Emmerdale: who is Joe Tate? Tom’s true identity explained

Chris Tate’s son is all grown up but why does he want revenge on Charity Dingle?

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Emmerdale’s Tom Waterhouse has revealed his true identity – he’s Joseph Tate, heir apparent to his dastardly deceased dad Chris.

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Ending months of speculation about what the enigmatic entrepreneur’s secret agenda was, Joe came clean tonight as he evicted Debbie and cruelly told her their courtship was all an act to destroy the Dingles who he blames for his dad’s death – especially Charity.

It’s been over a decade since we last saw him, so here’s a handy reminder of the life story (so far) of Tom/Joe…

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Who is Joe Tate?

Joseph Mark Tate is the orphaned son of wealthy bad boy Chris Tate and girl next door Rachel Hughes, and was born in June 1995.

What happened to his mum?

Rachel became the second Mrs Christopher Tate six months after the birth of their son. The marriage collapsed two years later and young Joe lived with his mother until she was murdered by creepy lover Graham Clark who threw her off a cliff in 1999. Joe then returned to living with his dad.

What happened to his dad?

How long have you got? Villainous Chris, one of the most complex, conniving characters in Emmerdale history, married gold-digging prostitute Charity Dingle in 2001, despite her confession she’d had a secret lesbian fling with his sister Zoe. Chris and Charity’s dysfunctional roller coaster romance self-destructed in 2003 (two years was obviously the man’s marriage limit) when she cheated on him with cousin Cain after they were reunited with their secret love child, Debbie. Learning he had an inoperable brain tumour, Chris took his own life in front of his wife, framing her for his murder as a final act of revenge.

What did Joe do after his parents died?

Orphaned Joe had spent much of his childhood away at boarding school, but after his father’s death he was put in his aunt Zoe’s care. At the age of 10, Zoe took her nephew, along with her young daughter Jean, and emigrated to New Zealand, blowing up the Tates’ cursed residence Home Farm as a parting gift to new tenants the Kings who had blackmailed their way into the big house.

When did we last see him?

Joe’s last appearance was in September 2005, when he left the village with Auntie Zoe and has barely been mentioned since. Zoe’s departure marked the end of an era for Emmerdale as the popular Tate family had been the focus of numerous high-profile plots since their arrival in 1989, including sly Kim’s scheming and eventual slaying of hubby Frank, Chris’s ruthless antics and Zoe’s battles with mental health.

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Why has he come back posing as someone else?

Bitter Joe has clearly been plotting vengeance on Charity, who he holds responsible for his father’s demise, for years and has gone to great lengths to inveigle his way into her life, inventing a fake identity in the form of handsome magnate ‘Tom Waterhouse’ so as to avoid detection and targeting Charity’s daughter Debbie to inflict maximum pain on his wicked stepmother. Since meeting Debbie last year and quickly mixing business with pleasure by buying her affections, Joe has kept his true identity and agenda a secret until now. Having finally got Deb where he wanted he’s played his hand and taken everything back he ever gave her – including a roof over her head. Talk about a masterplan.

What’s his next move?

Now that’s the big question. Hinting to confidant Graham Foster “this is only the beginning,” Joe is only just getting started. And with Home Farm soon to be vacant when the Whites depart, are we to assume Joe will reclaim Emmerdale’s most prestigious address for the Tate dynasty? What about Zoe, and cousin Jean? Are they aware of his convoluted revenge plan? Could we be seeing them again? And what’s the deal with Graham and the history of the boys’ relationship?

Visit our dedicated Emmerdale page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers

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This article was originally published on 4 January 2018