Not to be confused with her late adoptive grandmother Sarah Sugden.
2005: Birth and leaving with Emily
Fifteen-year-old Debbie discovered she was pregnant in January 2005 after her family stopped her from seeing boyfriend Andy. She hid the pregnancy from everyone, except Andy's brother Daz Eden, who only discovered Debbie was pregnant days before she gave birth. Daz tried to persuade Debbie to see the new doctor, Adam Forsythe, but she didn't go through with the appointment as she planned to abandon the baby at the hospital, so it could be adopted by a nice family.
On 6th June 2005, Debbie gave birth to a baby girl in Seth's hide whilst Daz went to get help from Emily Kirk and the doctor. The baby stopped moving and turned blue just after she was born but Emily managed to warm her up and got her breathing again. Adam checked Debbie and the baby over and took them to Emily's house where he broke the news to Debbie's family that she had given birth. They were shocked but vowed to look after Debbie and the baby. Debbie's father Cain was shocked to discover that he was a grandfather but soon came round and bonded with the baby. Debbie decided to name the baby Sarah after Andy's late adoptive mother. Andy's family were not happy with the baby being called Sarah, especially his brother Robert, who was furious that Andy would name his daughter after the woman he accidentally killed.
Debbie and Andy restarted their relationship and tried to be a family but Andy didn't really want to be with Debbie so when Sarah was barely a month old, Andy and Debbie split up. Debbie considered putting Sarah up for adoption but her family managed to change her mind and Emily moved in with the Dingles at Wishing Well Cottage to help Debbie with Sarah. Debbie soon began a relationship with Robert who persuaded Debbie to take Sarah and come with him to London, although he really only wanted to take Sarah away from Andy, leaving Debbie heart-broken.
Debbie struggled with juggling Sarah and being a teenager and often left Sarah with Emily, Lisa or Cain. Sarah was christened was in St. Mary's Church in December 2005 with Daz and Emily as her god-parents. After the christening, Debbie handed Sarah over to Emily who took her and left the village. The Dingle's and Sugdens were furious with Debbie for giving Sarah away. Cain tried to find Emily and baby Sarah and bring Sarah home but he couldn't.
2006-2010: Return to the village and custody battle
In October 2006, Emily took Sarah back to the village and left her on Andy's doorstep after curate Ethan Blake managed to persuade her that Sarah should be with her dad. Debbie agreed that Andy could have custody of their daughter as long as she was not part of Sarah's life. Andy remained suspicious of Emily, and was furious to discover Emily had gotten a job at Sarah's nursery. Emily didn't take the job after seeing the animosity that Andy had caused her amongst the other parents.
In October 2007, Lisa tried to get Debbie to be part of Sarah's life after making sure they spent an afternoon together, however, Debbie refused and said she would be happy to allow Andy's partner, Jo Stiles, to adopt her, but Debbie couldn't bring herself to sign the adoption papers. When Andy was sent to prison in early 2008, Jo looked after Sarah and allowed Debbie to start seeing her. Andy was furious to realise that Jo has been allowing Debbie contact with Sarah and hit her, which began months of violence and resulted in Jo ending up in hospital on two occasions. Sarah could sense the problems at home and was suspended from nursery after biting another child. Jo confided in Debbie about the abuse, which caused Andy to move out of Butlers Farm, although Andy was allowed supervised access to Sarah.
Jo left the village in December 2008 and reluctantly left Sarah at the Dingles. The Dingles barred Andy from seeing Sarah and they tried to persuade Debbie to get custody, but she refused, as unknown to everyone else at the time, Debbie was worried about being arrested for her part in the cover-up of the murder of police officer Shane Doyle. The Dingles allowed Sarah to stay with Andy after his adoptive father Jack Sugden's funeral but they later banned Andy access to Sarah after Andy told the police of fugitive Cain's return to the country. However, the Dingles were forced to give Andy custody of Sarah when Debbie was sent to prison for her part in Shane's murder in March 2009.
After Debbie was released from prison she wanted visitation access to Sarah but Andy denied her any contact with Sarah which caused Debbie to apply for full custody instead. Andy tried to run off to Spain with Sarah, as he was afraid of losing her, but Debbie managed to stop him. A few days later, on 3rd June 2009, Debbie was awarded full custody after Andy withdrew his application due to Jo's statement about Andy's violence. Sarah moved into Tug Ghyll with Debbie and Cain. In October of that year, Sarah met her granny Charity and young uncle Noah for the first time when they returned to the village after five years away. Charity and Noah soon moved into Tug Ghyll with them. Debbie grew fed up of Charity and Cain's rows, so in March 2010, she decided to take up a new job and move to Jersey. Sarah made visits back to see Andy and in November, Debbie and Sarah moved back permanently.
2011-2012: Illness and saviour sibling
In 2011, Andy's girlfriend Alicia Gallagher got Sarah's ears pierced behind Debbie's back. Andy was not particularity impressed but Debbie was furious. Not long after Debbie and Andy began to worry that there was something wrong with Sarah after she complained of feeling tired and bruised easily. Debbie was worried that someone was hurting Sarah and even questioned her own boyfriend Cameron Murray. Debbie booked a doctors appointment and after months of tests, it was revealed that Sarah was suffering from a rare genetic disease Fanconi anaemia and needed a bone marrow transplant to save her life. Debbie and Andy and all of Sarah's relatives had tests to see if they were a match for the transplant, but none were. Many villagers also got tested but again none of them were matches. Debbie and Andy eventually found a match but sadly the donor pulled out at the last minute.
Debbie and Andy eventually decided that the only way to save their daughter was to have a saviour sibling. Neither Cameron nor Alicia were happy but they decided to go ahead with it anyway. Debbie and Andy were turned down for IVF, so they began artificial insemination to try to get Debbie pregnant. After some negative pregnancy tests, Debbie concluded the only way she could get pregnant was to sleep with Andy. In late January 2012, Debbie discovered she was pregnant. Alicia told Sarah about the pregnancy, which upset Debbie as they didn't know whether or not the baby was a match for Sarah yet. However, they were relieved when the test revealed that the baby was a match.
In September, Sarah took a turn for the worst whilst Cameron was looking after her. At the hospital Debbie and Andy were told that Sarah was fast developing leukaemia so Debbie demanded to be induced but the doctors told Debbie that it was not safe enough for Sarah or her unborn baby. On the day that Debbie was to be induced, she went into labour. Sarah became a big sister when Debbie gave birth to a baby boy on 17th October 2012, who Debbie and Andy named Jack, after Andy's late adoptive father. The day after Jack was born Debbie discovered that Cameron had been cheating on her with her aunt Chas, and ended their relationship. The doctors were able to transplant the bone marrow from Jack and the following month, Sarah had her transplant. After spending nearly a month in isolation in hospital, Sarah was allowed home and her family threw her a party.
2013-2016: Fire and moving to France
In the following months, Debbie threw herself into work, determined to provide a better future for her children which meant she heavily relied on babysitters and often left Sarah and Jack with Andy's new girlfriend Kerry Wyatt, which Kerry was not particularly happy about. Kerry left Sarah and Jack alone numerous times whilst babysitting. Kerry's daughter Amy tried to warn Debbie and Andy about this, but Kerry managed to manipulate Sarah into lying for her. In May 2013, Debbie left her children with drunk Kerry, who accidentally set fire to Dale View. Sarah managed to get out of the house and raise the alarm.
The following month, Sarah confided in her tutor about all the problems at home which resulted in the tutor phoning social services. Debbie was furious and accused her family members of calling social services at Sarah's birthday party. After a visit from a social worker, Sarah admitted she told her tutor about the problems at home and Debbie realised that it was the tutor who reported her. Andy took Sarah and Jack to live with him whilst Debbie got herself sorted and even threatened to go for full custody of their children.
Debbie managed to persuade Andy's step-mother Diane to let her see her children for five minutes which gave her enough time to snatch the children and head for the airport. Debbie planned to run away to Palma, as she was scared of losing Sarah and Jack forever but Cameron stopped her and took them home. Andy kept Sarah and Jack's passports but allowed them to move back in with Debbie. Debbie and Cameron restarted their relationship but Debbie soon discovered that Cameron had murdered her cousin Gennie Walker as well as Alex Moss and Carl King. Debbie got Andy to take the children for a few days whilst she wore a wire so she could get Cameron to confess to the murders, and subsequently, he was arrested. Andy was furious with Debbie for potentially putting Sarah and Jack in harm's way.
In October 2013, Cameron escaped whilst being transferred between prisons and scared Debbie by taking Sarah to an abandoned barn, leading Debbie to believe she had been snatched, before leaving Sarah in the barn. She is later rescued by Andy and Moira Barton who hear Sarah shouting and banging at the door. Meanwhile, Cameron held a siege at the pub, holding many hostage, including Debbie and Jack, inside. Debbie only just managed to escape the pub before Cameron electrocuted himself. Debbie couldn't stand living in Tug Ghyll with all the bad memories so she bought Mulberry Cottage, and she Sarah and Jack moved in.
In 2014, Debbie began a relationship with farmer Pete Barton, who both Sarah and Jack adored. Sarah was a bridesmaid when Debbie and Pete got married but the marriage was short-lived. After Debbie threw Pete out, Cain made his daughter see her relationship choices also affected Sarah and Jack so Debbie vowed to put her children first. In September 2015, Debbie took Sarah to the doctor's as she had a persistent cough. Due to Sarah's previous ill health, Dr Bailey took bloods. The blood test came back normal, although Pete's mother Emma manipulated the results to get back at Debbie for cheating on Pete with his brother Ross. More bloods were taken and Debbie and Andy were relieved to learn Sarah was not ill again and still in remission.
Sarah wasn't happy when Ross moved into Mulberry Cottage as she still missed Pete. Sarah tried to split Debbie and Ross up but Debbie could see what she was doing and wouldn't let it happen. On New Year's Eve, Debbie discovered Ross and Andy's involvement in Robert's shooting three months previously so she took Sarah and Jack and drove away from the village. Debbie took her children to France, with only Cain aware of their location. In April 2016, Debbie finally relented and allowed Cain to pass on her contact details to Andy, who took the first flight to France to see his children. Whilst in France, Sarah was diagnosed with throat cancer.
2017-2019: Return, cancer and heart failure
Debbie, Sarah and Jack returned home to Emmerdale in January 2017. Sarah and Jack were kidnapped by a couple of thugs as Debbie had stolen money from her old boss. Cain, Charity, Debbie and Ross managed to raise the money for Sarah and Jack to be released. Debbie soon informed her family about Sarah cancer. Sarah's best bet was proton beam therapy, but due to her prognosis, this was not available on the NHS so a crowdfunding page was set up to help pay for the costs of going private. A mystery donation of £20,000 was made to the page. A few days later, Sarah found a woman in the barn at Wishing Well Cottage and began bringing her food and medicine. Sarah was delighted when the woman was revealed to be her great-grandmother. Faith confessed she was the one who donated the £20,000 and ended up accompanying Sarah to Prague for her cancer treatment as Debbie was on police bail and couldn't leave the country. Sarah responded well to the treatment and when she returned to England, she underwent an operation that also was successful.
Sarah was delighted when she, Debbie and Jack moved in Jacobs Fold in November 2017 and she was soon introduced to Debbie's rich new boyfriend Tom Waterhouse. Sarah and Tom got on well, and Tom showered Sarah with gifts, including a platinum private health insurance policy after hearing about Sarah's condition following a quad bike crash. However, not long after in January 2018, it was revealed that Tom was actually, Joe Tate, Charity's former stepson and used Debbie to get back at Charity, who he blamed for his father's death.
After Joe revealed himself, Debbie asked Simon McManus to hurt Joe but instead, he ended up throwing acid in Ross's face. Sarah found out and was furious with her mum, refusing to talk to her. On 12th June 2018, Sarah, along with Noah, Leanna Cavanagh and Jacob Gallagher steal Joe's car and goes joyriding. Whilst the rest of her accomplices got away, Sarah was caught and arrested. In a shocking twist, Sarah grassed Debbie out to the police, telling them about her part in the acid attack. Back at home later, Sarah collapses and is taken to hospital where tests are conducted. Sarah talks to Ross who convinces her that she doesn't want to see her mum in jail. The doctors reveal that the tests concluded that she is suffering from heart failure, as a very rare side-effect of the chemo. Debbie tells her they are gonna get through this and that she will not die. Sarah is informed that she'll need a heart transplant but is allowed home a few days later. In July, Sarah collapses again and it turns out she has picked up a virus and is forced to stay permanently in the hospital while waiting for a transplant.
In October 2018, Debbie is arrested and tells the truth about the acid attack. Debbie is charged and refused bail at her preliminary hearing. When Debbie is still held by the police, the hospital has an offer of a heart that is a suitable match for Sarah and she is told they can go ahead with the transplant. Debbie is allowed out of prison, for a short time to visit Sarah in hospital before the transplant. Faith and Charity promise to stay with her the entire time as Debbie has to go back to prison. Sarah's monitor goes off and Charity and Faith are forced out of the room as doctors rush in. They are told the new heart is not working as it should but they're treating it with medication. The doctors tell them Sarah's heart has stabilized and the next day Sarah wakes up. In December, Sarah is overjoyed when Debbie returns home after being found not guilty of GBH.
In January 2019, Sarah is confused by Debbie's behaviour when she starts acting coldly towards Cain, unaware that Cain had admitted to causing Joe's death. The following month, Debbie tells Sarah that Cain told Joe to leave and never come back, to stop her from asking about why she's being cold towards Cain. Sarah is furious when Debbie informs her that she's got an interview for a job in Aberdeen the next day and pretends to be ill in hope of scuppering Debbie's job interview. When Cain and Charity insist on taking Sarah to hospital, Sarah admits she isn't ill - she lied in an attempt to stop Debbie attending an interview for a job in Aberdeen. Sarah snaps at Debbie and tells her that she's staying with her family, and hates Debbie. However, their relationship improves when things cool down after Cain revealed Joe hadn't actually died but faked his own death and fled the country in April 2019.
In August 2019, Sarah catches wind of her mother's plans to move to Scotland after inheriting a garage there from Lisa Dingle. Sarah encourages her to go because she wants her to be happy but she hesitates when Sarah reveals she wants to stay in the village. However, Sarah tells her they could still see each other all the time on weekends and thus Debbie leaves the village on 13th August while Sarah stays behind with Charity and her fiancee Vanessa Woodfield moving into Jacobs Fold to look after Sarah.
2019-: Relationship with Danny and drugs
In September 2019, Sarah starts talking to an older boy named Danny online and takes a liking to him. She skips school to hang out with him but is caught by Vanessa who drags her home where the teens are confronted by Sarah's crazy family, scaring Danny off. Sarah was devastated and opened up to Charity about her struggles, telling her that meeting Danny was the only thing she had to look forward to as she knew would die young due to her illness but being with him made her feel like a normal teenager. Feeling bad for ruining that for her, Charity and Vanessa tracked down Danny and surprised Sarah with a visit from him, making her overjoyed.
In November 2019, Sarah started getting more rebellious and held a party at the house with Danny and Charity's son Noah. However, Noah gets worried when Sarah swallowed a pill of PMA from Danny. Charity found out about the party and threw everybody out. She worried about Sarah drinking because of her serious heart condition but stayed unaware of the drugs. Noah tried to make her see sense and convince her that Danny was bad for her and wanted to tell Charity about the drugs but Sarah convinced him not to. She agreed to hold on to a bag of pills for Danny but Noah found them in her bag and was horrified. Noah confronted Danny, telling him to stop giving Sarah drugs and alcohol as she was really sick and could get hurt. However, Sarah was furious when she saw them as she didn't want Danny to know about her condition and just treat her like a sick girl like everyone else did. Danny came to find her, saying that it didn't matter and encouraged her to continue living her life and having fun.
Sarah continued to pressure Noah not to tell on her and lied to him that she had given the pills back to Danny and was not holding them for him anymore. However, on 20th December 2019 Noah found the pills still in her bag and confronted her. They had a row and after she called him a sad little freak, telling him everybody took pills and that it wasn't a big deal, resulting in him stealing the pills and running off. Sarah panicked and tried to get him to come back as she was terrified of how Danny would react. She was even more worried when the following day, she found out Noah had taken the pills and suffered an overdose. He rushed to hospital and when questioned by Charity and Vanessa if she knew something about the drugs she lied and said Noah had been hanging out with a bad crowd. Noah luckily woke up and Sarah got him to cover for her by confirming her story and not telling Charity where the pills actually came from.
In January 2020, Danny reached out to Sarah again, showing he had been beaten up because of the lost drugs. He said he was forced to sell drugs to not get more hurt and attempted to get her to do it for him, to which she reluctantly agreed. Danny took her to the area in which he wanted her to deal, however, there she ran into one of Danny's mates, who proceeded to reveal that he got his injury from falling off a bike, not from a beating. Feeling betrayed and used, Sarah set Danny up, putting the drugs in Danny's jacket and reported him to the police. Noah supported her and continued to keep good on his promise to not tell Charity about her involvement with the drugs, however, after his life was put through some turmoil when Graham Foster was murdered he angrily blurted out the truth to Charity who confronted Sarah.
- Sarah, along with Jack Sugden were written out in January 2016 when Charley Webb (Debbie Dingle) went on maternity leave.
- Producer Iain MacLeod decided to recast the role in 2017, due to MacLeod desiring for an older actor to play more mature storylines.
"Do you like pushing girls and women around? Does it make you feel like a big man? What's wrong, scared of your friends finding out what you're really like?" (to Joe Tate)