Kim Tate (also Barker, Marchant and Foster) is a fictional character from the British ITV soap opera, Emmerdale, played by Claire King. The character was first introduced in December 1989 and originally left in January 1999. Kim returned for a brief stint from 8 to 12 October 2018, before returning permanently on 14 March 2019.
|Portrayed by||Claire King|
|First appearance||Episode 1411 |
12 December 1989
|Other names||Kim Barker|
Often regarded as one of the greatest villains in British soap opera history, Kim's story arc mostly revolved around her dysfunctional marriage to local businessman Frank Tate (Norman Bowler), her uneasy relationship with her stepchildren, Chris (Peter Amory) and Zoe (Leah Bracknell), and her cunning ambition to control the family business. Frank threw her out on Christmas Day 1992 after her affair with The Rt Hon. Neil Kincaid (Brian Deacon), but the pair later remarried after coping through the infamous plane crash disaster that occurred between the end of 1993 and the start of 1994. Their second marriage lasted until Kim embarked on a prolonged affair with her younger farmhand Dave Glover (Ian Kelsey), which resulted in the latter's death on Christmas Day 1996 he saved Frank and Kim's son James from a fire at their house, Home Farm.
Following the plane crash disaster, Kim became the show's central antagonist for the rest of her first duration on the show. This was first impacted in 1997 when, after becoming a public enemy in light of her affair with Dave, the character was seemingly killed off upon last appearing on 5 February that year. However, it was soon revealed on 22 May 1997 that Kim had actually faked her own death in order to get revenge on Frank; on that dated episode, she reappeared herself and coldly watched on as Frank was dying of a heart attack in shock at her apparent return from the dead. Afterwards, Kim took control of Frank's business empire and went on to proceed in becoming arch-enemies with Frank's son Chris (Peter Amory). Their longstanding rivalry contributes to some of Kim's other major storylines and interactions, most notably with Chris' sister Zoe (Leah Bracknell). During that time, Kim developed an unlikely friendship with elderly poacher Seth Armstrong (Stan Richards); formed a business partnership with wealthy entrepreneur Lord Alex Oakwell (Rupam Maxwell) that culminates with him causing the death of Zoe's best friend, Linda Fowler (Tonicha Jeronimo), on the show's 25th anniversary episode; found herself blackmailed by an unknown person on Christmas Day 1997, which involved James being abducted by a mysterious kidnapper - who later turned out to be Linda's mother Jan Glover (Roberta Kerr); and sparked a relationship with Frank's ex-business associate Steve Marchant (Paul Opacic) that led to the pair getting married on 7 May 1998, and later attempting to steal a horse in a bid to solve their financial troubles - which resulted in Kim framing Steve for the crime after their plan led to him running over Chris' ex-wife Kathy Bates (Malandra Burrows) in a car. On 19 January 1999, Kim escaped the village in a helicopter with both James and the £190,000 that she reclaimed from Chris - who had recovered it from his father's grave in a last-ditch attempt to bring her to justice for Frank's death - after knocking her stepson unconscious with a paperweight.
Nearly two decades later in October 2018, Kim returned in a week of episodes that saw the character being revealed to be the mastermind behind the events of the show's longest-serving local family, the Dingles, being endangered of losing their home, with her step-grandson Joe (Ned Porteous) carrying out the plot in his bid to exact revenge on his former stepmother Charity Dingle (Emma Atkins) for her mistaken involvement in Chris' death. The week of episodes saw Kim being pushed off a balcony at Home Farm by Charity's ex-fiancé's mother, Faith (Sally Dexter), before being sent back to prison for dangerous driving. After returning to the show in 14 March 2019, Kim became the show's main antagonist once more and her second stint mostly followed her one-off relationship with Joe's legal guardian Graham Foster (Andrew Scarborough) - who later turned out to be Kim's third husband. This triggered the events of the "Who Killed Graham?" storyline, wherein Kim and her business associate Al Chapman Michael Wildman planned to kill Graham after discovering that he had been extracting money from them.
Throughout both of her stints on the programme, Kim has embarked on numerous feuds with the likes of Kathy and Charity themselves - as well as Kathy's best-friend Rachel Hughes (Glenda McKay); Dave's father Ned Glover (Johnny Leeze); Linda's husband Biff Fowler (Stuart Wade); Alex Oakwell's trophy-wife Tara Cockburn (Anna Brecon); Charity's daughter Debbie (Charley Webb), who was formerly engaged to Joe prior to his "demise"; Debbie's father Cain (Jeff Hordley); Graham's girlfriend Rhona Goskirk (Zoe Henry); Cain's wife Moira Barton (Natalie J. Robb); and Jamie's wife Andrea Tate (Anna Nightingale).
Kim had an affair with Frank Tate (Norman Bowler) while she worked as his secretary. They later married after Frank's wife, Jean, died of cancer. Kim initially got on well with her stepchildren Chris (Peter Amory) and Zoe (Leah Bracknell), but her marriage to Frank soon wore her down. The Tate family move to Beckindale in late 1989 as the new owners of Home Farm. Despite an initial hostile reception from the villagers, including the arson of one of the family's caravans in 1990, they soon settle in and the family are happy for a short time. However, when Kim becomes pregnant and later loses the child, Frank falls into a deep depression and turns to alcohol, neglecting Kim in the process.
Kim befriends The Rt Hon. Neil Kincaid (Brian Deacon), a family friend, who is much closer to her own age and shares her equine interests. The pair find themselves travelling to auctions together and eventually, realizing their attraction to one another, consummate their relationship and embark on an affair. They soon come under threat from Chris' wife, Kathy (Malandra Burrows), when she discovers a hotel bill that Neil accidentally dropped at Home Farm. The secret remains safe until Christmas Day 1992, when Frank finds an expensive watch he'd believed to be his present being worn by Neil. Kim is thrown out of Home Farm by Frank, residing at Neil's into the New Year and divorcing her husband. After Kim and Frank separate in 1993, she sets up stables under her maiden name of Kim Barker. This, however, doesn't last long as the stables are destroyed in the plane crash in December that year, killing many of the horses. After the plane crash, Frank and Kim put aside their differences and reconcile, remarrying in December 1994; Zoe becomes thoroughly skeptical of her father's decision, while Chris never trusted Kim again.
In 1995, Kim begins an affair with Kathy's boyfriend Dave Glover (Ian Kelsey), shortly after Kathy had divorced Chris for having an affair with her best-friend, Rachel Hughes (Glenda McKay). This time Kim is much more ruthless about keeping the affair secret and tramples Kathy's brother Nick with her horse when he threatened to expose her. She also threatens Nick's daughter Alice. When Frank has a heart attack and is advised to take it easy, Kim encourages him to sleep with her in the hope of inducing another heart attack. Kim became pregnant and isn't sure who the father is. When Frank overhears Dave and Biff Fowler (Stuart Wade) discussing the situation, he has another heart attack and ends up in hospital. He then has time to think and decided to pretend not to know about the affair while hiring a private detective to follow Kim and Dave before confronting his wife with the evidence. He also hires scheming Tina Dingle as a secretary in Home Farm who uses to wind Kim up by wearing her dresses that Frank had bought. He offers her a million pounds to dump Dave and name him as the father and Kim accepts. Their son was named James Francis Tate.
However, after bonding with the baby, Kim and Dave resume their relationship, despite the fact that Kathy had forgiven his affair and married him. They plan to run away together, but a fire breaks out at Home Farm and Dave dies in hospital on Boxing Day 1996 of injuries sustained while rescuing baby James. In February 1997, Kim disappears from the village, and a few days later a woman was found dead at the wheel of her car. Frank identifies the body as Kim; however, in May Frank is stunned when Kim returns, revealing she had paid a lookalike prostitute to drive her car around the village to fool people into thinking she was still there (when in fact she had fled to the Caribbean) and that it is her body, not Kim's, that Frank had identified. The shock causes Frank, who had spent time on remand for her murder, to have another heart attack, this time fatal. Kim watches him die, saying "You're a dinosaur Frank – and you know what happened to them", checks he is dead with her compact mirror, then coolly redid her make-up. Chris blames her for his death and swears revenge.
After Frank's will is read out, Kim inherits a half share of Home Farm. She later starts seeing Frank's business partner, Steve Marchant (Paul Opacic), who also had a share in Home Farm, and they soon marry in May 1998. As time went on, however, the couple became on the verge of financial bankruptcy and they soon planned to restore their problems by stealing a horse and selling it after replacing it with an older horse in the hope that no one would notice the difference. In September 1998, Steve stole the horse-box and nearly managed to flee scot-free, until he ended up running over Kathy. He later attempts to kill her in hospital, but Kim stops him after learning about the incident. Once Steve has gone, Kim manages to talk to Kathy when she is alone and reveals the truth about her hit-and-run incident – all the while hiding her involvement behind the plan of stealing horse. Kathy, manipulated by Kim, reports Steve to the police and he is arrested and charged. Steve learns of Kim's betrayal after puzzling the pieces behind her scheme.
On the day of trial in January 1999, when the lawyers begin to question Kathy's validity as a witness for Steve's hit-and-run crime, Kathy herself begins to question how true Kim's words are. For this, and numerous other crooked tricks, the police are soon on Kim's trail. Needing to escape, Kim discovers that Chris has found the money from the robbery that she had buried in Frank's grave. She confronts Chris, tries seducing him, and knocks him out with a paperweight when he is not fooled. Then she confesses that she had indeed, as he speculated, caused his father's death – in precisely the location Chris is lying in. She leaves with her son, James, in a helicopter. The pilot asks her if she is Kim Marchant, and she replies, "No, Kim Tate". Shortly afterwards, her plan to frame Steve for their fraudulent dealings succeeded when he was found guilty; Steve was consequently sentenced to 10 years for Kathy's hit-and-run and 12 months for the crimes Kim had been charged with.
In 2005, she sends flowers to Emmerdale for the funeral of Seth, and it is believed that she has since resided in Ireland. By 2013, Kim was sent to prison and sent James to boarding school.
Kim is released from prison in October 2018 and greeted by Graham Foster (Andrew Scarborough) at the gate, who hands her the keys to Home Farm. Kim finds out that her former step-grandson, Joe (Ned Porteous), has run into financial trouble on the day of his wedding to Debbie Dingle (Charley Webb). Kim arrives in Emmerdale and declares herself the owner of Home Farm once again and demands that Graham get rid of Joe. Instead, Graham packs Joe a bag and gives him £100,000 and demands him to leave Emmerdale before Kim arrives. During the welcome home party, Kim insults and alienates various people, including Kerry Wyatt (Laura Norton), Nicola King (Nicola Wheeler) and Brenda Walker (Lesley Dunlop), and when she goes upstairs, she is pushed from the upstairs balcony by an unseen assailant and plummets onto the champagne fountain below. She is rushed to hospital and survives the incident. Later, Debbie's mother Charity Dingle (Emma Atkins) is arrested on suspicion of pushing Kim as she and Kim were seen arguing during the party after insulting her and Chris's son, Noah (Jack Downham). However, it is later revealed that Debbie's grandmother, Faith Dingle (Sally Dexter), is the real culprit who pushed Kim. After she is discharged from hospital, Kim is detained again for six months for dangerous driving.
In March 2019, Graham picks Kim up from prison and they drive back to Home Farm; however, the car slows down to a complete stop - forcing Graham to go out for help. While waiting, Kim flags down Debbie's father and Faith's son, Cain Dingle (Jeff Hordley) - when he comes across her. At first Cain helps Kim, but the two end up in an argument after he learns who she is. When Graham informs Kim that Cain killed Joe, having falsely claimed to have done the job himself, Kim plans to implicate Cain for Joe's murder. Kim tries to get Cain on her side, but he refuses. Later, Kim finds money has gone missing from an offshore account and catches Graham making a suspicious phone call. Kim does some digging and finds out that Joe is still alive and he withdrew money from Kim's offshore account at an ATM in Monte Carlo. Kim steals Noah's phone and buries it in the woods. Cain goes looking for him and after hearing his phone ring, underneath the soil, he fears that Kim has killed him and begins to dig - only to be caught be the police. Kim then threatens to get Cain imprisoned for Joe's murder if he does not do what she wants. Noah becomes suspicious of Kim and Graham after hearing them talking about Joe. Kim finally tells Cain that Joe is not dead and tries blackmailing him into bed in exchange for her telling the police. Cain chases after Graham and fights him in a field, until his wife Moira Dingle (Natalie J. Robb) intervenes to break up the brawl. Cain agrees to sleep with Kim but bails out at the last minute, enraging Kim. Graham phones Joe to say a final goodbye to him, but as Kim threatens to have him killed, he blackmailed her by saying he will tell Jamie if she does not leave Joe alone. Kim tries to contact Jamie but fails to. Debbie slaps Kim once she learns the truth about Joe.
In April, Jamie arrives in Emmerdale to be interviewed for a job at the vet surgery. Later, Kim forms an unlikely friendship with local vet Rhona Goskirk (Zoe Henry) upon requesting her to find an incentive to keep Jamie at the vets. Kim also decides she wants her son living with her at Home Farm and does her best to persuade him to move in.
Kim has a go at Belle Dingle in May 2019 for lying to her where Jamie is and tells her to get lost, and Lisa Dingle overhears their conversation. Lisa, not having Kim treat Belle like that, tells Kim that she's just a stuck up bitch nobody can stand, and Kim responds by calling Belle a "tramp of a daughter". Kim is later told by Jamie that Lisa is dying, which makes Kim feel bad for how she treated Lisa and Belle. She suggests sending Lisa flowers, which Jamie disagrees with. Kim then suggests getting Belle a "mother and daughter spa voucher", which Jamie also dismisses due to the fact Lisa is dying and doesn't need a Jacuzzi. Kim asks Jamie how she can be better and says she wants to be a proper mom to him but she's out of practice. Kim reveals that all she wants is to spend time with Jamie, with just the two of them and nobody else getting in the way. Jamie tells Kim that nobody forced her to alienate everyone and that she can't change that. Kim tells Jamie she can, and offers Jamie to stay for food and a glass of champagne. Jamie turns down the offer as he has an exam the next day, with Kim offering to help him revise. Jamie refuses and leaves. Some time later, Jamie gives Kim a choice, he will stay at Home Farm but only if she invites Lisa to dinner to make up for being so horrible to her. Kim agrees to do this.
On 3 June 2019, whilst Kim is out riding her horse, Tally, she bumps into Priya. As Kim and Priya are talking, a car comes speeding around the corner. It slows down to pass Kim, Priya and Tally but the horse gets spooked and he bolts, with Kim chasing after him. As Kim walks Tally to the vet's, she spots the car that spooked her horse parked outside Smithy Cottage so she confronts the driver. As Rhona and Jamie walk up Main Street, they spot Kim and the woman having words. As Kim and the woman continue to argue, a little girl jumps from the car and runs into Jamie's arms. A confused Kim demands to know what's going on so Jamie introduces his mum to his daughter, Millie, and his wife, Andrea. A shocked Kim asks Andrea how old she is. Andrea can't believe that's Kim's first question and comments Jamie was right about her. Kim soon realises Andrea doesn't know Jamie is staying with her so she takes glee in informing her of Jamie' current living arrangements.
At Home Farm, Jamie explains to Andrea that he was going to tell her about moving in when he came home. Kim listens to the pair's conversation from the other side of the door and is pleased that they're arguing. Andrea questions what's changed for Jamie to decide to move in with Kim. Jamie states that when all is said and done, Kim is still his mum. He assures Andrea that he's not going to allow Kim to come between them then asks his wife to let him make things up to her. Kim believes Jamie regrets marrying Andrea and that's why he didn't tell anyone about her and Millie although Jamie states he did that as he was protecting his wife and daughter from her. After Jamie has left, Kim reveals to Rhona that Jamie is married with a child and didn't tell her about them. Kim refuses to sit back and let Andrea take her son away from her. Graham Foster later reveals to Kim that he had hired Andrea to keep tabs on Jamie when he was in a bad place and unable to do so himself. But he then lost contact with Andrea, who had genuinely fallen for Jamie and then went on to have a child, Millie, with him. Jamie is blissfully unaware of the arrangement and despite Kim's belief that Andrea is after Jamie's money, Andrea insists that the wealth is of no interest to her, she loves him.
In July 2019, Rishi Sharma made a deal with Kim to help save Sharma & Sharma. Rishi is not happy with the contract Kim has issued him to get the factory out of debt. Realising Kim is his only way out, he reluctantly accepts the offer. During this time, Jamie and Andrea planned to get Kim to sign a contract which cuts her out of a deal. However, Kim found out about their plans through an accidental video call by Millie. With Kim having uncovered Jamie's secret plan to trick her into signing over her share of the vets to him, she was furious and sent Graham over to destroy Rhona's career by coming down hard on the vet surgery. Meanwhile, Kim once again appeared to be having a moment of conscience as Jamie made his weekly threat to leave Home Farm as he is still somehow surprised by his mum's vindictiveness. Determined to keep him in her life, she assured him that he could have her share of the vets with no strings and there'd be no consequences for the other vets, Rhona, Vanessa and Paddy.
In August 2019, Kim became the co-owner of Sharma & Sharma, buying a 49.5% share, after the fire and explosion when the insurance company refused to pay out, causing the Sharmas to no longer be able to afford to pay for the repairs or wages for the workers. She later convinces Nicola King to sell her 1% share to her, giving her the majority control over the business. However, she soon reveals the share was actually bought by her secret business partner, Al Chapman. The pair then unveil their plans to build an outdoor pursuit centre at the factory grounds, to a shocked Jai and the horrified factory workers who fear they'll lose their jobs.
Characterisation and portrayalEdit
Kim is an archetypal soap "superbitch," a ruthless and scheming gold-digger. In the 2014 Channel 5 documentary TV's Nastiest Villains, King explained that as a big fan of the American soap operas Dallas and Dynasty, she realised that British soap operas did not have a "bitch" character at the time and intentionally played up Kim's bitchiness.
In King's autobiography, "Confessions of a Bad Girl', she wrote that Kim was originally going to be married to Chris, but the writers decided that Kim was more interested in the Tate money and would have "cut out the middle man" by marrying Frank.
Speaking about Kim's departure in 1999, series producer Kieran Roberts felt that it would have been wrong to kill off the character as she was the "ultimate survivor". Roberts added that Kim's escape in a helicopter was fitting and signified her triumph over those around her.
On 24 September 2018, it was confirmed that Claire King had reprised her role as Kim Tate after almost twenty years off-screen. Her return aired as part of a "special week" of episodes between 8 and 12 October 2018. King noted that she had been asked to return in the past, but felt the timing was right this time around as there was already another Tate in the show following Joe Tate's (Ned Porteous) return in 2017. King knew about Kim's return about a year before it was announced. To keep the return under wraps, King's name was kept secret on call sheets and scripts, and the actress had to enter the set through a back entrance to avoid fans at the front entrance.
On 12 October 2018, it was confirmed that Kim would be returning permanently in 2019. Speaking about Kim's return, executive producer Jane Hudson said: "Although Kim's initial return was fleeting, she caused such mischief and chaos that we simply couldn't resist bringing her back. Kim Tate is just getting warmed up for an explosive 2019 which will see her hell-bent on getting exactly what, and who, she wants." Kim returned on 14 March 2019.
Kim Tate is considered one of Emmerdale's most "iconic" and "notorious" characters. According to The Independent, Kim's arrival was a turning point for the show: "Suddenly, it was more Dynasty than dales, and Tate threw herself into the role with gusto, cheating on her husband with a younger man, plotting to kill him to inherit his business, etc, etc. The red-top tabloids, used to a diet of EastEnders and Corrie storylines fed to them by the publicists, suddenly woke up to the existence of Emmerdale – it helped when King began a relationship with another actor, who played her stepson." Her original departure from the show on 19 January 1999 was watched by nearly 15 million viewers and won Best Exit at the 1999 British Soap Awards.
According to Radio Times, Kim "basically wrote the book on British soap bitches." The character was featured in the 2001 Channel 4 countdown of the top ten "TV Bitches" (placing 4th) and the 2014 Channel 5 countdown of "TV's Nastiest Villains" (placing 15th). She has appeared in various published lists of the top soap opera villains. Kim came in fifth in a 2003 TVTimes poll of the top soap villains of all time, the highest-ranked female on the list. She was also named one of the top ten most evil soap villains by the Daily Mirror in 2009 and WatchMojo UK in 2018, and came in fourth in a 2016 Digital Spy list of the top ten female soap villains of all time. The character was selected as one of the "top 100 British soap characters" in a 2012 poll run by What's on TV, with readers also voting on "Who is Soap's greatest Legend?" In anticipation of her return in 2018, Metro wrote: "viewers fondly remember soap's biggest superbitch, the woman who killed off her ex husband by merely showing up – and applied her lipstick as he drew his last breaths."
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