Elizabeth 'Betty' Eagleton (née Pendagast) is one of the village busybodies. She likes to know everyone's business and is a shameless gossip. You're most likely to find her listening at doors or peering over a fence. However, she's a good friend and very loyal, but watch out because she can hold a grudge and is not one to be crossed.
Betty left Beckindale in the early 1950s to work as a tiller girl in London but returned and married old school friend, Wally Eagleton, in 1954. After 39 years of marriage, Wally died in 1993 and Betty returned to Beckindale after living in Filey.
1994–2003: Return to the villageEdit
As Betty arrived in 1994, she soon became known as a gossip. A former flame of Seth Armstrong, she came to town, looking for him. Betty soon settled in and hosted a 1940s theme night in The Woolpack at Christmas 1994. Betty stood up for what she believed in and even tried to stop Zoe Tate's lesbian wedding in 1996.
In 2000, her ex Reggie came to the village. It transpired that Betty and Reggie dated while she was working in the Windmill Theatre in London. On the day she went to tell him she was expecting their baby, she found him in bed with another woman and had an abortion. Unfortunately, this left her unable to have children but kept this to herself. Reggie tried to blackmail Betty by threatening to tell Seth but Betty told him herself and Seth drove Reggie out of the village.
2004-2005: Seth's deathEdit
In 2004, Betty decided to visit her friend, Kathy Brookman, in Australia and went on a long holiday. Seth joined her but she got homesick and returned to Emmerdale alone several months later. She spent a lot of time with Seth in Australia. On Christmas Eve, Betty got the best present when Seth sang "Silent Night" to her over an Internet connection. However, on his way home, Seth died on the aeroplane. Betty was waiting at the airport when Kathy broke the bad news.
During Seth's funeral, Betty took Seth's coffin and buried it in the countryside, helped by Laurel Thomas, Zak Dingle and Sam Dingle. A fake coffin, containing a sack of sand, was buried in the Emmerdale cemetery. The funeral also saw the return of Betty and Seth's former lodger, Biff Fowler. Soon after, Alan Turner moved in with Betty.
2005-2006: Terence's returnEdit
After lamenting a lack of contact with his son, Terence, Betty found him and persuaded him to visit. It was revealed that Terence had sexually abused his sister, Steph, as a child. Unable to accept this, Alan lashed out at Betty and moved into Holdgate Farm with Terence. Alan later realised the truth and returned to live with Betty. Terence went missing soon after this and Steph claimed that her new husband, Adam, murdered him. It emerged that she was telling the truth but nobody believed her as Adam poisoned her and then had her sectioned. She forfeited her freedom by claiming they murdered him together and they were both sentenced to life imprisonment.
2008: Donald's death and meeting Lionel BlairEdit
As Betty and Alan struggled to get over this, a new person entered Betty's life, Sandy Thomas - the father of local vicar, Ashley Thomas. Ashley and Sandy didn't get on and following an argument, Sandy moved in with Betty and Alan. Recently Betty's dog Charlie died and she decided to scatter the dog's ashes over Seth's burial place. In June 2008, Betty told Laurel that she was like "the daughter she never had". Betty has discovered Donald De Souza's body, joined the church choir and was locked in a small room during a singing competition for several hours in December 2008.
In 2008, Viv Hope organises a dance competition for charity and manages to get Lionel Blair as a judge which amazes Betty and she is honoured when Lionel asks Betty for a twirl, which she agrees and they dance in front of everyone.
2009-2010: The chutney situation and Mark's deathEdit
In March 2009, Jamie Hope asked Betty to make a batch of chutney to send to Louise Appleton in Australia. Betty obliged, and spent hours making several jars. The following day, while cleaning at Home Farm she was tired, and Nathan Wylde told Natasha that Jamie had delivered a batch of chutney. Betty had a funny turn and on examining the chutney, saw that Jamie had put a different label on, replacing hers. Betty decided to get revenge on Jamie and Bob, who was also in on it, recalling the chutney. She claimed that it had made Alan ill and promised to make another batch, making a disgusting alternative. She gave it to Jamie, who took it to Home Farm. Nathan unwittingly tasted a spoonful and it made him sick, leading Natasha to insist that Jamie taste it too and warned him not to pull a stunt like that again. Betty admitted what she had done and wanted free tea and cakes in the café as compensation. However, Rodney Blackstock pointed out that she may have missed an opportunity with the Wyldes but Betty eventually made a deal with Natasha and she produced chutney under the Home Farm brand for a while.
When Mark Wylde's body was found, Betty thought it might have been Seth's and admitted to Alan that they buried him in Home Farm grounds and sandbags were buried at the cemetery.
2011-2013: Fire and holidaysEdit
In January 2011, the fire that spread through Emmerdale spread to Betty's house. She was saved by the residents and was taken to hospital due to her intake of the smoke. Her friends Edna, Pearl and Alan all helped Betty recover and she is now fighting fit, being observant and back to gossiping. In June 2011, Chas Dingle overheard Betty and Val Pollard gossiping over Hazel Rhodes and Aaron Livesy helping Jackson Walsh to die. A fuming Chas told Betty she had no idea what she was talking about so Betty returned to her sherry.
Betty later went on a cruise for six months and returned in July 2012. In September 2012, Betty is seen in the cafe and asks Victoria Sugden to help her on Facebook. The following month, Betty attends the wedding venue of Declan and Katie Macey and has a dance with Sandy, this is during the live episode of the show. She also sold her house to Victoria with herself and Alan as sitting tenants. This has caused some problems, particularly when Victoria insisted on swapping bedrooms with Alan but has done a lot of repair work that Alan and Betty are no longer capable of. It was reported in March 2013 that Betty had gone on a cruise.
2013-2014: Alan's death and the new vicarEdit
Betty was saddened when Alan died in October 2013. Alan had recently returned from a biker tour and was very tired that evening. She let him sleep and was shocked to find him dead to following day, having died in his sleep. Together, along with Victoria, Sandy, Edna Birch, and Pearl Ladderbanks, they arranged a fitting funeral for him, and were shocked when his daughter, Steph, returned after a 7-year absence. Betty was on the judging panel who decided who the next vicar of Emmerdale would be; either Ashley (who had originally been the vicar between 1996 and 2011) or newcomer Harriet Finch. Although Edna and Pearl (the other judges) were keen for Ashley to return, Betty felt that Harriet possessed the qualities of a new vicar who could modernise the church. After Harriet tackled Sean Spencer, who was trying to make money by stealing lead off the church roof (much to Ali Spencer's dismay), Betty asked her to teach her too. Harriet does and Betty uses Dan Spencer as a test subject. However, she accidentally slaps him in the eye, much to Harriet and Diane Sugden's amusement, but Dan's annoyance. 2014 brought good news for Ruby Haswell, Ali's girlfriend, when she fell pregnant, but tried to keep it a secret from Betty, who after spending nearly 20 years in Emmerdale, had truly earned a reputation as a gossip.
2014-2015: Departure to AustraliaEdit
Betty was delighted in April 2014, when grieving Dom Andrews believed she posted a large amount of money through his letterbox following the death of his daughter, Gemma. Dom repaid Betty with a passionate kiss on the lips, as a stunned Ruby, Edna and Harriet look on. Betty was later seen singing to herself in the café following the kiss. In July 2014, she heads on a cruise around New Zealand by herself. She was due back in January but rang Victoria to say she was now travelling around New Zealand by bus and would be back in March. In April, Edna and Pearl are talking when Pearl reveals that Betty has now travelled to Australia. Betty returns in May 2015, and witnesses an argument between Sam and his stepmother, Lisa. She is furious when Victoria explains that she stopped reading her emails because she found them boring, and Betty reveals that she is leaving Emmerdale and plans to move back to Australia. She storms out after a public argument with Victoria, though they make up shortly before she leaves. On the day of her departure, Laurel finds Betty beside Seth's burial place and Betty tells her to clean up her act, after learning that Laurel is an alcoholic. A crowd gathers as Betty says goodbye to everyone, before her lover, Reuben Archibald, arrives in a limousine to take her away.
Betty never attended Edna's funeral in May 2016, nor Ashley's in April 2017. Betty was mentioned in February 2018, when her friend Maisie visits Sandy on her behalf. Sandy was delighted when Maisie reveals she managed to sneak Betty's fruitcake on the flight.
"Afternoon miss, I'll have a sweet sherry please." - First line to Shirley Turner.