Sam Dingle

Emmerdale’s James Hooton – aka Sam Dingle – marks 25 years on soap with special snap

Cast members rushed to congratulate him!

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Actor James Hooton has marked his milestone 25th year anniversary on Emmerdale with a nostalgic black and white snap from the ITV soap’s past.

James has portrayed lovable Sam Dingle ever since 1995, when he was 22 years of age.

Sam Dingle first appearance Emmerdale
Sam Dingle making his first appearance in Emmerdale (Credit: Granada Plus / YouTube)

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Now 46, James has celebrated the special day with a message to his 14,800 followers on Twitter.

On Friday (January 10), the dad-of-two wrote: “Well today marks the 25th anniversary of my very first day working on @emmerdale.

“January 10 1995, Sam, Zak and Butch were stealing a bar from outside the Woolpack! Thought I would post a pic with two Emmerdale legends, Amos and Mr Wilkes! Here’s to the next 25 years!!! #25notout.”

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Some of his co-stars past and present were among those who messaged him, with Eden Taylor-Draper – who plays Belle Dingle – replying: “You legend.”

Well today marks the 25th anniversary of my very first day working on Emmerdale.

Samantha Giles, aka Bernice Blackstock, wrote: “Congratulations! They are bloody lucky to have you!”

His on-screen partner Karen Blick, who plays Lydia Hart, posted: “Fantastic! Huge congratulations James on 25 incredible years of national treasure Samuel J Dingle.”

Sam and Lydia in heartwrenching scenes last year (Credit: ITV)

In an interview with ITV to coincide with the special date, James said: “It has been quite a rollercoaster ride. And an adventure.

“Working on Emmerdale has taken up the largest part of my professional career, and I’m extremely thankful and lucky to still be here after all this time.

“You get nothing but highlights when you work in the Dingle clan.”

The actor went on to recall his first ever scene with on-screen dad Zak Dingle and brother Butch.

Sam Dingle's very first scene on Emmerdale
Sam Dingle’s very first scene on Emmerdale (Credit: ITV News)

He said: “My very first day on set, I was working with Steve Halliwell (Zak) and Paul Loughran (Butch) and we were stealing The Woolpack bar from outside the pub, because they were renovating inside. We were constantly nicking things.”

James also recalled the 2006 storyline surrounding Alice Dingle’s diagnosis of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and eventual euthanasia, which he said he “was most well known for playing”.

He went on to say filming on the ITV soap was “just good fun, with good friends”.

He added: “If I still have the energy to be working on the show in 25 years, I’d love to think I could still be here. I’m as happy as I’ve ever been on this show so I would feel blessed to still be here.”

James’ character Sam was most recently seen falling foul of Cain Dingle’s temper when he invited Nate Robinson into the family household over Christmas.

He’s also been involved in the storyline surrounding Lydia Hart’s mum, and her secret identity.

Who is your favourite Emmerdale character? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and let us know what you think!

Helen Fear
TV Editor

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