Eric arrives in Beckindale in September 1986 and immediately annoys Sandie Merrick, whose mother died in a car accident just weeks before. He made himself very unpopular, even threatening Sandie with a poker whilst drunk. Eric quickly becomes involved in a variety of illegal schemes, often with his equally crooked business associate, Charlie Aindow.
There is little romance in Eric's life until 1992 when he and Elizabeth Feldmann start dating. The relationship surprises many in the village, as two years before, Eric bought the Feldmanns' farm at a knockdown price. Elizabeth's son, Michael is particularly upset but Elizabeth ignores his objections and accepts Eric's proposal, marrying him that September. However, the marriage soon turns sour and when Elizabeth discovers Eric has framed Michael for cheque fraud, she tells him she will be going to the police. On 30th December 1993, Eric goes to Demdyke Row, where Elizabeth is babysitting her granddaughter, Alice Bates, and threatens her to stop her going to the police. However, Elizabeth is determined and leaves the house and Eric follows. Moments later, an aeroplane crashes into Beckindale village and Elizabeth's body is recovered. Michael is convinced that Eric murdered his mother and is determined to prove it; however, when he knocks Eric unconscious during a heated argument, Michael panics he has killed him and leaves the village. Without Michael around, speculation about Elizabeth's death dies down but never goes away completely. Meanwhile, Eileen arrives in Beckindale, having heard about Elizabeth's death and threatens to expose Eric as a bigamist. Knowing this would cost him Elizabeth's estate, Eric agrees to pay Eileen in return for a divorce and her silence.
Despite his reputation for dodgy business deals, Eric persuades Kathy Tate to go into business with him and turns her tea rooms into a wine bar at night. When he goes to the Philippines over Christmas 1996, Eric shocks everyone by returning with a young fiancée. Dee de la Cruz is happy to be Eric's little woman and the pair got married, despite a backlash when Rachel Hughes discovered Dee was a mail-order bride. Dee was surprisingly keen to make the marriage work, convincing Eric that they should put their energy into the business, but Dee got sick of Eric's business woes and paranoia that she would be unfaithful, particularly after she became friendly with Will Cairn. Eric began intercepting letters from Dee's family, assuming they were after money. When Dee learned that her mother had died, and that Eric had never shown her the letters, she decided to go home. Eric threw himself into trying to force Kathy out of the tea rooms, but when he failed and she publicly humiliated him, he became suicidal, planning to set himself alight along with the wine bar/tea rooms. With the help of Marlon Dingle, Eric changed his mind.
In 2000, Eric did a good deed, saving the life of his friend/colleague, Kathy Glover. Suspecting Kathy's boyfriend, Graham Clark, had murdered Rachel Hughes, Eric voiced his worries and had the village doubting him. When he rescued Kathy, he proved to be her hero. It seemed Eric had finally found his perfect woman when he met Gloria Weaver in 2001. Underneath her mild persona, Gloria was hungry for power! Having married Eric in 2002, Gloria pushed him to become mayor and, on their wedding night, encouraged him to sleep with councillor Glynis to secure her nomination. When the scandal broke, thanks to Steph Forsythe, Gloria twisted things so she looked like the wronged wife and took the job, despite the fact it was in Westminster. While away, Gloria had an affair with Hilary, her male researcher. When the fling was exposed, Eric was horrified and threw her out. In despair, Gloria left the village, drunk, and her car and shoes were found later. Convinced she was dead, Eric grieved for her until he received a video of her sipping a cocktail in the sun, saying she was glad to be rid of him.
After many disastrous marriages and relationships, Eric finally met his match in troublemaker Val Lambert. The sparky duo went into business together and let their romance flourish but politics came between Eric and love again. When he decided to run for re-election, Eric realized that a woman like Val could spoil his chances, so they claimed to have split. They planned to reunite after the election, but Eric got carried away in his dismissal of Val and she dumped him. However, the pair continued to work together and it was clear they still had feelings for each other. Eric was horrified by Val was running against him and it looked like any attempt at a reconciliation would be in vain. However, when she realized the damage she was doing to his campaign, Val tried to sabotage her own by admitting her shady past. Eric was touched by the gesture, but horrified that she was still doing better than him. Things worsened when he got tangled up with a local dominatrix and saw his political chances get even worse; however, despite competition from Val's ex-brother-in-law (and former lover), Rodney Blackstock, he still managed to win. Eric soon reverted to type once back in office, taking bribes from Jimmy King.
In 2007, Donna and Marlon Dingle finally had the opportunity to get their dream home. Eric planned to bid too but Eli and Sam stopped him by tying him up and gagging him. Eric was rescued by his son, David, who was amused by what he saw. On 17th December 2007, Eric was driving with Val when he accidentally crashed into another car. The woman driving, Rosalind, instantly fancied him. She revealed she was married and then tried to seduce him. Eric refused and rushed to The Woolpack and proposed to Val and she accepted. Three months later, Eric discovered Rosalind was married to one of his business partners. They went to a hotel together, and when they left (nothing had happened between them) but Rosalind passionately kissed Eric, unaware someone was taking photographs of them from behind a bush. The next morning, Rosalind turned up at Val's Interiors and told Eric she'd received a blackmail letter, with photos of them kissing, demanding £5000 for the blackmailer's silence. They were instructed to leave the money in a phone box in Hotten. Eric managed to get the £5000 but was still blackmailed. At one point he suspected his son, David Metcalfe but then realized his mistake. On 5th May 2008, Eric found out that Rosalind was the blackmailer.
On 3rd June 2008, Eric and Val married in a surprise ceremony coinciding with the final of the Pub of the Year Competition. Eric could not afford the wedding Val wanted so he convinced her family to go along with a surprise wedding which would take place after the Pub of the Year competition; even the tickets to the competition became tickets for the wedding. Val was kidnapped by the Dingles and overheard Eric's true plans. When Eric came to rescue her, they had a furious row and the Dingles dumped them in the village. After some thought, Val did marry Eric. After their marriage, they argue frequently but always make up but Eric was getting deeper and deeper into debt, even getting David to borrow money from Val. When Val finally learnt about his problems, she persuaded the Kings to buy the factory, suggesting they turn it into luxury apartments. Eric let the staff go without telling them of his plans and told Sam that he wished the factory could go up in smoke and, thinking he was serious, he, Eli and Gennie Walker set the factory on fire. Assisted by Val and his staff, Eric moved the factory to the B&B, where he hired some rooms.
Worried about Leyla Harding's constant requests for overtime, Eric tried convincing David that she was a gold digger. David believed him, and as a result, nearly lost her. David moved out of his father's house and, backed by Edna Birch and Alan Turner, decided to run for Eric's council seat. Eric was working with Nathan Wylde to close a public footpath, and Nathan began applying more and more pressure as the campaign continued, causing Eric to have a heart attack. He kept it from David but when he learned the truth, they reconciled as the election returns came in. To David's shock, he had won. Eric wasn't happy but was relieved to no longer have the pressure but struggled to cope with having so much free time and started giving David advice. Edna, however, resented his interference and made him think David felt only pity for him so he started thinking of neighbourhood improvement plans to steal David's thunder. Eric's focus on political and family concerns only exacerbated the damage the recession had done to his business and orders dropped dramatically so he decided to close the factory and sell the sewing equipment but was horrified to find that Val and the Dingles had stolen the machinery and sold it, using the money as redundancy payments. Eric planned to open a funeral parlour but the locals protested about the idea and David convinced him it would be too expensive. He then began looking for a job but didn't have any luck until Val heard that Louise Appleton wanted to sell her share of the B&B. Terry Woods got a loan to buy her out but gave the cash to his girlfriend, Brenda Walker, instead to help her as she had financial difficulties. Terry wasn't pleased to discover that Val and Eric had bought Louise's share, especially when they expected him to do all the work. They soon realised what hard work running a B&B could be and wanting to make their mark on the place, suggested opening a restaurant. Terry agreed cautiously and was also persuaded to hire Sam's "friend", Olena, as a maid - thinking she was Polish and merely wanted money to fund her travels.
In 2010, Eric started receiving letters, messages and cards, claiming to be from his long dead wife, Elizabeth. Originally suspecting the messages were sent by Amy Wyatt, it was revealed on 30 December that the messages had actually been sent by Elizabeth's son, Michael Feldmann. Michael, who had been in and out of jail for years, confronted Eric at Elizabeth's grave and later followed Eric back to The Grange, where he threatened to tell Eric's current wife, Val, about his past. Michael left initially but later told Amy that he wanted Eric to pay him a large sum of money or he would reveal Eric to be a murderer. Eric told Michael to get into his car and he would pay him but instead drove Michael to a remote area and after an argument, Eric produced a tyre iron and threatened Michael. The result of the incident was not revealed as Eric returned alone, appearing on edge and nervous and told Val that he had given Michael a lift to the station. Eric finally revealed the truth to Val - Elizabeth had been killed by falling debris in the plane crash, but he had followed her out of the house that night and had considered killing her. Val was initially horrified; however, when Michael returned on 4th January to confront Eric again, Val revealed she had obtained a copy of the coroner's report, which states that Elizabeth was killed by falling debris. Val suggested Michael must have seen the report too, telling him it was time to stop blaming Eric. He agreed and after a calm discussion, Eric persuaded Michael to take the money he had asked for anyway and use it to start again. Michael then left the village.
When Val and Eric discover that Amy had had a baby and they hadn't known she was pregnant, they forgive her for keeping it a secret and they discuss Amy's suggestion of putting the baby, whom she later named Kyle, adopted. Val was against the idea but Eric told Amy that he will support her, regardless of what decision she makes. Val isn't happy with Eric's choice to defend Amy and despite her doubts, Kyle is adopted but Amy is told that she cannot have any contact with him. Val forgives Amy but blames Eric for not backing her up and goes to visit her son, so Eric begins drinking heavily and getting frustrated with the guests staying at the B&B. When Amy and Eric receive a message that Val has left Eric a message telling him to pick her up at the airport the next day but when they arrive, Val isn't there as she's decided to stay with a friend with no word on when or even if she is returning. Amy tries her hardest to keep running the B&B but Eric argues with a guest that is celebrating their birthday at the B&B and they get a bad review. Diane tells Eric and Amy that Val may not return to the village and that she has also emptied their bank account, indicating that she has no plans to return. After weeks of hoping Eric will come to his senses, Amy snaps and stands up to him but he sacks her and Victoria from the B&B but after a long discussion with Amy, he reinstates her and Victoria and sobers up. Eric makes friends with and later starts dating Brenda, which makes him happy, but displeases Amy until David talks her round. While having dinner with Brenda, Amy and other guests, Val suddenly returns and wonders what is happening as she thought she'd be welcomed with open arms but Eric asks his guests to leave before he and Amy have a massive argument with Val over her abandoning them. Later, Eric is forced to choose between Brenda and Val, and after some advice from his son and Amy, Pollard chooses Brenda despite admitting he still feels a spark with Val. Eric and Val eventually try to reconcile, but again split when Val is devastated by Amy's departure from the village. Val goes on holiday.
When a returned Val becomes distant following another reconciliation, Eric has a drunken one-night stand with Diane. Eric and Diane are humiliated by Val in the Woolpack, and shocked to soon learn of her HIV fears. While they both come back with negative results, Val learns she is HIV-positive. Eric and Val cope with her diagnosis and he supports Val as she embraces the idea of being an "HIV ambassador."
Eric begins spending much of his time worrying about David and David's wife Alicia in the face of her sexual assault by Lachlan White. David and Alicia decide to sell their shop and leave the village, but struggle to find a buyer. Val becomes desperate to go on an expensive holiday with Eric, and poses as Brenda as part of a scam with Bob to forge Brenda's name on loan papers so that Bob can buy the shop. When Brenda finds out, she turns Val and Bob into the police. Eric has a heart attack upon learning the truth, and Val worries about what will happen to him if she's gone. She contracts a plan to fake her own death, with Eric joining her after some time playing the charade. She and Diane are soon at loggerheads, and Eric, along with Rodney and Doug, lock them in a mirror maze to settle their differences. Unfortunately, a helicopter crashes into the village and the sisters are trapped in the maze, with Rodney, Doug and Eric away drinking at the Malt Shovel, unaware of what is happening. By the time they return, Val is dead - for real. Eric plunges into an extended grieving period, plotting revenge against Chrissie White for her role in the helicopter crash, pushing his friends and family away, and ultimately boarding himself up in the house he shared with Val. Only when Ashley Thomas breaks through to him at Christmas does he truly move on from Val and let people back into his life.
"Morning. You are?" (first line, to Sandie Merrick)
"You don't wanna be here." (to Marlon as he attempts to set light to the diner)
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