Who plays Robert Sugden on Emmerdale?

Everything you need to know about Ryan Hawley

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Ryan Hawley, the fourth actor to play Emmerdale’s Robert Sugden, had ambitions of film directing as a child. Taking Media Studies at A-levels dashed these ambitions, however, and he decided to try acting instead.

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Hawley – who was born in Dubai in 1985, and spent his childhood between the UAE and Sheffield – went on to train at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. 

Upon graduation, he toured with a West End a production of The History Boys, and took on bit parts in television, including medical soap Doctors (2008), medial drama The Royal (2009) and period drama Father Brown (2013). 

According to Hawley, he won the part of villainous Robert in 2014 only after an 18-month long acting dry spell.

During that time, he was forced to take on odd jobs to support himself – such as working as a chef at Wagamama, and fitting fireplaces around London (Eamonn Holmes was one distinguished client).

Hawley now lives in London, with his wife Daisy.


Robert Sugden arrived in Emmerdale in 1986 as a baby, eventually developing a long-time feud with his adoptive brother Andy Hopwood.

He briefly left the village in the summer of 2001, and upon his return began an affair with an older woman, and later with Andy’s wife Katie. His second departure from Emmerdale was in 2005, after accidentally killing Max King.

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Robert re-appeared briefly in 2009 for his father’s funeral, but only returned permanently in 2014 with his new fiancé Chrissie — after which he soon began yet another affair with Aaron Livesy.