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.

Biography

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

Zoe and Jack Sugden

In late 1989, Zoe's family move to Beckindale after buying Home Farm while she was still studying at university. When she arrives in the village she is struggling with her studies and considers quitting as 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 working at Bennetts

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. Following her graduation, Zoe moves to the village permanently and finds employment at a 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.

Zoe returns briefly in November for Chris’ wedding to Kathy Merrick, and again for Christmas, bringing her new boyfriend Patrick.

1992-1995: Return and coming out

She returns permanently in December the following year when her contract is up. She is shocked when on Christmas she and the entire family learns that Kim has been having an affair resulting in Frank throwing her out and spiraling back into alcoholism. Zoe struggles as she takes care of her father who refuses help and grows closer to Archie again as he supports her through it. In March 1993, Archie tells Zoe he wants a relationship with her but she's reluctant. When Zoe is offered a job in Edinburgh she asks Archie to come with her but is annoyed when he can't make up his mind. She turns it down but tells Archie he failed her by not agreeing to come with her and tells him they should continue as just friends.

In May, Zoe sleeps with Archie and starts a relationship with him. However, she finds herself struggling to be intimate with him and even Archie notices something is wrong with her. On 27th May, Archie finds Zoe crying in the kitchen after sleeping together and she reveals that everything between them in bed has all been a pretense, admitting that she knew that if it wouldn't work with him she knew it never work with any man. Archie is initially upset, having misunderstood Zoe's confession and avoids her. She desperately tries to get him to talk to her again and eventually gets him to hear her out and tells him she think she's gay. Although initially thrown, Archie supports her through it.

Zoe comes out to Frank

By July Zoe is throwing herself into her work as a distraction and Frank starts noticing something is wrong but she pushes him away when he tries to get to the bottom of it. Archie thinks she needs to tell him she's gay but Zoe insists this was not the right time. Meanwhile, Frank was driving Zoe crazy as he continued to drink too much a stay out all night. His drinking got worse and worse and Zoe got wrapped up in it all as Frank's behaviour started pushing everyone else away. On 17th August Zoe finally came out to Frank who initially was shocked and disappointed. However, he soon came around, telling her he would always be proud of her and vowed to support her. Frank sorted himself out and stopped drinking in order to be there for Zoe.

Archie who wanted to help Zoe as he could see she was struggling set it up so she could meet with Richard, a gay friend of Rachel. Despite finding the whole thing embarrassing at first, Zoe ended up befriending Richard who helped her talk through her issues and invite her to event where she could meet more people. He suggested a poetry reading where she ended up meeting Jude Clayton who despite Zoe originally offending her by dismissing the whole thing, later took a liking to Zoe. Frank was vary supportive of the relationship and even invited Jude for dinner but Zoe admitted to Frank that although Jude helped her realise for sure that she was gay, just because she was gay as well didn’t mean she was the right person for her. In mid-November Zoe also told Chris she was a lesbian. Although he first didn’t take it well he came to his senses a few days later and told her that as long as she was happy that was all that mattered.

Like most of the the village, Zoe was affected by the devastating plane crash in December 1993. She was in The Woolpack when the planes crashed and spent most of the coming days looking after the hurt and dead animals in the crisis. The crash affected Zoe's life as it soon became apparent Archie had died in the crash and Chris was left paralyzed from the waist down after being stuck in the rubble of the Woolpack wine bar. Zoe was skeptical as Frank started growing closer to Kim again in the wake of the crash but decided to give her another chance.

In February 1994 Zoe starts making plans to open up a veterinary practice in Beckindale. She asks her boss, Paul Worsley to consider expanding the business to include a office in the village which she would run. She becomes a partner with the help of a loan from Kim and sets up the surgery in the Heritage Farm. They officially opens on 22nd February but throughout the coming months Zoe struggled to get customers so hired Chris to help her with advertisement and PR which was also a ploy to help Chris who had become bitter after his accident and spent most is time stuck at home. In June, Nick Bates asks Zoe to help him as his ex Elsa is trying to take is daughter away from him. Before his death, rumors went around that Archie and Nick were a couple which now Elsa was trying to use in court. Archie never denied them as he wanted to protect Zoe’s name but Nick now asked her to make a statement to the court which she agreed to. Frank advised her against it as she was establishing a new business and had enough of an uphill battle being a young woman in a male-dominated field as it was but Zoe had made up her mind.

In November 1994 Zoe got into a bit of drama when she befriended a man named Martin. His wife came to see her, accusing her of having an affair with him. Shortly after, Martin himself came to see her, telling her he’d left his wife and wanted to be with him. She told him she wasn’t interested and asked him to leave her alone but he persisted. After he still refused to leave, she told him she was gay which only made him angry. He was about to attack her but Frank interrupted and he left. Rumors started spreading around the village both about Zoe’s supposed affair and her sexuality. She was upset when Linda Glover resigned as her assistant after her father, Ned Glover didn’t want her to working for a lesbian or adulterer.

Zoe continued to be on bad terms with Ned and it got even worse when in December she got a visit from her boss, saying they had gotten some complaints from clients about her personal life which originated from Ned. However, in January 1995 Ned starts to realise that he might have made a mistake and apologises to Zoe for bad-mouthing her to other farmers and stopping Linda from working for her. Zoe then re-hires Linda.

1995-1999: Romantic relationships and long-lost brother

Also in January, Zoe meets interior designer Emma Nightingale when she accidentally crashes into her car. Despite the unplesent circumstances of their first meeting, they soon hit it off and Zoe invites Emma to stay at Home Farm while she's finishing her work redecorating The Woolpack and Kim and Frank are away on their honey moon. They begin a relationship and Zoe asks Emma to move in with her. In April, they buy Smithy Cottage together. Zoe also refirbish the adjoined forge and sets up a veterinary practice, Emmerdale Veterinary Centre with Paddy Kirk in May 1995. In August, after being called out to Ken Adlington's farm, Zoe is almost raped by Ken. She manages to escape, but is left extremely shaken and shocked by the attack. Emma tries to convince her to tell the police. Zoe refuses and Adlington and his wife denied everything. Frank gets revenge for Zoe by publicly humiliating Ken.

Zoe and Emma's ceremony

Emma and Zoe decide to have a blessing in May 1996. However, The arrival of Emma's ex-girlfriend Susie began to cause problems. Susie flirted with Zoe and gave her second thoughts. Shortly after the blessing ceremony, Zoe leaves Emma for Susie. Zoe and Susie's relationship ends when Susie has an affair with another woman.

Zoe's relationship with Kim Tate hit an all-time low in September 1996 after Kim gave birth to baby James. While she was in hospital, Zoe had to put Kim's favourite horse (Valentine) down and Kim felt that this was done out of some vague revenge. Zoe was mystified by Kim's disappearance in 1997, but never believed the accusations that Frank murdered her, so she was devastated when he was arrested. Relief came when the case was dropped and he came home to resume the running of the estate. Her joy was short-lived though because he died of a heart attack in May. Zoe never knew about Kim's involvement in her father's death, but she was shocked when Kim re-appeared on the day of his funeral. Zoe was devastated to find out last year that her father did intend to kill Kim, but mistakenly killed her lookalike instead.

The same year, Zoe 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. In 1998, Zoe defended Kim after she was accused of stealing a horse from a stud farm, refusing to believe her step-mother's involvement. Zoe resists Becky Cairns' advances and later develops a crush on truck driver, Frankie Smith. As a Home Farm shareholder, Zoe got involved in the eviction crisis in the village in autumn. Zoe was made to look foolish when Kim escaped the village with the loot in January 1999, leaving Chris for dead. She realised Kim had used her as an unwitting alibi on the night of the robbery.

Zoe shoots Liam Hammond

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.

2000-2003: Mental health issues and birth of Jean

Zoe's affair with Charity Dingle

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 her veterinary surgery and hires Chloe Atkinson to be Jean's nanny. Zoe notices Jean is crying more often, but is reassured by Chloe that it’s due to Jean’s teething, but after an accident at Home Farm, Jean is rushed to hospital and Zoe is later told that Jean has a broken rib. Syd Woolfe eventually confesses that Jean's injuries occurred when he and Chloe took their eyes off her when they were together which results in Zoe immediately firing 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, tried to kiss 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.

Zoe's last shot.png

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 Joseph and Jean after Callum decides to stay behind. 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.

Background information

  • 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.

Quotes

"Scuse me, do you know where Home Farm is please?" (first line, to Bill Whiteley)


"Feeling about you the way I do, I- I knew that if it didn't work with you... I knew that if it didn't work with you, that it'll never work with any man." (Zoe coming out to Archie Brooks)


"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."


"How dare you, you bitch!" (to the police officer who charged Frank with murdering Kim who faked her death)


"I hope the Kings enjoy their housewarming present..." (before blowing up Home Farm)


"Stop the car. Do it, Callum." (final line)

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