Born to Oliver Skilbeck and Elizabeth Skilbeck (née Barlow). Matt's parents died when he was 9 years old. Matt had a maternal cousin called Polly who he lost contact with. While his Aunt Beattie was taking care of his grandmother, he had to live in a boys' home; when his grandmother died, Beattie took him in. In the early 1960s, Matt came to work at Emmerdale Farm as a labourer.
Matt married Peggy, Jacob and Annie Sugden's daughter in 1968. He helped out on the Sugdens' farm but Peggy became concerned for their future when the farm was bequeathed to her brother Jack after Jacob Sugden's death in 1972. After finding out she was pregnant, Peggy encouraged Matt to pursue a factory job in Hotten. At his interview at the factory Matt objected to being described as an "unskilled labourer" and stayed on in Beckindale to work for Emmerdale Farm Ltd.
Peggy gave birth to twins, Sam and Sally, but died of a brain haemorrhage soon after. Upon his wife's death, Matt inherited her shares in Emmerdale Farm Ltd. The twins were sent to live with Matt's Auntie Beattie but all three were killed in a car crash when the children were just three years old.
Matt had a relationship with Alison Gibbons in 1974, and Beth Openshaw in 1976 but settled down later on when he married The Woolpack barmaid Dolly Acaster on 29th June 1978. The following year, Matt was thrilled when Dolly announced her pregnancy but miscarried quite late into her pregnancy in early 1980. Matt and Dolly converted a barn attached to the Emmerdale Farm house into a cottage and moved on the 26th October 1982. Their son Samuel was born in December 1982, and was named after Matt's first-born son. Matt's former grandfather-in-law Sam Pearson was pleased with the naming decision.
In late 1985, quarry owner Harry Mowlam began harassing Dolly, to the couple's distress. Mowlam believed he had an old score to settle as Matt had taken the dog that Mowlam was ill-treating away from him in 1983. Mowlam even caused a pregnant Dolly to have a miscarriage. Early in 1986, Matt became engaged in a physical struggle with Mowlam after finding him stealing sheep. The following morning, Mowlam was found dead and Matt was charged with murder. The police thought that because Mowlam killed him and his wife's unborn baby, that Matt had motive to kill him. Matt spent months trying to prove his innocence. It soon transpired that Harry's body had been found 20 yards from where Matt had the fight with him, helping prove Matt's innocence. Matt was soon cleared when Mowlam's crooked associate Derek Warner confessed to the crime. Matt soon put Mowlam in the past and moved on with his life, and him and Dolly took a holiday in Bridlington. Matt comforted Jack when Pat died in a car crash in August 1986 and he started having flashbacks. Matt helped Jack come to terms with things. In the summer of 1987, Matt, Jack and Alan Turner were given a court order banning them from going to Pencross Fell to obstruct builders of the proposed nuclear dump. The dump proposals were later abandoned and the villagers celebrated.
In late 1987, Matt discovered that he had inherited Crossgill Farm from the previous owner Mr Metcalfe. Before he died, Metcalfe admitted to Matt that he killed his wife. Once Matt was given ownership of Crossgill, Dolly insisted that they move out of Emmerdale but Matt refused. Matt was happy at Emmerdale. Dolly and Matt began to grow apart resulting in her affair with timber consultant Stephen Fuller in 1988. Crossgill's farmhouse ended up burning down. Matt was secretly pleased, as he was happy at Emmerdale.
In 1989 Dolly was stalked by Ted Sharp and Matt seemed unsupportive. Matt then took on a young lodger at Emmerdale. This was the last straw and Matt and Dolly agreed to divorce. In November 1989, Matt noticed a local haulage firm was not taking care when transporting sheep. Matt confronted Chris Tate who was a manager at the Tate Haulage firm. Matt then saw the company owner Frank Tate. Matt was as yet unaware that Chris was Frank's son so Matt demanded Chris get sacked. Frank then said Chris is in fact his son so he will not sack him. Matt wanted to leave Beckindale for good after recent events so Frank offered Matt a job in Norfolk in December 1989. One of Frank's drivers had a upcoming run to Norfolk so would give Matt a lift there. On the night of his departure, Matt said a final goodbye to a sobbing Annie Sugden. He then left Beckindale for the last time.
"No." (first line)
"Poor old fella..." (Upon finding Mr Metcalfe's dead body)
"Take care Ma. Thanks for everything." (final line)
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|Annie Sugden | Jack Sugden | Amos Brearly | Joe Sugden | Henry Wilks | Matt Skilbeck | Marian Rosetti | Sam Pearson | Peggy Skilbeck | Pat Sugden | Tom Merrick | Jackie Merrick | Sandie Merrick | Janie Harker | Frank Blakey|