Emmerdale fans are set to say goodbye to a soap legend as Freddie Jones is leaving his role as the loveable Sandy Thomas after 12 years in the show. And the 90-year-old star has admitted that it’s about finding balance in his life.
He revealed that Emmerdale offered him another year’s contract but decided that after the heightened emotion of Ashley’s death storyline, there wasn’t much he thought Sandy could do over the months that would follow.
With one heck of a commute and not necessarily a great deal of scenes, the popular star felt it was the right time to bow out – and his former co-star from The Royal, Wendy Craig, has joined for a few episodes to facilitate Sandy heading off on an Australian adventure.
Speaking about his decision to Radio Times, Freddie said: ‘It’s about the balance of my life. The company generously offered me another 12 months. But I just thought, “I have no idea what I’m going to do in another bloody year!” The drama that Ashley’s death gave me last year was monumental. But that’s gone now.
‘I travel three hours by car, book into a hotel and then get up the next day to say maybe three sentences. And then do a three hour journey back. I can’t justify staying, even though Emmerdale was very generous in asking me to.’
Freddie’s final full episode will air next week as he gets on with newcomer Maisie, who then invites him to join her abroad.
He will certainly be a huge miss in the Dales – as well as emotive plotlines such as Ashley’s death and a controversial elderly abuse story some years back, Sany has been at the centre of many comedy capers and his mischievous friendships with the likes of Edna Birch and youngster Sean Spencer were always memorable.
A figure of fun and lightness in the Dales, the village is certainly going to lose a lot of laughs and warmth without him. Bon voyage to both Sandy and Freddie!