Emmerdale Richard Thorp’s death – grave premonition, final call and £300k gift

Emmerdale star Richard Thorp was one of the soap’s longest serving actors before his tragic death in 2013.

He played the role of former Woolpack owner Alan Turner in the ITV soap, best known for his friendship with Seth Armstrong and flirtations with vet secretary Pearl.

He was also involved in some pretty hard-hitting storylines, including being doped at the mercy of Steph Forsythe and held hostage by her and almost killed.

Alan was eventually killed off-screen in 2013 following actor Richard’s death in real life, with Betty heading off to see him in France where he was staying with his biker friends.

She found that Alan had died in his sleep aged 78, with his daughter Steph returning for his funeral.

Tragic death

In reality, Richard was aged 81 when he passed away after several bouts of illness on May 22, 2013 in Shrewsbury.

ITV announced his death with a poignant statement which read: "On behalf of the cast, crew and production team at Emmerdale, we are extremely sad to hear of Richard's death. A pillar of the show.

"He will be greatly missed around the Emmerdale studios but will forever live on in all the wonderful memories we all have of him."

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

Ahead of his devastating death, Richard had been suffering some health issues – having taken time out of filming in 2009 to have his right knee replaced before returning almost a year later.

Speaking of his injuries to the Evening Courier, Richard explained: “I was hobbling round the supermarket the other week when I heard one woman say to her friend, 'Isn't that Alan Turner over there?' Her friend replied, 'Don't be silly, it can't possibly be – he's dead!’

“I have had to learn to walk again and didn’t drive for four months.”

Impressive wealth and will

Before joining Emmerdale, Richard had a wide array of roles including Lovejoy in To The Manor Born, Gerald Thompson in Whodunnit? and Geoffrey Cartland in The Cedar Tree.

The star admitted to the Daily Mail back in 2010 that he was "too lazy" to pursue a career in Hollywood after starring in The Dam Busters in 1955.

He told the publication: "I made a few films after The Dam Busters but I was too lazy 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 seems like that financial decision paid off, as he was able to gift his children a whopping £304,831 in his will.

The star was married three times – first to actress Maureen Moore, then to Lynn Mellish and finally to Noola Delany – but all his romances ended in divorce.

Over the course of his life, Richard had four children to divide the £300k between.

But his business acumen was apparent in life too, as he managed to purchase a multimillion-pound house.

He bought Hurtmore House – later to be the house songstress Cheryl shared with ex-hubby Ashley Cole – in the early 1960s for a steal.

The property, which was valued at £3.4million in 2010, was bought by Richard for just £17,000.

But he wasn’t happy with the renovations Girls Aloud star Cheryl and football star Ashley Cole carried out on the house, telling the Daily Mail: "I can't imagine why you would want to rip out all those period features and replace them with casinos and the like. I think they've ruined it."

He later moved into Nether Skyborry, a four-bedroom Victorian home at Knighton in Powys, based in Wales, before selling the house for £750,000 to make his commute to Yorkshire easier.

He originally purchased the home for £230,000.

Eerie coincidences

Richard’s co-star Lorraine Chase, best known for playing Alan’s daughter Steph in Emmerdale, revealed to The Mirror that she’d spoken to him on the phone just a day before he died.

She explained: "It was Saturday and I got a call from Richard, which was a lovely surprise. He was very bright, he said he was doing well. He sounded 100 percent. And then of course the next day I heard the news he’d died."

The coincidences didn’t stop there, however, as Lorraine quickly discovered that Richard’s funeral was held at the same place where she’d said goodbye to her own father just a year before.

Despite Richard having lived for years in Knighton, his funeral was held in Mortlake in London, at the very same crematorium where her dad’s had took place.

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 Richard worried about her and ring her up to check on her.

Lorraine also explained that her own dad had been in and out of prison for robbery, making it "hard" to get close to him – something even stranger when you take a look at Alan’s funeral scenes in Emmerdale, with Steph appearing in handcuffs on a day release from prison.

She even suggested it could have a "spiritual" meaning.

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