Francis "Frank" Clayton was Vanessa Woodfield and Tracy Shankley's father. He was initially in prison for fraud but vowed never return to his old ways, although he had been tempted once or twice.


1954-2015: Early life and prisonEdit

Young Frank

Young Frank and Tracy

Born on the 9th April 1954. In 1957, aged 3, Frank won a painting competition at school. As an adult, Frank was initially with Vanessa's mother before leaving her when their daughter was 10 years old. He later went on to have Tracy with another woman before walking out on them two days after returning from a holiday in Skegness in July 1998

By the time Vanessa and Tracy arrived in the village he had completely lost contact with both his daughters and ended up in prison for fraud. In 2015, Vanessa wrote him a letter as she suspected he had sent her money and he replied by sending her a visitation order, however, she decided against seeing him. In prison, he would share a cell with a man named Clive, who he taught the art of conning to.

2016-2017: Reuniting with Vanessa and TracyEdit

David visits Frank in prison

David visits Frank in prison

Frank first appears in August 2016, when Tracy's boyfriend David Metcalfe visited him in prison in hopes of reuniting Frank and Tracy, so that Frank could attend their wedding. During the visit, Frank revealed he was being released early and had written to 'Teeny' about this, which David was unaware of. He also lied to David, telling him that he was incarcerated for defending a lady from a drunk man. Later, when David returned home, he told Tracy about his visit with her dad, but Tracy denied receiving any letter and insists her womanizing dad ruined her mum's life. Frank later contacted his daughter Vanessa, mistaking her for Tracy. Frank confused Vanessa when he asked about her impending marriage and Vanessa asked him to stop calling her 'Teeny' as he lost the right to call her that over thirty years ago, when she stopped calling him dad. 

Vanessa and Tracy then received phone calls disclosing that Frank is was hospital. While Leyla and Rhona tried to convince Vanessa to go and visit her father, David convinced Tracy to do the same. Vanessa visited Frank and they discussed her son, Johnny and Frank saw pictures of his grandson. However, when Frank reminisced about a holiday in Skegness, this angered Vanessa, as she was not the child in Frank's story. As Vanessa went to leave, Frank's condition rapidly deteriorated. Meanwhile, Tracy arrived and asked a nurse about Frank, but backed out when she tells Tracy that she is the second lady to visit Frank today. Vanessa then tells Leyla about Frank's seizure and tells her she is glad she went to visit her father, as he is dead to her now.

Tracy later admits to David that someone else going to see her dad didn't bother her, imagining him lying there broken did. She then visited while he was unconscious and talked to him, going through Franks photos of him with a blonde-haired little girl. When Tracy returned home, she told David she found pictures of them together when she was little. She asked David if Frank could stay with them until he's got back on his feet, and David agreed. Meanwhile, Vanessa reveals to Leyla that the hospital called to say they hope to bring her dad out of his coma the next day. 

Episode 7594.7595

Vanessa and Tracy visit Frank in the hospital and realise they are sisters

On 23rd August 2016, Tracy and Vanessa both headed to the hospital to see their dad as he was taken out of his coma. When Vanessa arrived she was confused when a nurse explained a woman named Tracy was already there to see Frank. Her confusion turned to shock when she spotted Tracy sitting at her father's bedside. Vanessa confronted Tracy, asking what she was doing at Frank's bedside, demanding to know why Tracy was there. At that moment, Frank woke up and Vanessa could not believe it when Tracy called Frank 'dad', and they realised they were sisters. Tracy questioned how Frank could allow her to grow up without telling her about her sister, as she'd always dreamed of having one and Vanessa admitted that she would've loved a little sister she could've looked after. However, Frank insisted that he would have loved for them to know each other, but Vanessa's mother would never have allowed her near Tracy's mother. Tracy tells Frank that she and David were thinking of allowing him to stay with them, but not anymore. 

Vanessa and Tracy initially are on bad with each other but make up when Vanessa attends Tracy's birthday party. Vanessa overheard Tracy telling Bernice about a present her dad got her for her birthday, and how he stole it back a few days later and when Tracy brings it up again at the party, saying how the best present she ever got was a barbie car that was stolen, Vanessa admits she got the car, as Frank took it from Tracy and gave it to her. Tracy then gets drunk in the shop and admits to David she's jealous of Vanessa and opens up to him about her childhood, and how she wants Frank to love her, although admits she doesn't need her dad anymore, as she has him. The same night Vanessa phones Frank, and informs him he can stay at Tug Ghyll with her upon his release, on the condition that he sorts things out with Tracy, and that he treat both of his daughters equally. 

Vanessa tries to tell Tracy off her new arrangement with their dad but is interrupted and ends up agreeing to try to make up for lost time with her sister by forgetting Frank's existence. The following day, when Vanessa returns to Emmerdale with Frank in tow and reminds her father of her rules, they head to The Woolpack but meet Tracy who is speechless when she comes face to face with dad. Tracy can't believe Vanessa has kept Frank staying with her a secret and insists Frank can drop dead, just as Frank collapses. Tracy insists she won't fall for Frank's act, she hates him. As Frank asked Tracy to forgive him, she walked out. Later, Tracy overhears Frank telling Vanessa she's all that matters to him infuriating her more. Tracy could not believe how easily Frank has won everyone round and while Frank decides to spend the day getting to know his daughters and grandson, Tracy frames Frank for stealing Eric Pollard's bankcard. With the help of Tracy, Eric came to the conclusion that Frank had taken it and phoned the police. Tracy later discloses the truth to Eric who tells the police he made a mistake. When Frank learned of this, he could not believe his own daughter hated him enough to send him back to prison and insisted despite him not being around for her much, he didn't do anything to deserve that. Tracy then tells Frank that the times he did bother to see her, she'd wished he didn't come and Frank insisted he wanted to see more of her, but realised she'd be better off without him. Tracy explained that he only gave her the belief that she didn't matter, now he's the one that doesn't matter to her. In September 2016, on Tracy and David's wedding day, Frank kidnaps Tracy determined to make things right with his daughter. They get stranded in the middle of nowhere but Vanessa finds them and they make peace, however, their cars don't work, nor do their phones. They manage to get a ride back on a tractor and Tracy makes it to the church just in time. 

Episode 7679

Vanessa disowns Frank

In November 2016, Frank takes Megan Macey out on a date and runs into an old an acquaintance, Bobby. Bobby tells Frank that he lost everything due to his scams and blackmails him to bring him £5,000 the next day. However, when Frank is unable to come up with the money, Bobby beats Frank with a cricket bat and steals the money for a cancer charity, before fleeing the village. Subsequently, Tracy and Vanessa learn the truth of how he landed himself in prison. Vanessa is furious and refuses to believe him when he insists that he didn't steal the money, and tells him she wants nothing to do with him anymore. To Vanessa disbelief, Tracy still trusts him and lets him continue living at hers after Vanessa kicks him out. In January 2017, after Frank admits his fraudulent past to the whole pub, Vanessa is convinced he'll do a runner but is surprised when he owns up to his mistakes and stays put. With Tracy's encouragement, she decides to give him another shot and eventually, the family grew close and both Tracy and Frank would end up moving into Tug Ghyll with Vanessa and Johnny at one point. 

2017-2018: Fraud and relationship with Megan MaceyEdit

Episode 7741

Frank and Charity during their scam

Frank and Megan soon start going out, even though she was first reluctant due to his shady past. However, he vowed since coming to Emmerdale not to return to his old ways but has since been tempted on a number of occasions. In February 2017, he broke this vow and betrayed Megan's trust when he got involved in a scam at Home Farm with Charity Dingle. They scammed someone to steal diamonds inside Home Farm, without the Whites (who lived there) knowing. After the scam was successful, Charity and Frank slept together, and afterwards, when he demanded a share of what they would make Charity refused and threatened to tell Megan about what happened between them.

In July, Tracy overheard Charity and Frank discussing their one-night-stand and revealed her findings to Megan who is heartbroken and breaks up with him. However, she "forgives" and they get back together. Although unbeknownst to Frank, Megan has other plans. Wanting revenge, Megan planned to frame Frank for fraud, whilst fleeing the village with her daughter Eliza. Charity then caught wind and forced her way in on the plan. A few weeks later, the girls decided to go ahead with their plan, and the wheels were set in motion, but Megan got cold feet and prevented Charity from calling the police. Charity though, decided that this was what Frank deserved, and locked Megan in the cellar while calling the police. Frank was arrested later that day and knew that Megan had set him up. Megan who felt bad about what she'd done confessed her involvement, making the police let Frank go. Although Frank was initially furious, he would later forgive her and they gave their relationship another go. They would continue to have an on-off relationship and get engaged in May 2018, although their relationship remained rocky they kept coming back to each other. 

In late 2018, Frank again returned to his past ways when he took part in a failed plot to sell fraudulent art with Leyla's then-boyfriend Clive. Clive knew Frank from prison and Frank agreed to the plot in order to bail out his girlfriend Megan's business Take A Vow, whose reputation had been tarnished by Leyla in Greece. When Megan discovered this, she broke up with Frank, though they would eventually reconcile a couple of months later. 

2019: Death Edit

On 1st August 2019, Frank sacrificed himself to save his daughter Tracy from a fire at the sweet factory. Earlier, the building had gone up in flames thanks to a terrible mistake from Kerry and Amy Wyatt, who unknowingly started a fire while destroying CCTV equipment in the building in means to cover up that Kerry stole charity money from the safe, which they were using to help Amy pay off a debt to an old acquaintance in Belfast.

Frank discovers that the factory is on fire and that Tracy is inside the building. He rushes in to save her and eventually manages to bring her to safety, but then rushes back retrieve the engagement ring that he brought for Megan -
Frank is declared dead

The paramedics declare Frank dead

with the intent of proposing to her. Later, Frank smiled as he walked out of the factory but a sudden explosion threw him against a van and left him in a crumpled heap on the ground. The arriving paramedics instantly try to revive Frank as his daughters Tracy and Vanessa watch on and are horrified as paramedics cease to continue CPR on Frank's non-moving body and he ultimately passes away in front of both his daughters and Megan along with several other residents. 

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Behind the scenesEdit

  • It was actually Michelle Hardwick (Vanessa) and Amy Walsh (Tracy)'s idea for them to be sisters as they discussed in their dressing room that they looked similar and both had an unknown father in prison. They presented this to the producers who decided to act on the idea. 

Other informationEdit


"Are you David? Then I'm Frank. Obviously I'd still be Frank even if you weren't David, but you get the idea." - First line, to David Metcalfe. 

"It's funny you should ask that. Teeny, meet your little sister" - to Vanessa as reveals she and Tracy are sisters.

"You go ahead, go go go! I'll be right behind you. Go go, go!" - Last line, to Tracy as he urges her to get out of the burning factory before he heads back into the fire-filled room.

See AlsoEdit

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