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Christopher Francis "Chris" Tate is a fictional character from the British ITV soap opera, Emmerdale, played by Peter Amory. The character made his first appearance on 14 November 1989, when he arrived in the village alongside the rest of the Tate family – his father Frank (Norman Bowler); stepmother Kim (Claire King); and younger sister Zoe (Leah Bracknell).
Peter Amory as Chris Tate (1999)
|Portrayed by||Peter Amory|
|First appearance||14 November 1989|
|Last appearance||18 September 2003|
|Introduced by||Stuart Doughty|
Initially a decent man, Chris was left permanently resentful of his life after a plane crash in 1993 left him paralysed from the waist down. His storylines on the show included his numerous feuds, including one with his father Frank; a longstanding rivalry with his stepmother Kim; and his marriages with local villager Kathy Glover (Malandra Burrows), her best-friend Rachel Hughes (Glenda McKay), and scheming businesswoman Charity Dingle (Emma Atkins). Towards the end of his story arc, Chris learned that he had an inoperable brain tumor and used this opportunity to get revenge on Charity for cheating on him with her cousin Cain (Jeff Hordley). After wasting all of his money to ensure that Charity would be left with nothing, Chris committed suicide to frame her for his "murder" — with the character making his final appearance on 18 September 2003 as a corpse following his death an episode earlier.
|“||Chris is a shrewd businessman living in the shadow of his father, Frank. After [Frank's] death, Chris took over the Tate business and never lets anything or anyone get in his way.||”|
|— itv.com on Chris.|
Chris was initially portrayed as a decent man, but was left permanently resentful of his life after a plane crash in 1993 left him paralyzed from the waist down. The character then became much more jaded and bitter, often using his intelligence and assets to exact revenge on those he perceived to have hurt him. Radio Times described Chris as a "wealthy bad boy" and "one of the most complex, conniving characters in Emmerdale history."
Chris first appeared in November 1989 when his father Frank and stepmother Kim bought Home Farm. He was the managing director of his father's haulage firm. He had owned a flat in Skipdale, but moved into Home Farm soon afterwards to be closer to love interest Kathy Merrick. He had a tense relationship with his father Frank Tate (Norman Bowler), partly due to the death of Chris's mother Jean, who had died five years ago from cancer, and Frank's remarriage to his secretary Kim, who was only a few years older than Chris and had been having an affair with Frank whilst Jean was ill. Despite the turbulence between father and son, Chris was close to his younger sister, Zoe Tate. When Frank admitted he had helped Jean die when she was terminally ill, Chris initially accused Frank and Kim of plotting his mother's death. Chris was also unimpressed when Kim persuaded Frank to have an operation to reverse his vasectomy.
Chris and Kathy began dating and Chris wrote a song for Kathy to sing at a village concert, 'Just This Side of Love' (which was released as a single sung by Malandra Burrows). They briefly split up over Chris's gambling habits after he lost his motorbike in a poker match to Alan Turner, but reunite and marry on 5 November 1991. The marriage began to break down a year later when Chris found out Kathy knew that Kim was having an affair with village toff Rt. Hon. Neil Kincaid (Brian Deacon). In the row that follows, Chris nearly hit Kathy, and later confides in Zoe that he is worried that he has inherited their father's temper. He also admitted that although he wanted children, Kathy didn't. When former alcoholic Frank relapses into drinking again, Chris sees an opportunity to gain control of the business by buying Kim's shares, mortgaging his and Kathy's cottage to do so, Kathy only finding out when Frank confronts her. As it turned out, Zoe joined forces with Frank to vote down Chris. Kathy, angry at his actions, begins an affair with American wine merchant Josh Lewis (Peter Warnock), and plans to leave Chris.
On 30 December 1993, Chris spent the evening in Skipdale with a friend, unaware Kathy was planning to leave him that night. He was supposed to pick up Kathy and meet Zoe in the Woolpack but went straight to the pub and was there when a plane crashed into the village. Chris was trapped in the wreckage of the wine bar with his family thinking he was still in Skipdale. He was eventually discovered by Kathy's lover, Josh, and was dug out overnight. He suffered spinal injuries and was left paraplegic.
Chris was very bitter about being disabled and realised that Kathy was only with him out of duty. He formed a bond with Rachel Hughes, whose brother, Mark, died in the plane crash, and she began giving him swimming lessons. The friendship became an affair and Kathy found out when she saw them kissing on their third wedding anniversary. When Kathy found out Rachel was expecting Chris's child, she threw Chris out of his wheelchair.
Rachel went into labour prematurely after discovering that her stepfather Joe Sugden had died. She gave birth to a baby boy named Joseph Mark after her stepfather and brother. Chris and Rachel soon fell out with Frank over his interference with Joseph.
Chris and Rachel got married on 7 December 1995 with only Jack and Sarah Sugden as witnesses. The marriage lasted less than a year because of Chris's increasingly selfish and money-grabbing ways. Rachel later died, leaving Chris custody of Joseph.
When Frank died of a heart attack in 1997. Chris was convinced that Kim had killed him. Kim admitted to Chris that she had watched his father die. When Chris tried to blackmail her into giving him custody of his half-brother James, Kim hit Chris over the head and tipped him out of his wheelchair, pouring whisky over him before escaping with James by helicopter.
In 1999, Chris was held hostage by an employee, Liam, who revealed that he was Frank's illegitimate son and Chris's half-brother. Chris eventually formed a bond with Liam and was upset when he was shot dead by Zoe 'rescuing' Chris
In 2001 Chris married for a third time, to prostitute Charity Dingle. However, Zoe didn't like Charity and told Charity it was because of her history, but it soon transpired that Zoe fancied Charity herself. She offered Charity money to leave Chris and Charity responded by kissing her. The two then famously had a lesbian affair, which lasted for several months. Charity became alarmed by Zoe's obsessive behaviour and tried to end the fling, but Zoe secretly recorded Charity confessing to the affair on tape and blackmailed her into signing a prenuptial agreement, so she would always have a hold over her. Charity then confessed all to Chris, and he surprised her by forgiving her and ripping up the prenup. He later forgave Zoe after she was diagonised with Schizophrenia.
In 2003 Chris discovered that Charity had had a baby when she was 13 and given it up adoption, after Emily and Paddy Kirk's 13-year-old foster child Debbie Dingle claimed she was Charity's daughter. He was shocked to discover that Debbie's father was Charity's cousin Cain Dingle. In later 2003 he threw Charity out after discovering that she had been having an affair with Cain. Learning that he had an inoperable brain tumour and only months to live, Chris began frittering away all his money to ensure Charity would be left with nothing. He said a tearful goodbye to Zoe and Joseph and then arranged a meeting with Charity where he poisoned himself in order to frame his wife for his murder. He died on the floor of Home Farm in the same spot where his father had died six years previously. His last word was 'whore'. In April 2004, Charity gives birth to Noah Tate (Alfie Mortimer) and after Zoe does a DNA Test, Chris as revealed to be Noah's father.
In 2017, Joe Tate returns to the village to seek revenge on Charity for his father's death. In 2018, Charity tells Noah (now Jack Downham) the truth of Chris's murder and him framing her for murder.
Chris' on-screen death on 18 September 2003 was watched by 10.25 million viewers. The character was nominated for Best Villain at the 2004 British Soap Awards. In 2014, Huffington Post UK named Chris as one of the 15 soap opera villains "we love to hate the most". He came in third in CBS Drama's 2018 list of the Top 5 Soap Opera Villains, with the author noting that: "Chris was originally a decent chap but after a plane crash rendered him paralysed from waist down he turned into a bitter person and even in his dying breaths whilst committing suicide he framed his wife for murder."
- "Chris Tate". itv.com. Granada Media Group Limited. Archived from the original on 5 June 2002. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
- "Top 5 Soap Opera Villains!". CBS Drama. 16 April 2018. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
- Hughes, Johnathon (4 January 2018). "Emmerdale: who is Joe Tate? Tom's true identity explained". Radio Times. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
- "Weekly top 30 programmes". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board. (No permanent link available. Search for relevant dates.)
- "British Soap Awards nominations". CBBC. 8 May 2004. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
- "Soap Villains: The 15 Characters We Love To Hate, From Janine Butcher To Richard Hillman (VIDEO)". Huffington Post UK . 18 July 2014. Retrieved 24 November 2018.