Richard Roper is the ex-fiance of Dolly Skilbeck and the father of Graham Lodsworth. Richard and Dolly got engaged and were due to marry, but Richard's mother prevented the wedding from happening as she didn't want to marry. As a result, the engagement was broken off and a pregnant Dolly left, giving birth to Graham in 1968 and putting him for adoption.
Richard arrived in Beckindale, driving around in his flash car in December 1977. Joe Sugden noticed him drive past Emmerdale Farm numerous times. Richard then finds Dolly in The Woolpack, adamant on splitting her and Matt, getting back with her and starting a new life with their son. Dolly kept fending off his attempts to reconcile, and Richard ended up finding an enemy in Annie Sugden when she caught wind of what was going on. She let rip at Richard, saying he wasn't much of a father and that he can't own people. When Richard goes to reveal all to Matt Skilbeck, Dolly intervenes and tells Richard that she'll meet with him at new year to talk about things.
The pair meet in January 1978 as agreed and their discussion becomes a row. However, Richard finally realises that Dolly has moved on and decides to return to South Africa, but Matt arrives and tries to "win" Dolly back. She returns to Beckindale, while Richard returns to South Africa and the pair never contact each other again.