Richard Thorp, one of Emmerdale’s longest-serving actors, played Alan Turner in the Dales from 1982 until his terrible death in 2013, a remarkable 31-year run.
Before his terrible death in 2013, Emmerdale’s Richard Thorp was one of the show’s longest-serving actors.
In the ITV soap, he played Alan Turner, a former Woolpack owner who was well known for his friendship with Seth Armstrong and flirtations with vet secretary Pearl.
He was also embroiled in a number of tense storylines, including being put at the mercy of Steph Forsythe, being kept prisoner by her, and nearly being killed.
Following actor Richard’s death in real life, Alan was slain off-screen in 2013, and Betty went to see him in France, where he was staying with his biker pals.
Alan had died in his sleep at the age of 78, and his daughter Steph had returned for his burial.
Richard died on May 22, 2013, in Shrewsbury, at the age of 81, following many episodes of sickness.
“On behalf of the cast, staff, and production team of Emmerdale, we are deeply sad to learn of Richard’s death,” ITV said in a heartfelt statement. The show’s cornerstone.
It concluded: “Richard was a true professional and a complete gentleman. His charm, wit and effortless grace will be sorely missed.”
Series producer at the time, Kate Oates, paid a sweet tribute to the late star, commenting: “Richard’s death is a sad loss to Emmerdale, of which he was at the heart for so many wonderful years.
“He will be missed by every single member of our production whose lives he touched.”
Injury and death premonition
Richard had been suffering from health concerns before to his tragic demise, having taken a break from filmmaking in 2009 to have his right knee replaced before returning over a year later.
“I was walking across the shop the other week when I heard one woman say to her friend, ‘Isn’t that Alan Turner over there?'” Richard told the Evening Courier of his injuries. ‘Don’t be ridiculous, it can’t possibly be – he’s dead!’ said her buddy.
“I have had to learn to walk again and didn’t drive for four months.”
Impressive wealth and will
Richard played a variety of roles before joining Emmerdale, including Lovejoy in To The Manor Born, Gerald Thompson in Whodunnit?, and Geoffrey Cartland in The Cedar Tree.
After starring in The Dam Busters in 1955, the actor revealed to the Daily Mail in 2010 that he was “too sluggish” to pursue a career in Hollywood.
“I filmed a few pictures following The Dam Busters,” he told the publication, “but I was too sluggish to pursue a career in Hollywood.”
“Also, back then, films provided no financial security, but a soap guaranteed regular income and I always said yes to anything I was offered.”
And it appears that his financial decision paid off, as he was able to leave £304,831 to his children in his will.
The actor married three times, first to actress Maureen Moore, then to Lynn Mellish, and finally to Noola Delany, all of whom he divorced.
Richard has four children with whom he shared the £300,000 throughout the course of his life.
His commercial expertise was evident in his personal life as well, as he was able to purchase a multimillion-pound home.
He scored a bargain in the early 1960s when he purchased Hurtmore House, which Cheryl eventually occupied with ex-husband Ashley Cole.
Richard paid £17,000 for the property, which was valued at £3.4 million in 2010.
However, he was dissatisfied with the mansion modifications carried out by Girls Aloud star Cheryl and footballer Ashley Cole, telling the Daily Mail: “I’m not sure why you’d want to pull out all of the historical details and replace them with casinos and other such things. They’ve wrecked it, in my opinion.”
Later, he moved into Nether Skyborry, a four-bedroom Victorian mansion in Knighton, Powys, before selling it for £750,000 to make his drive to Yorkshire easier.
He paid £230,000 for the house when he first bought it.
Lorraine Chase, who played Alan’s daughter Steph in Emmerdale, confirmed to The Mirror that she had spoken to Richard just a day before he died over the phone.
She went on to say: “On Saturday, I received a call from Richard, which was a pleasant surprise. He was a bright young man who claimed to be doing well. He sounded completely genuine. Then, of course, the next day, I got word that he’d passed away.”
Lorraine soon realized that Richard’s burial was held at the same location where she had said goodbye to her own father just a year earlier.
Despite the fact that Richard had resided in Knighton for many years, his funeral was held in Mortlake, London, at the same crematorium as her father’s had been held.
She told The Mirror: “Of all the places they could have done it, they chose to do it there.
“I just found that extraordinary. There seemed to be an association between him and my dad.”
Lorraine also revealed that she liked to call Richard ‘dad’ – something she made clear she wouldn’t do with just any co-star, as he “gave you that feeling he cared”.
She explained that Richard was concerned about her and had called her to inquire about her well-being.
Lorraine also revealed that her own father had been in and out of prison for robbery, making it “difficult” to get close to him – something that seems even bizarre when you consider Alan’s funeral scenes in Emmerdale, with Steph appearing in handcuffs on her day of release.
She even suggested it could have a “spiritual” meaning.
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