Emmerdale Soapstars family

Emmerdale’s Soapstars family: Who did they play? Where are they now?

The family didn't last long in the show!

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Soapstars was the televised hunt for new actors to join the cast of Emmerdale as a new family for the show, in 2001.

Back in the early noughties, television talent shows were all the rage! Pop Idol and Popstars were topping the ratings each week and so ITV created Soapstars.

The premise was that thousands of wannabe actors and actresses would audition for telly experts and the prize would be a role on Emmerdale!

But right from the start, the show was was treated with suspicion by viewers and industry insiders. The actors’ union, Equity, even issued a statement calling the process “insulting”.

Titles from Soapstars on ITV1 in 2001
Soapstars was a controversial idea from the start (Credit: ITV/YouTube)

Read more: Complete Emmerdale cast list 2022 – meet them all here!

Who were the Soapstars  judges?

The people making the decisions were producer Yvon Grace, casting director Paul de Freitas, and writer Bill Lyons.

The contestants were put through their paces with drama exercises before the final decision was made. They even had a Pupstars competition to find the new Emmerdale family a dog!

Emmerdale Soapstars family pose with the village sign
The Calder and Weston family were not a hit (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)

Who won the competition?

The winners of the show were Dee Whitehead, Mark Jardine, Elspeth Brodie, Jason Hains and Ruth Abram.

They joined Emmerdale as a new family who had moved to the Dales to run the holiday village.

The Calder/Weston clan arrived in 2001 with two parents, three children and a dog!

The Soapstars family in Emmerdale say goodbye to Jess
The winners of the show formed a new family for the Emmerdale cast (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)

Who did the Soapstars play in Emmerdale?

Dee Whitehead played Maggie Calder. She was an old friend of Rodney Blackstock, who’d recently left her husband to start again with new man Phil Weston – played by Mark Jardine.

Maggie was joined by her children Craig Calder (Jason Hain) and Lucy Calder (Elspeth Brodie). Phil brought along his daughter Jess Weston (Ruth Abram).

The family were fractious and their time in Emmerdale was bumpy. Eventually, Maggie had an affair with Rodney and they all left.

Maggie and Craig Calder - the Soapstars family - in Emmerdale dressed up for a Christmas panto
Both Dee Whitehead (Maggie) and Jason Hain (Craig) have left showbiz (Credit: ITV/Shutterstock)

Read more: Emmerdale star Jack Downham forced to defend himself over terrifying soap plot

Where are the Soapstars family now?

Dee Whitehead, who played Maggie Calder, didn’t carry on with her acting career.

Her only other credited television appearance is on an episode of the Kay Mellor drama The Chase in 2006.

Phil actor Mark Jardine has gone on to other acting roles.

He played Mark Long in The Royal, and also appeared in other television shows including Oranges and Sunshine, and Donovan. He’s also had a couple of small roles in Coronation Street.

Elspeth Brodie, AKA Lucy, is still in the acting business but she’s now a dialect coach.

Ruth Abram (Jess) and Jason Hain, who played Craig, also left acting after Emmerdale.

But last year Jason did appear on a show called When Soap Stars Go Horribly Wrong!

Emmerdale usually airs weeknights at 7.30pm on ITV, with an hour-long episode on Thursdays.

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