Where are Emmerdale's missing Bartons now?

Daniel Kilkelly, Laura Morgan
·6-min read

From Digital Spy

Being part of Emmerdale's Barton family should come with a health and safety warning – these relations seem to be more cursed than the Kennedy clan (and we're not talking Neighbours).

Whether their characters departed the Dales dead or alive, we've been wondering what some former actors have been up to ever since. And here's the answer...

1. Adam Thomas (Adam Barton, 2009 - 2018)

Photo credit: Karwai Tang / WireImage - Getty Images
Photo credit: Karwai Tang / WireImage - Getty Images

Young Adam didn't know what he was letting himself in for when he arrived in the village back in 2009. The next nine years saw the lad lose the man he thought was his dad, find out his real father was actually his uncle, have a stint in prison, and successfully manage to screw up his marriage to Victoria. Adam was last seen fleeing the village after taking the rap for killing Emma in order to protect the real culprit, Moira.

In real life, actor Adam Thomas luckily has a much more stable home life than his namesake character, and is a proud dad of two. He and wife Caroline are parents to son Teddy, and baby daughter Elsie-May.

Since leaving Emmerdale, the star has been cast in BBC show Pitching In, appeared in Nativity! The Musical and is also working part-time as a property developer. In 2020, he starred in ITV's Mancs in Mumbai with his brothers Ryan and Scott.

2. James Thornton (John Barton, 2009 - 2012)

Photo credit: David M. Benett - Getty Images
Photo credit: David M. Benett - Getty Images

Hunky John was the kind of devoted husband millions of women would kill for, but that didn't stop Moira being seduced into the sack by village bad boy Cain. Their steamy affair temporarily broke the Bartons' marriage, but the teen sweethearts reunited, only for John to be killed when his car plummeted off a cliff face.

James Thornton bowed out of the show to spend more time with his off-screen wife, Gavin and Stacey actress Joanna Page. The couple have been busy making babies in the last six years, and are mum and dad to daughter Eva, and sons Kit and Noah.

James played the role of Marcus in the third series of Stella (which was written by his wife's former G&S co-star Ruth Jones). He also continues to be a successful voiceover actor for various adverts and TV series – even the 2012 Soap Awards trailer!

3. Sophie Powles (Holly Barton, 2009 - 2016)

Photo credit: Barcroft Media - Getty Images
Photo credit: Barcroft Media - Getty Images

Tragic Holly was just your average angst-ridden teen when she first set foot in the village. But a series of events saw her life taking a dark and deadly turn when she became addicted to heroin. It was an ongoing battle for Holly to try and stay clean, but a secret relapse in 2016 sadly sealed her fate, leading devastated Moira to discover her daughter's lifeless body in bed. It was a powerful and poignant ending for the character, and marked the end of Sophie Powles's on/off seven-year stay on the soap.

Since then, free-spirited Soph has been busy indulging in another one of her biggest passions – travel. Her wanderlust has taken the star everywhere from the beautiful beaches of South Africa to the snowy sidewalks of Manhattan. Check out her gorgeous holiday snaps for yourself by following her on Instagram @sunshineninjakid.

4. Joe Gill (Finn Barton, 2013 - 2017)

Photo credit: Karwai Tang / WireImage - Getty Images
Photo credit: Karwai Tang / WireImage - Getty Images

Geeky Finn was the brains of the Barton brigade, and had an impressive Economics degree to his name. But despite his intelligence, Finn was rather naive when it came to realising people's true colours. The one time Finn did wise up, realising that his mum had murdered his dad, it was his undoing as Emma accidentally shot him during Super Soap Week in 2017. Finn later flatlined in hospital and fans were gutted by his unexpected death.

Joe Gill hasn't been resting on his laurels since leaving Finn behind, and starred alongside fellow soapies Gary Lucy and James Redmond as Lomper in the UK tour of The Full Monty. He also worked on Danny Miller's film Pace, which was released this year.

5. Gillian Kearney (Emma Barton, 2015 - 2017)

Photo credit: Mike Marsland / WireImage - Getty Images
Photo credit: Mike Marsland / WireImage - Getty Images

Scheming Emma gave the audience some unforgettable moments. From holding her husband James hostage in a derelict country cottage, to pushing him to his death off a bridge and causing carnage on the Hotton Bypass. An infatuation with God followed, but no-one could save Emma as her crimes caught up with her, and she was shoved off a viaduct by former sister-in-law Moira during a ferocious final stand-off.

Gillian Kearney, who was nominated for Villain of the Year at the British Soap Awards, has since been cast as Mum in movie The Naughty Boys. She definitely had enough practise in Emmerdale, but here's hoping this mother is slightly more sane.

6. Bill Ward (James Barton, 2013 - 2016)

Photo credit: Dave J Hogan - Getty Images
Photo credit: Dave J Hogan - Getty Images

Much like his younger brother John, James's life were his kids. The devoted dad had brought up sons Pete, Ross and Finn single-handedly after Emma had walked when the boys were little. James's greatest wish was to reunite his fractured family, but unfortunately he'd failed to clock on to the fact his ex was a dangerous bunny boiler. After 217 eps of Emmerdale, James ended up splattered on the Hotten Bypass in 2016, making it the second soap for Bill Ward to be killed off from (his Corrie character Charlie Stubbs was also murdered by a jealous girlfriend, aka Tracy Barlow).

Bill has since swapped the screen for stage, taking over the part from Shane Richie in the role of Detective Superintendent Roy Grace in whodunit play Not Dead Enough, and touring with the musical Legally Blonde. He's also a rather talented photographer on the side.

7. Michael Parr (Ross Barton, 2013 - 2018)

Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

Ross may have been introduced to Emmerdale as Laurel Thomas's ruthless carjacker, but viewers soon warmed to the bad boy thanks to his comedy one-liners, cheeky charm and occasional softer moments.

Ross's memorable storylines included his relationship with Donna Windsor, his love triangle with Pete and Debbie, and his controversial acid attack plot.

Since leaving Emmerdale, Michael Parr has worked on short film The Eighty Fourth, action drama Bulletproof and will next be seen in Mister Mayfair and Our Home.

8. Anthony Quinlan (Pete Barton, 2013 - 2020)

Photo credit: Tristan Fewings/Getty Images
Photo credit: Tristan Fewings/Getty Images

Anthony first joined the soap world in 2005 when he arrived in Hollyoaks as Gilly Roach, bowing out in 2011. He then had a seven-year stint in Emmerdale as Pete Barton, who was in the village from 2013 to 2020.

Away from the soap world, Anthony is a qualified personal trainer and a Crossfit level one trainer. He made headlines earlier this year when he showed off an impressive body transformation on Instagram. Anthony has also recently worked on short films Lead Belly and Asphyxiate.

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