Zoe Tate is the second child and only daughter of Frank and Jean Tate, mother of Jean Tate Jr., sister of Chris Tate, half-sister of Liam Hammond and James Tate and legal guardian of Joseph as well as Auntie to him and Noah Tate.
Zoe was involved in many major storylines, including coming out as a lesbian, the deaths of her father and brother Frank and Chris, the betrayal and departure of her stepmother Kim and a battle with schizophrenia.
1968-1989: Early life
Zoe was born to Frank and Jean Tate on 27th April 1968. In 1982 Jean was diagnosed with liver cancer and passed away 2 years later when Zoe was 16-years-old. In 1984 Zoe started studying at the University of Edinburgh to become a vet as it was what her mother wished. Her father went on to remarry in March 1986 and while her older brother Chris disliked her, Zoe got on well with her step-mother, Kim.
1989-1991: Arrival in Beckindale
In late 1989, Zoe's family move to Beckindale after buying Home Farm, while she is on holiday from university where she studying to be a veterinary surgeon. As she arrives in the village she struggles with her studies and considers quitting after she is afraid she is not cut out for it and unimpressed by the sexist attitude of the local farmer. However, in January 1990, when Seth Armstrong gets ill after working at Alan Turner's fish farm it sparks her interest and she starts looking into it and testing the water. The test comes up positive for cryptosporidium and she suspects the contamination comes from Emmerdale Farm's slurry tank. Afterwards, she decides to go back to university after talking to Jack Sugden who convinces her she should not give up and leave the field clear to those who do not care.
Pending on her graduation, Zoe confines herself to several animal-helping causes. In April 1990, Zoe catches wind of Jock MacDonald and Bill Middleton asking around for beaters and suspects they are planning illegal hare coursing and becomes determined to stop it. She and some friends intervene when Nick Bates who was pretending to participate to catch them, gets found out and a fight breaks out. The police are called and one man gets arrested but Zoe is disappointed when Jock is the only one getting charged. She is later annoyed when Jock is hired as help on Home Farm and tries to convince Frank to fire him but to no avail. In July 1990 and Seth helps a fox get free who’s gotten stuck in beercan rings and afterwards Zoe becomes determined to stop Beckinsale’s littering problem as it is affecting the wildlife.
Zoe officially graduates from University of Edinburgh on 26th July 1990, but it disappointed when Frank can’t make it, which she later finds out was due to his returning drinking problem, and only Kim is there to watch her graduate. Following her graduation, Zoe moves to the village permanently and finds employment at a Bennetts Veterinary Practice in Hotten. In September, she attacks Home Farm-worker Jock MacDonald for hurting a horse and has to be stopped by Kim. After she tells Frank about what happened, he sacked Jock. To get revenge he set fire to the Home Farm stables. Meanwhile, Zoe grows close to Archie Brooks who takes a liking to her, and they form a friend group with Michael Feldmann and Rachel Hughes. However, things get complicated when Michael starts to fancy Zoe bringing complications as Archie likes her as well and Rachel is interested in Michael. In January 1991, Zoe sleeps with Michael, despite not having any feelings for him, and avoids him afterwards, damaging her friendships with both him and Rachel in the process.
In March 1991, Rachel, Archie and Michael discovered that Zoe's boss Martin Bennett had signed a contract with Skipdale Laboratories, allowing them to experiment on animals. Furious, she confronted Martin and threatened to resign, however, Martin insisted that he only took part under the pretences that Skipdale Laboratories only experimented on animals for medical research and he did not approve of the involvement of animals in cosmetic research, He then agreed to disassociate his company with them. However, in late May, Zoe discovered that Martin was still working with them and subsequently quit her job. On 11th June 1991, Zoe left the village when she got a job as a flying vet in New Zealand.
1992-2000: Return and coming out
She returns permanently in December the following year when her contract is up and helps Frank with his drinking problem, which he developed during the breakdown of his marriage to Kim and starts a relationship with Archie. However, she finds herself struggling to be intimate with him and eventually tells Archie that she is gay, realising that if it's not going to work with him it wouldn't work with anyone. In August 1993, she comes out to Frank, who initially is shocked and disappointed but tells her he is proud of her. In May 1995, Zoe sets up a veterinary practice, Emmerdale Veterinary Centre with Paddy Kirk.
In 1995, she meets interior designer Emma Nightingale and they begin a relationship. Zoe is almost raped by Ken Adlington, but she fights him off and Emma tries to convince her to tell the police. Zoe refuses and Ken denies the attack happened. Frank gets revenge for Zoe by publicly humiliating Ken. Emma and Zoe decide to have a blessing in May 1996. However, Emma's ex-girlfriend, Susie Wilde, turns up in the village and Zoe falls for her. Shortly after the blessing ceremony, Zoe leaves Emma for Susie. Zoe and Susie's relationship ends when Susie has an affair with another woman. She is devastated when she discovers Frank has died in May 1997. The same year, she begins dating Sophie Wright, her half-brother, James' nanny. Their relationship ended when Zoe wanted to start a family, but Sophie felt that a baby needs a father and believing Zoe had bullied her into it, Sophie left. Zoe resists Becky Cairns' advances and later develops a crush on truck driver, Frankie Smith.
In September 1999, Chris is kidnapped by Tate Haulage employee Liam Hammond, who reveals he is Frank's illegitimate child. He is held captive for months and even develope a bond with his newly found brother but in November Zoe starts to suspect that Liam is somehow involved in Chris' disappearance, as he seems to know a lot about Chris. Zoe sets Liam's run to Portsmouth to get him out of the way so she can investigate but Liam smells a rat and switches his run. Zoe goes to his house and rescues Chris, fatally shooting Liam in the process. Chris and Zoe try to cover up the crime by destroying any evidence that Liam was Frank's son, ensuring the police would have less reason to question his death. DI Spalding suspects that Liam was a secret family member with an axe to grind but is unable to prove this and a jury reaches a verdict of lawful killing. Zoe then gets together with Frankie.
2001-2003: Mental health issues and birth of Jean
Zoe is not happy when Chris moves Charity Dingle into Home Farm and gives her a job as his assistant. Zoe informed Charity of her distaste for her, stating it was because of her history, and offered Charity money to leave Chris but Charity responded by kissing her. It soon transpired that Zoe fancied Charity herself, and in May 2001, it was revealed that the two had begun an affair behind Chis' back. However, when Zoe starts exhibiting obsessive behaviour towards Charity, she ends it and goes back to Chris. Zoe starts blackmailing Charity, who confesses the affair to Chris. He chooses Charity over Zoe and she becomes depressed. Zoe then begins talking to her deceased father and she sets fire to the church. During one of her early schizophrenic episodes, she ends up having sex with Scott Windsor but has no memory of the event. Zoe is sectioned and diagnosed with schizophrenia. She also discovers she is pregnant, with no idea how it happened, and she considers having an abortion. After seeing the baby during a scan, Zoe changes her mind and decides to put the baby up for adoption instead. Zoe later chooses to keep her baby and she gives birth to a daughter named Jean in January 2003.
Zoe returns to work at the veterinary surgery in the village and hires Chloe Atkinson to be Jean's nanny. When Zoe notices Jean is crying more often, she takes her to the hospital and is told that Jean has a couple of broken ribs. Syd Woolfe eventually confesses that Jean's injuries occurred when he and Chloe took their eyes off her when they were together. Zoe immediately fires Chloe. Scott realises that he is Jean's father and when Zoe finds out she becomes convinced that he raped her. Ashley Thomas tells Zoe that she had, in fact, had sex with him before being diagnosed and Zoe accepts that she willingly had sex with Scott, albeit with no recollection of the incident.
2003-2005: Death of Chris and departure
In September 2003, Chris commits suicide after learning he has an inoperable brain tumour and frames Charity for his murder. Charity becomes aware that Zoe knows the truth and tries to seduce her. However, this does not change Zoe's mind and she testifies that Charity killed Chris. Charity is found guilty and sent to prison. However, whilst serving time she gives birth to Zoe's nephew, Noah. Zoe, in her time of loneliness and feeling like her daughter, should have a mother and father in her life has a very brief relationship with Scott, she tries to be romantic with him, but since she is obviously not attracted to him, she has an affair with Rachel Whatmore.
Charity agrees to give Zoe custody of Noah for the evidence that Chris committed suicide. Zoe tries to adopt Noah, but she is refused permission. Noah is later returned to his mother, although Charity promises Zoe she'll still be allowed to see him. Zoe continues to run Home Farm and the businesses Chris left her, aided by estate manager Callum Rennie and nanny Effie Harrison. Zoe plans to emigrate to New Zealand with Jean and Chis' son Joseph. Zoe takes revenge on Scott after she learns he was going to betray her and lets him think that they are going to reunite and when he proposes, she turns him down. Stating she would, rather "put needles in her eyes". Scott then attacks Zoe and attempts to rape her. Trying to defend herself, Zoe injects him with ketamine. When Scott falls unconscious, she injects him again and is later arrested.
Effie reveals her feelings for Zoe and shortly before she is due to stand trial, Zoe plans to run away with her and the children. At the airport, Sadie King appears and blackmails Zoe into returning home and selling Home Farm to her at a reduced price. When Zoe returns home, Effie pleads with her to understand, but Zoe punches her. She stands trial for attempted murder and is freed when Paddy reveals that Scott was angry on the night of the attack and had threatened him. Zoe packs up Home Farm and plans to leave with Callum, who refuses to stay behind with the Kings. Zoe arranges to emigrate to New Zealand with Callum and Jean. Zoe and Callum break a gas pipe and set a timer to go off just as Tom, Jimmy and Max King arrive. Callum stops the car and he and Zoe watch the house explode before driving away.
- Until her departure in September 2005, Zoe was the longest-serving female character.
- In March 2005, Leah Bracknell announced she was to take a nine-month break from Emmerdale. Despite initial reports that it would be a temporary break, Bracknell had not returned to the soap. A return was less likely as she was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in October 2016, eleven years after her departure. She passed away in September 2019.
"Chris, much as I sympathise with your predicament, I have been up before dawn dealing with sick animals, I've been trying to fathom out why a seemingly intelligent man would leave his family after what amounts to no more than a few hours with me, I have lost a good assistant, and I've been up to my knees in real bullshit. Please don't give me any of yours."
"I hope the Kings enjoy their housewarming present..." (before blowing up Home Farm)
"Stop the car. Do it, Callum." (final line)