Frank Tate (Emmerdale)

Frank Tate is a fictional character from the British ITV soap opera, Emmerdale, played by Norman Bowler. He made his first appearance on 21 November 1989 and remained a regular for almost eight years, before Bowler opted to quit in 1996, leading to his character’s exit the following year.

Frank Tate
Frank Tate.jpg
Norman Bowler as Frank Tate (1997)
Emmerdale character
Portrayed byNorman Bowler
First appearance21 November 1989
Last appearance27 May 1997
Introduced byStuart Doughty
ClassificationFormer; regular

Introduced as the patriarch of the new Tate family, who were brought in as part of the show’s rebranding, in 1989, many of Frank’s storylines revolved around his volatile relationship with his wife Kim Tate (Claire King). During his time in the programme, Frank and Kim divorced and remarried before his death - brought on by her return to the village after being presumed dead - ended their second marriage. Other notable storylines included his addiction to alcohol; coming to terms with his daughter Zoe’s (Leah Bracknell) sexuality; sparking a conflict with his own son Chris (Peter Amory); discovering Kim's affair with local handyman Dave Glover (Ian Kelsey); and his various business dealings and feuds with the likes of Dave's father Ned Glover (Johnny Leeze), his close friend Jack Sugden (Clive Hornby), and fellow businessman Steve Marchant (Paul Opacic).



Businessman Frank Tate was born on 1 October 1937 in Yorkshire. As patriarch of the Tate family, he was married to Jean, who died in 1984. It was later revealed that Kim Barker (Claire King), who had started off as Frank's secretary, had an affair with Frank while Jean was dying of cancer.


Frank first appeared in November 1989 when Matt Skilbeck (Frederick Pyne) visited Home Farm to speak to him over the condition of several ewes in his company, which Matt had refused to allow Chris Tate (Peter Amory) to have. After a tense confrontation between them, Frank revealed that Chris, the manager who Matt despised and wanted sacked, was in fact his son. Having made his fortune in haulage, he and Kim bought Home Farm. The two continued to run Tate Haulage along with Chris. Frank and Kim's married life was shattered in 1992 when Kim had an affair with gamekeeper, Neil Kincaid (Brian Deacon). Frank subsequently threw her out and they divorced. Frank was deeply affected by his separation from Kim and turned to alcohol to drown his sorrows.

In 1993, Frank was deemed a hero during the plane crash that rocked Emmerdale in December when he helped local farmer Jack Sugden (Clive Hornby) rebuild the bridge that was demolished by the crash and let emergency services across. During the plane crash, Frank stopped Kim running into her burning stables to rescue her horses. Frank and Kim soon reconciled and they remarried in 1994. With his life back on track, Frank stopped drinking and he and Kim enjoyed their remarriage. However, in 1995, Home Farm employee Dave Glover (Ian Kelsey) caught Kim's eye and they began an affair. Frank hired a spy to watch over Kim and Dave, and eventually caught them in bed together, uttering the line "What do you call this Dave - overtime?". Kim later discovered she was pregnant and gave birth to baby James in September 1996. Frank paid Kim £1 million to name the baby as his, although Frank was eventually revealed to be James's biological father. Dave died on Boxing Day 1996 while rescuing baby James from a fire.

In 1997, Kim took her next plot against Frank by faking her own death and got Frank imprisoned for her murder. After Frank was released, Kim shocked him by turning up on his doorstep on 22 May 1997. Kim revealed that the woman who had in fact been killed was a double and, after a heated argument, Frank suffered a massive heart attack. As Frank lay dying, Kim uttered the last words he ever heard, which were "You're a dinosaur Frank, and we all know what happened to them". Zoe Tate (Leah Bracknell) found Frank the next morning and he tried to tell her of Kim's return but died and the true circumstances of his death were never exposed.

One of Frank's biggest secrets were revealed two years after his death when Tate Haulage employee Liam Hammond (Mark Powley) - who took Chris hostage - revealed that he was Frank's illegitimate son and that he was the result of an affair between Frank and an unnamed woman. Chris bonded with Liam, but Liam was shot and killed by Zoe when she was trying to "save" Chris. Following Chris's death in 2003, he was buried with Frank. In 2009, Charity Dingle (Emma Atkins) showed her and Chris's son Noah Dingle (Jack Downham) Frank and Chris's grave.

In October 2010, Holly Barton passed out on Frank and Chris's grave, following drug use.