Shadrach Dingle was the elder brother of Zak Dingle and father of Chas Dingle and Gennie Walker. He was also believed to be the father of Cain Dingle and raised him as such until it was revealed he was actually Zak's son.
Shadrach's main character traits were uselessness, laziness, selfishness, hypocrisy and a dependency on alcohol, although he occasionally surprised his family with sensitivity or support.
1948-2000: Early life
Shadrach was born 22nd July 1948 to Jedediah and Mairead "Peg" Dingle. He married Faith Dingle, who gave birth to a son named Cain. She passed him off as Shadrach's when his real father was Zak Dingle, Shadrach's younger brother with whom she had a brief affair with. Shadrach and Faith had a daughter a few years later named Chas. At some point, Shadrach developed into a violent alcoholic.
While still married to Faith, Shadrach had an affair with a woman named Shirley Pascoe, who he’d met on a drunken bender. Shirley got pregnant and Shadrach was prepared to leave his family for her but she died giving birth to their daughter Genesis. A devastated Shadrach decided to give Genesis up for adoption. Eventually, Shadrach and Faith's marriage broke down and she left, leaving Cain and Chas behind with Shadrach. Shadrach would constantly beat Cain throughout his childhood but never harmed Chas.
Zak restrained himself from lashing out because he believed that he owed Shadrach. When they were younger, Zak had an affair with Shadrach's wife Faith. Unknown to them, this resulted in the birth of Cain. Cain had thought Shadrach was his father and after the truth was revealed, he was shocked to discover the man who’d brought him up was his uncle.
The Dingles weathered this crisis, but when Zak went to South America in search of the Dingle fortune, Shadrach begged Zak's wife Lisa to take him in. Sticking to the Dingle code of loyalty, Lisa agreed and Shadrach spent the next few months trying to seduce Lisa and in order to get her to sleep with him. Order was restored when Zak returned but Shadrach's behaviour continued to provoke disgust among his family and their neighbours alike.
A life of heavy drinking took a toll on Shadrach and his daughter Chas, worried that her father would die of alcoholism. In order to try to wean him off alcohol, Chas bet Zak and Shadrach that they couldn’t stay dry for a month. Shadrach was unable to do so and spent the entire month attempting to get his hands on booze. Shadrach's best friend, Fat Pedro, never appeared on screen but often provided horse race betting tips which always lost money.
On 26th August 2007. Heavily pregnant Laurel Thomas was in the church vestry, not realising Shadrach was asleep inside the church. However, Emily Kirk had locked the doors, not knowing they were there and Laurel went into labour. Shadrach rang the church bells to alert the village to the emergency and helped deliver the baby.
After Daniel was born, Shadrach showed him more love than he had to any of the Dingle children and was over the moon when Laurel asked him to be godfather. Shadrach adored his godson, surprising everybody who knew him; he gave Daniel presents and promised to do things with him when he was older. But Daniel died of cot death, leaving Shadrach devastated. Initially, Shadrach blamed himself, thinking that the alcohol fumes he had breathed on Daniel may have been the cause of death, but stopped blaming himself with help from Laurel and Diane. Despite Daniel's death, Shadrach was still loving to him, visiting his grave with flowers and one of his great-nephew Samson's old teddy bears to keep Daniel company. In spring 2008, Laurel and Ashley learned their biological son had been switched with the child of Greg and Melanie Doland. After months of turmoil, the court gave custody of Arthur Doland to Laurel and Ashley. Shadrach was initially reluctant to see the child, feeling this was disrespectful to Daniel's memory. On Arthur's first birthday, Laurel spoke to Shadrach and told him she'd never forget Daniel but she also loved Arthur. When Shadrach spoke of his memories of helping her give birth to Daniel, she reminded him that it had actually been Arthur. This helped Shadrach come to terms with Daniel's death.
Through their shared grief, Laurel and Shadrach formed a bond, and in March 2008, Shadrach told Laurel that as a young man, he had an affair with a woman called Shirley Pascoe. Eventually, he had decided to leave his wife Faith for Shirley, but by the time he saw her again, she'd died in childbirth. Their child, Genesis Pascoe, was born on 21st November 1987. Shadrach was devastated but felt he couldn't take her home to Faith and put her up for adoption. He later regretted it but by this time it was too late. She had been adopted and Shadrach, much as he had wanted his daughter back, was unable to have her.
Laurel told Chas and after getting over her initial hurt and anger, Chas and Shadrach went to Social Services. They learned Genesis had contacted them, wanting to get in touch with her birth parents. Shadrach later wrote to Genesis, asking her to contact him if she felt comfortable enough to do so. She agreed to meet him but didn't turn up. Shadrach assumed she'd changed her mind but he had no idea she was fighting for her life in hospital after a car had hit her motorbike whilst she was travelling to the village.
Shadrach finally met Genesis, now calling herself Gennie Walker, several weeks later, when Paddy invited her to Shadrach's nephew Eli's birthday party. Shadrach was drunk and made a pass at her. Gennie was horrified when he told her his name was Shadrach, knowing that was her birth father's name. Later, she told Paddy that Shadrach was her father, not realising everyone would hear when the music was suddenly switched off. Gennie fled and Shadrach had to tell Lisa and Zak. Gennie soon returned and wanted to get to know her father. He told her about the circumstances of her birth and adoption, and they began to form a close bond. He also tried to reassure Chas, who jealously resented the efforts he was making for his new daughter when he'd never bothered to support her during her life.
Shadrach eventually fled the village after he flooded the Dingles bathroom, causing the ceiling to collapse. This led to Zak ordering Shadrach to leave. Shadrach moved into Mill Cottage with Chas and her boyfriend Carl King. Carl eventually grew impatient of Shadrach and argued with Chas over letting him stay. Shadrach overheard them arguing about him and decided to leave.
After buying a bottle of wine, Shadrach staggered into the road and was accidentally run over by his nephew Marlon in his van. Whilst recovering in hospital, Shadrach learned from a doctor that he was dying from liver failure and a perforated ulcer due to his lifetime of heavy drinking, and the only thing that would make a difference to the length of his life expectancy between months and weeks was to stop drinking. Shadrach didn't listen to the doctors' advice and continued to drink, but once Marlon found out he demanded that Shadrach stopped and poured all alcoholic drinks down the sink. Shadrach took advantage of this and moved in with Marlon. Marlon helped Shadrach realise all of the good things in his life.
Shadrach was able to give up drinking for a few days but on his 62nd birthday, Marlon decided to throw him a party, with the whole family invited, having forgiven him for the flooding. However, Shadrach couldn't face his family and went on a drinking binge, much to the disgust of Marlon, who threw Shadrach out and told him he didn't care if Shadrach drank himself to death. Shadrach immediately bought a six-pack of beer. Whilst he was walking over a footbridge he half-collapsed in pain caused by his liver failing and dropped his cans into the river. Whilst attempting to retrieve them Shadrach was unable to hold his balance, both as a result of his heavy drinking along with feeling another sharp pain from his liver and he collapsed into the water and drowned.
Shadrach was found by Marlon and his girlfriend Rhona Goskirk and was dragged out of the water but they were unable to save him. Marlon held his Uncle's body in his arms, crying. The official cause of death was drowning; however, the autopsy confirmed that Shadrach would have died from a ruptured liver within the next few hours had he not passed out in the stream and drowned.
Zak was devastated by his brother's death and lashed out at Marlon by banishing him from the Dingle homestead, locking him out. Angered and hurt at the way he had treated Shadrach over the years, Zak turned violent and got heavily drunk; fortunately, Lisa, Cain, Chas and the other Dingles helped him through this. Deeply upset, Zak decided to lay Shadrach to rest on the Dingles' land. Following a ceremony conducted by Ashley, the Dingles and Laurel held a private vigil for Shadrach where they all said how much they loved him and what they would remember most about him, each then taking a swig of beer.
Following the ceremony, Zak sat on a bench and opened a beer can before sitting it down on the bench next to him and crying, saying only, "I did my best, Brother, I did my best".
- In May 2003, Shadrach was said to be 58 years old, thus giving a 1944/1945 year of birth. However this was later altered to 1948.
- Seven years after the character's death, Shadrach reappeared in Episode 7992 (17th November 2017) in a flashback sequence between his ex-wife Faith and step-son Cain. The sequence took place in the 1980s, with Shadrach portrayed by Matt Sutton. The episode showed a much darker side to Shadrach than audiences had previously been exposed to, such as his brutal beating of Faith and almost punching Cain, who was still a child at that time. However, it has been mentioned by Cain that Shadrach was violent towards him and Chas.
"Oh, me cans!" - Last words, before collapsing into the Ford.