A short history of Emmerdale’s Ross Barton

Brooding, bad, and oh so misunderstood

Ross Barton caused drama from the moment he arrived in Emmerdale when he carjacked Laurel Thomas.

After it became clear he knew Cain Dingle, it was soon revealed criminal Ross was Moira Dingle’s nephew from her marriage to John Barton, and it wasn’t long before the rest of that branch of the Barton clan moved to the village.

Petty criminal Ross seemed to want to go straight, but the appeal of being bad was just too tempting.

Billed as a bad boy with a nasty streak, we all knew that softer side was in there and it came out when he fell for Donna Windsor.

He was in the Dales from 2013 until 2018 and it was an eventful five years. Here are the most important bits.

Read more: Where is Emmerdale filmed?

Who are Ross Barton’s family?

Editorial use only Mandatory Credit: Photo by ITV/Shutterstock (3749812t) The Bartons - James Barton [Bill Ward] Ross Barton [Michael Parr] Finn [Joe Gill] Peter [Anthony Quinlan] 'Emmerdale' The Barton Family - TV Programme. - 04 Nov 2013
James, Ross, Finn and Pete: aka the Barton boys (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)
Ross is the middle son of James and Emma Barton.

He has elder brother Pete and younger brother Finn, who sadly died in 2017. He also has half-brother Adam Barton, after James had an affair with his brother’s wife, Moira.

Ross’s relationship with his family was always complicated. He was the bad boy, the black sheep, and felt his father loved Pete more than him.

What Ross didn’t know was that Emma, in a fit of postnatal depression had tried to smoother him when he was very young, and Pete had seen it happen and told James.

The incident led to James kicking Emma out and they didn’t see her again until 2015 when Finn tracked her down.

Ross discovered the truth about her trying to kill him, but when she explained about her depression, her forgave her and the pair began building a relationship.

As Emma and James reunited, Ross was horrified to discover his dad had cheated on his mum with Moira again, and ended up pushing him down the stairs, breaking his legs.

James was bedbound and when Emma found out the truth about what James and Ross were arguing about, she kept James hostage and slowly lost her mind, resulting in her pushing him off the viadcut and killing him.

Ross was distraught he didn’t get chance to make up with his dad before his death.

Worse was to come, when the truth came out about Emma, Finn paid the price when she accidentally shot and killed him. Ross bundled his mother into his car and drove her to the viaduct, where he yelled at her to kill herself.

He left and returned to find she was indeed dead, and spent months blaming himself.

When it was revealed Moira had killed Emma, Ross initially lashed out in anger, but then decided to forgive her and move on.

Was Ross Barton a criminal?

Mandatory Credit: Photo by ITV/Shutterstock (3529996pb) Emmerdale - Ep 6627 Thursday 8 August 2013 - 2nd Ep A nervous but determined Laurel Thomas [CHARLOTTE BELLAMY] confronts the carjacker. Aware of the scissors he realises she means business. When it dawns on him who she is, he apologises, but its not enough. Meanwhile, Cain and Marlon pull up at RossÕs work. Cain recognises Glen, who eventually gives him RossÕs address, they have no other option but to hope itÕs the right one. Back at the flat LaurelÕs confidence is slipping but sheÕs defiant needing him to know how heÕs made her feel. Ross becomes cocky as he sees her faÂ?ade wavering, he tries to take control and sheÕs unnerved as he moves closer, backing her against the door. He knocks a lamp over and she drops the scissors in shock. Now in complete control, he looks menacingly at a terrified Laurel. Will Marlon and Cain make it in time? Emmerdale - 2013
Ross’s arrival wasn’t the most wholesome (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)
Whilst Ross didn’t set out to be a bad boy, he did do plenty of bad things.

His introduction to the show saw him carjack Laurel, and then when she tracked him down brandishing a pair of scissors at him and saying she wanted him to feel as scared as she did, he attacked her again.

He got involved with some dodgy drug dealers thanks to Cain and ended up with a gunshot wound in his neck.

His criminal activities continued when he aided Donna Windsor in some robberies.

He wasn’t adverse to a bit of violence either, making a pact with Andy Sugden to kill the other’s brother. Ross shot Robert Sugden, but he survived, and Andy failed to go through with his part of the bargain to kill Pete.

There was also a dabble in growing a selling marijuana after he and Finn found plants growing at Wylie’s Farm where their mother had held their father hostage.

Who was Donna Windsor? Was she Ross’s first love?

Editorial use only Mandatory Credit: Photo by ITV/Shutterstock (4101937ea) Wanting to get the ball rolling, Donna Windsor [VERITY RUSHWORTH] arranges to meet Ross Barton [MICHAEL PARR] with the stolen goods but the situation leaves her feeling on edge and she snaps at April. Later, having not heard from Ross, Donna goes to see him but is left disappointed with the amount of cash he has received, as it's not what she expected. Left with an ultimatum, will Donna decide to quit or will she start thinking bigger? 'Emmerdale' TV Programme. - 2014 Episode 6879
Donna and Ross’s romance was doomed from day one (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)
Donna Windsor returned to the Dales in 2014 after an absence of five years and it was quickly revealed she was dying of terminal cancer.

Ross took a shine to Donna and enjoyed flirting with her and teasing her. He quickly realised she wasn’t the clean-cut policewoman everyone thought she was and in fact she was dodgy.

What she was actually doing was trying to raise enough money to secure her daughter, April’s future after Donna had gone.

Ross agreed to help her burgle Gary North’s house, a prolific local criminal. The robbery was a success and Ross and Donna became lovers, but Donna didn’t tell him she was dying.

But Gary soon came for revenge and in order to keep his family safe, Ross agreed to do a dodgy job for him.

Donna helped him out, but it all went horribly wrong and Donna ended up handcuffing herself to Gary and throwing them both off a building to their deaths.

Ross has always held onto his memory of Donna as she was his first love.

When did Ross have an affair with Debbie Dingle?

Emmerdale Ross and Debbie kiss Credit: ITV/YouTube
Ross and Debbie’s affair was behind his brother – and her fiancé’s – back (Credit: ITV/YouTube)

Although he was dating Carly Hope, Ross struggled to fight his feelings for his brother Pete’s fianceé Debbie Dingle.

After weeks of flirting, the pair began an affair and planned to run away together just before Debbie and Pete’s wedding.

But they were stopped by Deb’s dad, Cain Dingle, who revealed Ross was hiding a big secret – he’d bedded Debbie’s mum, Charity Dingle and got her pregnant, making Ross the dad of Debbie’s half-brother, Moses.

She dumped Ross and married Pete, and Cain decided to keep Ross away from the nuptials by tying him up in the back of a van on the edge of a cliff.

Ross escaped and returned to the village to see Debbie’s lifeless body being carried out after the helicopter crash.

He went to the hospital to find out if she was okay, but Pete, who had discovered the truth about the affair, lashed out at him…

How did Emmerdale fake Ross Barton’s death?

Emmerdale Ross Barton dead? Credit: ITV/YouTube
Emmerdale fans really believed he was dead (Credit: ITV/YouTube)

After Pete and Ross were thrown out of the hospital for fighting, their argument continued outside.

Ross goaded Pete and Pete eventually charged him into a stone wall, Ross smacked his head and lost consciousness as Pete rained punches down on him.

Realising he’d ‘killed’ his brother, Pete didn’t go into the hospital for help, he put Ross in the boot of his car and drove him to the woods where he buried him in a ditch covered by leaves.

Viewers mourned and Pete finally confessed three weeks later to James, who demanded they go and retrieve Ross’s body.

But it was nowhere to be seen – and fans were stunned to see Ross was alive, but in a coma.

When he woke up he returned to Emmerdale and was furious to see Pete hadn’t been reported to the police even though everyone knew what he’d done.

Ross forgave his brother, but it turned out to be all an act as he spent the next months trying to get revenge on Pete – even making the pact with Andy that they’d kill each other’s brother.

Meanwhile, Debbie had agreed to try again with Ross, but when she found out he’d shot Robert, she left Ross – and the village – behind.

How many children does Ross Barton have?

Emmerdale Ross and son Moses Credit: ITV/YouTube
Ross didn’t warm to being a dad at first (Credit: ITV/YouTube)

With the amount of women he’s slept with, it’s a wonder Ross doesn’t have more than just one child, but so far Moses Dingle is his only son.

Moses was the product of a one-night stand with Charity, who ended up pregnant and in prison.

When Moses was born, Debbie and Pete took the little one to live with them as no one knew who the dad was – no one except the dad himself, Ross, who was so determined to keep the truth from Debbie, he went along with Charity’s crazy plan.

She asked Ross to split Cain and his wife Moira up in return for her silence over the baby.

It didn’t work when Cain found out the truth and told Debbie, and Ross lost her anyway.

He also thought he was the dad of Rebecca White’s son, Seb, for a while.

He had been dating Rebecca when she also hooked up with Robert Sugden and it was unclear who the father was when she fell pregnant.

But Rebecca soon revealed there was no way it could be Ross’s as they had always been careful, but she and Robert hadn’t.

Ross is now stepdad to Seb after the couple left together to start a new life in Liverpool.

Who attacked Ross Barton with acid?

Ross had viewers sobbing with his reaction in Emmerdale
Ross’s face may be permanently scarred (Credit: ITV)

Ross, desperate to win back Debbie, agreed to help her get revenge on Joe Tate in 2018.

Joe had initially wooed Debbie, but then revealed he was out for vengeance on her whole family and had left her homeless and jobless.

Ross got a job as Joe’s driver and fed information back to Debbie, but when she wasn’t thankful for his help, he decided the lifestyle Joe was offering him was far more enticing and he was going to throw his eggs into Joe’s basket.

But Joe was already onto him and sacked him.

Ross stole one of Joe’s cars in revenge, but he didn’t know Debbie had paid local drug dealer Simon to “mess” Joe up.

Simon, unable to see properly at night and only really focusing on the car, threw acid in Ross’s face, thinking he was Joe.

Joe and Graham Foster found Ross writhing in agony, doused him in water and got him to the hospital.

But the scarring was bad and Ross was told he might never heal fully, leaving him very depressed.

He discovered Debbie was behind the attack after Simon was arrested, but Ross forgave her for what she’d done.

When did Ross Barton leave Emmerdale?

Ross left Emmerdale for a fresh start (Credit: ITV)

Ross decided he needed a fresh start in Liverpool.

He and girlfriend Rebecca White, who was suffering from a brain injury after a car accident caused by her nephew, Lachlan White, agreed they needed a fresh start from it all.

They both wanted to take their children, Seb and Moses, with them, but met with quite the resistance from their respective exes, Charity and Robert.

Eventually an agreement was reached and Ross and Rebecca left the village together in November 2018.

A classic Ross Barton quote

Ross and Rebecca leave Emmerdale Credit: ITV/YouTube

“Shut it. Drive, now!” was Ross’s first line to Laurel Thomas.

As he departed, he said to girlfriend Rebecca White: “Right, now drive!” showing just how much he’d matured during his five years in the Dales.

Read more: Emmerdale complete cast list 2019

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