Emmerdale's Zoe Tate comp image

Zoe Tate: Emmerdale’s first lesbian character and her life in the Dales

Could her daughter Jean ever come back to Emmerdale?

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Zoe Tate arrived in Emmerdale with her dad, Frank Tate, brother Chris Tate and stepmother Kim Tate.

She was the first lesbian character in a soap and also battled schizophrenia.

During her time in the Dales she dealt with the death of her father and her brother, being a single parent to daughter Jean and guardian to nephew, Joseph.


Zoe arrived in Emmerdale as a student vet with her family (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)

Who was Zoe Tate in Emmerdale?

Zoe was a veterinary student when she first came to Emmerdale – or Beckindale as it was still known when she arrived – with her family.

She was a passionate supporter of animal rights and often rubbed the locals up the wrong way.

But she won them over and once she was qualified she set up a successful practice with Paddy Kirk.

It was Zoe who encouraged half-brother Jamie Tate to train to be a vet and to come to Emmerdale to work in the practice.

What happened when Zoe came out?

Zoe came out in 1993, becoming the first lesbian character in soap.

Her dad Frank was shocked and disappointed at first, but he came round quite quickly and proved to be supportive of his daughter.

Vet receptionist Linda Glover resigned when Zoe’s sexuality became common knowledge.

Her dad, Ned Glover, didn’t want her working for a lesbian.

There was tension between Zoe and Ned for a while, but eventually he admitted he was wrong.

Zoe had a romance with interior decorator Emma Nightingale and, although it was before equal marriage was legal, the pair decided to have a blessing.

But when Emma’s ex Susie turned up at the ceremony, there was a spark between her and Zoe, and eventually Zoe broke up with Emma and started a relationship with Susie instead.

Zoe Tate and Charity Dingle pose together after they had a shock affair
Zoe fell hard for Charity (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)

How were Zoe, Chris and Charity connected?

Chris Tate married Charity Dingle, much to Zoe’s disgust. She didn’t think the Dingle diva was right for her brother.

But in the end it was Zoe who fell for Charity. The pair had an affair and for a while, Zoe was obsessed with her sister-in-law.

When Charity ended their romance Zoe began blackmailing her, but Charity told Chris the truth instead and he chose his wife over his sister.

When Chris, who had an inoperable brain tumour, took his own life, he framed Charity for his murder.

Charity knew Zoe was aware of what her manipulative brother had done, and tried to seduce her sister-in-law. But Zoe got wise, and Charity ended up in prison.

Zoe Tate stands fully clothed in the water in the midst of her mental health battle
Zoe struggled with schizophrenia (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)

Emmerdale: Zoe Tate and her schizophrenia

Zoe’s life began crumbling when her previously unknown half-brother, Liam Hammond, kidnapped her brother Chris.

After a dramatic confrontation, Zoe shot Liam dead.

Liam’s death and then her affair with Charity left Zoe depressed and she began having schizophrenic episodes.

Zoe set fire to the church, and began talking to her dead father, Frank.

Emmerdale Scott Windsor tries to attack Zoe Tate on the couch
Scott and Zoe slept together but she didn’t remember it (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)

Who is the father of Zoe Tate’s daughter? Did Scott Windsor rape her?

During one of her schizophrenic episodes , Zoe got drunk in the Woolpack and made a pass at Charity.

After Charity’s rejection, Zoe headed home where she bumped into Scott Windsor and threw herself at him. He accepted and they slept together.

The next day, Zoe completely blanked out what had happened and Scott, who was dating Chloe Atkinson at the time, didn’t tell anyone.

He began to grow concerned when he heard talk of Zoe’s unstable behaviour.

Zoe fell pregnant with her daughter Jean (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)

When she was finally diagnosed with schizophrenia and sectioned, Zoe found out she was pregnant.

She had no memory of how she got pregnant and at first wanted to have an abortion. She thought she must have been raped.

But after seeing the baby on a scan, she later decided to keep it and when her daughter was born, she named her Jean, after her mother.

Scott realised he must be Jean’s dad and Zoe – who didn’t remember them having sex – thought he had raped her. But Ashley Thomas helped her to see the liaison had been consensual.

Zoe left the village in 2005 (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)

How did Zoe leave Emmerdale?

Still reeling from Chris’s death and Jean’s birth, Zoe was struggling.

She began a relationship with Scott to give Jean and mum and dad who were together.

However, she ended up having an affair with Rachel Whatmore.

She planned to emigrate to New Zealand with Jean and Joe.

But she soon learnt Scott was going to betray her.

She let him think they were back together and he proposed, before she turned him down stating she’d rather  “put needles in her eyes”.

Scott was furious and he attacked her. He tried to rape her.

Zoe injected him with ketamine in self-defence, but stood trial for attempted murder after she injected him a second time while he was unconscious.

But when Paddy testified that Scott had been angry on the night Zoe attacked him, Zoe was cleared.

Sadie King convinced Zoe to sell Home Farm to her at a knockdown rate and Zoe agreed.

But she had the last word when, working with estate manager Callum Rennie, she engineered it so Home Farm exploded just as the Kings arrived.

Her exit was an hour-long special episode, and was watched by over 8 million people.

What happened to Zoe Tate? Is she dead?

In the world of Emmerdale, Zoe is still alive.

She left the village with her Joe and Jean and headed off to a new life in New Zealand.

But, of course, Zoe can’t return to Emmerdale due to the tragic death of actress Leah Bracknell.

Is Chloe really Jean Tate? (Credit: ITV)

Where is Scott and Zoe’s daughter Jean Tate now?

As far as we know Jean is still in New Zealand. She would be 19 years old now.

However when Chloe Harris arrived in Emmerdale last year, fans were quick to wonder about her identity.

Chloe is the sister of Sarah Sugden’s heart donor Gemma.

It was revealed to viewers that her dad Damon is in prison and Chloe’s mum died after Gemma.

But viewers have theorised Chloe might actually be Jean!

“Could Chloe in Emmerdale actually be Jean Tate?” wrote one on Twitter.

“Jean Tate!” added another when pondering Chloe’s identity.

It was recently revealed Chloe was actually the secret daughter of Kerry Wyatt.

Kerry gave birth to her and then gave her to Damon and his wife to raise.

So who is Jean Tate? Could she be heading back to the village soon?

There was no love lost between Kim Tate and Zoe, so could Zoe’s daughter become Kim’s latest adversery?

Fans are definitely keen for it.

“I hope they bring in Jean Tate,” wrote one. “Imagine her coming to Emmerdale after the death of Zoe off-screen due to the real-life passing of Leah Bracknell.”

“Please bring Zoe Tate’s daughter, Jean Tate, in to ruffle Kim feathers I would love it see it,” said another.

A third agreed: “Bring back some old characters… Jean Tate as a grown up would be interesting.”

Leah Bracknell on This Morning talking about her cancer diagnosis
Leah raised money for cancer treatment (Credit: ITV/YouTube)

Leah Bracknell’s illness

Zoe Tate actress Leah was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2016, ten years after she’d left Emmerdale to concentrate on teaching yoga and spending time with her partner Jez Hughes and their two children.

She and Jez tied the knot in 2017.

A fundraiser to help her pay for experimental treatment in Germany raised thousands of pounds in just a few days.

But sadly, in 2019, Leah died, aged just 55.

Jez has spoken about his grief for his wife and admitted he watches old episodes of Emmerdale to feel close to her.

He recently shared his happiness at finding love again with new girlfriend Precious Dunlop.

Read more: Who is in the cast of Emmerdale 2022? Meet the full line-up

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Emmerdale usually airs weeknights at 7.30pm on ITV. You can also catch up on the ITV Hub.

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Kerry Barrett
Freelance Soap Writer