Belfast Telegraph

Emmerdale remembers ‘generous and caring’ Leah Bracknell as actress dies at 55

The actress played Zoe Tate on Emmerdale.

Leah Bracknell (PA)
Leah Bracknell (PA)

By Julia Hunt, PA Entertainment Correspondent

ITV remembered Leah Bracknell as a “hugely popular member of the Emmerdale cast”, after the actress’s death at the age of 55.

Bracknell, who played Zoe Tate on the ITV soap for 16 years until 2005, died in September, three years after being diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.

John Whiston, managing director of continuing drama and head of ITV in the north, said in a statement: “Everyone on Emmerdale is very sad to hear of the death of Leah Bracknell.

“Leah was a hugely popular member of the Emmerdale cast for over 16 years.

“During that time she featured in some of the show’s most high-profile and explosive plots and always delivered a pitch perfect performance.

“Zoe Tate was one of soap’s first lesbian characters and Leah made sure the character was both exciting and credible.

“Leah herself was a very generous and caring colleague, much loved by cast and crew alike.”

Bracknell’s cancer diagnosis came to light in October 2016 when her husband Jez Hughes launched a GoFundMe page to raise money for her to undergo treatment overseas, due to a lack of options available on the NHS.

After she was diagnosed, fans helped the star raise more than £50,000 to undergo groundbreaking treatment in Germany.

She started taking new medication, but later revealed that it had failed.

A statement from the actress’s manager, on behalf of Bracknell’s family, said: “They would like to thank all the public for their support and generosity which contributed to the extension and quality of her life over the past three years.

“Leah continued to embrace life and faced her illness with positivity. Many aspects of her journey can be found on her blog – somethingbeginningwithc.com.

“Leah was best known and much loved as Zoe Tate in Emmerdale. She also had roles in Judge John Deed, A Touch Of Frost, The Royal Today and DCI Banks to name just a few, as well as numerous appearances on stage and in pantomime.

“As well as acting, Leah was also an accomplished yoga teacher and shamanic healer.

“Leah had an energy and enthusiasm for life, a kind heart and much love to give to those around her.

“Her family have asked for privacy at this very sad time.”

PA

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