Faith Dingle's (Sally Dexter) final Emmerdale scenes aired tonight, in one of the show's most devastating deaths yet. We had expected an unforgettable last performance, but what unfolded was a masterclass in acting from stars Dexter and Jeff Hordley, who plays Cain.


At the centre of Faith's terminal cancer storyline was her complicated relationship with her son. Cain has spent most of his life resenting her for leaving him - and half-sister Chas (Lucy Pargeter) - with the violent Shadrach as children while she started a new life.

Despite her mistakes, Faith's unwavering adoration for Cain was always present. It was only through the knowledge that they were running out of time together that Cain was able to finally make his peace with her.

As Faith's cancer spread further, she suffered from distressing bouts of confusion that led her to believe that Cain was her abusive ex-husband.

Jeff Hordley as Cain Dingle in Emmerdale.
Jeff Hordley as Cain Dingle in Emmerdale. ITV

Only then did Cain truly understand her trauma regarding their unsettling past, and this paved the way for some softer, heartwarming moments between them.

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But Cain had no idea that his mother was determined not to let cancer dictate how she left this world. And when his wife, Faith's confidant Moira (Natalie J Robb), suspected that Faith was carrying out her last wish alone, she ensured that she and Cain reached Faith's side.

While Faith's veiled goodbyes to friends and family were poignant and touching, it was those two-handers between her and Cain that shaped the episode. The wordless hug they shared early on was already enough to make us weep - but then came the moment Cain found Faith close to death in her bed.

Every wall Cain had built up around him crumbled as he begged her to keep fighting with a broken uttering of "Mummy". We've seen Cain vulnerable only a handful of times, but this powerful display saw Cain's soul laid bare in a way it had never been before.

Hordley delivered his most powerful performance to date, and it will surely be Cain's grief that Emmerdale viewers will be following most closely in the coming weeks.

Cain, Moira and dying Faith in Emmerdale
Cain (Jeff Hordley) shared a heartbreaking goodbye with mum Faith (Sally Dexter). ITV

Of course, another notable factor in the aftermath will be Chas's absence, with Faith's daughter too busy continuing her awful affair with Al Chapman (Michael Wildman) to check her phone. Then there's the inevitable fallout of Moira's prior knowledge.

But for now, the spotlight remains firmly on Faith and Cain, and that was just as it should be. Cain had been on the brink of telling his mum just how much he loved her during a special dance on the village's makeshift seaside, only to be cut off at the crucial moment. But if ever there was a time for him to declare it, this was it - and Cain cradled Faith as he added that she had always "smiled with her eyes".

For all the things left unsaid, Emmerdale ensured that these characters were given the farewell they deserved as Faith took her final breaths.

There was also suitable screen-time dedicated to Faith's persona. She was the life and soul of any party, mischievous with a permanent glint in her eye - and her swansong was no different as the one-liners were out in full force.

It's hard to believe that Dexter only took on the role in 2017. From the moment she stepped into Faith's shoes, she has been a delight to watch as Faith caused chaos around her while still managing to forge long-lasting bonds.

From her relationship with Moira to her romance with Eric Pollard (Chris Chittell) and her frank discussions on mortality with great-granddaughter Sarah Sugden (Katie Hill), Faith always lit up the screen whatever the scenario.

Emmerdale has more death and destruction on the way as it marks its 50th anniversary with a blistering storm, but for all the stunts and shocks, the show has already raised the bar with this emotional piece of drama that focused solely on family.

Emmerdale has partnered with Dignity in Dying on Faith's storyline. You can also find help and support at Samaritans.

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