Final farewell for veteran soap star, 81

A memorial service for the Emmerdale actor Richard Thorp has taken place at Leeds Minster.

Emmerdale cast and crew yesterday paid tribute to the actor, who died aged 81 in May. He had played Alan Turner in the ITV soap for nearly three decades.

Among those who attended were actresses Sammy Winward, who plays Katie Macy, and Charley Webb, who stars as Debbie Dingle.

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The Alan Turner character died in the evening soap on Thursday and will have an on-screen funeral next week.

The storyline was developed after consultation with Thorp’s family and saw Turner, who was a former landlord of the Woolpack pub, pass away peacefully in his sleep, with long-term friend Betty Eagleton becoming the person to find him in his bed.

Viewers will see Lorraine Chase, who played his daughter Steph Stokes until 2006, return to the show for the funeral, escorted back to the village by guards from prison where she is serving a sentence for the murder of her brother Terence, which she did not commit.

Thorp had a lengthy acting career with roles in film and television, including in the 1955 film The Dam Busters, and as Dr John Rennie in Emergency Ward 10 from 1959 to 1961.