TV & Movies

Emmerdale’s Zoe Tate star’s tragic death as fans rumble Jean Tate identity

Emmerdale’s Tate family has a rather complicated family tree, with plenty of feuds, dramatic soap exits and deaths between them.

But with the arrival of newcomer Chloe Harris on the scene, some fans are sure they’ve worked out another twist in the Tate legacy, as they reckon she could actually be Jean Tate – Zoe’s daughter.

Zoe Tate, the first ever lesbian character to appear in a British soap, was tragically raped by Scott Windsor and fell pregnant with Jean.

And now fans are theorising that Zoe could have been Sarah Sugden’s heart donor and Jean renamed as Chloe – as they would be about the same age.

One theorised: "Just my theory – I think Chloe is really Jean Tate and the heart Sarah has is Zoe Tate's.

"I think maybe Zoe changed Jean's name so Scott wouldn't find them."

Actress Leah Bracknell, who played Zoe from 1989 until 2005, tragically passed away in 2019 aged just 55 after a battle with lung cancer.

We take a look inside her tragic death as her Soapland daughter Jean could make a return to our screens.

Diagnosis

Leah initially announced her lung cancer diagnosis in September 2016, when she explained she was feeling "perfectly well, fit and healthy".

She had been teaching yoga classes and had started rehearsals for a new comedy play at the time, when she admitted "the universe had other plans".

Leah explained: "I began to feel breathless climbing stairs … I just put it down to a bit of stress.

"My abdomen suddenly ballooned – and within a matter of a few days I looked heavily pregnant.

"I could barely walk or breathe. Then, one Saturday night at the beginning of September I ended up in A&E."

In August 2017, it was announced that the targeted biological therapy Leah was undertaking had stopped working, and she was surviving on expensive alternative treatments for months.

Blamed smoking

Leah admitted she blamed smoking for her diagnosis – despite doctors advising her that tobacco wasn’t the cause of her lung cancer.

Speaking on This Morning back in 2016, Leah said: "I never said I haven't smoked, I did smoke in the past. The lung cancer was quite a shock, I haven't smoked for decades and decades.

"Normally people are diagnosed later. It came honestly out of the blue."

Later, on her blog, Leah hit out at companies for ‘not fairly funding’ clinical trials into lung cancer due to ‘prejudice’.

She wrote: "Even when I was told that the type of lung cancer with which I was diagnosed was not caused by smoking, it was a bitter sweet revelation, and let's be honest, it can't have helped.

"But to fail to fairly fund research into detection, screening, treatments etc. due to prejudice seems to be almost inhuman."

Four doctors missed cancer

Leah confirmed she was "extremely lucky" that her cancer was caught at all, after a whopping four doctors failed to catch it.

She said in September 2019: "My own experience, despite contact with four GPs, did not pick up on the severity of the situation and meant I was rushed to hospital where a life saving operation had to be performed.

"I was extremely lucky."

She admitted she had none of the classic symptoms associated with lung cancer, adding: "So medical professionals are missing the bigger picture, especially as up to 15% of lung cancers are diagnosed in non-smokers, often very young."

GoFundMe campaign

After her treatment stopped working, Leah and her husband Jez Hughes set up a GoFundMe campaign in order to undergo immunotherapy and integrative medicine in Germany.

They raised £50,000 in a matter of days from loyal fans and supporters, and in 2019 Leah confirmed she was placed on an immunotherapy clinical trial which would keep her cancer stable.

She admitted she was still hoping for an "impossible miracle" that year, explaining: "Things we call miracles, things we don’t understand, happen all the time, they happen outside the realms of logic and scientific data.

"Nobody knows why they happen, but it is possible for the impossible to happen. I still hope I could get my impossible miracle.

"And if not, I am going to have a bloody good time along the way."

Tragic death

Leah’s death was announced on October 16, 2019, as her manager released a statement which read: "It is with the deepest sadness that Leah Bracknell's family confirm that Leah passed away in September, three years after her diagnosis with stage 4 lung cancer.

"They would like to thank all the public for their support and generosity which contributed to the extension and quality of her life over the past three years.

"Leah continued to embrace life and faced her illness with positivity. Many aspects of her journey can be found on her blog.

"Leah was best known and much loved as Zoe Tate in Emmerdale.

"She also had roles in Judge John Deed, A Touch of Frost, The Royal Today and DCI Banks to name just a few, as well as numerous appearances on stage and in pantomime.

"As well as acting, Leah was also an accomplished yoga teacher and shamanic healer.

"Leah had an energy and enthusiasm for life, a kind heart and much love to give to those around her."

Co-star tributes

Following the news of her death, Leah’s Emmerdale co-stars immediately paid emotional tributes to the late actress, with Charity Dingle actress Emma Atkins commenting: "Leah Bracknell was a complete joy to work with, just because she was so professional, so kind. I loved her a lot."

Claire King, who plays Zoe Tate’s step-mum Kim, added: "She was just the most pure, honest, beautiful person inside and out."

While Peter Armory, best known for playing Zoe’s brother Chris Tate, said: "I think working with Leah was fantastic. She was basically like a sister."

Husband's new love

Leah’s widower Jez revealed earlier this year that he has started dating again after his wife’s death.

According to The Sun, Jez has been in a relationship with Precious Dunlop since April 2021, with a source revealing to the publication: "Jez's friends are delighted for him and have wished them both well. It's been such a heartbreaking time losing Leah, but he is back in a happy place and is enjoying life once more."

He and Leah had initially married just six months after she received the news that her cancer was incurable and inoperable, and helped nurse his wife through her cancer treatment.

Leah described Jez as her "rock", explaining: "He is by my side a lot of the time. He has been a great sounding board.

"I think we support each other as well. My family do OK. I’m not positive all the time, but I am optimistic."

Emmerdale airs weeknights from 7pm on ITV.

For more of the latest showbiz news from Daily Star, make sure you sign up to one of our newsletters here.

Source: Read Full Article