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You're a dinosaur, Frank. And you know what happened to them.
~ Kim's most famous line, to Frank Tate
You know it's true what they say. You learn a lot in prison. Careful who you trust; do it to them before they do it to you. And if you really want something - I mean really want it - don't let anybody or anything stand in your way!
~ Kim, to Graham

Kimberley Jane "Kim" Tate is a fictional character and recurring antagonist of the British soap opera Emmerdale, and is hailed as one of the show's most iconic characters.

She first appeared as a major character in 1989 and went on to serve as the central antagonist throughout the 1990s saga. She returned to the soap in 2018.

Many of Kim's storylines have revolved around her marriage to Frank Tate, whom she had divorced, remarried, and was widowed by. She embarked on two affairs, with Neil Kincaid in 1992 and Dave Glover in 1996 - as well as a third marriage to Frank's former business partner Steve Marchant.

Kim embarked on several feuds, most notably with her stepson Chris Tate, and established an unlikely friendship with Seth Armstrong. She faked her own death in order to get revenge on Frank, who had a fatal heart attack on 22 May 1997 after Kim reappeared and watched him die without helping him.

On January 19, 1999, Kim escaped the village in a helicopter with both her son James Tate and the £190,000 that she reclaimed from Chris, who had recovered it from his father's grave in a last-ditch attempt to bring her to justice for Frank's death, after knocking him out with a paperweight.

Nearly two decades later in October 2018, Kim returned and was revealed to be the mastermind behind the events of the Dingles being endangered of losing their home, with her step-grandson Joe Tate carrying out the plot in his bid to exact revenge on his stepmother Charity Dingle for her mistaken involvement in Chris' death. Kim was pushed off a balcony at Home Farm by Faith Dingle, before being sent back to prison for dangerous driving.

Kim permanently returned to Emmerdale in March 2019, and has since then embarked formally on a relationship with her on/off lover and Joe's legal guardian Graham Foster. She has a feud with Andrea Tate, the wife of her son Jamie, but this feud didn't last long. Months later, Kim became the new owner of Sharma & Sharma, and became business partners with Al Chapman.

She is portrayed by Claire King.

Personality

Kim is an archetypal soap "superbitch", a ruthless and scheming gold-digger. 

In the 2014 Channel 5 documentary TV's Nastiest Villains, King explained that as a big fan of the American soap operas Dallas and Dynasty, she realised that British soap operas did not have a "bitch" character at the time and intentionally played up Kim's bitchiness.

In King's autobiography, she wrote that Kim was originally going to be married to Chris, but the writers decided that Kim was more interested in the Tate money and would have "cut out the middle man" by marrying Frank.

History

Backstory

Prior to the events of Emmerdale, Kim Barker first met Frank Tate in the mid-1980s and the duo embarked on an affair whilst Frank's wife Jean was dying of cancer. Following Jean's death, Frank and Kim got married and she additionally became his secretary - working alongside Frank's children Chris and Zoe.

1990-1999

Kim started out as a friendly businesswoman during her first stint of the show, but it all changed in 1992 when she secretly had an affair with Neil Kincaid. Frank eventually found out and threw Kim out of his home. However, their separation didn't last long as a devastating plane crash resulted in the destruction of Kim's stables and Chris getting paralysed; Frank's comfort and Kim's manipulation would ultimately restart their marriage as they once again got married, much to Zoe's outrage. Though he accepted his father's choice, Chris made it clear that he never trusted Kim again - causing the two to become prime adversaries.

Kim's villainy was first notified when she once again cheated on Frank - this time with Dave Glover, the boyfriend of Chris' ex-wife Kathy. Determined to safeguard this secret, Kim became ruthless when she trampled Dave's brother Nick to prevent him from investigating their affair and later blackmailed him by threatening to harm his daughter Alice. Following Frank's heart attack, Kim slyly staged the events that would apparently lead her husband to endure yet another heart attack; this appeared to have worked, but Frank survived and would discover the truth about his wife's heinous actions and her affair with Dave - promoting him to bribe Kim into leaving their son James under his care. She accepted and would secretly leave the village without anyone noticing.

Kim Frank1997

Frank dies of a heart attack while Kim watches.

5 years later in 1997, Kim served as the series' primary antagonist when she plotted to bring down Frank and his family. First, she paid a woman looking similar to her to drive her car off a quarry, however the woman got trapped in the car and subsequently drowned. Because of this, Kim was presumed dead and Frank was arrested and jailed under false accusation of murdering her. He was eventually released, but would later find himself targeted by a mysterious person who is slowly revealed to be Kim herself. She then confronted Frank alone, and instigated an argument over James that was enough to drive Frank into having yet another heart-attack. She blackmailed Frank into giving her custody of James, but ends up foiling his desperate attempts to call emergency services and leaves him to die of his heart attack.

After Frank's death, Kim revealed that she was alive on the day of his funeral. Whereas virtually everyone was surprised, Chris was vehemently angry as he correctly suspected that she killed his father and swore revenge against his stepmother. By 1998, Kim deceived local resident Steve Marchant into marrying her and they both devised a plan to further establish their organisation - with Kim having already inherited Home Farm under Frank's will, and naming Steve as her assistant. Together, the two targeted Kathy to fulfil their scheme - which became sidetracked after Steve intentionally ran over Kathy to prevent her from uncovering their scheme. Kim then plotted to frame Steve as the sole mastermind behind their nefarious project, and she deceived Kathy into having Steve arrested and remanded in custody. Kim was eventually detained when Chris, who is still on the warpath with his villainous stepmother, discovered her involvement in Steve's crime. Though the two are subsequently charged for attempted manslaughter and theft, Kim was given bail - granting her the opportunity to form a getaway escape to secure her victory over Chris and Steve.

While Kathy and the other villagers were gradually learning about Kim's conspiracy with Steve, Chris also formed an idea to get one over his stepmother and later invited her to Home Farm to settle a score between the duo. She complied and the two had an argument over receiving custody of James, with Chris pointing out that she killed his father and robbed the family's money from his grave - which Kim sought of reclaiming after Chris safeguarded it within his possession. Unable to seduce Chris, Kim deliberately struck him with an ornament and coerced him into revealing the money's location - going on to confess that she did kill Frank in the process. With Chris vulnerable and unable to stop his stepmother due to his paralysis, Kim abandoned his stepson without even helping and escaped with James and the money in a helicopter - leaving Chris and Zoe in ruins whereas Steve was found guilty and promptly convicted to eleven years in prison.

1999-2017

Kim sent flowers to Emmerdale for the funeral of Seth Armstrong in 2005.

At some point between 1989 and 1998, Kim had met Graham Foster at a function. Graham was in a loveless relationship with a woman named Cheryl and gave into temptation, igniting an affair with Kim. Cheryl knew that Graham was being unfaithful, but due to his drink problem, she refused to confront them both. Cheryl became pregnant with Graham's baby and they married, but a drunk Graham had a collision with a tree whilst driving Cheryl back from her baby shower. Instead of phoning for emergency services, Graham phoned Kim but the car exploded, killing Cheryl and the baby. Kim comforted Graham and got him a job as groundskeeper for Joe's school. Joe and Graham struck up a friendship and Joe saved Graham when he tried to kill himself by burning down his hut. When Kim was sent to prison, she and Graham kept in touch. 

2018-Present

In October 2018, Kim was released from prison and met up with Graham. Kim found out that Joe had caused financial problems with his business and Kim felt she was unable to handle him anymore. She told Graham to get rid of Joe, but Graham packed a bag for Joe, gave him £100,000 and told him to make a run for it.

Kim arrived at Home Farm in a flashy sports car, which went under auction and sold to Eric Pollard for £20,000 to raise Sarah Sugden Jr.'s heart condition treatment; however, Kim refused to give him the car because it was undervalued. After finding out about Joe, Kim ordered Graham to kill him. Cain Dingle later attacked Joe after he walked out of his wedding to his daughter, Debbie, and Graham said he was dead. Kim went upstairs and was pushed from the balcony by Faith Dingle, and crashed into a champagne fountain below. She survived the fall and was diagnosed with serious head trauma and a large quantity of blood loss. However, she was discharged from hospital shortly afterwards. She received a visit from the police about being caught on camera speeding in the uninsured sports car and was sent back to prison to finish the rest of her sentence - six months.

On March 14, 2019, Graham picks Kim up from prison and they drive back to Home Farm; however, the car slows down to a complete stop - forcing Graham to go out for help. While waiting, Kim flags down Debbie's father and Faith's son, Cain Dingle, when he comes across her. At first Cain helps Kim, but the two end up in an argument after he learns who she is. When Graham informs Kim that Cain killed Joe, having falsely claimed to have done the job himself, Kim plans to implicate Cain for Joe's murder. Kim tries to get Cain on her side, but he refuses. Later, Kim finds money has gone missing from an offshore account and catches Graham making a suspicious phone call. Kim does some digging and finds out that Joe is still alive and he withdrew money from Kim's offshore account at an ATM in Monte Carlo. Kim confronted Graham about this, and he revealed that Joe is no longer in Monte Carlo as he moved him on. Kim steals Noah's phone and buries it in the woods. Cain goes looking for him and after hearing his phone ring, underneath the soil, he fears that Kim has killed him and begins to dig, only to be caught by the police. Kim then threatens to get Cain imprisoned for Joe's murder if she doesn't do what she wants. Noah becomes suspicious of Kim and Graham after hearing them talking about Joe. Kim finally tells Cain that Joe isn't dead and tries blackmailing him into bed in exchange for her telling the police. Cain chases after Graham and fights him in a field until Moira runs in and breaks it up. Cain agrees to sleep with Kim but bails out at the last minute, enraging Kim. Graham phones Joe to say a final goodbye to him, but as Kim threatens to have him killed, he blackmailed her by saying he will tell Jamie if she doesn't leave Joe alone. Kim tries to contact Jamie but fails to. Debbie slaps Kim once she learns the truth about Joe.

Kim is later reunited with her son, Jamie. After he got a job as a vet, Kim asked unlikely friend Rhona Goskirk to find an incentive to keep Jamie at the vets. Kim also decides she wants her son living with her at Home Farm and does her best to persuade him to move in. 

Kim has a go at Belle Dingle in May 2019 for lying to her where Jamie is and tells her to get lost, and Lisa Dingle overhears their conversation. Lisa, not having Kim treat Belle like that, tells Kim that she's just a stuck up bitch nobody can stand, and Kim responds by calling Belle a "tramp of a daughter". Kim is later told by Jamie that Lisa is dying, which makes Kim feel bad for how she treated Lisa and Belle. She suggests sending Lisa flowers, which Jamie disagrees with. Kim then suggests getting Belle a "mother and daughter spa voucher", which Jamie also dismisses due to the fact Lisa is dying and doesn't need a Jacuzzi. Kim asks Jamie how she can be better and says she wants to be a proper mom to him but she's out of practice. Kim reveals that all she wants is to spend time with Jamie, with just the two of them and nobody else getting in the way. Jamie tells Kim that nobody forced her to alienate everyone and that she can't change that. Kim tells Jamie she can, and offers Jamie to stay for food and a glass of champagne. Jamie turns down the offer as he has an exam the next day, with Kim offering to help him revise. Jamie refuses and leaves. Some time later, Jamie gives Kim a choice, he will stay at Home Farm but only if she invites Lisa to dinner to make up for being so horrible to her. Kim agrees to do this. 

On June 3, 2019, whilst Kim is out riding her horse, Tally, she bumps into Priya. As Kim and Priya are talking, a car comes speeding around the corner. It slows down to pass Kim, Priya and Tally but the horse gets spooked and he bolts, with Kim chasing after him. As Kim walks Tally to the vet's, she spots the car that spooked her horse parked outside Smithy Cottage so she confronts the driver. As Rhona and Jamie walk up Main Street, they spot Kim and the woman having words. As Kim and the woman continue to argue, a little girl jumps from the car and runs into Jamie's arms. A confused Kim demands to know what's going on so Jamie introduces his mum to his daughter, Millie, and his wife, Andrea. A shocked Kim asks Andrea how old she is. Andrea can't believe that's Kim's first question and comments Jamie was right about her. Kim soon realises Andrea doesn't know Jamie is staying with her so she takes glee in informing her of Jamie' current living arrangements. 

At Home Farm, Jamie explains to Andrea that he was going to tell her about moving in when he came home. Kim listens to the pair's conversation from the other side of the door and is pleased that they're arguing. Andrea questions what's changed for Jamie to decide to move in with Kim. Jamie states that when all is said and done, Kim is still his mum. He assures Andrea that he's not going to allow Kim to come between them then asks his wife to let him make things up to her. Kim believes Jamie regrets marrying Andrea and that's why he didn't tell anyone about her and Millie although Jamie states he did that as he was protecting his wife and daughter from her. After Jamie has left, Kim reveals to Rhona that Jamie is married with a child and didn't tell her about them. Kim refuses to sit back and let Andrea take her son away from her. Graham Foster later reveals to Kim that he had hired Andrea to keep tabs on Jamie when he was in a bad place and unable to do so himself. But he then lost contact with Andrea, who had genuinely fallen for Jamie and then went on to have a child, Millie, with him. Jamie is blissfully unaware of the arrangement and despite Kim’s belief that Andrea is after Jamie’s money, Andrea insists that the wealth is of no interest to her, she loves him.

In July 2019, Rishi Sharma made a deal with Kim to help save Sharma & Sharma. Rishi is not happy with the contract Kim has issued him to get the factory out of debt. Realising Kim is his only way out, he reluctantly accepts the offer. During this time, Jamie and Andrea planned to get Kim to sign a contract which cuts her out of a deal. However, Kim found out about their plans through an accidental video call by Millie. With Kim having uncovered Jamie’s secret plan to trick her into signing over her share of the vets to him, she was furious and sent Graham over to destroy Rhona’s career by coming down hard on the vet surgery. Meanwhile, Kim once again appeared to be having a moment of conscience as Jamie made his weekly threat to leave Home Farm as he is still somehow surprised by his mum's vindictiveness. Determined to keep him in her life, she assured him that he could have her share of the vets with no strings and there’d be no consequences for the other vets, Rhona, Vanessa and Paddy.

In August 2019, Kim became the co-owner of Sharma & Sharma, buying a 49.5% share, after the fire and explosion when the insurance company refused to pay out, causing the Sharmas to no longer be able to afford to pay for the repairs or wages for the workers. She later convinces Nicola King to sell her 1% share to her, giving her the majority control over the business. However, she soon reveals the share was actually bought by her secret business partner, Al Chapman. The pair then unveil their plans to build an outdoor pursuit centre at the factory grounds, to a shocked Jai and the horrified factory workers who fear they'll lose their jobs.

In October 2019, Graham went public with his romance with Rhona Goskirk, and Kim was left upset after realising he was serious. She then decided to change his position in the company after no longer being able to trust Graham, and tonight admitted to Al Chapman that he could benefit from his downfall.

In November 2019, Kim spoke to Marlon Dingle to ask him if she could hire the Woolpack for a special event she was planning. Rhona, meanwhile, got upset with Marlon for liaising with Kim and she later confronted Kim for trying to turn Marlon against Graham. Kim then sent Graham a text asking him to meet her at the pub for a special announcement, with Graham totally unaware about what Kim's revelation was all about. She then revealed that her and Graham are married and that it is their wedding anniversary.

As expected, Kim's anniversary bombshell left everyone at the Woolpack in shock while Graham's new partner Rhona was left pretty upset that Graham had never admitted to being married to Kim before. While Graham tried to explain to Rhona that the marriage was purely a business arrangement, that wasn't enough for Rhona who felt betrayed. Meanwhile, Jamie was also upset with his mother's scheming, as he couldn't understand her motives behind planning an anniversary party that nobody was happy about. But, in a bid to take revenge on Kim later one, Graham also dropped a pretty big bombshell himself, telling Kim that he is Millie's biological father. Despite Andrea's comments about Millie being Jamie's, Kim decided to do a DNA test via strands of Millie's hair to determine who the father really is.

Quotes

You're a dinosaur, Frank. And you know what happened to them.
~ Kim to Frank Tate when she watched him die of a heart attack.
No. Kim Tate.
~ Kim's final line before her 1999 departure - to a helicopter pilot when he asked if she was Kim Marchant.

Trivia

  • She is one of the few soap opera villains to not get killed off nor receive any comeuppance for her outrageous crimes.
  • Kim was arguably the show's recurring main villain from 1990 towards 1999 as her villainous storylines were the central focus throughout Emmerdale within the entire 1990s saga.
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