Emmerdale Robert Sugden is devastated as he's sentenced in court with Aaron looking shocked comp image

Emmerdale won’t rule out a Robert Sugden return with Danny Miller trying to ‘talk Robert Hawley round’

He's got a lot of blood on his hands!

Robert Sugden in Emmerdale is part of one of the show’s most iconic families. And he married into another iconic family when he wed Aaron Dingle.

He’s been at the heart of some of the most dramatic storylines over the years and part of one of soap’s most beloved couples of all times.

And now Aaron is back and brooding, fans are desperate for Robert to return too. Could it ever happen? Emmerdale won’t rule it out!

Aaron and Robert look brooding in Emmerdale
Aaron’s back and fans want a Robert return (Credit: ITV)

Fans want a Robert comeback

Although Robert is currently in prison for manslaughter, viewers know he may not actually have been responsible for Lee Posner’s death. Lee’s brother Luke confessed he had also had a physical fight with his brother which may have contributed to his death.

So there is an easy was to get Robert out of prison. And now Aaron is back, fans are desperate for them to be reunited.

Back in October viewers were sure Robert had secretly returned. When Caleb commented he had heard someone in the flat above his, fans immediately wondered if it was Robert.


Another hoped: “That is Robert hiding away upstairs. Aaron has got him out with the help of that Italian gang. Then Robron also took their money to give themselves a fresh start in France. Adam, spoilsport, called Cain and their plan went awry. The money is for them in France.”

A third person wondered: “I still have hope y’all. Who was the person in Aaron’s flat? Robert?”

Is Robert Sugden returning to Emmerdale?

However, actor Ryan Hawley has stayed tight-lipped on whether he would return to the role.

Emmerdale producer Laura Shaw has not ruled it out, but admitted in an interview with Inside Soap back in October it might be tricky as it was Ryan’s decision to leave back in 2019, not the show’s.

“I love Robron – so I would reunite them if I could!” she admitted.

Danny Miller also revealed to Inside Soap that he was hopeful of a reunion too – he just needs to convince Ryan it’s a good idea!

“Every day I still get messages from people saying, ‘Bring back Robron!'” he confessed.

“I’d love to work with Ryan again but it’s just a case of whether I can talk him round…”

As we hope and pray he comes back to the Dales, here’s a look at who Robert Sugden is – and what happened to him.

Emmerdale Sarah, Robert and Jack Sugden pose for a happy family photo at the farm
Robert was much loved by his stepmum Sarah (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)

Who was Robert Sugden in Emmerdale and who were his parents?

Robert’s parents were Jack and Pat Sugden, but his mum was tragically killed in a car accident when he was just a baby.

Jack remarried when Robert was two and his stepmum Sarah doted on him.

Robert has an adopted brother, Andy, and a half-sister, Victoria. As well as stepsisters Bernice Blackstock and Nicola King.

Robert and Andy’s deadly rivalry

Robert met Andy Hopwood at school and the two became good friends.

Andy had a troubled background and when his grandmother, who he lived with, died, the Sugdens fostered him and then later adopted him.

Though Robert had been welcoming of his new brother at first, a rivalry soon developed between them and Robert became jealous of Andy’s bond with their dad, Jack.

When Andy fell in love with Katie Addyman, Robert was even more envious of his brother’s life. He and Katie began a passionate affair, even though Andy and Katie were engaged.

Emmerdale Andy Sugden and Robert Sugden stand behind Katie in her bridal gown clutching flowers
Andy and Robert fought over Katie (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)

Katie called off their romance the day before her wedding, leaving Robert brokenhearted but they couldn’t keep away from each other and soon their illicit relationship was back on.

Andy was so devastated when he found out what was going on, that he tried to shoot his brother and accidentally shot their dad instead.

Though Robert and Andy reconciled after that drama, Jack disowned Andy.

The brothers’ rivalry continued when Robert returned to the village after several years away, and only ended when Andy tried to have Robert killed in a twisted deal with Ross Barton.

Aaron and Robert were good for each other (Credit: ITV)

Robron romance

When Robert Sugden returned to Emmerdale in 2014, he was engaged to Chrissie White and seemed to be successful and confident.

But Chrissie’s dad Lawrence didn’t like him, and things weren’t as happy as they appeared.

And then Robert met Aaron Dingle. The pair had an instant connection and were soon embarking on a secret romance.

But Katie, now reunited with Andy, discovered what Robert was up to and threatened to spill the beans to Chrissie on her and Robert’s wedding day.

Katie never managed to reveal all – more of that later – but Chrissie and Robert’s marriage fell apart anyway, not surprisingly.

Aaron seemed to bring out the best in Robert, and the pair exchanged wedding vows informally before Aaron went to prison for a while.

But while he was away, Robert had a one-night stand with former sister-in-law Rebecca White, who got pregnant.

Baby Seb led to Robron breaking up for a short time, but they soon reconciled, much to fans’ delight, and the pair tied the knot properly in October 2018.

How many people has Robert Sugden in Emmerdale killed?

Robert Sugden in Emmerdale has got a lot of blood on his hands!

The first death he was involved in was when he was a teenager.

He and a group of friends went on a night out but missed the bus home. Andy stole a car for them to drive home in, with mate Marc Reynolds at the wheel. But when he lost control and killed the teens’ head teacher, it was Robert who suggested they torch the car to cover their tracks.

Marc was later jailed for the death, while the others did community service.

Rob’s next victim was Max King. He and Max had planned to leave the village together, both desperate for a new start. But when they were going, Max changed his mind and asked Andy to drive him to the station instead.

Furious, Robert drove straight towards Andy. Max panicked and grabbed the wheel and the car went off the road and crashed. Robert managed to rescue Andy, but Max was killed.

Katie killed by Robert in Emmerdale
Katie was killed by Robert to keep his secret (Credit: ITV)

Did Robert kill Katie?

When Robert met Aaron, it was clear he would do anything to keep their relationship secret. When Katie found out the truth, and threatened to tell Chrissie, Robert pushed her through a rotting floor and poor Katie crashed to her death.

Later, Paddy Kirk raised suspicions about Rob’s behaviour, and wrote Chrissie an anonymous note to say her husband was cheating.

Robert soon worked out who was to blame and left Paddy to die in a grain pit. Luckily Andy rescued him in the nick of time.

Robert was also indirectly involved in more deaths thanks to his bitter divorce from Chrissie.

Chrissie set fire to Robert’s car during an argument and though they thought they’d put out the flames, the fire actually spread to some gas canisters. The explosion caused a helicopter to crash on to the village, killing Val Pollard and Ruby Haswell.

Robert was sentenced to a long stretch in prison (Credit: ITV)

Robert’s departure

When Robert’s sister Victoria was raped by Lee Posner, he struggled to deal with what she’d been through. And when Vic revealed she was pregnant – and planning to keep her baby – Robert was furious.

He tracked Lee down and beat him up so badly that he died later in hospital. Another death on Rob’s conscience!

Robert was sentenced to 14 years in prison and left Emmerdale for good.

He broke up with Aaron after telling him not to wait and left Mr Dingle devastated.

Who played Robert Sugden?

Four actors have played Robert since his birth in 1986.

Richard Smith portrayed the young Robert from 1986 until 1989.

He was then replaced with Christopher Smith from 1989 until 2001.

Karl Davies took on the role in 2001 and stayed until 2009.

Robert left the soap and returned in 2014 in the shape of Ryan Hawley, who played Robert until he departed again in 2019.

What is the original Robert Sugden actor doing now?

According to The Sun Christopher Smith, who played the role for the longest amount of time, sued Yorkshire television when he was axed and replaced by Karl Davies.

The producers had recast as they needed an older actor so Robert could be involved in more adult plots.

Christopher now lives in LA and works as a producer on AMC talk show Talking Dead.

Meanwhile, Karl Davies has continued to act since his departure.

He starred in ITV drama Kingdom, as well as the second series of Game Of Thrones.

Parts in BBC One’s The Syndicate followed and two series of Happy Valley.

He also appeared in Call The Midwife in 2020 and was last seen as DCI Tim Bailie in The Tower in 2021.

Ryan Hawley appeared in his first TV role since quitting Emmerdale in two episodes of Silent Witness in 2021.

Read more: Complete Emmerdale cast list 2023 – meet them all here!

YouTube video player

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

For all the latest soap spoilers, news and chat come and join us at Soap Daily now! 

Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and let us know what you think!

Kerry Barrett
Freelance Soap Writer