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Who Killed Tom King?

On the 25 December 2006 Emmerdale presented the interactive storyline, featuring the death of Tom King.

Tom King was a fictional character, in the television soap opera Emmerdale. He was a businessman with many enemies throughout the village.

His death started the largest murder investigation in the show's history.

ITV's Announcement of the storyline

On 8th August 2006, ITV announced that Ken Farrington had decided to leave Emmerdale. Series Producer Kathleen Beedles was quoted as saying that: "Ken has been an asset to the show and will be greatly missed but his exit storyline is going to be extremely dramatic and memorable for viewers, which we're very excited about." In October 2006, ITV announced that Tom King would be killed off on Christmas Day 2006.

Leading up to Christmas

Rosemary Sinclair came into Tom's life and the King patriarch fell for her. Their relationship was met by scepticism from Tom’s sons as they were fearful that Rosemary was only after Tom’s money, hence, their inheritance. Rosemary’s son, Grayson, didn’t approve of the new relationship either as he didn’t like the way it made Rosemary look. Despite attempts by Tom's son Matthew and Rosemary's daughter in-law Perdy to break up the relationship, Tom proposed to Rosemary and they decided to get married on Christmas Day. Tom started to build up a number of enemies in the village as his wedding day drew closer.

Christmas Day Murder

Tom's wedding day didn't get off to the best start when a furious Terry Woods chased Tom's limo down the village's main street and proceeded to drag the groom out of the limo and punch him right outside the church. Tom's sons Jimmy and Matthew made one final attempt to get Tom to call off the wedding, but were unsuccessful.

The reception then moved on to Home Farm. After Tom and Rosemary were introduced to their guests, Jimmy and Matthew started a fight with their brother Carl over Tom's decision to leave his business to Carl after retirement, which Jimmy had overheard. The brawl spilled out into the reception during the bride and groom's first dance, which Tom had to break up. While Tom was giving his wedding present to Rosemary, Chas Dingle arrived, uninvited, and revealed that Tom had paid her to end her relationship with Carl before she was removed.

Meanwhile, Tom's enemies Bob and Jamie Hope sneaked into the house. While separated, Bob encountered Tom and was about to hit him with a vase but couldn't, and left to find Jamie. While the firework show was going on, the housekeeper, Pearl Ladderbanks, went looking for Tom and heard an argument between Tom and someone else, but never found out who. Soon afterwards, Tom crashed through a window and fell to his death. During the commotion, Jamie got away, but Bob was spotted by Jimmy and Matthew and caught and held until the police arrived, at which point Bob was arrested.

The Investigation

After Bob was released on bail, he confronted Jamie, suspecting that Jamie was the killer. After seeing Jamie burning his clothes, Bob went to the police and confessed. However, Jamie told the police that his father had fled before anything happened, and the police were forced to release Bob for lack of evidence. The police questioned many other people, including Terry Woods, Len Reynolds, Chas and Eli Dingle, and Rosemary, before questioning Tom's sons. Ultimately, all three sons were arrested for conspiracy to murder Tom King when fibres were found on the murder weapon, fibres that matched what the three boys were wearing on the day of Tom's murder.


In October 2006, ITV announced plans for a fully interactive storyline, surrounding the death of Tom King. "The ensuing weeks will be full of twists and turns as some of the show’s most popular characters are placed at the centre of the enquiry, facing fierce interrogation in the hunt for the killer - the police are determined to leave no stone unturned."

In a world first, the whole storyline is fully interactive allowing viewers the opportunity of becoming super sleuths to help solve the crime via a dedicated ITV online portal. Launched in November, it consists of blogs, clues, secret e-mails and voicemails. Emmerdale Online is being created for ITV by Branded Storytelling producers Hoodlum.

The viewer will be taken inside the show and have direct online interaction with the storyline. The cast will be seen trying to piece together the murder and their findings will, in turn, be immediately available for viewers to tap into online.

To add to the mystery, and for the first time ever, Emmerdale filmed 10 secret scenes, each showing a different suspect committing the murder and therefore enabling 10 different possible outcomes. As a result, even the cast and crew don’t know who the killer really is.

From the official "Who Killed Tom King?" website:

First Clue

The Death Threat sent December 25th,

You've lied. You've cheated.
You've stolen.
You've murdered.
The law can't get you.

So I will.

The Suspects

As so many people wanted Tom King dead, the list of suspects was eventually narrowed down to a possible ten:

Each of the ten suspects filmed a scene killing Tom King. None of them knew if they were the killer or not.

Secret Eleventh Ending

It was then revealed that Emmerdale had filmed a secret eleventh ending which saw three suspects from the line-up kill Tom together: his sons - Jimmy, Matthew and Carl.

In this secret eleventh ending, Carl and Matthew held their father still, while eldest brother Jimmy whacked Tom over the head with the horse statuette that figures in all eleven murder scenarios.

Tom's final video

Tom King's final video eventually came to light. It was intended for his close friend and best man, Chief of Police Charles Vaughan. It sees Tom speaking candidly to camera about who, of those around him, would have had the motive to kill him. The first part shows Tom discuss Bob Hope, Jamie Hope and Terry Woods.

The second part of Tom King's final video shows Tom speak of Len Reynolds and how he doesn't know his three sons as well as he thought.

The third, and final, part of Tom King's final video shows Tom speak of Chas Dingle, Rosemary and Grayson Sinclair and why he thinks everybody hated him so much.


The Emmerdale murder site has caused a lot of controversy, due to the slowness of the ITV Servers.

Some users of the website have contacted Watchdog regarding several issues on the site, such as:

  • The slowness of the servers.
  • The loss of clues.
  • The site failing to work

The list above may have been caused by too many users attempting to use the site at any one time.

Due to the sketchy writing and very little research, the storyline has received a mauling from television critics and hardcore viewers. The main complaint from either side is that, the storyline has dragged and the lack of interesting suspects.

Because of the reasons above, certain members of the murder hunt set up a petition. Which can be accessed Here

Killer revealed - Hour long episode

On 17th May the King boys were set to stand trial for their father's murder. Also back in the Emmerdale was celebrating the village's 500th anniversary with special celebrity guest, Katherine Jenkins. Although they are acquitted, the brothers have an argument afterwards, in which Carl confesses and describes the details of the crime.

Carl revealed that he entered his father's room on Christmas night and that an argument had broken out. Tom repeatedly bad-mouthed Chas, Carl's beloved ex-financeé. Carl was furious that Tom had paid Chas to leave him. He'd also called her a 'two-bit stripper'. He picked up a statuette and, on the spur of the moment, whacked him over the head with it. He then pushed his father away, sending him smashing through the window to his death. Carl emphasised that it wasn't premeditated and that he had just lashed out. Matthew was, obviously, far from understanding. He said that their dad destroyed his relationship with Sadie, the love of his life, but he managed to avoid killing him.

The aftermath

Barraclough and Carl

DCI Barraclough couldn't let the case drop and was determined, now more than ever, to prove that one, or all, of the King boy's murdered their father. However Vaughan wasn't happy with the way Barraclough handled the case and removed her from it and putting DCI Dasari in charge. Barraclough was fuming and when she saw Carl King in a pub, she decided to make her move. Barraclough believed that Carl was the weak link, not the killer himself. It didn't take long for Carl and Barraclough to start sleeping together, but what surprised both Carl and Barraclough is that she fell for the killer King.

Confession and death

Matthew and Jimmy found out about the relationship and thought they put an end to it, but when they learned it was still going on Matthew went to Vaughan. After some pleading Vaughan gave Barraclough 24 hours to find the killer. After going on and on at Carl, Barralcough was shocked to the core when Carl confessed to his dad's murder. Jimmy and Matthew were none too pleased to hear this. Carl decided that he had had enough and went to turn himself in. When they arrived at Hotten police station Jimmy begged Carl not to do it but he was determined. Carl and Barraclough walked hand in hand to the station until Carl's mobile went off, it was Matthew, and Barraclough walked out into the road and was run over by a lorry and was killed instantly. Carl was distraught and drank himself senseless. He eventually came to the conclusion that since there was no way to connect him with his father's death now that Barraclough was dead that he could now do anything that he wanted.

This brought an end to the Who Killed Tom King? storyline.

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