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Emmerdale Wiki

Alan Jonathan Turner was a long-standing Emmerdale resident, and the father of Terence and Steph Turner as well as the husband of Jill Turner and Shirley Foster. He was originally the manager of NY Estates at Home Farm, but later became the manager and owner of The Woolpack and the The Grange B&B.

Alan arrived in the village in March 1982, and quickly became an important member of the community. He was best known for his banter with Seth Armstrong.


1935-1982: Early life

Born in 1935 in Chichester, Sussex, Alan had an older brother William who died young, and he was always cleverer than Alan.

Alan Turner on his wedding day to Jill.

Alan had met Jill when they were very young and they had two children Terence in 1952 and Mary in 1953. Alan and Jill finally married in 1962. Alan served two years of national service.

Alan carved a career in estate management, and could also be a boozer, womaniser and gambler. Self-admittedly, Alan wasn't a good father as his professional ambition and social standing got between him and his family. He was appointed new manager of NY Estates in Beckindale in early 1982.

1982-1990: Arrival and early years in Beckindale

Alan in 1987

Alan Turner came to Beckindale in 1982. His early years were dominated by his business dealings and work on the local council. He worked as an estate manager for NY Estates, having a rival of sorts in Joe Sugden, who later got his job. However, when he was Joe's boss, Alan often blamed him for his mistakes such as the cattle stampede in 1982.

From 1982 to 1988, Alan often found himself outwitted by NY Estates' wily gamekeeper Seth Armstrong. As well as blaming Joe for his mistakes, Alan often used Seth as his scapegoat. Amos Brearly, the landlord of The Woolpack, tried to strike up a friendship between him and Alan, and even praised him. Alan even told Amos to call him by his first name and not "Mr. Turner". Alan invited Amos to a golfing match. Amos considered Alan a true friend, but he then overheard Alan telling a golfing friend that he thought Amos was a bore, and that he only invited Amos to golf because he owed him a favour. Amos' attitude to Turner changed for good after this and he frostily addressed him as "Mr. Turner".

Alan proved to be a stubborn boss, and could be ruthless at times. One time, he asked his workers to clear out rubble from a local dingle, but they rebelled, saying they had specified jobs. Joe Sugden took the workers side and an arrangement was soon made.

Alan was married to Jill Turner, with whom he had two children: Terence Turner and Steph Forsythe (known as Mary until deciding to adopt her middle name as her first name). Alan favoured Terence over Steph in their youth.

Alan has had many relationships. His first was with Caroline Bates after she became his secretary at NY Estates in 1984. She saw him as an inadequate blustering man with charm and kindness underneath. Their business relationship was portrayed as a comedy duo during the series in the mid-to-late 1980s and the couple came close to marrying in 1989, shortly before Mrs Bates left the village to care for her ailing mother in Scarborough.

In 1986, Alan and Joe both applied for the job of Regional Manager at NY Estates. However Joe was given the job over Alan. For months, Alan was miffed and even told Seth to see him about the estate and not Joe Sugden. It took months for Alan to accept Joe as his boss. In 1987, Alan hoped for a female secretary when Caroline was away but was given a male secretary, Tony Marchant, who was Christopher Meadow's nephew. Not knowing about Tony's link to Meadows, Alan treated Tony badly until he discovered that Tony was Meadows' nephew. In late 1987, NY Estates decided to pull out of Home Farm. In early 1988, Alan and Joe bought Home Farm after NY Estates pulled out. For the first time in 6 years, they both had equal power at Home Farm. They struggled to run the place, and even had many trees felled to raise cash, much to the anger of Jack Sugden. Alan and Joe's ownership of Home Farm was brief, and they were conned into selling their shares to Denis Rigg. Alan remained manager of the fish farm. Alan almost came close to marrying Caroline in 1989 but she decided to leave to care for her elderly mother.

1991-1999: Owner of the Woolpack

In January 1991, Alan heard that Amos was selling The Woolpack, so he persuaded Amos to sell to him. Amos admitted to Henry that he does not like Alan but agreed to sell to him. Alan then became landlord of the Woolpack and became a more central character within the village. He made the pub more modern by installing a jukebox and introducing gourmet meals in a converted taproom. He opened up a wine bar. Alan even stopped selling ale as he wanted to smarten up the menu but Seth boycotted it and in the end Alan surrendered and gave the village their ale back. Caroline Bates made the odd return to Beckindale, and Alan occasionally hired her as a barmaid. One time some bikers arrived and Alan served them, as Caroline was frightened but the bikers wanted directions to Home Farm.

In 1993, Alan helped the emergency services out after a plane crashed on the village. The wine bar was destroyed in the plane crash and Alan did not have it rebuilt. Alan married Shirley Foster in 1994. She was killed four months after they married when she was shot dead by criminal Reg Dawson. Alan became a much more serious person after Shirley died. In early 1995, Alan took on Terry Woods and Britt Woods as bar managers. Former landlord Amos Brearly was aghast but Alan said it was the brewery's idea. Alan's granddaughter, Tricia Stokes, arrived in 1998 and they shared a close relationship. In late 1998, Alan went on holiday, and upon his return, he was horrified to find out The Woolpack had burned down when fireworks were left in the main bar, and they went off. Alan had the pub redecorated.

Alan gave his blessing when Tricia married local chef, Marlon Dingle, and even let them live with him for a time. In 1999 he had a heart attack and decided to sell The Woolpack. It was bought by Diane Blackstock who ran it with her daughter Bernice. He formed a close friendship with Diane but they never pursued a relationship.

2000-2009: Reuniting with Steph and relationship with Shelley Williams

In March 2000, Alan had a near-death experience during the bus crash, as he was driving the minibus when a lorry crashed into it, as its brakes had failed. In August 2000 Alan Turner had his 65th birthday.

Steph Forsythe, Alan's daughter and Tricia's mother arrived in 2002. She and Alan's relationship was a contrast to that of him and Tricia with them having many disagreements. They became united for a short time in their grief for Tricia as she was killed off in the storm on New Year's Eve 2003.

Shelley Williams was introduced in 2003 as a new love interest for Alan and as Steph's best friend. Steph became jealous at having a rival for Alan's attention and voiced her disapproval of their relationship. Their relationship continued and they began making plans to move to Spain. Steph started spreading rumours that Shelley was only after Alan's money and Shelley ended up leaving Emmerdale and Alan.

With Shelley's departure, Alan began drinking heavily. One day, in September 2004, Alan and Steph had an argument on the stairs at the B&B and Alan fell down them. His injuries left him at Steph's mercy and she began doping him and formulated a plan to sell his business and have Alan admitted to sheltered accommodation. Alan, eventually, realised what Steph was doing and managed to get word to his neighbours. Steph was stopped but not before she almost killed them by driving to a quarry edge on 12th November. She was unable to go through with killing her father.

Evidence of Shelley being held in the B&B cellar emerged and it looked like Steph had murdered her. On 22nd November 2004, Steph is arrested on the suspicion of the murder of Shelley she is charged.

After months waiting for news, Alan accepted Shelley was dead, only for her to come to the memorial service in February 2005. Although he was horrified that Shelley had let Steph go to prison for suspected murder, he forgave her and they tried rebuilding their relationship. Shelley couldn’t live with Steph around, however, and Alan was unable to disown his daughter. Alan begged Steph to go after Shelley and bring her home. In March, as Shelley was due to leave on the ferry, Steph and Shelley argued and Shelley fell overboard. Steph left her to drown, returning to the village, and her relationship with Alan grew stronger as he knew nothing of the incident. He allowed her to take over the B&B again and Steph later fell in love with local doctor, Adam Forsythe.

Steph later told Alan she was sexually abused as a child by her older brother Terence. Incensed, Alan dismissed her claims and resumed contact with his estranged son in January 2006. He turned against Steph, Adam and Betty and moved in to Holdgate Farm with Terence.

Alan in 2006

However, on 22nd February, a drunk Terence tells his father that he did rape his sister Steph. Alan refuses to give Terence money but Terence knocks Alan unconscious, takes the money and flees. Terence returned to torment Steph, leading to a violent struggle between Terence, Adam and Steph. This resulted in Terence's death on 13th April 2006. Although Adam took her on holiday and married her, the murder weighed on Steph's sanity. Alan was deeply distressed to see his daughter in such a bad way and was heartbroken when she was sectioned.

Adam lied to Alan, pretending Steph's confession was a lie attributable to her crumbling sanity, but he felt Steph was telling the truth. He began to listen but with Adam holding all the cards and Steph in a terrible state, Alan wasn't sure if he could do anything to help her. Adam did a runner when Steph was released from hospital and Terence's body was found under the rubble of King's River Showhome. With Adam gone, Steph was charged with her brother's murder. Alan was desperate to get his daughter out of prison as he feared that she couldn't cope.

On 10th November 2006, Steph confessed to Alan that she had a hand in Shelley's death and was later sentenced to life in prison for the murder of her brother. Following Steph's imprisonment and Terence's cremation, Alan wanted answers and went to see Adam in prison on 12th November. He was shocked when Adam's ex-wife Isla told him Adam had hanged himself.

Feeling low, Alan sought comfort from Betty, clumsily making a pass at her. Alan was embarrassed when she rejected him and things were awkward for a while. In December 2006, Alan decided to visit Kathy Brookman in Australia and stayed over Christmas, reminiscing about old times with Seth Armstrong, who had died the previous year. Alan returned to the village and lived with Betty and her beau Sandy Thomas, but in early 2008, visited Kathy again, returning in June. In August, he shared a kiss with Pearl Ladderbanks. Since then they have been closer friends but wouldn't call themselves a couple.

In February 2009, Alan mourned the loss of his one-time foe turned friend, Jack Sugden. In April, David Metcalfe asked him to run for the Council in opposition to Eric Pollard. Alan had no desire to return to politics but advised David in his candidacy. David won but soon disappointed Alan due to lack of attention to his duties.

In July 2009, Alan's old biker mate, Eddy Fox, dropped into the village, asking Alan to go travelling with him. Alan was reluctant to go so Edna's sister, Lily, went instead. Alan joined them later and was away for a period of nine months.

2010-2013: Return to the village and death

Alan returned on 9th April 2010. He gave newcomer Declan Macey advice on how to run Home Farm after Declan asked him about his tenure in the 1980s as Home Farm manager. In December 2010, Val Pollard asked Alan about the events surrounding Eric Pollard's second wife Elizabeth's death 17 years earlier in the plane crash after her son Michael Feldmann turned up accusing Eric of murdering her and using the crash to cover it up. Alan told Val that there had been a lot of suspicion about Eric in the aftermath of the plane crash. Alan also met Michael and after catching up with him, lent him some money when he could see Michael was struggling. In January 2011 him and Betty moved into Mill Cottage temporarily because a fire, started by deranged policeman Nick Henshall ripped through the row of cottages which Keepers Cottage was part of. Him and Betty moved back in once Keepers was renovated.

For Alan's 76th birthday on 5th August 2011, Alan is touched by the replacement watch his friends buy him after his stops working.

In March 2012, Alan, having once ran Home Farm and had been a councillor, has doubts about the village festival planned by Home Farm owner Declan Macey for the summer and raised his concerns to him. At the end of the month, he shares his war experiences with Sean Spencer when he was doing a school project.

Alan's funeral card.

He welcomes fellow housemate Betty home when she returns from her cruise in July. In July 2013 it was explained that Alan had gone travelling around France with his biker friends.

In October, Alan returns off-screen but when Betty goes to see him, she finds he has passed away in his sleep. He was 78 years old. His funeral was held on 30th October and his daughter Steph returned for it.

Background information

  • After suffering a heart attack at the after party of his appearance on This Is Your Life, Richard Thorp was absent from the show between April and June 1994. A stand-in actor was used in Episode 1871 (24th May 1994) to represent Alan when he is wheeled out of The Woolpack on a stretcher after being shot. Thorp was also absent from the show between August 2009 and April 2010 after a knee operation. This was the characters longest absence from the show during his overall duration.
  • Alan Turner was the longest-running character in the show's history, until being surpassed by Eric Pollard years after Thorp's death.


"Morning. At last!" - First line to Joe Sugden and Pat Merrick.

"Get out Seth!" - to bothersome employee Seth Armstrong.

"Are you enjoying your retirement?" - Final line.

See Also