As soap deaths go, they don’t come more shocking than Joe Tate’s in last night’s climactic double episode of Emmerdale.
Fans were left devastated, surprised and in disbelief as Cain punched Joe to the ground, and Graham appeared to finish the job with a gun.
Read more: Emmerdale SPOILER: Who pushed Kim Tate?
The unexpected death of Joe in a devastating twist, marked the departure of Ned Porteous after just over a year in the role.
But fans do NOT believe the character has been killed off – and predict he’ll be back.
After all, he didn’t actually die on screen…
In hugely dramatic scenes aired last night (Thursday 11 October), Joe was knocked unconscious after being punched in the face by protective dad Cain Dingle – seeking justice for jilted bride Debbie.
The impact of the blow knocked Joe to the ground where he hit his head on a rock, leaving blood pouring from his nose.
Graham declared Joe dead, stating matter-of-factly that the closest person he had to a son had no pulse.
Viewers then saw an emotionless Graham put lifeless Joe in the boot of his car…
Shocked watchers then saw Joe’s fingers start to twitch, confirming he wasn’t quite dead yet. Emphasis on ‘yet’.
And, in a devastating blow, Graham drove to the viaduct – the place where Emma Barton was killed by Moira – and appeared to complete the job.
We next saw Graham returning to his car after seemingly murdering Joe and dumping his body.
Appearing to confirm his dastardly deed, Graham broke down in tears, smashing his fists against the steering wheel and shouting in rage.
But we didn’t actually see Joe’s dead body, did we?
Fans convened on Twitter to express their belief that Joe is still alive.
However, actor Ned Porteous has confirmed he’s left the show.
The Emmerdale star left an emotional goodbye message to fans in a video posted on the soap’s Twitter account.
He said: “Hi guys, Ned Porteous here at Home Farm, my home, for what could be the last time.
“What we have seen is Kim Tate return to the village, not very happy with the actions of Joe. We’ve also seen Cain hit me to the ground, I hit my head on a rock.
“Now it seems he’s fully integrated into village life – is it all over?”
He went on to say that working with Andrew Scarborough had been “brilliant” and concluded: “I just want to thank everyone for their viewing support and for now all I can say is see you later.”
In an interview with the Radio Times, Ned went on to say: “Yes [Joe really is dead and gone].
“Shooting all of this last bit to the story was tremendously exciting as there had been a lot of build up. I had a lot of time to prepare, but I just focused on the work and concentrated on producing some really good final scenes.
“I don’t suppose I’d really thought too much about the fact I was actually going to be leaving, and maybe I wasn’t quite emotionally ready – but everyone was so bloody lovely on my last day, it was a little emotional!”
Ned admitted he now plans to “turn my phone off, go climbing, go camping and go fishing” before pursuing work in America.
He’s currently in the States, far away from the Tate’s and the Dingle’s, enjoying a well-earned rest!
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