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What happened to Zoe Tate in Emmerdale? History and exit explained

All you need to know on the former villager.

Leah Bracknell as Zoe Tate in Emmerdale Farm in 1989.
Tim Roney / Getty Images
Published: Wednesday, 17th August 2022 at 5:30 pm
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Zoe Tate (Leah Bracknell) was one of Emmerdale's most prominent characters throughout the '90s and beyond.

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Arriving in the village with her father Frank (Norman Bowler), brother Chris (Peter Amory) and stepmother Kim (Claire King), Zoe debuted as a trainee vet but went on to be involved in some powerful storylines in her time on the ITV soap.

Zoe departed after nearly 16 years on-screen, but there are still a few Tates lingering around the Dales these days. Kim is still ruling Home Farm; Zoe's nephew Noah Dingle (Jack Downham) has been causing trouble and her half-brother Jamie Tate (Alexander Lincoln) faked his own death and is surely bound to pop up again one day!

But if you're wondering what happened to this particular member of the Tate clan, look no further. RadioTimes.com has compiled this handy guide for all you need to know about Zoe.

What happened to Zoe Tate in Emmerdale?

Once Zoe qualified as a vet, she joined a surgery in nearby Hotten; but when she was offered a job as a flying vet in New Zealand, she said her goodbyes. The following year, Zoe returned to support dad Frank who was drinking heavily in the wake of his messy split with Kim. After flings with a couple of the village's male residents, Zoe revealed that she was gay and she later met a woman called Emma Nightingale (Rachel Ambler), embarking on a serious relationship with her.

With same-sex marriage still illegal at the time, the couple chose to have a blessing ceremony. But when Emma's ex-girlfriend Susie Wilde (Louise Heaney) arrived, Zoe fell for her and left Emma soon after. Zoe and Susie split when Susie had an affair with another woman, and Zoe focused her efforts on setting up a local vet practice with Paddy Kirk (Dominic Brunt).

Later, though, romance was back on Zoe's mind as she began dating Sophie Wright (Jane Cameron). Sophie was the nanny to James (now better known as Jamie), Kim's son by the now deceased Frank – but the relationship ended when Zoe wished to have children while Sophie did not.

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Amid other romances, Zoe committed murder when she shot Liam Hammond (Mark Powley), who had kidnapped Chris and revealed he was Frank's illegitimate son. Zoe and Chris tried to cover up the crime, but inevitably the truth came out. However, the circumstances of Zoe's actions saw the jury conclude it was a lawful killing.

Chris soon moved girlfriend Charity Dingle (Emma Atkins) into Home Farm, much to Zoe's annoyance – but she was attracted to Charity and the pair began an affair. But their liaison turned sinister when Zoe became obsessed with Charity, leading to the end of their passion. When Zoe blackmailed her, the latter told Chris everything, and he ultimately chose Charity.

Zoe then became depressed, and after thinking she was speaking to her late father, she set fire to the church. She was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia after being sectioned and learned she was pregnant. She had slept with Scott Windsor (Ben Freeman) but, due to her illness, had no memory of the event. She considered abortion, then adoption, but Zoe later chose to keep baby Jean.

As Scott realised that he was Jean's father, Zoe believed that he had raped her – but she came to understand that she willingly had sex with Scott before her diagnosis.

Chris then framed Charity for his murder when he took his own life, and Charity realised that Zoe knew what had really happened. But Zoe still testified against her in court, although down the line Charity bargained that she would give her custody of baby Noah in exchange for evidence of Chris's suicide. However, Zoe was refused when attempting to adopt Noah, who was later given back to his mum.

How did Zoe Tate exit Emmerdale?

Leah Bracknell
Leah Bracknell as Zoe Tate in Emmerdale. Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

When Zoe humiliated Scott, he tried to rape her and she stopped him by injecting him with ketamine, before injecting him a second time which got her arrested for attempted murder. Jean's nanny Effie Harrison (Phillipa Peak) confessed her feelings for Zoe, and Zoe planned to go on the run with her, Jean and nephew Joseph (who fans would later meet as an adult played by Ned Porteous).

But Effie betrayed her and Zoe's scheme was foiled. She stood trial, being freed only when good friend Paddy defended her on the stand. But her last scenes were just around the corner.

After being found not guilty, Zoe was still planning to leave for New Zealand, but Scott took a shotgun and held her hostage at Home Farm. He tried to take Jean, but Scott's mum Viv Hope (Deena Payne) put a stop to this and prevented him from hurting anyone further. Zoe was able to get Jean and Joseph to safety and make amends with Viv, letting her know she would always be welcome to visit her granddaughter.

Estate manager Callum Rennie (Andrew Whipp) assisted Zoe with her exit, even helping her break a gas pipe at the house. They set a timer to go off inside Home Farm and the place went up in flames just as new owners the Kings arrived, and Callum was driving Zoe away from the scenes.

In the rear-view mirror, Zoe watched on as the carnage continued. It was one of Emmerdale's most iconic exits ever, and Zoe certainly hasn't been forgotten as Paddy spoke fondly of her when her half-brother Jamie took a place at the surgery several years later.

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Emmerdale airs on weekdays at 7:30pm on ITV and ITV Hub. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide.

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