Emmerdale's Moira Dingle (Natalie J Robb) is set to receive a new reminder of the traumatic loss of daughter Holly Barton, and it's all down to the involvement of newcomer Suzy Merton (Martelle Edinborough).


The ITV soap recently revealed that Suzy knew Holly, as she had hired her as a photographer for weddings. But there's much more to it than that, as Moira could be set to discover.

Holly's passing is one of the most dramatic deaths in Emmerdale history, as our quick recap explains:

When did Holly Barton first appear in Emmerdale?

Party-loving schoolgirl Holly, played by Sophie Powles, moved to the village in 2009 with the rest of her family - mum Moira, dad John, brother Adam and sister Hannah, who later transitioned to become Matty. After an ill-fated romantic dalliance with a still-closeted Aaron Dingle, she started dabbling in recreational cocaine use - which eventually led to full-on heroin addiction.

As the Bartons fell apart thanks to Moira's affair with Cain Dingle, Holly's dependence on drugs increased to the point where she started stealing, and ultimately herself for sex to fund her habit. Her parents forced her to go cold turkey after she collapsed, but just as she was trying to get clean her dad John was killed in a car crash in February 2012.

Grief caused Holly to relapse and she overdosed again. Ironically it was Cain who found her and saved her life, redeeming himself from being blamed for destroying the Bartons by bedding Moira, indirectly fuelling Holly's unhappiness.

After getting clean again she moved to London with Hannah in June 2012 to take up a new job as a trainee designer.

When did Holly Barton die?

Holly returned in March 2016 on the run from a drug dealer, having relapsed once more in the intervening four years. The next six months saw her try and get her life back on track with the help of her beleaguered mum, now married to Cain, and beginning an affair with fellow recovering addict Jai Sharma.

More like this

Unfortunately she couldn't keep the demons at bay, and in September 2016 she was found dead in her sleep following an overdose of heroin.

The character's death came as a huge bombshell to viewers as it was not publicised prior to transmission, so no one had any idea Powles was leaving the cast. This gave Holly's sudden exit added shock value, and Robb's raw performance as grieving Moira earned widespread praise.

Holly's legacy continued as her drug dealer Simon McManus returned in 2018 when Debbie Dingle paid him to intimidate ex-lover Joe Tate, only for Ross Barton (Holly's cousin) to end up as the victim of the attack in a case of mistaken identity. Sinister Simon also used acid in the assault, taking things much further than Deb intended.

Cain eventually got hold of Simon and tortured him, delivering a stark threat to leave his family alone after all the trouble he'd caused them.

What happened to Holly Barton?


The circumstances leading to Holly's overdose had always been a mystery - until a shocking connection was unearthed. Suzy confided in Leyla Cavanagh (Roxy Shahidi) upon learning that Holly was Moira's daughter and that she had died. She realised that the very last time she saw Holly was the night of her death, leaving her horrified.

Unaware that Holly was an addict, Suzy had given her cash and sent her to a dealer for cocaine - and after telling Holly she could get some for herself, Suzy was furious when the young woman scored some heroin instead. As a result, Suzy unleashed her rage at Holly and never saw her again. Suzy considered coming clean to Moira, but Leyla persuaded her not to out of selfishness over her own secret drugs shame.

But as Take A Vow partners with The HOP to put on a showcase, Moira is in attendance when a photo of Holly suddenly appears during the slideshow. Suzy will be forced to admit she used to work with Holly - but will she tell Moira everything?

The latest issue of Radio Times magazine is on sale now – subscribe now and get the next 12 issues for only £1. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to the Radio Times podcast with Jane Garvey.


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