Emmerdale: Who was Alice Dingle again? 7 things you need to know about Sam's late wife

There’s heartbreaking drama heading for the Dingles on Emmerdale this week, when Sam makes the shocking confession to partner Lydia that he helped his late wife Alice to take her own life after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

While Lydia is understanding about the tragic events that happened 12 years ago, not everyone is quite so open-minded. Sam’s young son Samson struggles to take in the news that his dad helped his mum to die.

As the anniversary of her death approaches, what better time to remind ourselves who Alice Dingle was, and why she made such a huge impact in the short time she was on our screens?

1. Who played her?

The role of Alice Dingle (née Wilson) was played by actress Ursula Holden-Gill, who was born on March 21, 1974. Prior to Emmerdale, Ursula had played school secretary Carol in Channel 4’s Teachers.

The actress has put performing on the backburner since leaving the ITV soap in 2006 to concentrate on becoming a writer and storyteller. In 2012, Ursula was voted Best Newcomer at The British Awards for Storytelling Excellence.

2. Alice’s arrival

Alice arrived on our screens on December 5, 2004 after being introduced to the soap by Steve Frost, who was Emmerdale‘s producer at the time.

Poor Alice was living alone on a farm where she was struggling to make ends meet following her father’s death. Viewers first met her when vet Paddy Kirk was called to tend to her chickens and he was left shocked at the way she was living.

Paddy and his then-wife Emily took pity on Alice and invited her to come and live with them in Emmerdale – paving the way for her to meet the love of her life, Sam Dingle. The pair hit it off straight away, bonding over their shared love of poultry.

3. Trouble with Sam

Despite finding romance with Sam, Alice decided to sell her late father’s farm and move to Norfolk, leaving Sam devastated. She invited him to go with her, suggesting they should try to make a go of things as a couple, but she was left disappointed when Sam couldn’t face leaving his family and she departed the village alone.

Thankfully for Alice, Zak Dingle managed to talk some sense into Sam and he raced to the station to catch Alice’s train before it left. The pair set off for a new life in Norfolk where they owned their own chicken farm, keeping the Dingles up to date on their progress while they were away.

4. Alice’s devastating news

Alice and Sam returned to Emmerdale in 2005 with the exciting news that Alice was pregnant, but it was only a short time later that she began feeling ill and the heartbreaking discovery was made that she had cancer. At first Alice lied about her condition to protect Sam, but eventually she told him the truth.

Alice was left devastated when doctors advised her to have a termination so that she could start cancer treatment immediately. Despite the fact Alice knew delaying her chemotherapy would mean risking her life, she was determined not to get rid of her baby and continued with her pregnancy, before prematurely giving birth to Samson in January 2006.

5. Alice and Sam’s wedding

Despite everything she had gone through at this point, Alice amazed everyone by doing a wing walk in aid of charity and then shaved her head before starting chemo, determined to make sure she was always one step ahead of her cancer. In real life, actress Ursula Holden-Gill shaved her own head and lost weight to make her role as Alice more believable.

When Sam and Alice discovered her cancer had become terminal, the pair got married in a moving ceremony in 2006 surrounded by their friends and family, but sadly it wasn’t long after their wedding that Alice decided to give up chemotherapy.

6. Alice’s controversial death

Despite it being 12 years since she died, Alice’s death is still one of the saddest moments in Emmerdale history. After weeks of suffering, Alice asked Sam to help her end her pain and he reluctantly agreed. After getting his hands on morphine, Sam gave Alice a lethal overdose and she died in his arms with little Samson at her side.

Following Alice’s tragic death, the police arrived to arrest Sam for his role in her demise. However, in true Dingle style, the family joined forces to protect Sam and they all confessed to helping Alice die. When the police started to pick holes in their stories, it was Cain who eventually took the blame to stop social services taking Samson away from Sam.

7. Samson in the dark

Although Samson has grown up in the village, Sam has managed to shield him from any gossip about how his mother died. This week, that looks set to change when Samson wants to organise a charity event in memory of his late mum and invites the local newspaper to drum up some publicity.

Knowing it’s only a matter of time before the paper dredges up the past, Sam decides that it’s time to be honest with Lydia and Samson – paving the way for some very emotional scenes.

Emmerdale airs weeknights at 7pm on ITV, with an extra episode at 8pm on Thursdays.
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