Tragic news reaches Emmerdale on Thursday 19th September when it’s revealed Rachel Breckle has died. The bombshell is delivered by her former brother-in-law Dan Spencer (Liam Fox) who brings Rachel’s young son Archie back to the village to live with his estranged dad Jai Sharma (Chris Bisson).
It’s an awkward reunion for father and son, who haven’t seen each other in years as relations between Rachel and Jai were never particularly cordial. For those who need their memories jogged about Rachel, who hasn’t been on screen in four years, here’s a quick reminder.
When did Rachel Breckle first appear in Emmerdale?
Feisty, gobby and definitely from the wrong side of the tracks, rough and ready Rachel arrived in July 2011. Her first storyline saw her clash with Sam Dingle over his son Samson’s bullying of her niece Amelia Spencer in primary school, but Rachel and Sam ended up getting close and she moved in with the Dingles.
Members of her extended family were slowly introduced, including her sister (and Amelia’s mum), Ali Spencer, Ali’s lover Ruby Haskell, Ali’s son Sean Spencer and her children’s father Dan.
Unlucky in love and life, Rachel had an unrequited crush on Marlon Dingle and a one-night stand with Jai when he was her boss at the factory. Little Archie, born in 2012, was the result but the parents were constantly at war for custody of the kid. Charity Dingle, embroiled in a messy break-up from Jai at the time, blackmailed Rachel into taking the blame for a fire at Home Farm she planned to pin on innocent Sam and disappeared, ensuring Jai never saw his son again.
Why did she leave Emmerdale?
Driven out by Charity’s revenge plan, Rachel and Archie left in January 2014. Desperate Jai searched for his son and thought he’d found him – but having paid a dodgy investigator to track down and return the child everyone was stunned Rachel made a surprise return in January 2015 with the real Archie in tow: Jai had been conned and the kid he purchased belonged to the man who scammed him!
Rachel had been summoned back as a prosecution witness at Charity’s fraud trial and reconciled with Sam, who thought she’d abandoned him the year before. But troubled Rachel’s temper was out of control and anger issues led to her becoming physically violent towards Sam.
Jai plotted to get Archie back, and Rachel teamed up with Mr Sharma’s then wife Megan Macey revealing her hubby secretly planned to divorce her and hook up with mistress Leyla Harding once he’d got his son.
Megan got cold feet when she discovered she was pregnant, and with Rachel’s abuse of Sam spiralling Ali suggested she and her sister leave the village behind for a fresh start in Liverpool. Rachel, Archie and Ali said their goodbyes in August 2015 (incidentally, Ali died off screen in 2018 as a result of a car crash). Jai’s contact with his boy has lessened in the intervening years…
Who played Rachel Breckle?
Gemma Oaten got her big break playing Rachel, and went on to star in Holby City as nurse Sydney Somers. Rachel’s off-screen death means the door is categorically closed on an Emmerdale return, but fans can catch her in the upcoming comedy drama Made you Look, alongside ex-EastEnders actor Matt Di Angelo (Dean Wicks) and another former Emmerdale cast member James Sutton (he played Ryan Lamb), soon to return to Hollyoaks as John Paul McQueen.
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