Emmerdale star Amy Walsh ‘absolutely gutted’ by Frank Clayton exit

Frank went to soap heaven last week in the Sharma factory fire

Emmerdale star Amy Walsh, who plays Tracy Metcalfe on the ITV soap, says she and the cast are “absolutely gutted” that Michael Praed has left the soap as Frank Clayton.

Frank was killed off in last Thursday night’s double bill; perishing in a fire at the Sharma factory that had been inadvertently caused by Kerry and Amy Wyatt. He’d previously been sacked by Jai and had gone into the building to retrieve a ring from his locker – presumably with the intention of proposing to girlfriend Megan.

When he realised there was a fire, and that daughter Tracy was trapped in the store room, he managed to break the door down, and rescue her. As Tracy then fled outside, he realised the ring had fallen from his pocket, and stayed in the building to look for it.

Frank later emerged, much to the relief of Tracy, Vanessa and Megan. But just when it seemed he was safe, an explosion rocked the building, and he was killed.

Walsh tells us: “The whole building and everyone in it was absolutely gutted to see Michael leave, and we all feel like it’s a big tragedy and a great loss.

“The storyline is amazing for the show, and it’s great to have a good exit if you do have to go. But at the same time, he loved it here and we loved him.

“He has been like a second dad to me. He’ll take me to the garage and pump up my tyres for me, and bring me chicken soup when I’m ill. He’s a wonderful human.”

Frank had been a fixture in Emmerdale since 2016. The character arrived in the village following a stint in prison for fraud, and was revealed to be the father of both Tracy and Vanessa, making the blonde villagers half sisters.

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Emmerdale's Frank and Megan eat ice cream on sofa

Life before death: Frank with on/off girlfriend Megan

His storylines over the years have included a scam with Charity Dingle to steal diamonds, and an on/off romance with Megan Macey.

Walsh adds that her character will be in turmoil in the coming weeks, as she not only grieves for her father but sets out to prove that he didn’t cause the blaze.

“She’s absolutely broken in the aftermath of this; she’s completely in turmoil and driven to prove that Frank has nothing to do with why the fire started,” she says. “So it’s a massive storyline for her; the fallout of it all and clearing his name.

“She 100% believes that it’s not his fault, and she was trapped in a cupboard and he’s saved her, so she’s got the guilt of that as well – she feels like it should have been her (who died) and it was her fault that he died. The reason she was in the cupboard was to meet Billy for a quickie, which just makes things even worse!”

Emmerdale continues on ITV.

Main picture: WireImage