Emmerdale child stars now – X-Factor dad, transformation and soap axing

It's not just the adults who have faced their fair share of drama in Emmerdale, but also the children of the village too.

Throughout the past 50 years, viewers of the ITV soap have been introduced to a number of child residents from iconic families such as The Dingles, The Sugdens and The Windsors.

However, as with all soaps, many child stars are later replaced by older actors to take on more dramatic storylines.

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Here, Daily Star takes a look at where some of the Emmerdale child stars are now.

Toby Cockerell (Scott Windsor)

The first actor to play Scott Windsor, the son of Vic Windsor, was Toby Cockerell from 1993-1996 before Scott left to join the Army in the soap.

However, Toby Cockerell has continued to act, appearing in TV series including One Tree Hill and theatre productions at venues such as The Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.

It has been reported that he now works as a Product Manager at his make-up artist wife Zoe Rene's company.

He was also previously married to Lindsay Zir from 2000-2002.

Ben Freeman later took over from Toby Cockerell in 1998 following Scott Windsor's return to the soap, which saw Scott become embroiled in huge stories including an affair and fathering a child with Zoe Tate.

Hannah Midgley (Victoria Sugden)

Victoria Sugden has become an Emmerdale icon since arriving on our screens in 1996.

After Jessica Heywood played baby Victoria, Hannah Midgley took over at the age of four years old and played the fan-favourite character for nearly 10 years from 1997.

In 2006, she was replaced by current actress Isobel Hodgins so that Hannah could focus on her education.

However, more than eight years later, a grown-up Hannah returned to our TV screens in the BBC drama In The Club as Rosie, between 2014 to 2016.

Her IMDB page has not listed any roles for her since, and it is not clear whether she is still continuing to act, or if she has moved into a different career path.

Despite this, her Twitter account has offered glimpses into the star's life now, including spending time with friends and family, although it has not been updated since 2019.

Christopher Smith (Robert Sugden)

From one Sugden to another, the family have introduced viewers to many familiar faces throughout the years – including Robert Sugden.

Long before Ryan Hawley and Karl Davies made the character their own, Robert was played by Christopher Smith between 1989 to 2001.

However, The Sun reports that in September 2001, Christopher sued Yorkshire Television for unfair dismissal from his part as Robert, stating that it was "down to producers wanting an older actor for more adult storylines."

According to IMDB, the star also had a role as Nick Hadley in a 2002 episode of Holby City, as well as working on a short called Relationship Season in 2011.

Christopher now spends his time behind the cameras, working as a producer in Los Angeles for the critically acclaimed AMC talk show Talking Dead, which analyses the hit TV series The Walking Dead.

In his personal life, Leeds Live reports that Christopher also married his fiancé Sarah at Bolton Abbey in 2012 and that they have one child together.

Dexter Ansell (Lucas Taylor)

Dexter Ansell appeared as Lucas Taylor in Emmerdale between 2019 to 2021, after previously starring in the soap as Jimmy King's son Carl Holliday.

During this time, he formed close bonds with his co-stars, but in 2020, covid restrictions meant that child stars were not allowed to be on set for health and safety reasons.

Dawn Taylor actress Olivia Bromley said that she missed Dexter a lot on set, telling The Express: "It's sad that we've not been able to film with him.

She added: "I've been keeping in touch with Dexter – it was his birthday recently, so we had a little chat then. He's such a dream, he's so funny, like a little ball of energy."

However, fans were shocked in 2021 when the role of Lucas Taylor was taken over by newcomer Noah Ryan Aspinall.

Despite leaving the ITV soap, Dexter has not left our screens, as he recently appeared in the critically acclaimed Sky series The Midwich Cuckoos as David Saunders.

According to IMDB, he is also listed as appearing in two upcoming films called Those Who Remain and Christmas On Mistletoe Farm.

He's not the only famous star in his family though, as his dad is none other than Jonathan Ansell of group G4.

G4 finished second on the X Factor in 2004 and sold more than two million albums, as well as four sell-out tours, before splitting in 2007 and reforming again in 2014.

In 2016, Jonathan also gushed over Dexter landing his role as Lucas Taylor in Emmerdale – sharing a snap of his first photographs from an issue of Inside Soap on Twitter.

He tweeted alongside the sweet snap: "What a thrill today as our little baby boy Dexter has his first splash in a magazine!"

Luke Tittensor (Darren 'Daz' Eden)

Darren 'Daz' Eden was at the centre of many dramatic storylines during his time on Emmerdale between 2003 to 2009.

These included sibling rivalry with half-brother Andy Sugden and romantic dramas with Andy's adopted sister Victoria Sugden.

However, it is reported that after six years on the soap, Luke was axed from Emmerdale after he pleaded guilty to a charge of grievous bodily harm after fracturing a 16-year-old's jaw.

At the time, a spokesperson for Emmerdale said: "We cannot condone criminal behaviour. Luke regrets his behaviour and understands this situation."

He has since continued to appear on our screens, starring in the BBC drama The Beneficiary as part of the Moving On Series, as well as the 2014 film Pudsey the Dog: The Movie.

Luke also appeared in the film Madame Bovary, as well as BBC One school drama Waterloo Road.

He's not the only famous star in his family either, as his twin brother Elliot Tittensor played Carl Gallagher in the hit Channel 4 series Shameless.

The former Emmerdale star also delighted fans with a snap of him and his twin on Instagram in 2018, with Luke looking very different to his soap days, as he rocked long hair and a full beard in a complete transformation

After six years away from our TV screens, Luke has also recently made a return to acting in the Game Of Thrones prequel House Of Dragon as Ser Arryk Carguyll.

Emily Mather (Belle Dingle)

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Belle Dingle first arrived in the dales in 1998 as the youngest daughter of Zak and Lisa Dingle.

However, before Eden Taylor-Draper took over the role in 2005, Belle was first played by Emily Mather from the age of just 10 days old.

It is reported that despite her Emmerdale stardom, Emily decided to make a career u-turn and move away from acting completely following seven years on the soap.

The Sun reports that she went on to study sports at college and hopes to become a teacher.

Emmerdale airs weeknights on ITV at 7.30pm

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  • Emmerdale Windsor family now – pop career, Hollywood son-in-law and co-star romance

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