Anthony 'Tony' Cairns arrived in Emmerdale in February 1997 with his family after retiring early from the army. When his youngest daughter Emma gave birth to a baby girl who she named Geri at the young age of 13, Tony wanted her to have Geri adopted, to which Emma initially went along with. However, she defied her father and changed her mind when she grew close to her baby daughter. In October 1997, Tony was made to pay a ransom to the daughter of a old army friend whom Tony had left to die to save his own life while out fighting. Fiona had kidnapped Tony's son Will as part of her revenge plan. Tony explained to Fiona how her father died. Tony left the village with Becky for Germany in April 1998.
Tony's portrayer, Edward Peel, had previously appeared in Emmerdale as the second actor to play Tom Merrick between 1980 and 1982, making him the only actor in Emmerdale's history to play two different characters in two different regular roles.
"That attitude is probably why this place is a lot of shambles." - First line to Chris Tate.