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"Good evening gents!"
~ Eric's catchphrase whenever it comes to greeting people or planning to use them in his illcit activates

Eric Pollard is a fictional character and the premier antagonist of the long-running British soap opera Emmerdale.

First appearing in the serial since 30th September 1986, Eric Pollard is a seasoned conman and fraudulent businessman who currently serves as the show's longest-serving character. He is arguably considered to be Emmerdale's first major character to serve as the show's central antagonist. Over the following decades he has at times evolved into an anti-hero, but can often revert back to his villainous ways in the events of the character's own storylines or involvement in the show's biggest impacts.

He has been portrayed by famed actor Chris Chittell since his first debut on the serial.

Biography

Eric Pollard first came to Emmerdale - originally named Beckindale - at the end of September 1986. He settles his life there and slowly establishes a notorious reputation for himself as a seasoned con artist, illegitimate politician, and fraudulent businessman who can frequently get on the wrong side of people due to his illcit nature.

During the 1990s, Eric has a relationship with a woman named Elizabeth Feldmann. They get married and live happily together until Elizabeth later discovers that Eric has implicated her son, Michael, in his illegal dealings. She plans to go to the police in order to clear her son's name. Eric attempts to threaten her into staying quiet, but she resolves to go the police anyway. Along the way, however, a plane suddenly crashes into the village and Elizabeth ends up getting killed in the process. When Michael learns of her death, he is convinced that Eric is responsible and attacks him before leaving the village.

Following the Plane Crash disaster, it transpires that Eric's marriage with Elizabeth had in fact been bigamous; he had already been married to his first wife, Eileen Pollack, and never annulled their marriage at the time he married Elizabeth. Soon enough, Eileen confronts Eric in the village and threatens to expose him as a bigamist. He is forced to buy her silence at the point where he is on the verge of inheriting Elizabeth's estate. Nethertheless, Eileen divorces Eric and leaves him for good.

Later on, Eric joins the villagers in protesting against local businessman Frank Tate when he and his wife Kim plans to evict the Dingle Family. Eric is one of half the entire villagers to get arrested in the protest, and later makes an enemy of the Dingles whilst his own conflict with Frank continues. By then, Eric has gone into business partnership with Frank's former daughter-in-law Kathy Glover and turns her tea rooms into a wine bar. He later gets engaged to a young woman named Dee la Cruz and they get married in 1997. Despite knowing his bad reputation, Dee is keen to make things work between them. Eric is pleased about this until Dee later departs the village for good, which causes him to become suicidal for a brief occasion. Eric later recoups his composure and villainous status after blackmailing gunman Billy Hopwood over the fact that he murdered shopkeeper Vic Windsor in an armed robbery.

Following Frank's death and Kim's departure from Home Farm, Eric secures a bid to gain ownership of the house with help from his new girlfriend Stella Jones - as co-owner and Kim's second husband Steve Marchant is imprisoned for theft and obtaining money by deception along with attempted murder. He soon lives in Home Farm for the majority of 1999 until Stella later discovers his dodgy nature and leaves the village, which causes Eric to lose possession of Home Farm. This allows Frank's son Chris and his sister Zoe to regain ownership of the house.

Also in 1999, Eric becomes suspicious following the death of Kathy's best-friend Rachel Hughes. He promptly suspects that Rachel was killed by her boyfriend Graham Clark and explains his theory to policewoman Angie Reynolds, but she dismisses him due to his reputation. Because of this, nobody believes Eric with the exception of Dingle member Marlon Dingle - whose best friend, Bill Fowler, had left the village after Graham sabotaged his wedding prospects with Kathy. In 2000, Eric and Marlon learn that Graham killed his first wife before and again warn Kathy about his nature. She continues to disbelieve him until Graham takes her out on a holiday trip, whereupon she confronts him about Eric's accusations. It is then Kathy comes to realize that Eric was right all along Graham, as well as the fact that Graham had killed Rachel along with his first wife in the past. When Graham realizes this, he snaps at Kathy and causes them to be left dangling for their lives in a cliff inside his car. Eric and Marlon rush to the rescue in time to see Graham being killed after the car falls off the cliff, although Kathy was able to escape in time. Following Graham's death, Eric is hailed a hero for his efforts to expose Graham's homicidal nature as well as rescuing Kathy from him.

Soon afterwards, Eric gets acquainted with the newly-arrived Gloria Weaver and she helps him with his campaign to become mayor of Emmerdale. Gloria later seeks to take advantage of Eric's campaign, and is briefly successful until his rival Alan Turner and the latter's troublesome daughter Steph Stokes intervene. In doing so, Eric ends his relationship with Gloria and she later swindles money out of him before leaving the village for good.

Following Chris' death, the Tates are replaced by the King family in the village's business empire. Eric seeks a partnership with the King family's patriarch Tom King and his two sons Jimmy and Carl in their development plans for the King's River Project. As such, Tom's other son Matthew and Jimmy's ex-wife Sadie also seek to influence Eric's interest with them as well. Eric's other questionable interaction was that with Tom's widow Rosemary Sinclair and her son Grayson, as well as Steph's estranged husband Adam Forsythe after the latter commits suicide in prison for framing Steph behind the murder of her estranged brother Terrance.

In 2006, Eric gets acquainted with a young man named David Metcalfe - who turns out to be Eric's long-lost son. Initially disbelieving this at first, Eric later discovers that David is his son thanks to a DNA test. He reluctantly takes David under his wing in his business prospects. In 2007, Eric seemingly comforts the Kings' old receptionist Pearl Ladderbanks after her love interest Len Reynolds passes away during the village's 500th anniversary celebrations. She trusts Eric to help manage her future home plans in Len's memory. However, Eric later cons Pearl from Len's home - much to the outrage of David's girlfriend Jasmine Thomas and Alan himself. Both Pearl's colleague Edna Birch and their friend Duke Woods are equally livid with Eric's behaviour, whereas David defends his father despite him feeling uncomfortable with what has happened as well. Eric later gets Pearl and Duke arrested for destroying his property. He plans to get them charged until Len's old house is set ablaze in an abrupt house fire, which nearly kills Pearl up until Eric rescues her - before he himself is then rescued by policeman Ross Kirk. Afterwards, Eric makes amends with Pearl.

In 2008, Eric's conflict with the Dingle family escalates as their rivalry continues to get out of hand. One such matter involves Eric trying to con their family matriarch Lisa in a filming industry, but she foils his deceit and punches him in retaliation. Soon enough Eric has been engaged again, this time to feisty businesswoman Val Lambert. When it becomes clear to Val that Eric has been withholding his secrets from her, she conspires with the Dingles to trick Eric into thinking they kidnapped her in order to sabotage their wedding. Eric later discovers the ruse, but apologizes to Val for deceiving her and they get married.

As opposed to many disastrous relationships and past marriage failures, Eric's romance with Val thoroughly approves as they become the perfect match for each other. This continues to the point where they even work together in get-quick-rich schemes, as well as coping with personal issues. Because of this, Eric's antagonistic behavior begins to settle over the next few years.

In the early 2010s, Eric's past regarding Elizabeth's death resurfaces when Michael reappears to exact revenge on him. He starts hassling Eric with threatening letters and phone calls, but Val later confronts Michael with the truth behind his mother's death and convinces him that Eric is innocent. When they come face-to-face again, Eric apologizes to Michael for the circumstances behind Elizabeth's marriage breakdown and insists that he loved her dearly. Eric later gives Michael money for his future and the two make peace before Michael leaves the village for good this time.

In 2011, Eric helps Val support their adopted daughter Amy Wyatt when it transpires that she is pregnant and that the father of her child is local hardman Cain Dingle. Furthermore, Eric and Val are appalled to learn that Cain has been tormenting Amy over their relationship by attempting to pressure her in aborting their child; Amy, however, defied Cain and gave birth to their son Kyle. Later on, Cain is attacked by an unknown assailant; Eric and Val resolve to protect Amy from police suspicion by convincing the authorities that either Cain's estranged cousin Charity or her fiancé Jai Sharma is responsible, although it is later revealed that Cain's father Zak - also the Dingle's family patriarch - is the culprit.

In the following years, Eric finds himself supporting Val ever since the pair have learned that she is HIV positive. He soon begins to have difficulty coping with Val's ordeal and ends up having a dalliance with cafe owner Brenda Walker. Although this is forgotten when Val forgives him for his deception, he later betrays her again by having an affair with Val's sister Diane Sugden. This continues for a year at the same time when Eric invites serial killer Cameron Murray to stay in Val's B&B, as well as getting into a business partnership with both Charity and her new husband Declan Macey over Home Farm Estate. However, Val eventually learns the truth and exposes Eric's affair with Diane in front of everyone at The Woolpack. She later tries to get revenge by having a fling with a guy named Tiny, but quickly regrets it when he resents her over the HIV. Eric forgives Val for her betrayal before getting into a fight with Tiny for his treatment. Val also forgives Eric over his affair with Diane.

In 2015, Eric learns that Val could face a possible prison sentence after colluding with Brenda's husband Bob Hope and his daughter Cathy to commit life fraud insurance. He is shocked when Val plans to fake her death to avoid prison, and is annoyed with her and Diane constantly arguing over Val's recent shenanigans. Eric later decides to leave the village for a while, during which Val ends up getting killed in a helicopter crash on the day Cain and Charity's daughter Debbie was due to marry farmer Pete Barton. After hearing the news of the helicopter crash, Eric returns to the village to seek Val and believes that she had successfully faked her death; however, Diane later tells him that Val is actually dead from the helicopter crash. Eric struggles to cope with Val's death and later finds out that Diane's stepdaughter-in-law Chrissie White is responsible for the helicopter crash which killed Val, along with both the pilot and fellow resident Ruby Haswell. Enraged, he seeks revenge on Chrissie to the point where he tries to frame her for the shooting of her ex-husband and Diane's stepson Robert - even though Pete's brother Ross Barton is revealed to be the assailant. When Chrissie's trial over the helicopter crash emerges, Eric is unhappy when she is found not guilty and throws a paintball at her in a fit of rage. This causes Chrissie's son Lachlan and his step-relative Gabby to vandalize his house in retribution. The pair are later found out and Chrissie's father Lawrence convinces Eric not to go to the police in exchange for having Lachlan and Gabby work for him on a temporarily basis.

When Val's funeral emerges, Eric drives off with the hearse as he once more struggles to cope with her death. But he calms down when Gabby's father Ashley urges Eric to find a way of moving forward in Val's memory. Agreeing to this, Eric says goodbye to Val at her gravestone and is finally able to move on from her death by focusing his attention on David and his adopted son Jacob Gallagher. At one point, Eric finalizes Val's old partnership with Pete and Ross' brother Finn and their mother Emma to give himself further closure.

Later on, Eric meets his old friend Morris Blakey over the latter's plan to demolish his house for business expansions. Eric manages to convince Morris to abandon his plan, but accidentally causes Morris to target the Dingle's house instead. This complicates things as Eric has formed a relationship with Zak's ex-lover Faith Dingle, and soon Eric's publicity is again called into question when his affiliation is discovered. Eric is left struggling to choose between Morris or the Dingles, but eventually sides with the Dingles for Faith's sake. Morris' scheme is eventually disrupted, although it is later revealed that Chris' son Joe is behind the scheme as part of his plan to avenge his father's death. A few months later, Eric is surprised when Kim returns to the village and is revealed to have a third husband in Joe's legal guardian Graham Foster. Soon enough Faith begins clashing with Kim, but Eric warns her to be cautious and also reminds everyone that Kim had killed Frank by watching him die of a heart attack without proving help back in 1997.

Later on in 2019, Eric supports David it transpires that the latter's new fiancé Maya Stepney is a pedophile who has been grooming and sexually abusing Jacob for months. Jacob's mother Leyla Harding, along with David's former wife Tracey and Jai's sister Pyria, all get detained for kidnapping Maya over Jacob's abuse. Eric later confronts Maya and warns her to stay away from the village, before again comforting David when he contacts Leyla's sister Alicia over the situation. In the end, Maya is found guilty for abusing Jacob and imprisoned - after which Eric helps David and Leyla get Jacob to overcome the situation.

In the 2020s, Eric gets involves in yet another complication when Cain's nephew Aaron Livesy and brother-in-law Mackenzie Boyd are suspected of robbing his house. Eric is also under police suspicion for attacking Aaron with a bat, much to the chagrin of Aaron's mother Chas. Eventually, Eric drops the charges against Aaron and Mackenzie.

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Trivia

  • Chris Chittell (the actor who played Eric Pollard) has been nominated for several awards regarding his critically-acclaimed performance as Eric Pollard and the character's popularity due to his villainous nature.
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