The village is set to say goodbye to a legend...
Emmerdale is to kill off former resident and fan favourite Sandy Thomas. The pensioner will die off-screen next week, following the real life passing of actor Freddie Jones last Summer.
Sandy left the village in February 2018 to move to Australia with newfound friend Maisie (Wendy Craig). News of his death comes via ex resident Betty Eagleton, who telephones Sandy’s former daughter-in-law Laurel from down under to reveal the sad turn of events.
Charlotte Bellamy, who plays Laurel, tells us: “Quite a lot of time has passed since Freddie died, which was last year, so now feels the respectful time to acknowledge that his character, Sandy, has died.
“It will probably be a bit of a shock to the audience, but maybe quite a lot of people know Freddie had died, so they will be expecting it.”
Sandy first arrived in Emmerdale in November 2005 to attend his son Ashley and Laurel’s wedding. Freddie Jones announced his decision to quit the soap in January 2008, and remained on screen until the following March. However, in October of that year, it was announced that he would be returning.
Speaking at the time of his farewell, in 2018, Jones explained that his long commute to the Emmerdale studios in West Yorkshire was a major factor in his decision to call it quits, as was the death of on-screen son Ashley (John Middleton) from dementia.
“In my time on Emmerdale, I have been granted the most powerful and multifarious scenes,” he said. “Some wonderful and really demanding work, with all the adrenaline pumping away and people excited, but obviously there are two factors that come into play. One was the fictional death of my son Ashley, which was the denouement – and the great height of my existence in the show. So with his death and with my character’s age, I couldn’t see where else it would go.
“I realised I was travelling three hours to be there and three hours back, with overnight stays, and then doing three or four sentences. I realised it was helping nobody. The company, with absolute generosity, offered me another year’s contract. I thought ‘How can I, possibly?’
“Nothing to do with me as an actor, but as the character. ‘Where can I go with this?’ So I turned down the contract and that is the way it is.
“I’m constantly haunted by the words of TS Eliot: ‘This is the way the world ends, this is the way the world ends, this is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper.’
“If that isn’t a superb metaphor, then I don’t know what is.”