Ethan Blake is a curate at Emmerdale's church working alongside vicar Ashley Thomas. Debbie Dingle tries to seduce him but he rebuffs her advances. In October 2004, Debbie's father Cain discovers Debbie has been seeing someone and when Debbie lies that she went to the church, Cain gets the wrong idea and beats up Ethan, believing that he has been sleeping with Debbie. Ashley is disappointed and angry when Ethan confesses he kissed Debbie (when he was actually thinking of fiancee Niamh O'Connor, not Debbie) and is worried when Ethan receives a death threat from Cain. Cain then destroys Ethan's car and attacks Ethan again. Zak and Ashley restrain Cain long enough for Debbie to swear on Noah's life that Ethan never touched her. Cain then leaves Ethan alone, with a badly bruised and bleeding face. Ethan then calls Niamh as he needs a friend. Ethan conducts the funeral of deceased vet Max King in October 2005 while Ashley goes to Israel for three weeks.
Ethan later leaves the village in disgrace after he tried to break up Ashley and his girlfriend Laurel Potts' relationship. He returns a year later with Emily Kirk but does not stay long due to the previous unpleasantness with Ashley.