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"I can do what I like!".
~ Tom dismissing his sons when they confront him for controlling their lives.

Tom King is a fictional character and central protagonist of the long-running British soap opera Emmerdale. He first debuted in February 2004 and became the show's anti-villain throughout 2005 and 2006, before later serving as the posthumous antagonist in 2007 and a catalyst in between the years 2008 and 2012.

The patriarch of the King Family and founder of their family business King & Sons, Tom was a successful multi-millionaire and the father of four sons; Jimmy, Matthew, Carl, and Max. He also had a daughter named Scarlett Nicholls.

He was portrayed by Ken Farringdon, who also played Billy Walker in Coronation Street.

Biography

Tom King was born into a family of wealthy and successful businessmen who later formed his own company called King & Sons. He later grew up and married a woman named Mary, who produced four sons for him; Jimmy, Matthew, Carl, and Max. However, Tom cheated on Mary whilst she was dying of cancer with her nurse Carrie Nicholls and got her pregnant with their daughter Scarlett. When Mary died, Tom met Scarlett only once and concealed this revelation from his own sons. At somepoint, Tom ran the company with his sons except for Max. He also allegedly became business rivals with fellow millionaire Frank Tate.

In 2004, seven years after Frank's death, Tom came in the village to lay flowers for Mary. He later proceeded to move in the village with his sons after usurping Frank's daughter Zoe Tate and her business Tate Haulage to become the new dominating family above everyone. He also planned to move into Home Farm and would eventually succeed a year later thanks to his scheming daughter-in-law Sadie King, but then Zoe took revenge by blowing up Home Farm on the day Tom was due to move in there.

Following his arrival, Tom had a relationship with Zoe's sister-in-law Charity Dingle and got engaged to her. This was opposed by Sadie, who saw Charity as a threat after assuming that she is using Tom in the same manner that she used her first husband - Zoe's brother Chris Tate - a few years ago. On their wedding day, however, Sadie sabotaged Charity's hopes of marrying Tom by making it appear that she had been restarting her affair with her cousin Cain Dingle. As a result, Tom jilted Charity and a fight broke out between the Kings and the Dingles. Months later, however, Charity exposed Sadie's actions to Tom by seducing Jimmy and tricking him into revealing the extent of Sadie's deceit. She also got him to admit that Sadie lied to Jimmy about having children. Tom believed Charity and tried to take her back with her daughter Debbie Dingle and infant son Noah, but she refused and left the villlage.

Tom then disowned Jimmy and Sadie from the business for their actions against Charity. But he reluctantly welcomed them back in the fold after making an enemy of local farmer Jack Sugden, as Tom planned to buy a port of land in Jack's farm to which Jack and his family refused to sell. But then Jack's son Robert Sugden betrayed his family in his attempt to get revenge on his brother Andy by helping Jimmy and Cain with their plan to ruin the Sugdens. Even afterwards, Jack refused to relent to Tom's prospects and demanded him to stop hassling him.

The feud between the Kings and Sugden soon impacted Tom's youngest son Max, who had recently arrived in the village. Tom pressured Max into spending more time with the business and drove him into a guilt-ridden state. Tom later disowned Max for a while after he ran over his father in a drunken state at one point. Soon enough, Max was caught up in the rivalry between Robert and Andy that led to them having a car crash; the brothers survived but Max was killed in the explosion. When Tom learned about Max's fate, he mourned his son and was upset to realize that he is partly responsible for driving Max to his death. Afterwards, he and Jack ceased their conflict for the time being.

Following Max's death, Tom was tricked by Sadie into letting Matthew take over the business from Jimmy - hiding the fact that she and Matthew have been having an affair. At first Tom was willing to accept this in light of Jimmy's recent troubles, but eventually discovered Sadie's lies and disowned her again. He forced Matthew to choose between Sadie or the business; Matthew chose the business, but eventually changed his mind after disrupting Sadie's wedding to her fiancé Alasdair Sinclair. When Matthew made it clear to his father that he loved Sadie for good, Tom accepted this and disowned Matthew for the time being. That same year, Tom sacked his chuffer Terry Woods for his romantic affections with his new girlfriend Jean Hope.

In 2006, Tom was set to complete his business project called the Kings River Showhouse development. He had been planning it since his arrival in the village and got Carl and Jimmy to prepare the development. But then Sadie attempted to sabotage Jimmy's efforts, which prompted him to cut corners in order to please his father by making the development as successful as it ever was. However, this ended in disaster when the Showhouse suddenly exploded and Jean's daughter Dawn Woods was killed along with two other people.

The follow-up of Dawn's death saw Tom and his family face opposition from the villagers, particularly when they neglect their company's involvement in the disaster. Tom also discovered Sadie's betrayal again from Matthew when her affair with Cain is revealed, as well as the fact that Sadie is responsible for the showhome collapse that killed Dawn and implicate the Kings as the neglectful perpetuators. Tom was later kidnapped by Cain along with Sadie for a £2.5 million ransom; though he was eventually rescued, Cain got away and Tom became more bitter and furious than ever.

Tom soon had a business relationship with Sadie's mother-in-law Rosemary and they got engaged. Throughout their engagement, Tom ended up making several enemies around the village. This included Dawn's vengeful father Bob Hope and his son Jamie over the circumstances behind Dawn's death. Tom later tried to bribe them in abandoning a court case over the collapse; they refused, but Jean took the money and left with Dawn and Terry's son TJ in the process. This drove the Hopes into vowing revenge against Tom more than ever, whilst Terry also resented Tom for his role behind TJ's disappearance.

Tom also upset his personal assistant Edna Birch when she discovered his negligence in the showhome collapse, and he blackmailed her into keeping quiet under the threat of telling her apparent son Peter that his real mother is actually Edna's sister. Edna reported the Kings to the Health and Safety Executive anyways, but Tom successfully covered his tracks and Edna was left humiliated. She became deeply reclusive in despair of Tom's betrayal, which angered her friend Len Reynolds to the point where he punched Tom and swore revenge.

At the same time, Tom was unimpressed that Carl was rebuilding his relationship with his lover - Cain's sister Chas Dingle. At first he believed her to not be good enough for his son, even when she helped expose his last girlfriend Chloe Atkinson for lying about pregnancy in order to silence her over exposing Carl's cause in the death of postman Paul Marsden. As such, Tom accused Chas of conspiring with Cain in the kidnapping against him before later discovering that she colluded with the Hopes out of guilt over the Kings' negligence in the house collapse. In response, Tom cruelly forced Chas to dump Carl by threatening to disinherit him should he chose her over his family.

On the day of his 2006 Christmas wedding to Rosemary whilst ignoring his son's reservations about her, Tom further alienated Matthew and Jimmy from him; Jimmy because Tom deemed him a useless son and his latest favorite, while Matthew believes that Tom will leave everything to Rosemary instead of him. Tom later angered them both by choosing Carl as his heir to run the family business. Carl, however, refused when Chas told him what Tom did to her. Tom later appeared to displease Rosemary by telling her to have Carl manage the Home Farm Estates instead of her or her son Grayson Sinclair, who also resented Tom for antagonizing his gay status - which Tom laughed about with his old lawful friend Charles Vaughn.

Later on that night, Tom was confronted by an unknown assailant and hit with an ornament before getting shoved off his bedroom window. Tom fell the ground and died of a broken neck.

Legacy

A prolonging murder investigation ensued, during which his sons learn the truth about Tom's affair with Carrie when she and Scarlett appeared in the village after his funeral. Eventually, Carl is revealed to be the killer after he and his brothers were acquitted from trial of their father's murder; Rosemary tried to frame them by getting Grayson's associate Hari Prasad and his girlfriend Louise Appleton to lie in their testimony against them, which failed when Louise had a change of heart and Hari was jailed for his lies. Jimmy and Matthew decided to protect Carl after stating that Tom ruined their lives enough, even when Carl had a relationship with Vaughn's policewoman Grace Barraclough and confessed the crime to her before she died. Rosemary also died in the first anniversary of Tom's death after her feud against the Kings ended in failure for her.

Carrie later learned the truth about Tom's death and told her other daughter Lexi about it. In 2008, Carl feuded with Matthew in a business conflict when he worked with their business rival Donald De Souza against them. Matthew eventually planned to marry Donald's daughter Anna, but Carl ruined it by revealing Matthew's involvement in Donald's death. This led to Matthew and Carl having a brutal fight that culminated with Matthew blaming Carl for everything, stating that none of their mess would've happened had he not killed their father. Wanting revenge for his jilted wedding and Tom's death, Matthew tried to kill Carl - but ended up getting killed himself instead and his funeral took place in 2009. That same event saw King & Sons collapse from bankruptcy and both Carl and Jimmy lost ownership of Home Farm in the end.

In 2012, Carl finally confessed killing Tom to Chas when their relationship collapsed; he was then killed by love rival Cameron Murray, thus making Jimmy the one member of the King Family left. After Carl's funeral and bidding goodbye to his children Thomas and Alya afterwards, with the pair going back to stay with their mother Colleen out of the country, Jimmy settled the rest of his life with wife Nicola and their children. In 2015, Tom was mentioned again when conman Eric Pollard understood family differences between him and Tom from local vicar Ashley Thomas.

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Trivia

  • Tom King was born in 11th May 1939 and had a father named Albert King.
  • The character reappeared in a guest stint in a Christmas 2013 special.
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