Emmerdale Elsa Feldmann looks fed-up and annoyed

Elsa Feldmann’s journey in Emmerdale: Love, motherhood, and custody battles

She's currently battling Kathy Glover in Classic episodes

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Elsa Feldmann in Emmerdale is currently appearing in classic episodes of the soap on ITV3.

But who was she? Who played her? And why did she leave the Dales?

Elsa Feldmann looks worried as Alan Turner puts a hand on her shoulder
Elsa was in Emmerdale on and off for 11 years (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)

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Who was Elsa Feldmann in Emmerdale?

Elsa was the daughter of Elizabeth Pollard.

Elsa arrived in the village in 1990 with her mum and brother, Michael, and started seeing Kathy Glover‘s brother, Nick Bates.

Things moved at lightening speed and Elsa fell pregnant. They planned to get married, but she went into labour on their wedding day and Zoe Tate was forced to deliver the baby!

They had a little girl who they named Alice and although Nick took to parenting well, Elsa soon grew bored.

She took a job in Leeds and left with Alice.

Emmerdale Nick Bates tells fed-up Elsa Feldman they don't have enough money for new baby things
Nick and Elsa were never quite on the same page (Credit: ITV)

Elsa returns

Nick was heartbroken, but she struggled to cope as a single mum and it wasn’t long before Alice returned to live with Nick.

Elsa felt her daughter was cramping her social life and although she visited occasionally, eventually told Nick she wouldn’t see her any more until Alice was older.

However, in 1993, Elsa returned and wanted to build a relationship with the little girl. She was upset when Alice didn’t recognise her.

After the plane crash killed Elizabeth and injured Nick, Elsa decided to look after Alice and then told Nick she was going for custody.

Elsa turned nasty to get her way, spreading rumours about Nick and lying about Alice being in danger.

The court, however, saw through her and gave Nick custody.

Distraught over the decision, Elsa tried to kidnap Alice, but when she saw how upset Alice was and how much she missed her dad, Elsa returned her.

Emmerdale Elsa bends down to talk to upset Alice and Kathy
All of Elsa’s coming and going really messed with Alice’s head (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)

Why did Elsa leave?

After Elsa realised she was being selfish and Nick was best placed to care for their daughter, the hurt mum left for Leeds again.

When Nick was sent to prison in April 1996 for accidentally shooting and killing a poacher, Alice went to live with Kathy.

But Kathy did not want to care for a child, so tried to track Elsa down. It was discovered she had emigrated to Australia.

That was all that was heard of Elsa until September 1999 when she returned.

She was married and had a stepson the same age as Alice and felt she could now provide her daughter a stable family life.

Kathy did not want Alice to go to Australia and vowed to fight for custody.

But when she saw how heartbroken Alice was at the prospect of her mother leaving again, Kathy decided to let Alice go.

Emmerdale Alice Bates is distraught as her mother wrestles her into the car
Alice eventually left with her mother (Credit: ITV)

What happened to little Alice Bates?

Kathy went to visit her family in Australia in 2001, but wasn’t happy at how she found Alice. Upset by Elsa and husband Brett’s constant bickering, Alice clung to Kathy, who made the split second decision to bring her back to the UK.

Only, Kathy didn’t ask Elsa’s permission – or even tell her what she was doing.

Elsa followed them and a huge row ensued.

Alice eventually agreed to return home after Elsa and Brett promised to stop arguing and put her first. However, Alice wanted Kathy to move with them.

At first Kathy said it wasn’t possible.

But after much soul-searching, Kathy realised there was nothing left for her in the village and she decided to emigrate.

Alice and Elsa left the village on December 12, 2001 and Kathy followed on December 20.

Elsa and Kathy talk seriously on the sofar
Two actresses played Elsa over the years (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)

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Who played Elsa in Emmerdale?

Two actresses played Elsa over her 11 years on the show.

Naomi Lewis took on the role between 1990 and 1994. Since leaving the soap she has had small parts in a TV movie and a movie short.

Natasha Gray took over in 1999 and played Elsa until her final departure in 2001.

She is a recognisable face from British TV with other roles in shows such as The Practice, The New Statesman, The Bill and Casualty.

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Emmerdale usually airs weeknights at 7.30pm on ITV, with an hour episode on Thursdays.

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Carena Crawford
Associate Editor (Soaps)