Emmerdale actor Clive Hornby starred in the ITV soap for nearly 30 years as Jack Sugden, but many viewers are unaware he was a music star before making it in TV
Emmerdale star Clive Hornby played the role of Jack Sugden on the soap for 28 years.
The character was known for his trademark flat cap, marriage to Diane and issues with infidelity.
Jack was such crucial character in the show that he’s still referred to in the Dales now, fourteen years after his character left the soap due to his death in 2008.
Clive took on the role in 1980, taking over from Andrew Burt who played Jack from 1972 until 1976.
But just as fascinating as his soap career was his life off-screen.
From a devastating divorce to a music career that few fans know about, Clive’s life is certainly something to be celebrated.
Secret music career
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From the early 1960s, Clive was part of Merseybeat band The Dennisons.
The band, in which Clive played drums, formed in 1961 before splitting in 1967.
They then hosted a brief reunion in 1991.
With the group taking their name from a street in Liverpool, the group was credited with having the biggest impact on Merseyside music since The Beatles.
However, they failed to achieve national or international acclaim.
Over the course of their musical stint, The Dennisons released their debut single Be My Girl in 1963, before releasing songs like You Don’t Know What Love Is, Little Latin Lupe Lu, and Tutti Frutti.
Only one band member is alive today – bass player Alan Willis, who was in the band between 1961 and 1962.
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The set of Emmerdale has seen many stars find love.
Clive is no exception, marrying his on-screen wife Helen Weir in 1986.
The pair went on to share a son, Thomas.
Clive explained in a 2000 interview that his relationship with his father inspired him to “do everything” with Tom.
He said: “Tom and I are mates. We do everything together. I cuddle him all the time and kiss him when I say goodnight.
“He is 14, I know, and he probably wonders why but I don’t care.
“It is important to show your love. We talk as well, all the time.”
Justifying their close relationship, he added: “In Dad’s day, affection wasn’t shown so easily and so although I knew that he loved me, he didn’t really display it as much as I do with Tom.”
Clive and Helen divorced in 2000, but Clive maintained his close relationship with Tom throughout the remainder of his life.
Clive’s own father sadly died when Tom was four years old.
Speaking about the death, Clive said: “It was Christmas Day when he died. He was in hospital with something wrong with his foot. But then everything packed up. When my mum phoned me, I knew straight away.
“The awful thing was Tom was only four and came rushing into the room saying excitedly, ‘Father Christmas is here’.
“I had two emotions in one. There was my son and there was my dad, dead. It was really weird, just awful. It took me three years to get over it all.”
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Health problems and death
Clive was aged 63 when he died from cancer in 2008.
He had filmed his last scenes for the soap in January of that year and died in July.
However, the soap star had denied rumours about his ill health and said he didn’t want to leave Emmerdale.
He said at the time: “I can’t imagine leaving” and anticipated that the break he took from TV would be temporary.
He added: “I don’t want to leave Emmerdale. I’ll wait till they chuck me out.”
This wasn’t Clive’s only health battle during his tenure on the soap.
In 1997 he was rushed to hospital with a collapsed lung after filming a scene where he was tasked with pushing a tractor.
He spent eight days there in recovery.
Speaking of the incident, he said: “It’s alright now but it made me realise that I never wanted to spend eight days again in a hospital.
“I stopped smoking after that. Not cigarettes, cigars. Stupid to smoke cigars, I know, but you could say it was a turning point in my life.”
His character was killed off the soap a year after his death, in 2009.
The soap’s series producer at the time Anita Turner said: “Clive will be greatly missed by everyone who has worked with him on Emmerdale during the past 28 years.
“He was a hugely popular and well-respected member of cast and a terrific actor.”
Generous gift to son
Clive left a total of £324,000 in a trust for his son Thomas in his will.
The soap star originally left £733,930 but the amount was reduced to £323,911 after liabilities were deducted.
He also requested that future earnings from his TV contracts be placed in trust for Thomas, who was 22 years old at the time of his father’s death.
Emmerdale airs on weeknights from 7pm on ITV.