been Ex-Conned?
Another ex-con on the loose in the dales is Kim Tate, about whom it is rightly said she could start a fight and kill someone in an empty room. Any one of the Dingles could be at risk given Faith Dingle shoved her over a balcony and Ms Tate is not one to discriminate; she hates everyone who gets in her way and their relations.
Curiously, Bob Hope is 33/1 to die. Which isn’t bad for a man who corked it 15½ years ago. It seems that starring in Emmerdale is the same as being buried in San Fernando Mission Cemetery. Will he escape on the Road to Morocco or is he now a Scared Stiff? I think we should be told…
Odds from Betway.com