John Jacob "Jack" Sugden is the son of Annie and Jacob Sugden and is one of Emmerdale's longest-serving characters. From the early days, Jack seems to be a very rebellious and self-righteous character, who cares little for others' views. He also has numerous flings with different women and failed marriages, due to his infidelity. Jack is also an intelligent and articulate man but shown to be secretive from his family too. As time passed and Jack became a father, he has matured much more. He has firmly secured his roots in farming, which he originally tried so hard to escape from. Jack is still a man of principles and of pride, which can sometimes be his biggest weakness. His adoptive grandson is named after him.
Jack and Ruth Harker (later Pat) had been childhood sweethearts. He got Ruth pregnant in 1964, just before he left Beckindale for London, with Ruth giving birth to a son, Jackie, in November that year. Jack and Pat finally married in 1982, but it came under strain when the truth came out that Jackie was Jack's son. Further strain came when Jack had an affair with Karen Moore. The two reconciled and Pat gave birth to a son, Robert, in April 1986. Tragedy struck four months later when Pat was killed in a car accident when she was driving back from dropping her sister Janie back to the train station and swerved off the road to avoid a flock of sheep.
Jack eventually developed a relationship with mobile librarian Sarah Connolly in 1988. They moved in together in 1990. After several proposals of marriage, Jack and Sarah finally married in May 1994. Shortly after the adoption of troubled child Andy Hopwood and the Sugdens moved to a new farm in 1997, the marriage came under strain, particularly when Jack had an affair with Rachel Tate. Further arguments occured over financial disagreements and when Sarah embarked on an affair with their lodger Richie Carter. She left Jack and a bitter custody battle ensued. Things reached a climax when Sarah was killed after Andy set fire to a barn so Jack could claim on the insurance when the family suffered from financial problems.
In 2000, Jack had developed a close relationship with The Woolpack's landlady Diane Blackstock, while he was having problems with his marriage to Sarah. Jack and Diane eventually married in September 2004. The marriage came under strain in 2007 when Diane confessed to an affair with Andy's father Billy. Jack struggled to forgive Diane for her infidelity, but they reconciled shortly before Jack visited Annie in Spain, where he remained until his death from a heart attack in February 2009.
1947-1972: Younger yearsEdit
Jack Sugden was born in 1947 at Emmerdale Farm in Beckindale. He left the village in the spring of 1964 after a row with father Jacob over intensive farming, wanting to see more of the world than Beckindale, and went to London. He had unknowingly got his childhood sweetheart Ruth Harker (also known as Pat) pregnant. She married local thug Tom Merrick that year and tricked him into think the baby was his, by telling him the baby was premature. Sometime in the mid to late 1960s Jack met and married Lynn Wallace. Shortly afterwards he wrote and published his best seller The Field Of Tares.
1972-1976: The prodigal son returnsEdit
In October 1972, Jack heard his father had died and returned to Emmerdale Farm for the funeral. At the same time, Jack and his brother Joe, began to show a romantic interest in Marian Wilks, daughter of local business man, Henry Wilks. Henry took an instant dislike to Jack but looked more kindly on Joe as he taught Marian how to fish. Annie accused Marian of playing them off against each other. Jack told Marian to put Joe straight as he was trying to learn more to try and impress her. Eventually Jack and Marian got together but Marian was suspicious when her father told he he had seen Jack with a woman at a hotel in Hotten and demanded to know who she was. Jack explained that she was his wife, Lynn, whom he married in London and they were discussing their divorce. Trouble for the young couple came in the form of Ruth and Tom Merrick. Jack hired Tom as a farmhand but Matt Skilbeck complained Tom was lazy and hardly did any work, Jack confronted Tom and fired him. Tom, however, had some information that threatened Jack and Marian's relationship. Merrick blackmailed Jack and said if he insisted on firing him, he would tell Marian the truth about his and Ruth's son, Jackie. Tom had become suspicious about who Jackie's father was after looking at photos of Jackie who looked very like Jack. Tom's suspicions weren't helped by the fact that he was named John Jacob, after Jack. He knew Ruth and Jack had had a relationship which ended just before Jackie was born and when Jack went to London, she married Tom. Jack, however, refused to be blackmailed and did not know if Jackie was his son so Jack fired Tom from his job. Marian later found out and a strain was put on their relationship. Ruth and Tom left Beckindale. The Sugden family were curious about Jack's newfound wealth. They later discovered Jack had written a book which had been successful. Marian was curious about Jack's novel and borrowed a copy from his school friend, Frank Blakey. Marian found it a good book but wasn't impressed with the sexist views shown in it. With his money, Jack battled with Henry Wilks over a piece of land Harry Jameson, an old friend of Jacob Sugden, was selling. Harry was trying to get them to boost their offers but Jack knew he needed the money quickly and Harry accepted Jack's offer. Jack planned to move into the old mill, which was situated on the land, and do it up. He consulted a solicitor and arranged for the Farm to be given to Annie, Joe, Peggy and their grandfather, Annie's father, Sam Pearson but Sam did not want the responsibility and sold his share to Henry. After his sister, Peggy, Jack went to Italy in October 1973, a year after returning.
Jack returned in March 1976 after he suffered from writer's block and after some words of wisdom from Annie, he left Beckindale once again.
1980-1986: Return and marriage to Pat MerrickEditJack returned in February 1980 and vowed to stay for good this time as he wanted to settle down. In October 1982, Jack married his childhood sweetheart Pat Merrick, previously known as Ruth, now a single mother. Unknown to Jack, Jackie was indeed his son and when the truth came out, it put a lot of strain on their marriage. Further pressure was added when Jack began an affair with local newspaper reporter Karen Moore. When she found out, Pat demanded that he choose between her and Karen. Jack decided to try and make his marriage work and chose Pat. Pat was killed in a car crash in August 1986, leaving Jack to bring up their four month old baby son, Robert alone.
1988-1996: Relationship with Sarah ConnollyEdit
After being single for a while, Jack met mobile librarian Sarah Connolly in 1988. However, Marian returned to Beckindale in 1988 to visit her father. Jack decided to live with her in Italy and left. He returned briefly for Joe's wedding to Kate Hughes in April 1989, but returned permanently in August, shortly after Jackie accidentally killed himself. In November, Jack got a job at a fish & chip shop in Hotten. However, his time there was cut short when he was left appalled by the poor treatment his colleague Donna got from the manager Sid Flower. When Donna burned herself, Jack tore right into Sid in front of customers when Sid referred to Donna's burn as 'just a splash'. He then got revenge for Donna by pouring beans all over Sid and quit, referring to Sid as a 'great lump of lard'. Jack and Sarah moved in together in 1990 although not before Sarah boarded up the connecting door to the farm house to stop Annie from wandering in. Jack made many attempts to make his relationship with Sarah more official by proposing to her every year which she always turned down.
1993 was a big year for Jack as the Emmerdale Farm house was found to be collapsing from subsidence resulting in the Sugdens having to vacate he building after 140 years upsetting Annie who insisting the new farm be renamed Emmerdale. Jack was upset when Annie became engaged to Leonard Kempinski whom she had met on holiday but they reconciled before their marriage in October. In December, Jack became a hero during the plane crash by rebuilding the collapsed bridge with Frank Tate so that the emergency services could cross. Jack's mother Annie and brother Joe were both injured in the accident and Annie was in a coma. 1994 became just as eventful Sarah gave birth to a daughter, Victoria and Victoria's crying brought Annie out of her coma. Sarah and Jack married in May 1994 and Beckindale was renamed Emmerdale in honour of the Sugden family.
In June 1995, Jack was devastated by his brother Joe's death in a car crash in Spain shortly after the family had visited him and Annie on holiday. Jack travelled to Spain and brought Joe's body back to the village for burial. As Joe lay in wake at the farm, Jack broke down in tears by his brother's coffin and was unable to attend the funeral as he was ill with a bad back.
1996-2000: Marriage problemsEditIn late 1996 the Sugdens were under pressure by Frank Tate to sell the farm to make access to a quarry. Annie returned to the village to persuade Jack to sell it but Jack refused. However in early 1997 the family were evicted and moved to a new farm. The pressure of trying to keep the farm afloat put considerable strain on the marriage and Jack had a brief affair with Sarah’s friend, Rachel Tate. Although it looked like their marriage was starting to work, following the adoption of troubled schoolboy Andy Hopwood, Sarah and Jack were at loggerheads again in 1999 following the death of Rachel who Jack still had feelings for and had found the body of during a search for her as she had been missing. Sarah was determined not to end up a traditional farmers wife and she and Jack disagreeing over the running of the farm particularly Jack stopping Andy and Robert going to school to work on the farm as well as financial disagreements.
2000-2001: Sarah's death and imprisonmentEditAfter an affair with their lodger Richie Carter in 2000, Sarah left Jack. Incensed by Sarah's actions, Jack refused Sarah access to the children and she considered returning. Richie took Sarah into the barn to try and convince her not to return to Jack and to leave with him. Whilst they were in there, Andy, thinking the barn was empty, started a fire so Jack could claim on the insurance, and Sarah was killed. Jack was arrested for Sarah's murder and was held in custody. Jack found prison life really difficult and he reached the end of his tether when his barrister suggested that he pleads guilty and also when fellow prisoner Grant Manny threatened him. Andy confessed to Richie who was the prosecution's major witness and begged him to change his statement in order to clear Jack's name. Richie, unable to face sending a young boy to jail, agreed and the case collapsed. This left the Sugdens to try and rebuild their lives. Standing by Jack, throughout the ordeal, was Woolpack landlady Diane Blackstock. The couple started dating but their relationship was hesitant.
2001-2006: Family problemsEdit
In 2001, Jack plans to have a mobile phone mast erected on the farm, but several villagers, particularly Edna Birch and Viv Hope, were dead against the idea and a petition was started. The petition was successful and Jack was left disappointed that the mobile phone company had decided to pull out.
In 2002, Jack is left puzzled when Victoria conjures up an imaginary friend named Walter Todd. When the biscuits are eaten, it is thought to be Walter. Jack tries to gently tell Victoria that Walter isn't real, but to no avail. However, in due time, Victoria eventually grew out of that phase. In June 2003, Victoria begins to feel unwell, but she fails to convince her family. When she slips a thermometer into a cup of tea behind Jack's back, he is alarmed by Victoria's fever and seeks medical advice. However, nurse Siobhan Marsden gives Victoria the all-clear, suggesting Victoria may be faking it. Things take a dramatic turn when Victoria suddenly collapses with a ruptured appendix. She has an operation to have it removed and makes a complete recovery. Jack is left furious that his daughter could've died and confronts Siobhan in the Woolpack over the inaccurate diagnosis. Ronnie, Siobhan's father-in-law, leaps to her defence and a fight between Jack and Ronnie breaks out when Jack brings up Ronnie's affair with barmaid Louise Appleton.
In 2004, when Andy discovered Robert's affair with his new wife Katie, he armed himself with a shotgun and waited in Robert's caravan intending to shoot him but he ended up shooting Jack instead. Having almost died, Jack initially disowned Andy but they eventually repaired their relationship. Jack was planning to marry Diane, but she revealed that she had colon cancer and underwent chemotherapy. The couple married and enjoyed a honeymoon in Las Vegas while Diane was on the mend. Jack was shocked to discover that Andy had fathered a baby daughter, Sarah, with teenager Debbie Dingle, but supported Andy’s decision to be a hands-on father and was impressed with how responsible Andy had become.
Around the same time, the King family were after a plot of land that Andy owned. At a cattle market in Hotten, Jack and Andy were disheartened that were no bids for their cows as they contracted pneumonia and Jack confronted Jimmy King in the Woolpack. Jack was beginning to come to the conclusion that Andy was probably better off without his land. They headed off to the Kings' office and just as Jack was about to sign the contract, Andy stopped him and they got own back by spraying muck all over the front garden of Pear Tree Cottage. Meanwhile, Robert had began to conspire with Jimmy and Cain Dingle (who had his own grievances with Andy) to get heavy with Andy, agreeing that if Andy's barn were to go up in flames he wouldn't get a penny if it was made to look like an insurance job, therefore forcing him to sell the land. With arson in mind, the three headed to the barn, but Andy was alerted when he heard his Alsatian barking outside and went to investigate, only to be attacked by Cain while Jimmy set fire to the barn. Andy’s half-brother Daz Eden saw the commotion inside, picked up a pitchfork and stabbed Jimmy with it. Jack was furious to discover Jimmy and Cain's involvement and headed off to confront the Kings' about the matter, but Tom retorted by pointing out Robert and Andy's feud. Robert confessed his involvement and Jack was enraged. Robert tried to defend himself by saying that Andy killed Sarah to Daz, that Andy shot Jack, but Jack reminded him of what he did to Elaine Marsden and how he ruined Andy and Katie's marriage. Jack hauled Robert to the Kings' office and says that he would happily see Robert sent down to prison than call him a son.
In October 2005, Robert and Andy's feuding led to a road accident in which Max King was killed after Robert had run Andy's landrover in which Max was a passenger, off the road. Jack arrived at the scene seconds after the accident and was relieved to see that his sons were both alive. He was horrified when Robert and Andy told him the truth about the cause of the accident and in order for Robert to not be prosecuted, Jack told him to leave the village. Robert drove away and Jack never saw his son again. More trauma was to follow when Debbie gave Sarah to Emily Kirk, who left the village. Andy and Jack were devastated and their attempts to get the child back failed.
Meanwhile, Jack was becoming infuriated by the Kings' business practices. Although a fragile truce was made after Max’s death, when Jack convinced Tom King, Max's father, to not evict Andy from Butler's Farm in revenge, he continued to oppose them.
Jack was also forced to take in Daz. Daz and Jack disapproved of Andy getting back together with his estranged wife, Katie. Jack had no idea how massive the impact of having a traumatized teenager in the house would be on Diane. Still recovering from her cancer, Diane insisted Jack had to get Andy to take Daz back. In the end, Daz, having realised what was going on, agreed to leave. Jack was saddened to see Daz leave Emmerdale to live with his mother. Daz returned a couple of months later after being hit by his mum's boyfriend. After this, Jack and Diane decided to foster him, just as he and Sarah had previously fostered Andy.
2006-2008: Billy Hopwood's return and departureEdit
In November 2006, the Sugdens were shocked to discover that Billy Hopwood, Andy and Daz's real father, might get parole. The news quickly spread around the village, with Bob Hope and Kelly Windsor, the daughter of Vic, who Billy killed in an armed robbery at Christmas 1998, agreeing to keep news a secret from a heavily pregnant Viv, Vic's widow. When Jack and Daz visited Billy in prison, Daz warned his father to stay away and pledged his loyalty to the Sugdens. Billy was released from prison in January 2007 and returned to Emmerdale. He insisted on seeing Daz, much to Jack's anger. He felt Billy would be a bad influence as he had let down both of his sons due to his previous criminality, and told him to stay away but Billy was determined. After Diane comforted him, they embarked on an affair but Diane, feeling guilty, confessed to Jack. Jack was unable to forgive Diane and they separated. Back at the house, Jack told his children about Diane and Billy's affair. Victoria was distraught and blamed herself, visiting Billy and told him she blamed him for destroying her family. Angrily, he implied Jack was no saint and suggested he was responsible for her mother Sarah's death. Wanting more information, Victoria tracked down Sarah's lover Richie Carter who told her Jack was not responsible for starting the fire but she did not believe him. Victoria returned to the village and stole some petrol from the garage and took it home with her. When Jack and Andy returned, they could smell the petrol fumes and discovered Victoria threatening to set it alight until she was told the truth about Sarah's death. Andy confessed to starting the fire and killing Sarah and in shock, Victoria ran upstairs, tripped over and banged her head. She was lying on her bed bleeding, when Jack and Andy got to her. Jack went to get a flannel to clean her up but accidentally lit the petrol fumes when he turned on the hot tap. A massive explosion ripped through the house and it caught fire. Billy entered the building and rescued Andy and Jack, with help from Matthew King. Jack was on crutches for several weeks whilst he recovered from his injuries. After Andy was arrested and imprisoned for Sarah's manslaughter, Jack attended his wedding to Jo Stiles in the prison chapel.
In February 2008, Jack flew out to Spain when his mother Annie became ill. Whilst Jack was in Spain, Diane received a text message suggesting that they patch things up on his return. Andy visited Jack and Annie in the summer. At Christmas, Jack informed Diane that Annie wasn't still feeling well, and had to stay in Spain over the summer. Diane suggested to Daz and Victoria that they head over there for Christmas.
Sadly, Jack died on 5th February 2009. Victoria and Daz were planning on visiting Jack during half term when Annie phoned The Woolpack to inform the family that Jack had died of a heart attack, leaving his loved ones devastated. Diane flew out to Spain to bring Jack's body home whilst Val and Eric Pollard arranged his funeral.
Jack was buried in the village churchyard on 10th February 2009 next to his father Jacob, his brother Joe, his sister Peggy, his second wife Pat, his third wife Sarah, his son Jackie, and his twin nephew and niece Sam and Sally. Andy, Daz, Sam and Zak Dingle were pallbearers. Just before the service a reference was made by Alan Turner during a conversation with Betty Eagleton to when Jack had told him how he had returned to the village in 1972 for his own father's funeral. Diane read a letter Jack had written for Andy, Victoria, Daz and Robert during the service. In it, he told them he loved them and wanted them to live together as a family. In this letter it was also revealed he knew in his last weeks that he would not live to see the village or his family again as he realized he was suffering from very badly declining health. Andy broke down in tears and fled the church. Rodney Blackstock acted as a pallbearer in his place. As Jack's coffin was lowered into the ground, Diane placed his chequered cap onto the coffin. Andy met Robert who was watching the burial from a distance and drove away. Robert later visited the grave to say goodbye to his father and laid a flower. That afternoon, Val put a framed photo of Jack up next to the pictures of Amos Brearly and Henry Wilks in The Woolpack. After Annie had talked to Andy, he decided to live up to his responsibility and become head of the family as Jack had wanted. Annie also gave Diane a letter that Jack had written in which he said he knew they would never see each other again and he wished that they had had the chance to get back together. Andy, Diane, Daz and Victoria then went to the grave that night to say a last goodbye. As they walked away, Diane looked back and saw a vision of Jack next to the grave. He smiled at her and she smiled back and realised that Jack would always be with her and the children and would be looking down on them.
After Andy and Debbie's daughter Sarah fell ill in 2011, they needed for her to have a bone marrow transplant in order to save her life. However, Sarah's family are devastated when the person who is a match pulls out. Andy and Debbie think of another way to save her, which is to have a saviour sibling. Debbie gave birth to a boy, named after Jack, on 17th October 2012. He is a match for Sarah and she has the operation to save her life.
- Clive Hornby originally took a break to battle a then unnamed illness in January 2008, already filming scenes to be broadcast well into February. Jack's absence was explained in-show as visiting his ill mother in Spain. Unfortunately, Hornby never fully recovered from his health issues and died in July that year.
- An inconsistency in Jack's birth date reveals in Episode 1471 (17th July 1990) that his birthday is 2nd November.
"Aye. That's the end of him." (First line)